Trial by combat

Last updated

A 1540s depiction of a judicial combat in Augsburg in 1409, between Marshal Wilhelm von Dornsberg and Theodor Haschenacker. Dornsberg's sword broke early in the duel, but he proceeded to kill Haschenacker with his own sword. Gerichtskampf mair.jpg
A 1540s depiction of a judicial combat in Augsburg in 1409, between Marshal Wilhelm von Dornsberg and Theodor Haschenacker. Dornsberg's sword broke early in the duel, but he proceeded to kill Haschenacker with his own sword.

Trial by combat (also wager of battle, trial by battle or judicial duel) was a method of Germanic law to settle accusations in the absence of witnesses or a confession in which two parties in dispute fought in single combat; the winner of the fight was proclaimed to be right. In essence, it was a judicially sanctioned duel. It remained in use throughout the European Middle Ages, gradually disappearing in the course of the 16th century.




Unlike trial by ordeal in general, which is known to many cultures worldwide, trial by combat is known primarily from the customs of the Germanic peoples. [1] The practice was "almost universal in Europe" according to medievalist Eric Jager. [2] It was in use among the ancient Burgundians, Ripuarian Franks, Alamans, Lombards, and Swedes. [1]

It was unknown in Anglo-Saxon law and Roman law and it does not figure in the traditions of Middle Eastern antiquity such as the code of Hammurabi or the Torah. However, it is recorded in the medieval Irish Brehon Laws, such as Din Techtugad. [1]

The practice is regulated in various Germanic legal codes. Being rooted in Germanic tribal law, the various regional laws of the Frankish Empire (and the later Holy Roman Empire) prescribed different particulars, such as equipment and rules of combat. The Lex Alamannorum (recension Lantfridana 81, dated to 712–730 AD) prescribes a trial by combat in the event of two families disputing the boundary between their lands. A handful of earth taken from the disputed piece of land is put between the contestants and they are required to touch it with their swords, each swearing that their claim is lawful. The losing party besides forfeiting their claim to the land is required to pay a fine.

Capitularies governing its use appear from the year 803 onwards. [3] Louis the Pious prescribed combat between witnesses of each side, rather than between the accuser and the accused, and briefly allowed for the Ordeal of the Cross in cases involving clerics.

In medieval Scandinavia, the practice survived throughout the Viking Age in the form of the holmgang .

An unusual variant, the marital duel, involved combat between a husband and wife, with the former physically handicapped in some way. The loser was killed. [4]

Holy Roman Empire

Depiction of a judicial combat in the Dresden codex of the Sachsenspiegel
(early to mid-14th century), illustrating the provision that the two combatants must "share the sun", i.e. align themselves perpendicular to the Sun so that neither has an advantage. Gerichtlicher Zweikampf.jpg
Depiction of a judicial combat in the Dresden codex of the Sachsenspiegel (early to mid-14th century), illustrating the provision that the two combatants must "share the sun", i.e. align themselves perpendicular to the Sun so that neither has an advantage.

Otto the Great in 967 expressly sanctioned the practice of Germanic tribal law even if it did not figure in the more "imperial" Roman law. The celebrated case of Gero, Count of Alsleben, is a good example. The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 deprecated judicial duels, and Pope Honorius III in 1216 asked the Teutonic Order to cease its imposition of judicial duels on their newly converted subjects in Livonia. For the following three centuries, there was latent tension between the traditional regional laws and Roman law.

The Sachsenspiegel of 1230 recognizes the judicial duel as an important function to establish guilt or innocence in cases of insult, injury, or theft. The combatants are armed with swords and shields and may wear linen and leather clothing, but their heads and feet must be bare and their hands only protected by light gloves. The accuser is to await the accused at the designated place of combat. If the accused does not appear after being summoned three times, the accuser may execute two cuts and two stabs against the wind, and his matter will be treated as if he had won the fight. [5]

The Kleines Kaiserrecht, an anonymous legal code of c.1300, prohibits judicial duels altogether, stating that the emperor had come to this decision on seeing that too many innocent men were convicted by the practice just for being physically weak. Nevertheless, judicial duels continued to be popular throughout the 14th and 15th centuries.

