This is a rare example of the smallsword in its early form. From this point, it went through a century and a half of refinement with subtle changes in detail. It was produced in Brescia, Italy, a center with a centuries-old reputation for the fine metalwork at the time. Its finely chiseled iron hilt with sinuous members enhanced with pyramidal groups, perhaps based on the Maltese cross, is preserved with virtually all its original blackened finish. The grip is relatively unchanged from the transitional rapiers of half a century earlier. The blade is of rapier form, of flattened diamond section, and scaled to proportions necessitated by fencing techniques of the day. Swords of this quality were produced for the upper class and nobility including high ranking military officers and clergy. This example is distinguished by its preservation in near pristine condition throughout. 32" length blade.