- Blade Length: 35.5 inches
- Weight: 2.75 lbs
- Spanish Steel Blade
The espada ropera featured a long, narrow blade, with an average length of about 44 inches (112 cm). It had a single-handed swept hilt with a pommel and a cross guard.
The espada ropera first appeared in Spain in the 15th Century. It was primarily a civilian weapon, used more for dueling than actual combat. The forerunner of the rapier, the espada ropera is distinguished from the rapier by its ability to cut as well as thrust. The Rapier is more designed for thrusting at a distance as seen in its length; which can be over 10 inches longer than an Espada Ropera. While both swords are considered to be swift; the Espada Ropera is relatively heavier than a Rapier to give it the ability to slash like the older Broadswords.
The Tercio were the elite soldiers of the Spanish Army and its Conquistadors. The word 'Tercio' translated to 'thirds' because Tercio formations were comprised of 1/3 arquebusiers, 1/3 pikemen and 1/3 swordsmen. The swordsmen were designed to engage in close combat against any melee units able to get through the pike wall. As muskets became more effective and as the bayonet was introduced; swordsmen as foot soldiers became less relevant. Swordsmen would continue to exist as cavalrymen until the early 20th century; as machine guns made made conventional melee and cavalry combat obsolete.
Around 1595 the Dutch no longer implemented swordsmen in their armies, believing that pikemen were far more effective in melee combat. The Dutch also saw how the effectiveness of the evolving Arquebus guns made melee combat far less effective the modernizing battlefield. The success of this strategy led to the decline of swordsmen as foot infantry.