LongEdge Press

One-on-One Combat in the Arena

Marc de la Béraudière

Marc de la Béraudière's 1608 opus on justice, manners and polite society, One-on-One Combat in the Arena provides the fencer and the historian something more than simple advice literature. Positioned as a 'mirror for princes,' the text defies easy classification, seamlessly blending governance principles with courtly etiquette. Béraudière offers precise instructions for princely rule -- spanning duelling, justice, peacekeeping, and noble conduct -- the text concurrently serves as a guide for courtiers, defining proper decorum in the presence of royalty and peers. He explores concepts of honour, duty, justice, and mercy, providing a comprehensive framework for appropriate behaviour in civil and courtly society.

Béraudière outlines the cause of interpersonal conflict in the period and lays the blame at the feet of the internal and external conflicts which have raged through the country. He defines and emphasises the concepts of honour and reputation, especially in fair dealing with others, as the only sureties a gentleman can rely on in these troubled times. Threats to one's reputation are threats to one's livelihood. However, justice is the sole perrogative of the King and may never be taken up without the king's explicit permission. To resolve this tension, Béraudière outlines a series of rules for proper behaviour in polite and noble society which, if followed, will remove the opportunity to offend or be offended.

As a response to and adaptation of Girolamo Muzio Justinopolitano's Il Duelo, the text endeavours to localise Italian wisdom to the experiences of the French upper classes, acknowledging temporal and cultural disparities. Béraudière engages throughout in a measured discourse with Muzio, offering insightful reflections on points of agreement and disagreement, contributing to a nuanced understanding of differing social perspectives. This work stands as a testament to the convergence of Italian and French sensibilities at the turn of the 17th century, offering readers a glimpse into the intricate intersections of historical counsel and courtly conduct.

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Paperback (ISBN: 9780645253825) AU $32.99

eBook (ISBN: 9780645253832) AU $10.99

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