Conjugal Duels

From Charles Harper, Revolted Woman: Past, Present, and to Come (1894):

In Germany, during mediaeval times, domestic differences were settled by judicial duels between man and wife, and a regular code for their proper conduct was observed. 'The woman must be so prepared,' so the instructions run, 'that a sleeve of her chemise extend a small ell beyond her hand like a little sack: there indeed is put a stone weighing iii pounds; and she has nothing else but her chemise, and that is bound together between the legs with a lace. Then the man makes himself ready in the pit over against his wife. He is buried therein up to the girdle, and one hand is bound at the elbow to the side.'

The images of the conjugal duelists come from Hans Talhoffer's Fechtbuch, 1467 (plates 242-250). [Via Wondermark]
     Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 04, 2013
     Category: History | Husbands | Wives | Marriage

The maneuver in pic#4 is called "Stehlen ein Gef├╝hl". (Copping a Feel)
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 11/04/13 at 09:35 AM
Funny enough, the drawings and captions in the Fechtbuch are, in the French, more of a guide for the female on how to gain an upper hand, so to speak, on the male during the fighting.
Posted by KDP on 11/04/13 at 10:56 AM
Combat Sutra ?? 😕
Posted by BrokeDad in Midwest US on 11/04/13 at 03:53 PM
I don't know about that, I'm a lover not a fighter myself.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 11/04/13 at 06:20 PM
I'd like to see evidence that any of this actually happened outside the misinterpretations and fantasies of 19th century historians. It looks like it belongs in the same category as droit de seigneur and the unsplit infinitive.
Posted by Richard Bos on 11/05/13 at 10:21 AM
I agree with Richard. All the wife would have to do is run behind and bonk him. Is it still legal in Briton that you can whip you wife as long as the stick is smaller than your thumb??
Posted by BMN on 11/05/13 at 03:30 PM
No, the "rule of thumb" is a myth as well, although one with a long history. That is, at some time it was indeed legal to, erm, "correct" your wife, in moderation, but there was never a rule concerning thumbs. There was, however, rumour of such a rule, and that for centuries after the practice itself was outlawed.
Etymologists seem to agree that the most likely real derivation of the saying is the age-old habit of doing what it actually says: using your thumb as a makeshift inch ruler.
Posted by Richard Bos on 11/06/13 at 07:51 AM
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