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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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The Rage of the Gods

The Rage of the Gods

(p.160) 7 The Rage of the Gods
Blood and Violence in Early Modern France

Stuart Carroll (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Where vengeance killings or duels took place in the full glare of the public gaze they were thereby legitimised. The ritual elements of combat have been exaggerated, but it is undoubtedly true that public acts of vindicatory violence contained a performative element. In France, verbal duelling was often the preliminary to an act of violence and when combatants stood face to face exchanges introduced the action. The rules of mounted combat were different from those on foot. Flight was obviously more of a possibility on horse than on foot, and a good horse could be a life-saver — making the horse itself a target. The festive and ceremonial calendar provided other opportunities for highly public demonstrations of power through display, intimidation, and violence. This chapter also examines the tendency of the victor to deprive the victim of the comforts of faith and subject him to humiliation, along with the desecration of the loser's dead body.

Keywords:   France, combat, violence, verbal duelling, intimidation, humiliation, vengeance killings, desecration

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