Holmgang

  • Medieval Era
  • 1 min

By Crusader1307

The Holmgang was a Norse ritual akin to ''Trial By Combat'' or a Duel. Ancient Norse Texts tell of the practice being performed as a means of ''settling'' various disputes. These could be property ownership or the addressing of insults leveled against One or even One's Family. The ritual of Holmgang had exacting rules. Once challenged, the participants had 3 to 7 days to pick a location and prepare for combat. While witnesses were encouraged, unlike European Dueling, no ''Seconds of Honor'' were needed.

 

A piece of animal hide or cloak was staked to the location of The Holmgang – roughly 5-feet by 5-feet. This was important. Both combatants had to remain on the staked area at all times – save death. To cross or retreat from the location, even by several feet was seen as cowardice. It was the ultimate form of ''close quarters combat''. Generally The Sword was used, as was a small Buckler style Shield. Armor was allowed (but this slowed down strikes. Even Battle Axes and Knives were used. One an Opponent was struck and (hopefully) killed, the Winner claimed victory. If the wounded combatant was not killed outright, they were left (untreated) to die or were afforded the opportunity to commit suicide.