Depiction of a judicial duel between a man and a woman by Hans Talhoffer (Ms.Thott.290.2o, Folio 80r, 1459) Ms.Thott.290.2o 080r.jpg
Depiction of a judicial duel between a man and a woman by Hans Talhoffer (Ms.Thott.290.2º, Folio 80r, 1459)

Trial by combat plays a significant role in the German schools of fencing in the 15th century. Notably, Hans Talhoffer depicts techniques to be applied in such duels, separately for the Swabian (sword and shield) and Franconian (mace and shield) variants, although other Fechtbücher such as that of Paulus Kal and the Codex Wallerstein show similar material. While commoners were required to present their case to a judge before duelling, members of the nobility did have the right to challenge each other for duels without the involvement of the judiciary, so that duels of this kind were separate from the judicial duel already in the Middle Ages and were not affected by the latter's abolition in the early 16th century by Emperor Maximilian I, evolving into the gentlemanly duel of modern times which were outlawed only as late as in the 19th century.

Hans Talhoffer in his 1459 Thott codex names seven offences that in the absence of witnesses were considered grave enough to warrant a judicial duel, viz. murder, treason, heresy, desertion of one's lord, "imprisonment" (possibly in the sense of abduction), perjury/fraud, and rape.

Great Britain and Ireland

Wager of battle, as the trial by combat was called in English, appears to have been introduced into the common law of the Kingdom of England following the Norman Conquest and remained in use for the duration of the High and Late Middle Ages. [6]

The last certain trial by battle in England occurred in 1446: a servant accused his master of treason, and the master drank too much wine before the battle and was slain by the servant. [7] In Scotland and Ireland, the practice was continued into the sixteenth century. In 1446, a trial by combat was arranged between two quarrelling Irish magnates, James Butler, 5th Earl of Ormonde, and the Prior of Kilmainham, but King Henry VI intervened personally to persuade them to settle their differences peacefully. [8]

The wager of battle was not always available to the defendant in an appeal of murder. If the defendant were taken in the mainour (that is, in the act of committing his crime), if he attempted to escape from prison, or if there was such strong evidence of guilt that there could be no effective denial, the defendant could not challenge. Similarly, if the plaintiff was a woman, above 60 years of age, a minor, [9] lame or blind, they could decline the challenge, and the case would be determined by a jury. Peers of the realm, priests, and citizens of the City of London (the last pursuant to their guarantee of ancient liberties under Magna Carta) could also decline the battle if challenged. If the actual battle took place, it would occur in judicial lists, 60 feet (18 m) square, following the taking of oaths against witchcraft and sorcery. If the defendant was defeated and still alive, he was to be hanged on the spot. However, if he defeated his opponent, or if he were able to fend off his opponent from sunrise to sunset, he would go free. If the plaintiff said the word craven ("I am vanquished") and gave up the fight, he was to be declared infamous, deprived of the privileges of a freeman, and was liable for damages to his successful opponent. [10]

Middle Ages

The earliest case in which wager of battle is recorded was Wulfstan v. Walter (1077), [11] eleven years after the Conquest. Significantly, the names of the parties suggest that it was a dispute between a Saxon and a Norman. The Tractatus of Glanvill , from around 1187, appears to have considered it the chief mode of trial, at least among aristocrats entitled to bear arms. [12] [13]

Around 1219, trial by jury replaced trial by ordeal, which had been the mode of proof for crown pleas since the Assize of Clarendon in 1166. With the emergence of the legal profession in the thirteenth century, lawyers, guarding the safety of the lives and limbs of their clients, steered people away from the wager of battle. A number of legal fictions were devised to enable litigants to avail themselves of the jury even in the sort of actions that were traditionally tried by wager of battle. The practice of averting trial by combat led to the modern concept of attorneys representing litigants.[ citation needed ]

Civil disputes were handled differently from criminal cases. In civil cases, women, the elderly, the infirm of body, minors, and—after 1176—the clergy could choose a jury trial or could have champions named to fight in their stead. Hired champions were technically illegal but are obvious in the record. A 1276 document among Bishop Swinefield's household records makes the promise to pay Thomas of Brydges an annual retainer fee for acting as champion, with additional stipend and expenses paid for each fight. [14] In criminal cases, an approver was often chosen from the accomplices of the accused or from prison to do the fighting for the crown. Approvers sometimes were given their freedom after winning five trials but sometimes were hanged anyway. [15]

In practice, a person facing trial by combat was assisted by a second, often referred to as a squire. The role of the squire was to attend the battle and to arrange the particulars of the ceremony with the opposing squire. Over time, squires would meet and resolve disputes during negotiations over combat. Ample time was made for this by creating a process for checking the saddle and bridle of horses for prayer scrolls and enchantments and requiring litigants to exchange gloves (the origin of "throwing down the gauntlet") and sometimes to go to separate churches and give five pence (for the five wounds of Christ) to the church.

