Reply To: Lectures by Jean Chandler

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Hans Hellinger

I have been out of the loop for a long time, but apparently Ariella Elema is leaning towards the idea that as book-educated lawyers in Italy France and England turned against duels and trial by battle, men started to appeal to the right of soldiers to settle their disagreements for themselves or under the supervision of a senior soldier. One reason fencing training in northern Italy had to be versatile was that the person who chose the weapons could chose any weapons customary amongst soldiers. So if there was a tradition in the HRE north of the Alps of claiming the right to commit violence in defense of the honour of a citizen / landowner, that would be a different world.

In England and France I think that is possible, in Italy it would very much depend on the specific city and the specific time, but generally speaking you would be incorrect as they did also have the feud down there. Formal duels were going on uninterrupted in Italy for centuries after they were banned on pain of death in France (partly because formal duels in Italy were rarely lethal – when an Italian wanted to kill someone they tended to do it by ambush or some other means). Partly that is also because many French nobles didn’t know how to fence.

I did another lecture (one of the above, the one in Houston) on the Feud in Central Europe.

These are both quite complex subjects, so I’ll open a couple of new threads.