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The duel lasted until the other party was too weak to fight back.In early cases, the defeated party was then executed.The Roman Catholic Church was critical of dueling throughout medieval history, frowning both on the traditions of judicial combat and on the duel on points of honor among the nobility.Judicial duels were deprecated by the Lateran Council of 1215, but the judicial duel persisted in the Holy Roman Empire into the 15th century.A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two people, with matched weapons, in accordance with agreed-upon rules.Duels in this form were chiefly practiced in early modern Europe with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period (19th to early 20th centuries) especially among military officers.

As England began to industrialize and benefit from urban planning and more effective police forces, the culture of street violence in general began to slowly wane.During the 17th and 18th centuries (and earlier), duels were mostly fought with swords (the rapier, and later the smallsword), but beginning in the late 18th century in England, duels were more commonly fought using pistols.Fencing and pistol duels continued to co-exist throughout the 19th century. Duels were fought not so much to kill the opponent as to gain "satisfaction", that is, to restore one's honor by demonstrating a willingness to risk one's life for it, and as such the tradition of dueling was originally reserved for the male members of nobility; however, in the modern era it extended to those of the upper classes generally.These type of duels soon evolved into the more chivalric pas d'armes, or "passage of arms", a type of chivalric hastilude that evolved in the late 14th century and remained popular through the 15th century.A knight or group of knights (tenans or "holders") would stake out a travelled spot, such as a bridge or city gate, and let it be known that any other knight who wished to pass (venans or "comers") must first fight, or be disgraced.

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