Category Archives: Duelling with Videos

Historical Accounts of duels throughout history with Video.

1967 Epee Duel: Gaston Deffere vs. Rene Ribière

The most modern duel was fought April 20th, 1967. It was between Gaston Deffere, Mayor of Marseille, and Rene Ribière. After a clash in the National Assembly, Defferre yelled “Taisez-vous, abruti!” at Ribiere and refused to apologize. Ribière challenged and Defferre accepted. The duel took place with epees in a private residence in Neuilly-sur-Seine, and it was officiated by Jean de Lipkowskiin.

Ribière was to be married the following day. Defferre vowed to wound him in such a way as to spoil his wedding night very considerably. The first touch was against Ribière in the arm, but he called for the resumption of the duel. After a second touch in the arm against Ribière, the duel was stopped by Lipkowskiin.


1958 Epee Duel – France: Lifar vs Cuevas

In 1958 Serge Lifar’s ballet, Black and White, was being produced by George de Cuevas’ dance company. During a public argument (whether over the rights to the production or changes made to it in the production, we are unclear) Cuevas slapped Lifar in the face.

Lifar sent seconds to Cuevas to demand an apology, which he refused to do. Cuevas was 73 years old, and Lifar was 54 at this time, but a duel was arranged.  The gentlemen came together at Blaru near Vernon in Normandy on March 30, 1958.

After three passes taking approximately seven minutes, Lifar was lightly cut /scratched in the right forearm and the affair ended.

Over 30 newspaper photographers were in attendance and the New York Times reported it “may well have been the most delicate encounter in the history of French dueling.”

You can watch the duel with all the “exciting” commentary of the time.

1949 Epee Duel – Presidential Candidate

During a trial about wartime crimes, the opposing lawyers decide to duel after the Paris trial. In 1949 Roger Nordmann (called Pierre Nordmann in The Unfree French: Life Under the Occupation) took exception when his brother was deported after denunciation by one of Jean-Louis Tixier-Vignancour clients. The affair ended after blood had been drawn from Nordmann.

In 1965 Jean-Louis fought a different battle when he challenged de Gaulle in the presidential elections.


From: The Brooklyn Daily Eagle; Nov 14, 1949

…They met at dawn at Marnes-la-Coquette, a village near Paris. M. Nordmann was slightly wounded. The duel had been pending for three weeks since a court case which M. Nordmann made veiled accusations that Maitre Tixier-Vignancourt was…
From: Hull Daily Mail; November 12, 1949

…anybody had been hurt. The answer was: “We have nothing to tell you.” Nordmann’s wound was only an inch deep. Mai Ire Tixtier-Vignancourt said that Nordmann fought with eonrase.” Duels are illegal in France…
From: Lincolnshire Echo; November 12, 1949

…He told Reuters on the phone—” I can only tell you there was no reconciliation. The duel has changed nothing.” Tixtier-Vignancourt said that Nordmann fought with courage. ” was physically handicapped, but had a high morale,” he said. ” Mv opponent was…
From: Dundee Evening Telegraph; November 12, 1949

A transcript of the event was sold at auction along with other documents relating to the duel.

1922 Duel Aurelio Greco vs Candido Sassone

Duel between Aurelio Greco and Candido Sassone on October 7, 1922. The duel starts at about 5 minutes into the film with Sassone on the left and Greco on the right.

Purportedly the argument was about a difference of opinion regarding fencing theory and it was dubbed ‘The duel of the Century.’ On the sixth assault Sassone is slightly wounded in the right forearm and thus defeated.  While this ended the duel, the parties were not reconciled.

In attendance were none other than Maestro Pessina, Maestro Agesilao Greco and Maestro Ammannato.

1914 Epee Duel: Jean Richepin vs Pierre Frondaie

While sometimes assigned to Jean Richepin, it was actually his son Jacques Richepin who fought this duel against Pierre Frondaie as reported in the NY Times. The quarrel began when Mr. Frondaie made a comment to Mme. Laparcerie (Richepin’s wife) who was an actress in Frondaie’s play “Aphrodite.” Mme. Laparcerie took exception to the comment and Mme. Frondaie stepped in. An argument quickly ensued between the women.

Richepin asked Frondaie to apologize to his wife for the initial remark and when Frondaie refused a challenge was made.

The duel was arranged for March 13, 1914 at Neuilly. Over 100 celebrities and press were in attendance, including both wives and Richepin’s parents. The wives and family were turned away by the doctor and seconds. They subsequently awaited the results in the house of the horse trainer who owned the property the duel was to be fought on.

The duel was short and ended after Frondaie was wounded in the arm, but the duelists refused to be reconciled.

1913 Epee Duel: Joseph Lagrosilliere vs Jules Liontel

Lagrosilliere, founder of the socialist movement in Martinique (and one of the most important political figures of the island in the first half of the 20th century), took offense to an article written.

