Monday, 19 January 2015

A Matter of Honour

Doing a search for a surname of a relative's family line I came across this newspaper clipping from October 1905 ...

I have found no evidence that this Mr Mooney is related to my Mooneys, but I wanted to find out more about dueling.

My grandson takes fencing and he loves it. He won't have to fight a duel to defend his honour, but he does have a tournament coming up at the end of the month.  I can't be there because of distance, but hopefully I will get to see some video!

A Duel was based on a code of honour, and usually fought by the upper classes or soldiers. There were basic rules to follow, but each dueling pair could set their own rules and agree on type of weapons. A proper duel was always a personal matter, never a professional one, and not necessarily meant to kill, but to get "satisfaction".

Penny London Post 27 May 1748

The earlier duels were fought with swords, and later pistols were used. They came in matching sets to be fair to both sides.  Duels were being fought all over the world. The last fatal duel fought in England was in 1852 with the winner being tried for murder, while the last duel in France was in 1967. Here is an article of a sword duel fought in Cologne, Germany in 1975:

The Showdowns of the old west were a form of duel, and not always based on a matter of personal honour.  

Duels were not restricted to men!  There have been cases of duels fought by women.

There is lots of information about duels on the internet, and many duels were written about in the newspapers. You can do a newspaper search using the keywords duel (and with/without the word pistol or sword) plus whatever place you are interested in. Also google dueling weapons and choose images.

Was your ancestor a duelist? Did any duels take place in the town of your ancestors?

Following are sites with names of famous duelists, and interesting books on rules and dueling.  

Relevant Links:


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