Medieval Germany Allowed Couples To Battle Out Arguments

Ross Pollack | February 3rd, 2019

If you were unhappy at your husband, you may have like living in Medieval Germany where you could challenge your husband to fight it out. Married couples had the option to fight in a marital duel, which was something completely legal. Usually, it was a legal way to settle disputes when there had not been a witness to the fight.

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In essence, you could look at as a judicially sanctioned duel between husband and wife. Though initially, it was just part of Germanic law, it quickly was used throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. Around the 16th century, it gradually disappeared from mainstream society. The whole ordeal had the correct processes and procedures to follow, with many manuscripts being found detailing everything step by step.

Trial by combat was not really a strange concept at the time, however, it was not so normal to see woman partaking. Normally if a woman was accused of a crime and decided to fight her case by combat a designated champion was selected to fight for her. In all the cases found in history where women were fighting for themselves the opponent always appears to be their husband. The actual process of the divorce fight as it came to be called is quite funny.

The husband would be placed in a hole to even the odds and be subjected to his arm being tied behind his back. The wife would stand at the edge of the hole and be given a club with rocks tied to the end. And the husband would also have the same type of club.

Illustrations have actually been found that outline each way the woman or man could be victorious. And it is very unclear how the winner was decided, was it a fight to the death? Was it a fight until one or the other surrendered? We will never really know, but by all accounts, it appears to have been a very dangerous way to resolve a marital dispute.

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