Swords come in many different sizes and shapes, from the curved scimitar to the two-handed claymore. A rapier is a slender, sharply pointed sword ideally used for thrusting attacks. A rapier usually weighs under two pounds where a two-handed broadsword can weigh upwards of six. That makes the rapier a quick, agile weapon that won't tire its user.
Back in the day (the 1600s), Spanish operas were held out-of-doors in the hot sun and were a day long event. The peasants would bring their lunches and a bottle of wine and be quite comfortable. But the poor actors on stage, dressed up in their hot costumes had to lug around six-pound broadswords. By the end of the show they were sweaty and exhausted.
So one one of the actors went to the local swordsmith and asked for a blade just for show. He wanted one that was lightweight and wouldn't tire him out. The swordsmith made the requested weapon, and the actor wore it on stage.
Well, some of the spectators saw the advantages of a lightweight weapon and pretty soon people who weren't actors showed up at the swordsmith requesting a similar blade. They called it an espada ropera or an opera blade. As the weapon gained in popularity and passed from country to country it became known as a rapier.
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