The epee was "born" in Spain in the 60s of the 15th century, initially as a lightweight sword equipped with a complex decorative guard. While combat swords, due to their high weight, were not suitable for everyday wear, many nobles in peacetime wore swords of a lightweight or ceremonial type, which served as the prototype of the first shapga. What is characteristic, the sword was not initially perceived as a separate type of weapon, and therefore in many European languages it was and is called "sword" - isp. espada, ital. spada, fr. epee, eng. sword, and only in German did it get its own, separate, name - it. Degen. Despite the seeming decorativeness, this weapon, in case of danger, made it possible to effectively defend and attack even in the absence of armor and a shield, and therefore became widespread.
Subsequently, under the influence of the French school of fencing, the epee became shorter, and then lost its blades, turning into a faceted blade, noticeably inferior in length to both early swords and konchar - a faceted blade similar to an epee, the length of which allows a cavalryman to finish off an enemy who has fallen to the ground. At the same time, in some countries, new swords, having lost in length, retained one, or even both blades.
During the XVI-XVIII centuries, combat swords were in service with the troops, mainly with cavalrymen and officers, gradually being replaced by broadswords and sabers.
The sword was the recognized distinctive mark of the nobleman. The deprivation of the title of nobility was accompanied by the so-called. "Civil execution" - breaking the sword in the presence of witnesses (usually on the place of execution, at the confluence of the people and after the announcement of the verdict, sometimes - over the head of the sentenced person).
The main feature of the epee is the presence of a complex guard that protects the hand well, it is this guard that allows you to use defenses based on short laconic movements without risking the fingers.
Sports epee - a thrusting weapon, consists of a flexible steel blade, a protective guard and a handle. The blade has a triangular cross-section (maximum width of edges 24 mm), thinning towards the top, on which there is a tip with a movable electrical contact device. The total length of the sword does not exceed 115 cm (the blade does not exceed 95 cm), the diameter of the guard is 135 mm, the weight of the sword is up to 750 grams.
Fencing as a sport was included in the program of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896.
In the 19th century, the Italian fencing master and aristocrat Visconti, who lived in Belgium, invented a new type of grip, called the "pistol" or "Belgian" grip, which covered the entire wrist. In sports fencing, it is considered dishonest and prohibited.
In 1708, Peter the Great armed the entire infantry with swords. In 1741, among the rank and file of the infantry, the straight sword was replaced by a half saber. The swords were left only to the officers of all branches of the army and for some time to the guards musketeers.
From the 19th century (until 1917), the sword was an accessory to the uniform of generals and officers of cuirassier regiments out of order, as well as the ceremonial uniform of civilian officials.
The right to carry the sword was a privilege. Students often obtained the right to wear a sword after graduation. Of all the universities in Russia, only at Moscow University did a student receive the right to wear a sword already upon enrollment.
Nowadays, the sword has been preserved as an integral part of the ceremonial uniform of the highest diplomatic officials in certain countries.