A duel is a controlled fight between two persons with matching weapons. Until the twentieth century, duels were relatively common. A man would challenge another to a duel in order to defend his honour. Although most duels ended with the death of one of the participants, the main aim was not the killing but the demonstration that the duellist was willing to risk his own life for respect.
Duels took place only between people of the same class. If a gentleman was offended by someone in a lower class he would not ask for a duel, but instead would order his servants to beat the offender. Although they became illegal in some countries in the early 17th century, duels continued to be fought in secret.
Whilst these young wizards are taught how to duel with their wands, the usual weapon varied from the sword in the 17th century, to pistols in the 18th century. Wealthy noblemen used to craft special weapons for these kind of battles. Famous duels include that of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin against Georges d’Anthes, the latter accused of having bedded the poet’s wife. Pushkin, who died of injuries inflicted by d'Anthes, wrote the great poem Eugene Onegin, which includes a tragic duel. Other fictional duels can be found in Dangerous Liaisons, War and Peace and The Man with the Golden Gun.