Traditionally, the showdown with the help of weapons was considered a non-feminine occupation. When men fought a duel, defending the honor of a lady, it was a noble act. But how to qualify such a model of behavior among women? Women's duels were, although more rare, but much more cruel than men - most of them ended not in the "first blood", but in death.
Duels have always been considered the prerogative of men, but women often disagreed with this. In 1552 in Naples, Isabella de Carazzi and Diambra de Pettinello fought a duel over a man. This event inspired the Spanish artist Jose de Ribera to create the painting "Women's Duel".
The first documented duel between women was a duel on May 27, 1571. In the chronicle of the Milan nunnery of St. Benedict, this day was marked by the arrival of two noble lords, who asked the abbess for a room for a joint prayer service. Locked in a room, the women staged a dagger duel. In the end, both died.
In 1642, according to legend, a duel took place over the Duke of Richelieu - the future cardinal - between the Marquis de Nesl and the Countess de Polignac. Ladies fought for the Duke's favor with swords in the Bois de Boulogne - at least that's how Richelieu described this case in his notes.
In the middle of the 17th century. more and more female duels took place in France, England, Germany, Italy. Fights with swords or pistols ended in death in 8 cases out of 10 (for comparison, in men's duels - 4 out of 10).
The ladies fought with particular cruelty - they smeared the tips of the swords with poison or a special compound that caused burning pain at any touch, fired until one of them was killed or seriously wounded. As a rule, ladies fought topless on swords - firstly, dresses hampered movement, and secondly, it was considered dangerous to get pieces of fabric into wounds.
Female duels were widespread in France, but in Russia in the 18th-19th centuries. they also happened quite often. The Russian boom in female duels began with the accession to the throne of Catherine II, who in her youth herself fought with swords with her second cousin. In 1765 alone, 20 female duels took place.
In the XIX century. ladies' salons became the arena for women's fights. So, in Vostroukhova's salon in 1823, 17 duels took place. According to the memoirs of the Frenchwoman Marquise de Mortenay, who witnessed these battles, “Russian ladies love to sort things out among themselves with the help of weapons. Their duels do not carry in themselves any grace, which can be observed in French women, but only a blind rage aimed at destroying a rival. " In defense of compatriots, it can be noted that they had much fewer deaths than bloodthirsty French women.
The most cruel were female duels motivated by jealousy. Because of the men, the ladies fought with pistols, swords, pocket knives and even nails! In fact, such fights often became fights without rules. One of their contemporaries rightly remarked: "If we take into account the great irritation that so often accompanies the relationship between women, we will be surprised that they still relatively rarely fight in a duel, which is a valve for passions."
Since ancient times, non-feminine pursuits have attracted the beautiful half of humanity and forced them to challenge men. Women boxers in sports history: from fist fights to the Olympic ring