The 18th Century Court Sword is a light one-handed sword designed for thrusting which changed from the longer and heavier rapier of the late Renaissance. The height of the small sword's popularity was between mid 17th and late 18th century. It is thought to have first appeared in France and travelled quickly across the rest of Europe.
The small sword could be a highly effective dueling weapon, and some systems for the use of the bayonet were developed using the method of the smallsword as their foundation.
The small sword was the immediate predecessor of the French foil and its method of use which was developed into the techniques of the French classical school of fencing. Small swords were also used as status symbols and fashion accessories; for most of the 18th century anyone, civilian or military, with pretensions to gentlemanly status would have worn a small sword on a daily basis.
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