A Matter Of Honour


In the bullring at Ronda there’s a bullfighting museum, one of the siderooms of which has a dozen wood and leather cases of duelling pistols. These intricate sets are accompanied by explanations of the entire history of the duel, from two centuries of swords to guns (easier to master), and their rituals (fire in the air to acknowledge your mistake in calling the duel, but risk of taking a ball.)

The complexities of the ritual fail to explain its popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries, even among women. There is a glamour and grace about something as absurd as fighting for honour, preceded with a slap of the glove to provide evidence of the slight.

With this in mind I’m now heading to Cadiz, hopefully to see the legendary matador Padilla in action, fighting on despite the horrific goring that popped his eye.

3 comments on “A Matter Of Honour”

  1. Shuku says:

    Dueling popular among women too? Now that is -very- intriguing indeed. I’m going to have to look up more about the subject. Also, the guns remind me of a (very bad) sketch I did of an old flintlock at the Armory in Graz last year.

  2. Roger says:

    “fire in the air to acknowledge your mistake in calling the duel, but risk of taking a ball.”
    TRhe ultimate version of that was the great Russian writer Lermontov. “I’m not shooting at that idiot.” were his last words as he fired into the air…

  3. jan says:

    Did u know Chris that quite a few bullrings (not including the Birmingham one) are built on the sites of Temples of Mithras? Look u might be having loads of good times in Spain (you could have called in and seen my uncle bill for me if i’d known u were going) but i am stuck here in Glastonbury and its like a hell of my own making these people are nuts theres orrible niffs of bad weed and even worse perfumed candles, patchouli oils and similar i’m quite incensed !!!

    thank god I only signed up for a day of this S**t i’m scurrying back to Dorset 2nite. Did i tell u i’d found a church with ancient monoliths parked up against it. Get me back there i’ve put some stuff on one of your back numbers concerning tiny London. i’m going back to listen to one more loon blather on about some subject he knows f**k all about and i’m off home.

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