Duels have generally been fought early in the morning in secludedplaces. (Encarta Duel)Dueling to avenge ones honor has never been legal, dueling has been markedby laws opposing it. The practice became popular in Europe after the famouschallenge between King Charles V of Spain and Francis I of France. When war wasdeclared on Spain in 1528 by Francis, he annulled the treaty between the twocountries, Francis was challenged to a duel after being accused of ungentlemanlyconduct by the Spanish ruler. The duel never did take place because makingarrangements was to difficult, but this incident influenced the manners of Europeansso that gentlemen everywhere thought they were entitled to avenge slights on theirhonor by having similar challenges.
(Encarta Duel)Duels involving honor were so prevalent in France that Charles IX issued anordinance in 1566 that was death to anyone participating in a duel. This became amodel for later edicts against dueling. Dueling however did survive longer thanmonarchy in France. Dueling became a technique for resolving political disputes. (Britannica Duel) The duel was intensely popular in England, during Restoration.
Legislation during the 17th century had little effect on suppressing the practice. TheEnglish Common Law declares that killing in a duel to be held as murder, but juriesrarely convicted in cases of dueling until the custom had ceased to be popular duringthe reign of Queen Victoria. (Encarta Duel)The earliest form of dueling was the judicial duel or trial by battle. Thejudicial duel was established because solemn affirmation, or swearing of oaths, inlegal arguments had led to extensive perjury and the ordeal has too much of a chanceof being manipulated by the priests. If one man declares before a judge that hisopponent was guilty of a crime and the accused said that his accuser is lying, thejudge would order the two to meet in a duel. The judge then stipulated the conditionsas to the place, time, and weapons.
The combatants had to guarantee theirparticipation by throwing down a gauntlet and his opponent accepted by picking itup. It was believed in such a situation that the right could not be beaten and theloser, if still alive would be dealt with by the law this was thought to be thejudgement of God and could not be wrong. This form of trial was open to all freemen and sometimes serfs. Women, church clergy, the sick, and men under 20 or over60 could claim exemption.
In some cases persons under trial could appointchampions to fight for them, but the person on trial as well as his defeatedchampion were both subject to legal punishment. (Britannica Duel)The rapier was introduced to Italy in the 16th century, the rapier was a long,thin, lightweight sword, was held one hand, in the other was a dagger, and later afolded cloak which replaced the shield. The use of the rapier spread throughoutEurope as the Italian fencing technique. In England and France, the shape and size ofthe rapier were constantly being modified because of its weight and length made itclumsy to carry around. (Encarta Fencing) When the rapier came to England notall Englishmen adapted well to this southern European innovation.
The rapier wasonce criticized for its slender, easily broken blade, its large hilt and great lengthwhich made it difficult to draw. The term rapier is unclear as to where itoriginated it could be ascribed to the German word rappen, to tear; the Spanishword raspar, to scratch. (Bull 96)Works CitedDuel. Britannica. com Encyclopaedia BritannicaMicrosoft Works for Windows 98 (1999).
Computer program. WA: Microsoft Bull, Stephen. An Historical Guide To Arms And Armor. Ed. Tony North. New York:Facts On File, 1991.Words/ Pages : 651 / 24