Early trials by combat allowed a variety of weapons, particularly for knights. Later, commoners were given war hammers, cudgels, or quarterstaves with sharp iron tips. The duelling ground was typically sixty feet square. Commoners were allowed a rectangular leather shield and could be armed with a suit of leather armour, bare to the knees and elbows and covered by a red surcoat of a light type of silk called sendal. [16] The litigants appeared in person. The combat was to begin before noon and be concluded before sunset.

Either combatant could end the fight and lose his case by crying out the word "Craven!", [6] from the Old French cravanté, "defeated", which acknowledged "(I am) vanquished." The party who did so, however, whether litigant or champion, was punished with outlawry. Fighting continued until one party was dead or disabled. The last man standing won his case.

By 1300, the wager of combat had all but died out in favour of trial by jury. One of the last mass trials by combat in Scotland, the Battle of the Clans , took place in Perth in 1396. This event took the form of a pitched battle between teams of around thirty men each, representing Clan Macpherson and Clan Davidson, on the North Inch in front of King Robert III. The battle was intended to resolve a dispute over which clan was to hold the right flank in an upcoming battle of both clans (and several others) against Clan Cameron. The Clan Macpherson is thought to have won, but only twelve men survived from the original sixty. [17]

16th century

The last trial by combat under the authority of an English monarch is thought to have taken place during the reign of Elizabeth I in the inner courtyard of Dublin Castle in Ireland on 7 September 1583. The dispute was between members of the sept of O'Connor Faly from King's County (modern County Offaly), who were persuaded by two judges (referred to in the account below) to bring the matter before the Irish privy council for resolution.

The dispute probably concerned dynastic power within the territory of the O'Connors, and the parties, Teig and Conor, had accused each other of treason; the privy council granted their wish for trial by combat to take place on the following day, and for another such trial between two other members of the same sept to take place on the Wednesday following. The first combat took place as appointed, with the combatants "in their shirts with swords, targetts and skulles". An account of the proceedings as observed by one of the privy councillors is given in the State papers Ireland 63/104/69 (spelling adapted):

The first combat was performed at the time and place accordingly with observation of all due ceremonies as so short a time would suffer, wherein both parties showed great courage by a desperate fight: In which Conor was slain and Teig hurt but not mortally, the more was the pity: Upon this Wednesday following Mortogh Cogge [O'Connor] appeared in the same place brought by the captains to the listes, and there stayed 2 hours making proclamation against his enemy by drum and trumpet, but he appeared not ... The only thing we commend in this action was the diligent travail of Sir Lucas Dillon and the Master of the Rolls [ Nicholas White ], who equally and openly seemed to countenance the champions, but secretly with very good concurrence, both with us and between themselves, with such regard of her Majesty's service, as giveth us cause to commend them to your Lordships.

The Annals of the Four Masters also refers to the trial and censures the parties for having allowed the English to entice them into the proceedings. It is also referred to in Holinshed's chronicles. This was a trial not at common law but under consiliar jurisdiction.

Modern era

It is uncertain when the last actual trial by battle in Britain took place. While some references speak of such a trial being held in 1631, records indicate that King Charles I intervened to prevent the battle. [18] A 1638 case is less clear: it involved a legal dispute between Ralf Claxton and Richard Lilburne (the latter the father of John Lilburne). The king again stepped in, and judges acted to delay proceedings. [19] [18] No record survives of the outcome of the case, but no contemporary account speaks of the trial by battle actually taking place. [20] [21] The last certain judicial battle in Britain was in Scotland in 1597, when Adam Bruntfield accused James Carmichael of murder and killed him in battle. [22]

Proposals to abolish trial by battle were made in the 17th century, and twice in the 18th, but were unsuccessful. [23] In 1774, as part of the legislative response to the Boston Tea Party, Parliament considered a bill that would have abolished appeals of murder and trials by battle in the American colonies. It was successfully opposed by Member of Parliament John Dunning, who called the appeal of murder "that great pillar of the Constitution". [24] Writer and MP Edmund Burke, on the other hand, supported the abolition, calling the appeal and wager "superstitious and barbarous to the last degree". [25]

The writ of right was the most direct way, in the common law, of challenging someone's right to a piece of real property. The criminal appeal was a private criminal prosecution instituted by the accuser directly against the accused. It was not, unlike the contemporary appeal, a proceeding in a court of superior jurisdiction reviewing the proceedings of a lower court.

