During the 17th and 18th centuries (and earlier), duels were mostly fought with swords (the rapier, and later the smallsword), but beginning in the late 18th century in England, duels were more commonly fought using pistols.Fencing and pistol duels continued to co-exist throughout the 19th century. Duels were fought not so much to kill the opponent as to gain "satisfaction", that is, to restore one's honor by demonstrating a willingness to risk one's life for it, and as such the tradition of dueling was originally reserved for the male members of nobility; however, in the modern era it extended to those of the upper classes generally.By the 1770s the practice of dueling was increasingly coming under attack from many sections of enlightened society, as a violent relic of Europe's medieval past unsuited for modern life.
Dueling largely fell out of favor in England by the mid-19th century and in Continental Europe by the turn of the 20th century.
Dueling declined in the Eastern United States in the 19th century and by the time the American Civil War broke out, dueling had begun to decline, even in the South.
The word duel comes from the Latin 'duellum', cognate with 'bellum', meaning 'war'.
During the early Renaissance, dueling established the status of a respectable gentleman, and was an accepted manner to resolve disputes.
If a traveling venans did not have weapons or horse to meet the challenge, one might be provided, and if the venans chose not to fight, he would leave his spurs behind as a sign of humiliation.