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Swords, Cutting and Military History

Last epee duel in France fought in 1967, recorded on film

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An unusual piece of history, the last epee duel in France was fought in 1967, between  the Mayor of Marseille and another politician.    Information on the duel is available on the French Wikipedia page for René Ribière.

Despite the offer of using dulled swords, the duel was fought with sharp steel, to first blood. Actually, one participant refused to accept first blood; after a second cut, the appointed arbiter ended the duel.

Credit goes to Joe Saul for pointing this bit of history out to me.

An English translation of the 1967 French Wikipedia entry on this duel, done via Google Translate, is as follows:


On 20 April 1967 , in a stirred debate Defferre , then mayor of Marseille and was then President of the Socialist Group, calls his colleague, who fidgeted in his seat, and he shouted: “Shut you, asshole! “.

Later a little more room in the Four Columns, Defferre refuses to withdraw his injury and sent him Ribière witnesses and demand compensation from the iron (ie the sword). The duel took place in a private residence in Neuilly-sur-Seine , and is mediated by the member Gaullist left John Lipkowski . Defferre rejects swords “filed down” offered to her and refuses that one stops at the first blood. Inexperienced, to be married the next day, René Ribière hurt the first time, but calls for the resumption of fighting. After a second slash, Defferre finally agrees that the arbitrator combat terminated .



NOTE: There’s been such an interest in this piece, I did some research and located videos of four other French duels fought between 1911 and 1958.