Topless dueling?

I know it’s a long text but it’s worth the read!

“The most intriguing duel fought between women, and the sole one that featured exposed breasts, took place in August 1892 in Verduz, the capitol of Liechtenstein, between Princess Pauline Metternich and the Countess Kielmannsegg. It has gone down in history as the first “emancipated duel” because all parties involved, including the principals and their seconds were female… Before the proceedings began, the baroness pointed out that many insignificant injuries in duels often became septic due to strips of clothing being driven into the wound by the point of a sword. To counter this danger she prudently suggested that both parties should fight stripped of any garments above the waist. Certainly, Baroness Lubinska was ahead of her time, taking an even more radical take on the (at the time) widely dismissed theories of British surgeon Joseph Lister, who in 1870 revolutionized surgical procedures with the introduction of antiseptic. 

With the precautions Baroness Lubinska recommended, the topless women duelists were less likely to suffer from an infection; indeed, it was a smart idea to fight semiclad. Given the practicality of the baroness’ suggestion and the “emancipated” nature of the duel, it was agreed that the women would disrobe—after all, there would be no men present to ogle them. For the women, the decision to unbutton the tops of their dresses was not sexual; it was simply a way of preventing a duel of first blood from becoming a duel to the death.


It is humorous that most recounts of this historic event fail to mention two important things: the winner of the duel (Princess Metternich) and the reason why the women came to arms in the first place—they disagreed over the floral arrangements for an upcoming musical exhibition.

^ best part of the entire article. 

Emphasis mine.

BABD blog usually advocates for covering female warriors as a protective measure, but here’s a proof that taking everything off is not a bad idea either.

Anything, be it full plate armor or full frontal nudity, makes more sense than chafing, pinching, improbably skin-tight METAL BIKINI (or anything of that sort). 

I got reminded of this thanks to reader Kanonite, whose comment brought up a helpful quote from TV Tropes page on Full Frontal Assault trope:

Oddly enough there was a good REASON to fight in the nude… Before modern medicine, a majority of deaths from combat were caused by cuts and stab wounds getting infected. Often this was because the weapon forced a scrap of clothing into the wound, where it would fester… If you aren’t wearing any clothing, this can’t happen!

This week’s throwback, one of my favorite and most informative reblogs on BABD: historical evidence that fighting topless against melee weapons is a much better and (relatively speaking) safer idea than insisting on “modest” wear that’s there basically to just cover the nipples.

Can we have our historically accurate bare-chested barbarian ladies already, please?


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