Such a private prosecution was last conducted in the case of Ashford v Thornton in 1818. [26] Pronouncing judgement in favour of the accused's plea claiming the wager of battle, Justice Bayley of the King's Bench said that:

One inconvenience attending this mode of proceeding [27] is, that the party who institutes it must be willing, if required, to stake his life in support of his accusation. [28]

Parliament abolished wager of battle the following year, in February 1819, in an Act introduced by the Attorney General Samuel Shepherd. [29] At the same time, they also abolished the writ of right and criminal appeals. [30] Despite this abolition, in 2002, a Welshman in Bury St. Edmunds refusing to pay a small penalty charge for a vehicle-registration violation demanded trial by combat with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; his demand was rejected, and he was fined by a court. [31]


"The plaintiff opening his case before the judge", from Ceremonies des Gages des Batailles (15th century), National Library of Paris. The Judicial Duel The Plaintiff opening his Case before the Judge Fac simile of a Miniature in the Ceremonies des Gages des Batailles Manuscript of the Fifteenth Century in the National Library of Paris.png
"The plaintiff opening his case before the judge", from Cérémonies des Gages des Batailles (15th century), National Library of Paris.
Duel between Jacques Le Gris and Jean de Carrouges Duel entre Jacques Le Gris et Jean de Carrouges.png
Duel between Jacques Le Gris and Jean de Carrouges

According to Gregory of Tours, King Childebert II ordered for two of his servants to engage in trial by combat against each other when he found a buffalo had been killed in his forest and one accused the other of the crime. [32]

Judicial combat of 1386

In December 1386, one of the last trials by combat authorised by the French King Charles VI was fought in Paris. The trial was fought to decide a case brought by Sir Jean de Carrouges against squire Jacques le Gris, whom he accused of raping his wife Marguerite when Carrouges was in Paris conducting business. After lengthy hearings at the Parlement of Paris, with Jacques le Gris claiming that he had not committed the crime and Marguerite being with child, it was decided that guilt could not be decided through a standard jury trial, and a judicial duel was ordered. The duel put three lives in the hands of fate: Jacques le Gris, the accused, Jean de Carrouges, and the accuser, Marguerite. In the duel, the survivor of the said duel would be considered the winner of the claim. If Jacques le Gris won the duel, not only would Jean de Carrouges die but his pregnant wife would also be put to death for the crime of being a false accuser.

In late December, shortly after Christmas, the combatants met just outside the walls of the abbey of Saint-Martin-des-Champs in the northern Paris suburbs. After a lengthy ceremony, the battle was joined, and after a furious and bloody encounter, Carrouges stabbed his opponent with a sword [33] and claimed victory, being rewarded with substantial financial gifts and a position in the royal household. The duel was watched by the royal court, several royal dukes, and thousands of ordinary Parisians and was recorded in several notable chronicles including Froissart's Chronicles [34] and Grandes Chroniques de France. It has since been covered by several notable texts, including Diderot's Encyclopédie, [35] Voltaire [ citation needed ] and the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, and also by the 2004 book The Last Duel by Eric Jager. [36]


About AD 630, Gundeberga, wife of the Lombard King Arioald (626–636), is supposed to have been accused by a disappointed lover of a plot to poison the king and take another man. King Arioald consented that her innocence should be tested by single combat between her accuser and a nobleman who undertook to defend her. The accuser having been slain, Gundeberga was declared innocent. [37] This was the first instance of a trial by combat in the history of Italy. [38] In the 730s, the Lombard king Liutprand (712–744) had lost confidence in the likelihood that the trial by battle would provide justice. [39] [40] He knew that the practice was subject to abuse. [41]

The jurisprudence of judicial duelling in Italy is particularly well documented in the 15th and 16th centuries. In particular, the treatises of Achille Marozzo (1536), Giovanni Battista Pigna (1554) and Girolamo Mutio (1560) have contributed to shed considerable light on the subject. [42]

The fundamental aspects of Italy's duelling customs were the following. The offended party (attore or agent) had to accuse the defendant (reo) of an injury of words or deeds he received, in matters that could not be reliably proven in a courtroom. In turn, the defendant had to issue a "mentita", meaning that he had to tell the agent "you lie", which consisted of an injury of words. After this, the agent had to issue a notarised cartello, or a notice of challenge, to the defendant, which, if accepted, would set the formal proceedings in motion.

