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Honor and Violence in Golden Age Spain$
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Scott K. Taylor

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780300126853

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300126853.001.0001

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The Duel and the Rhetoric of Honor

The Duel and the Rhetoric of Honor

(p.17) Chapter 2 The Duel and the Rhetoric of Honor
Honor and Violence in Golden Age Spain

Scott K. Taylor

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the concept of a duel and its main aspects during the Golden Age in Spain. The duel was not simply a flurry of irrational violence but was instead a carefully choreographed ceremony designed to restore an honorable reputation to someone who had been defamed. In the example that opens the chapter, the scribes are careful to record that although the hammer thrown by the constable Eugenio Perez Oliva failed to hit its intended target, it did knock the hat off of a third party, Miguel Dominguez. Removing another man's hat, considered an extension of the head, was a symbol of disrespect in the vocabulary of gesture that early modern Castilians employed in their confrontations. Certain parts of the body, including the head, had heightened importance in the rhetoric of honor because they were seen as metaphors for the person.

Keywords:   duel, Golden Age, Spain, irrational violence, choreographed ceremony, honorable reputation, vocabulary of gesture, early modern Castilians, rhetoric of honor

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