Although James I declared duelling illegal in 1613, his edict failed to lessen the popularity of the custom. The English duel of honor had arisen in the 1580s, when Italian weaponry and customs had reshaped the single combat. Unlike the more traditionally “English” broadsword, the rapier gave no advantage to superior strength but, on the contrary, rewarded superior expertise. Its lightness made the rapier popular; ease and popularity altered the nature of its use.


Gender Identity Social Rank Personal Space Early Modern Period Single Combat 
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© Jennifer Low 2003

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