The defendant had the important advantage of the election of weapons. This was done to ensure that the institution would not be abused by the strong to overpower the weak, although the system was gamed in many ways bordering on the illegal. [43]

The duel would take place on the land of a lord impartial to both parties, or if this was not practicable, alla macchia, meaning on public lands. The herald read the accusation out loud and gave the defendant one last chance to confess. If the latter did not do so, the duel would begin, and it was the responsibility of the issuer of the challenge to deliver (or attempt) the first blow. Incapacitating injuries or death would dictate victory, although other scenarios were possible as well. For instance, if the defendant could successfully parry all blows delivered by the agent until sundown, the defendant would be considered the victor. [44]

With the counter-reformation of the 16th century, dueling became illegal; however, its customs were maintained and utilized by most middle to upper social classes until the beginning of the 19th century. [42]


In the 15th century in the Malabar region of India, the same Kalaripayattu competition was held by the Thiyya caste, who are the Chekavars A special kind of fighter called a chekvar was engaged to duel another chekavar on behalf of two opposing Rulers parties to prevent the explosion of a blood feud. For this two chekavar fight each other in a arena for the king and die. For this they used sword and parija. When one of the chekavar defeated or killed the other in the public duel called the ankam, the two parties considered the matter closed without either having spilled any of their own blood. It is as if the violence of the sacrifice , , , , Kalaripayattu, the most ancient and important form of India, was practiced in Kerala. Its origins date back to the 12th century. Unniyarcha, Aromal Chekavar and others were warriors of Chekavar lineage. It was during their period that kalaripayattu spread widely in southern Kerala. [45] [46]

Kalaripayattu Combat Kerala Martial Arts1.jpg
Kalaripayattu Combat

United States

At the time of independence in 1776, trial by combat had not been abolished and it has never formally been abolished since. The question of whether trial by combat remains a valid alternative to civil action has been argued to remain open, at least in theory. In McNatt v. Richards (1983), the Delaware Court of Chancery rejected the defendant's request for "trial by combat to the death" on the grounds that dueling was illegal. [47] In Forgotten Trial Techniques: The Wager of Battle, Donald J. Evans set out the possibility of a trial by battle in the setting of a lawyer's office. [48] A tongue-in-cheek motion during 2015 for trial by combat in response to a civil suit was rejected in 2016. [49]

In 2020, a man named David Zachary Ostrom requested a trial by combat in response to a custody and property dispute with his ex-wife over their children. [50] Following Ostrom requesting trial by combat, he was court-ordered to be administered a sanity test and was temporarily restricted from parenting rights. Upon successfully clearing his sanity test, Ostrom's parenting time was restored. Ostrom has since admitted that he initially made the request for trial by combat in order to attract media attention to his case. [51]

At a rally for President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021, former New York City mayor and Trump lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, made claims of voter fraud and called for a "trial by combat". The rally resulted in the storming of the United States Capitol. [52]

In fiction

Walter Scott's 1828 novel The Fair Maid of Perth dramatizes the lead-up to the Battle of the North Inch, where a judicial duel is among the violent events culminating in a judicial battle between the clans before King Robert III of Scotland.

The Carrouges–le Gris trial of 1386 was the subject of a 2004 book by Eric Jager. This book was adapted into a 2008 BBC Four documentary and dramatized in a 2021 film.

Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones is put through two trials by combat, with the second trial forcing him to flee after he's falsely convicted of killing Joffrey Baratheon. [53]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Kelly, Fergus (1988). A Guide to Early Irish Law. Early Irish law Series volume III (2016 reprint with revised bibliography ed.). Dublin: School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. pp. 211–213. ISBN   978-1-85500-214-2.
  2. Dotinga, Randy (15 May 2014). "'Game of Thrones': Trial by combat was a real option, says writer". Christian Science Monitor . Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  3. Boretius 1.117
  4. Janin, Hunt (2009). Medieval Justice: Cases and Laws in France, England and Germany, 500-1500. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. p. 17. ISBN   978-0-7864-4502-8.
  5. book I, art. 63
  6. 1 2 Quennell & Quennell 1964 , p. 76
  7. Megarry 2005 , p. 65.
  8. Burton, Nathaniel (1843). History of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, from Its Original Foundation to the Present Time. Dublin: William Curry & Co. pp. 92–93.
  9. Burn 1820 , p. 86.
  10. Hall 1926 , pp. 44–45.
  11. Thayer, James B. (15 May 1891). "The Older Modes of Trial". Harvard Law Review . 5 (2): 66–67. doi:10.2307/1321424. JSTOR   1321424. The earliest reference to the battle, I believe, in any account of a trial in England, is at the end of the case of Bishop Wulfstan v. Abbot Walter, in 1077. The controversy was settled, and we read: 'Thereof there are lawful witnesses ... who said and heard this, ready to prove it by oath and battle.'
  12. White, Edward Joseph (1913). Legan Antiquities: A Collection of Essays Upon Ancient Laws and Customs. F.H. Thomas law book Company. p. 128. ISBN   1-110-36250-1.
  13. For an extensive list of cases of trial by battle from this time, see Bigelow's Placita Anglo-Normanica (1066–1195).
  14. Neilson & Sereni 2009, pp. 46–51.
  15. Neilson & Sereni 2009, pp. 42–45.
  16. Neilson & Sereni 2009, p. 159.
  17. Gunn, Robert M. (1998). "Clan Battle of 1396". Scottish Event & Historical Timeline. Archived from the original on 17 July 2007.
  18. 1 2 Neilson & Sereni 2009, p. 326.
  19. Gardiner 2000, p. 249.
  20. Mackenzie & Ross 1834 , p. 300
  21. Megarry 2005 , pp. 63–64.
  22. Megarry 2005 , p. 66.
  23. Megarry 2005 , p. 62.
  24. Shoenfeld 2001 , p. 61.
  25. Shoenfeld 2001 , p. 62.
  26. "Abraham Thornton". The Newgate Calendar . The Ex-Classics Web Site. Retrieved 14 August 2016. Acquitted on a Charge of murdering a Girl, and on being rearrested claimed Trial by Battle, April 1818
  27. outlined here by Sir William Blackstone
  28. Ashford v Thornton (1818) 1 B. & Ald. 405 , 106 ER 149 at 457, Court of King's Bench (UK)
  29. "SHEPHERD, Samuel (1760–1840), of 38 Bloomsbury Square, Mdx. | History of Parliament Online". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  30. Appeal of Murder, etc. Act 1819  via Wikisource.
  31. Sapsted, David (16 December 2002). "Court refuses trial by combat". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  32. Gregory of Tours. A History of the Franks. Pantianos Classics, 1916
  33. Elema, Ariella (4 March 2016). Post "What Really Happened at the Last Duel?". HROARR . Retrieved 26 July 2019.{{cite journal}}: Check |url= value (help)
  34. Chroniques de Jean Froissart (Book III, § 122) p. 102 ff. (in French).
  35. "il y avoit même déjà long-tems que le parlement connoissoit des causes de duel, témoins ceux dont on a parlé ci – devant, & entr'autres celui qu'il ordonna en 1386 entre Carouge & Legris; ce dernier étoit accusé par la femme de Carouge d'avoir attenté à son honneur. Legris fut tué dans le combat, & partant jugé coupable; néanmoins dans la suite il fut reconnu innocent par le témoignage de l'auteur même du crime, qui le déclara en mourant". Duel entry in Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, Volume 5, 1755.
  36. Jager, Eric (2004), The Last Duel, Century, ISBN   0-7126-6190-5
  37. Paul the Deacon, History of the Lombards , Book 4., Chapter XLI.
  38. The Encyclopædia Britannica, or, Dictionary of arts, sciences, and general literature, Volume 13, Adam & Charles Black, 1857, p. 640.
  39. Frederick Pollock, The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I, University Press, 1909, p. 50.
  40. Katherine Fischer Drew, Magna Carta, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004, p. 165.
  41. Theodore Ziolkowski, The Mirror of Justice: Literary Reflections of Legal Crises, Princeton University Press, 2018, p. 74.
  42. 1 2 Leoni, Tom (2010). Mele, Gregory (ed.). "Judicial Duel in Sixteenth-century Italy". In the Service of Mars: Proceedings from the Western Martial Arts Workshop 1999–2009. Freelance Academy Press. I. ISBN   978-0-9825911-5-4.
  43. Mutio, Girolamo (1560), Il Duello
  44. Pigna, Giovanni Battista (1554), Il Duello
  45. Nisha, P. R. (12 June 2020). Jumbos and Jumping Devils: A Social History of Indian Circus. Oxford University Press. ISBN   9780190992071.
  46. Menon, A. Sreedhara (4 March 2011). Kerala History and its Makers. D C Books. p. 81. ISBN   978-81-264-3782-5 . Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  47. McNatt v. Richards, 6987 ( Del. Ch. 28 March 1983)("I also note that defendant's offer to waive its counterclaim on the condition that plaintiff accepts a challenge of trial by combat to death is not a form of relief this Court, or any court in this country, would or could authorise. Dueling is a crime and the defendant is therefore cautioned against such further requests for unlawful relief.").
  48. Evans, Donald J. (May 1985). "Forgotten Trial Techniques: The Wager of Battle". ABA Journal . American Bar Association. 71 (5): 66–68. JSTOR   20758130.
  49. "Staten Island lawyer demands trial by combat". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  50. "Man requests 'trial by combat' with Japanese swords to settle a dispute with Iowa ex-wife". Des Monines Register. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  51. "Man who requested trial by combat in custody dispute clears sanity test, requests testing for ex-wife and her attorney". Des Moines Register. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  52. Kilander, Gustaf (January 6, 2021). "Rudy Giuliani calls for 'trial by combat' to settle election in rant at wild DC rally". The Independent. Washington, DC. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  53. Eyerly, Alan (2 June 2014). "'Game of Thrones' recap: Tyrion's life at stake in trial by combat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 March 2023.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jury trial</span> Type of legal trial

