Life in Elizabethan England Next

Honor and Dueling

Is nowhere described better than by Lawrence Stone in Crisis of the Aristocracy:

Tempers were short and weapons easy to hand. The basic characteristics of the nobility, like those of the poor, were ferocity and childishness and lack of self control.

Calling someone a liar, or otherwise impugning his honor, his courage, or his name is a challenge in itself.

A Duel

Dueling is illegal, so you take the fight out of the way, and sometimes out of the country (any war-zone will do). Usually this is single combat, unlike the group duels of France, which lead to long-standing feuds.

If you are angry enough, you may not wait for a duel, or even for a fair fight. One (or some) of your men may lie in ambush. People get killed this way all the time, though often it's a gentleman's retainers who take the brunt of the attack.

Sir John Hawkins was killed by someone who mistook him for Sir Christopher Hatton. Sir Drew Drury was killed in a dispute over precedence.

::  Patronage: Retinue, Companions, & Livery
::  Precedence, Preferment, & Attainder
::  The Noble Style


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MaggiRos
26 March 2000 pkm