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Blood and Violence in Early Modern France$
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Stuart Carroll

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199290451

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199290451.001.0001

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Escalation: From Verbal Duel to Vindicatory Exchange

Escalation: From Verbal Duel to Vindicatory Exchange

(p.83) 4 Escalation: From Verbal Duel to Vindicatory Exchange
Blood and Violence in Early Modern France

Stuart Carroll (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Feud is often used as a convenient shorthand for its most violent manifestation, the vengeance killing. In early modern France, however, feuding was concerned as much with lawsuits and arbitration as with bloodletting. Crucial to modern understandings of the feud has been the relationship of hostility between rival groupings that was characterised by exchanges of defiance, antagonism, and coldness that escalated over time into public insults and attacks on property. Feuding did not necessarily involve bloodshed between the parties: a response had to be carefully considered, balancing the obligation to repair an injury against the implications of excessive force. This chapter discusses the role of insult in the narrative of dispute and the escalation of verbal duelling to vindicatory violence. It examines how insults trigger threats, intimidation, and displays of force, and how the parties to a feud exchanged attacks on property and servants. Lordship and protection, maiming, and humiliation are also examined.

Keywords:   vindicatory violence, verbal duelling, France, feuding, insults, dispute, intimidation, maiming, humiliation

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