The swept hilt rapier was the civilian weapon of choice for close to 200 years, from the early 16th century to the early 18th. On our replica, nine brass bars, all at least 1/8 inch thick, swirl and curve to make the dazzling cage that protects the hand from being cut. Also, the Swept-Hilt often caught an opponent’s blade, opening him up to a fatal stab. Swordplay with the swept hilt rapier was considered an essential part of a gentleman’s education and was often used in resolving gentlemanly disagreements. Functional fencing rapier blades typically originated in Toledo or Solingen and would be hilted by regional smiths, resulting in many hilt styles. Hilt finishes were both practical and decorative and gilding, silvering and bluing were all widely accepted methods of providing both decoration and resistance to rust.