Paris. February 5.
Deputy LaGrosllliere, representing the French colony on the Island of Martinique, considered himself Insulted in a published article and asked tho procurer general of Martinique, Jules Lionte), if he was the author of it. M. Liontel admitted indirect responsibility, whereupon cards were exchanged, but a court of honor decided that Liontel’s age (61) debarred him from the Held. Then Jules Liontel, Jr. insisted on being a substitute. LaGrosllllere and young Liontel took the field at Or?inde Roue. The latter attacked with youthful impetuosity his physically superior opponent, who promptly wounded the youth in the forearm, causing a considerable hemorrhage.
(From: Detroit Free Press February 9, 1913 page 24)

1913 Epee Duel in Lyon

Information on this duel has been elusive. The title plate indications it is a “duel with the epee, in Lyon, between two personalities of the city.”

You can see how quickly a duel could be over. Neither man makes an attack, but once the attack is performed, the duel is over. The men seemingly reconcile.

1912 Epee Duel – France: Paul de Cassagnac vs Charles Maurras

The duel occurred February 26, 1912 at Neuilly when Paul de Cassagnac (editor of L’Autorite’) challenged Charles Maurras (of L’Action Francais). Maurras wrote an article saying some unkind things about M. Paul de Cassagnac and his brother, Guy (politics of course). Make sure to watch through the video for more dueling near the end.

If you’d like to read the offense, you’ll find a copy of the article here.

The Seconds for Paul Cassagnac were Count Gilbert de Voisins and Baron d’Anthes Heeckeren.  The Seconds for Charles Maurras were Mr. Leon de Montesquiou and Lucien Moreau

The encounter was published in the NY Times, which reported the following in an article titled SPILL REAL BLOOD IN A PARIS DUEL; Charles Mauras Wounded in the Arm After Fierce Encounter with Paul de Cassagnac. (transcription below from the youtube video description)

“The two principals are first-rate fencers. As soon as the traditional, ‘Allez Messieurs!’ was utter, Maurras attacked his opponent with remarkable energy, de Cassagnac, who had the advantage of height, replying with equal vigor. The fight was extremely exciting for the onlookers while it lasted. It seemed at one moment as if Maurras had received a thrust in the neck, but fortunately only his beard was touched and this did not prevent him from continuing his offensive tactics, which he did with unabated ardor.

“But then it was his adversary’s turn to attack. Maurras, however, not to be daunted, dealt a vigorous thrust with his arm extended, but a moment later his sword fell from his grasp.

“De Cassagnac had disarmed him this time with a terrible forward movement which could not be checked, and if Maurras’ arm had not protected him he would have been wounded very badly in the chest. His arm was seriously injured.

“This brought the combat to a close.
Maurras next meets Guy de Cassagnac.”

You’ll find more information and pictures of the duel on this website.

1911 Epee Duel – France: Pierre Mortier vs Gustave Tery

A duel in November 1911 for Madame Curie’s honor. Pierre Mortier was a writer for “Gil Blas” and Gustave Tery wrote for “L’Oeuvre.” Tery had written a ‘smear’ campaign on Madame Marie Curie (stating she was “une Polonaise ambitieuse qui s’était, pour la gloire, accrochée aux basques de Curie et s’agrippait maintenant à celles de Langevin.”) and Curie’s friend, Mortier, challenged him to defend her honor.

Gustave Tery had previously fought a duel in 1909 and was wounded by Laurent Tailhade.  That experience seems to pay off as Tery wounds Mortier in the arm.

You will find a little more information here.

1911 Epee Duel: Joseph Romanet du Caillaud vs Rene Picard

Following a political discussion, Joseph Romanet sent two of his friends, Messrs. André Gaucher and Robert Guillou, to seek redress from René Picard (Nephew of M. Loubet).

A duel with epees was agreed upon to take place at Grande Roue de Paris at 10am. On one of Picard’s attacks Romanet used a parry/riposte to hit Picard on the outside of his right wrist. The thrust penetrated the muscle thus ending the possibility of continuing the fight. (More details in French here).

The following report was in the  Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, the Evening News, Thursday, March 23, 1911 Page 11

PARIS, March 22. Blood was shed In two duels to-day but neither of the injured men suffered more than a scratch… The first encounter was between Rene Picard, nephew of former President Loubet, and Joseph Romanet du Caillaud. They met with swords and Picard was slightly scratched on the arm.



1910 Epee Duel: Jean Marnold vs Georges Casella

The duel came from a letter published in a newspaper. It seems that Casella was challenged by Marnold.  In the course of the duel Marnold was wounded and the duel was ceased by the director who felt the wound had put Marnold in a position of inferiority.


Newpaper Accounts
*another duel is reported in these papers as well that is quite entertaining.


San Francisco Call, Volume 108, Number 180, 27 November 1910
It grew out of a letter published in a royalist newspaper. Marnold was wounded, in the sword arm. Then Rouseier Dorcierres, the director of the duel, who has served in that capacity for more than 100 “affairs of honor,” declared that Marnold was in a condition of inferiority, and refused to allow the duel to proceed.

The Frederick Post, Page 6, December 10, 1910
In the second duel ,which closely followed the first, Mons. Georges Casella was called to the field of honor bv Mons. Marnold, who felt offended