Italian Dueling Sword

(Spada, Spada di terreno, Spada de Duello)
19th – 20th Century.

Italian Dueling Sword

The Italian dueling sword was used throughout the 19th century and well into the 20th century in the settling of private quarrels. The design of the blade of the Italian dueling sword was originally based on the earlier rapier blade of the late 17th century. It was typically of a diamond cross-section, with fullers on either side of the strongest part of the blade with sharp edges and an acute point. In the beginning of the 20th century, due to influence of French fencing internationally, the Italians adopted the triangular cross-section of the French blade design and modified it by the addition of a ricasso for use in the Italian hilt. The dimensions of the guard varied through the 19th century as some were constructed with very shallow cups and others with full deep cups similar to those of their ancestor, the cup-hilt rapier. In the beginning of the 20th century a new type of dueling sword was created by Agesilao and Aurelio Greco, two of the most prominent Italian fencing masters of that era. These masters believed that placing the perforation where the blade passed through the guard slightly off-center offered more protection to the sword hand and arm. The foil (fioretto) was the training tool for this weapon for the major part of the 19th century. Toward the last quarter of the 19th century training was conducted with a blunted version of the actual dueling sword affixed with a pointe d’arrêt on the nail-head point of the blade.

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