A jury trial, or trial by jury, is a legal proceeding in which a jury makes a decision or findings of fact. It is distinguished from a bench trial in which a judge or panel of judges makes all decisions.

Criminal procedure is the adjudication process of the criminal law. While criminal procedure differs dramatically by jurisdiction, the process generally begins with a formal criminal charge with the person on trial either being free on bail or incarcerated, and results in the conviction or acquittal of the defendant. Criminal procedure can be either in form of inquisitorial or adversarial criminal procedure.

A trial is the presentation of information in a formal setting, usually a court.

A lawsuit is a proceeding by one or more parties against one or more parties in a civil court of law. The archaic term "suit in law" is found in only a small number of laws still in effect today. The term "lawsuit" is used with respect to a civil action brought by a plaintiff who requests a legal remedy or equitable remedy from a court. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint or else risk default judgment. If the plaintiff is successful, judgment is entered in favor of the defendant. A variety of court orders may be issued in connection with or as part of the judgment to enforce a right, award damages or restitution, or impose a temporary or permanent injunction to prevent an act or compel an act. A declaratory judgment may be issued to prevent future legal disputes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Duel</span> Formalised type of single combat

A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two people with matched weapons.

A writ of prohibition is a writ directing a subordinate to stop doing something the law prohibits. This writ is often issued by a superior court to the lower court directing it not to proceed with a case which does not fall under its jurisdiction.

An inquisitorial system is a legal system in which the court, or a part of the court, is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case. This is distinct from an adversarial system, in which the role of the court is primarily that of an impartial referee between the prosecution and the defense.

A legal fiction is a fact assumed or created by courts, which is then used in order to help reach a decision or to apply a legal rule.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trial by ordeal</span> Medieval judicial practice to determine guilt through a life-threatening experience

Trial by ordeal was an ancient judicial practice by which the guilt or innocence of the accused was determined by subjecting them to a painful, or at least an unpleasant, usually dangerous experience. In medieval Europe, like trial by combat, trial by ordeal, such as cruentation, was sometimes considered a "judgement of God" : a procedure based on the premise that God would help the innocent by performing a miracle on their behalf. The practice has much earlier roots, attested to as far back as the Code of Hammurabi and the Code of Ur-Nammu.

