EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
This truly is an interesting aspect of arms study, that of dueling, and I sincerely hope it is a permissible topic for discussion, as it does attend to the actual use of a weapon rather than its elemental features.
With that I would note that these matters of 'honor', as it was a singular contest which would result in life or death for the combatants, it would seem quite likely that clever means would be used to ensure the outcome.
Beyond the actual combat itself, there were indeed consequences, as it seems often dueling was outlawed, as well noted here.
There were other considerations as well, as seen in the case of the death of Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) the famed Russian poet, and well established duelist, who was clearly obsessed with it, with accounts suggesting he virtually fought almost daily. This brings to mind a favorite movie , "The Duellists", with David Carradine and Harvey Keitel where on the movie marquis are the words:
"Fencing is a science,
Loving is a passion,
Duelling is an obsession".
While these words apply to swords, the broader reference dueling infers pistol duels as well.
Apparantly, Pushkin challenged his brother in law, a military officer, and when the two faced each other, D'Anthes (the brother in law) wanted to simply wound him harmlessly in the leg, as to kill the beloved poet would have been the end of his career.
Unfortunately Pushkin, who intended to kill him rushed the barrier, and D'Anthes fired quickly, the bullet hitting Pushkin in the abdomen.
Pushkin stoically then called, "Bravo!", and fired with a harmless light wound to D'Anthes arm and threw his pistol down. Pushkin died the next day becoming a legend of honor and dignity. It is not said what became of D'Anthes, who had inadvertently immortalized Pushkin.
So it seems, often, there were many considerations in duels, not just in legal outcome, but social and other matters.
Duellists were considered romantic figures of swashbuckling fame, but as with most such embellished fame, the reality was often far less colorful.