The Serenissima Rapier from Arms & Armor is a classic style of early complex hilted sword. As the 15th Century came to a close we see the popularity of single-handed swords with additions to their hilts such as fore rings and knuckle bows become more popular. These additions provided protection for the hand without the need for gauntlets. It also provided more opportunity for the cutlers of the period to show their creativity with design and decoration of the hilts.
This form of sword became widespread across Europe in the first half of the 16th century, but many of the early examples are associated with the Venetian Republic and there wide trading network. This piece is quick in action and moves very well through the plays of early Italian fighting systems designed for its use. This was a dynamic time in the history of sword design and use. The core that would become the swept hilted rapier can be seen in this style of hilt as well it’s the simple cross hilted knightly sword predecessor.