Prejudice is a legal term with different meanings, which depend on whether it is used in criminal, civil, or common law. In legal context, "prejudice" differs from the more common use of the word and so the term has specific technical meanings.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Judicature Acts</span> UK laws restructuring the English-Welsh court system (1873–1899)

In the history of the courts of England and Wales, the Judicature Acts were a series of Acts of Parliament, beginning in the 1870s, which aimed to fuse the hitherto split system of courts of England and Wales. The first two Acts were the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1873 and the Supreme Court of Judicature Act 1875, with a further series of amending acts.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trial</span> Coming together of parties to a dispute, to present information in a tribunal

In law, a trial is a coming together of parties to a dispute, to present information in a tribunal, a formal setting with the authority to adjudicate claims or disputes. One form of tribunal is a court. The tribunal, which may occur before a judge, jury, or other designated trier of fact, aims to achieve a resolution to their dispute.

Compurgation, also called trial by oath, wager of law, and oath-helping, was a defence used primarily in medieval law. A defendant could establish their innocence or nonliability by taking an oath and by getting a required number of persons, typically twelve, to swear they believed the defendant's oath. The wager of law was essentially a character reference, initially by kin and later by neighbours, often 11 or 12 men, and it was a way to give credibility to the oath of a defendant at a time when a person's oath had more credibility than a written record. It can be compared to a legal wager, which is the provision of surety at the beginning of legal action to minimize frivolous litigation.

In the Roman litigation system, while the Legis Actiones procedure was in force during the early Republic, both parties had to lay down a wager at the preliminary hearing, probably to discourage frivolous litigation. In some cases, if the party lost, the wager went to the other party, to compensate him for his inconvenience, rather than to the court to cover costs. There were three different types of legis actiones, and the wager differed in each one.

<i>Ashford v Thornton</i> English law case upholding trial by battle

Ashford v Thornton (1818) 106 ER 149 is an English criminal case in the Court of King's Bench which upheld the right of the defendant to trial by battle on a private appeal from an acquittal for murder.

The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat in Medieval France is a 2004 book by American author Eric Jager about one of the last officially recognized judicial duels fought in France. In 2021, director Ridley Scott adapted the book as a movie called The Last Duel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jean de Carrouges</span> French medieval knight

Sir Jean de Carrouges IV was a French knight who governed estates in Normandy as a vassal of Count Pierre d'Alençon and who served under Admiral Jean de Vienne in several campaigns against the Kingdom of England. He became famous in medieval France for fighting in one of the last judicial duels permitted by the French king and the Parlement of Paris. The combat was decreed in 1386 to contest charges of rape Carrouges had brought against his neighbour and erstwhile friend Jacques Le Gris on behalf of his wife Marguerite. Carrouges won the duel. It was attended by much of the highest French nobility of the time led by King Charles VI and his family, including a number of royal dukes. It was also attended by thousands of ordinary Parisians and in the ensuing decades was chronicled by such notable medieval historians as Jean Froissart, Jean Juvénal des Ursins, and Jean de Waurin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jacques le Gris</span> 14th-century French squire and knight

Sir Jacques le Gris was a French squire and knight who gained fame and infamy, and was ultimately killed when he engaged in one of the last judicial duels permitted by the Parlement of Paris after he was accused of rape by Marguerite de Carrouges, the wife of his neighbour and rival, Sir Jean de Carrouges. Carrouges brought legal proceedings against Le Gris before King Charles VI who, after hearing the evidence, authorised a trial by combat to determine the question. The duel attracted thousands of spectators and has been discussed by many notable French writers, from the contemporary Jean Froissart to Voltaire.

Vyavahāra is an important concept of Hindu law denoting legal procedure. The term is analyzed by Kātyāyana as follows: "Vi means ‘various,’ ava means ‘doubt,’ hara is ‘removal’; legal procedure is called by the term vyavahāra because ‘it removes various doubts.’” Kane defines it as follows: "When the ramifications of right conduct, that are together called dharma and that can be established with efforts have been violated, the dispute which springs from what is sought to be proved, is said to be vyavahāra." According to Donald Davis, “There are two basic meanings of vyavahāra. The first is a general sense of practice, business, or everyday transactions. The other, specific sense is legal procedure, the processes of litigation including a trial.” Legal procedure according to the dharmaśāstras includes: court, listening to and assessing witnesses and their testimony, deciding and enforcing punishment, and the pursuit of Justice in the face of Injustice. Davis later quotes the Nāradasmṛti in an attempt to answer the question why legal procedure came about in the Hindu tradition. The text states, “When men had dharma as their only focus and were speakers of the truth, there was no legal procedure, no enmity, and no (selfish) conflict. Legal procedure came into being when dharma was lost among men."

Marguerite de Carrouges was a French noblewoman. She married Jean de Carrouges in 1380.