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09-Jul-2017 19:24

In Western society, the formal concept of a duel developed out of the medieval judicial duel and older pre-Christian practices such as the Viking Age holmgang.

In Medieval society, judicial duels were fought by knights and squires to end various disputes.

According to Ariel Roth, during the reign of Henry IV, over 4,000 French aristocrats were killed in duels "in an eighteen-year period" while a twenty-year period of Louis XIII's reign saw some eight thousand pardons for "murders associated with duels".

Roth also notes that thousands of men in the Southern United States "died protecting what they believed to be their honor." The first published code duello, or "code of dueling", appeared in Renaissance Italy.

The duel lasted until the other party was too weak to fight back.

In early cases, the defeated party was then executed.

On occasion, duels with pistols or swords were fought between women.

Dueling declined in the Eastern United States in the 19th century and by the time the American Civil War broke out, dueling had begun to decline, even in the South.The feat of arms was used to settle hostilities between two large parties and supervised by a judge.