Duels History and Purpose – Patrick Luo Final Project Blog 5

Now that we have talked about swords and knives, we can now talk about how duels are started. The phrase “throw down the gauntlet” means to literally throw your heavy gauntlet to your opponent to challenge them into a duel (Harrison). The challenged party would then have to take up the gauntlet and duel. With how honorable knights were back in that era, the could determine a battle if a knight was leading the battle (Harrison). The level of duels were sometimes miscommunicated. Sometimes the duelers were dueling to sever a limb, taking one’s life, or simply making a hit on their armor with now death. With duels being misinterpreted as that, many lives were lost and sometimes the battles wouldn’t end due to one believing a duel wasn’t fair. It was believed the first duels originated during the 5th century in the early Amorite kingdoms located at the Mesopotamia and Babylonia (present-day Western Asia) (MacDonald 147).

In the Na’ar (Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon), it mentions people going about duels and how some will allow a person to earn a title. An armored man was summoned to duel a person with hardly any armor as punishment. As the one without any armor was able to evade his blows, the armored man was able to block his blows. The title for the armored man was armor-bearer (MacDonald 158). Most titles can be bestowed for having a father who was a notable knight (Macdonald 159). For example, one could say they are Scot, son of William. Where in this example, William would have been William the Great.



In the picture, it shows how some duels are fought. Each person would have their respective weapons and armor. As shown, it could be interpreted that this duel was miscommunicated by the knights. The one on the right is trying to sever the other’s leg while the one of the left is going for the head and taking the kill. Or it can also be interpreted as the knight on the left is preparing a swing to take the leg while the knight of the right is having a swifter blow.

Another huge factor in duels is that most blades are dull instead of sharp to prevent shattering or chipping of blades and ending a duel (Medieval Combat). Another technique used in duels are disarming techniques (Medieval Combat). If an opponent doesn’t have their weapon, they can either continue the duel and die or they can own their losses.

Works Cited

Primary Source:

Harrison, Elizabeth. “What Does It Mean to ‘Throw Down the Gauntlet’?” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 26 Mar. 2014, www.history.com/news/what-does-it-mean-to-throw-down-the-gauntlet.

Secondary Source:

MacDonald, John. “The Status and Role of the Naʿar in Israelite Society.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, vol. 35, no. 3, 1976, pp. 147–170. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/544342.

“Medieval Combat.” All-Gauge Model Railroading Page, Milihistriot Quarterly, http://www.thortrains.com/getright/Medieval Combat.htm.


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