The espada ropera (sword of the robe) was a sword developed in the mid-15th century in Spain. Compared to earlier swords, the espada ropera was lighter, thinner, and more ornate. It was first mentioned in an inventory of Don Alvaro de Zuniga in 1468. In Spain, espada ropera referred to swords worn by civilians.
During the 15th century, gunpowder and muskets came to prominence and made heavy armor obsolete. When men stopped wearing armor, the heavy broadswords common in the Middle Ages were no longer necessary. Thus the sword gradually became lighter and easier to handle.
The espada ropera was the forerunner of, and in the Spanish language a contemporary of, the rapier. In fact, the French term epee rapiere is a derivative of espada ropera.
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