[NSFW] That Time When a Princess and a Countess Dueled Topless

in history •  2 years ago

Throughout history there are many accounts of duels being fought over a woman, but not many about duels between women.

Photo by Pavel Kurmilev

When they did occur they even had a special nomenclature petticoat duels. Historical accounts in France say that women fought each other for matters such as a case of actresses dueling over “graceless conduct on stage”. Another account is about dueling high society ladies over “their placement of precedence at a soiree”. In 1792 the first duel between women in England took place between Lady Braddock and a Mrs. Elphinstone when the latter claimed Braddock was lying about her age.

The tale I want to tell you about though takes place in the capital of Lichtenstein - Vaduz, on the 23rd of August, 1892.

56 year old Princess Pauline Metternich was the Honorary President of the Vienna Musical and Theatrical Exhibition and Countess Anastasia Kielmannsegg (age unknown but was born in Russia) was the actual President.

Now these two ladies had been rivals for a while it seems. The Countess apparently had a gift for arranging parties and soirees such as these, always receiving much praise for how entertaining her events were. To the Princess it appeared that Anastasia was stealing her thunder, SHE should be getting that praise.

During the planning of the exhibition gala in Vienna the topic of flower arrangements came up, and both of these ladies could not come at an agreement. The argument got them both in such an uproar it led to arms.

Usually the ladies would choose a champion to fight for them, but times were changing and these independent ladies would settle it womano-a-womano. In addition they chose Baroness Lubinska, a woman from Poland with a degree in medicine – very rare back then, to oversee the duel as surgeon. She actually had to travel all the way from her country to attend, and the duelists and company traveled to Vaduz from Vienna, probably to escape the law in Austria. That’s how serious they were.

For a duel each participant would choose a second, someone who would watch over the duel to catch rule breaking. Metternich chose Princess Schwarzenberg and Kielmannsegg chose Countess Kinsky. Since everyone involved was female, this duel became a first in history, and is known as the first “emancipated duel”.

All the rules of a duel were followed, the seconds tried to get the two duelers to make amends to each other but neither lady would do such a thing. The rules of this duel were decided upon, using rapiers they would fight to first blood.

An early 20th century magazine illustration of the first "emancipated duel"

Baroness Lubinska knew that most wounds became infected by dirty clothing being pushed into the wound, so she suggested that both women remove their tops. There were some male servants there, wagon drivers and such, but they were told to go a far ways off and turn their backs. The duelists disrobed down to the waist and began the fight.
Contemporary French postcard showing a dramatic parry

Reports state that the first two rounds were trifling matters with poor thrusts, but in the third round a wild slash managed to slightly wound the Princess on her nose, drawing blood. The Countess, upon seeing what she had done, dropped her sword and placed both hands upon her cheeks in shock. The Princess meanwhile thrust forward and pierced her forearm. Hearing the screams, the male attendants ran back but were chased off by Baroness Lubinska as she yelled “Avert your eyes, avert your eyes—you lustful wretches!”

Domenico Mastaglio’s Duel des Femmes as a postcard in 1905

History states that the Princess was the victor because she drew the deeper cut, but the Countess maintained that she won because she drew blood first as per the rules.

The Baroness treated the wounds and the seconds were said to have advised the two to “embrace, kiss, and make friends”, which is what the duelists were said to have done.

Duel in Bois de Boulogne postcard

You all can consider this post my recommendation that Olympic fencing become topless.

When the story got out, it set fire to the minds of men. Over the next 20 or so years many paintings and photography shoots took the topless duel as inspiration.

Funnily enough this isn’t the only duel I found that included breasts.

Approximately two hundred years previously in the 1690’s a woman named Julie d’Aubingy, more often called Mademoiselle Maupin, was an adventurous lady known to be a swordswoman and opera singer.

During her life she was known to sometimes wear men’s clothing and said to have bested many men in duels. There is at least one account that after she won a duel she bared her breasts to the defeated man to prove that he had lost to a woman.

That guy got a great deal, today it will probably cost you $300/hr to get beaten by a topless woman that isn't your wife.


Photo by Pavel Kurmilev


My moment of honesty:

I would like you to follow me. I usually make one post per day. I strive for quality work, check my blog for proof. My interests vary but if you read and like one of my posts then at some point I will be writing a post that you will like again. I will not fill up your feed with crap. I can't guarantee you will be interested in every single one of them, but they will all be quality work on the subject they cover. I will also reply to all your comments if they warrant any reply. These things I promise to you. So follow me, or don't. I want you to do what you want to. Thank you for reading.

@getonthetrain


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Heya @getonthetrain.

That is one crazy story, wow! I can't believe that really happened! Well, if I was around back then, I'd have to shut my eyes or look away as the injuries could have gotten very graphic indeed!

Unique post and as always, brilliantly put together!

Well done, keep it going, buddy! :)

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Haha, well I think I could stand a peek :D

The things I learn on steenit

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:D I do what I can

This is a GREAT article from intro to citation. Wonderful work. Thank you for the breathless (and topless) entertainment. :)

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Thank you very much Meredith :D

This was an amazing read! Intense subject and just the perfect man to put it into right words.

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Thank you kindly good Sir.

Looks like a great idea for a soft core porn film made by Playboy, Penthouse or Tinto Brass (forgive me - I'm just joking).

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There has been so many made this has to have taken place in one of them! :)

Great story! And I happen to know Pavel Kurmilev, the author of the picture.

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Well, you can let him know I am a big fan! :D

Haha awesome post.

I would like you to follow me.

Done.

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Hey thanks, and I - you.

This is fascinating. Seriously.

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Hey thanks for the comment! I love to dig through history to find these really interesting stories to write about. :D

Duels between man and woman are also known )

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Ah yes, the old fashioned argument settlement where the man gets in a hole up to his waist to make it even. I remember those ones! :D

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Oh boy, every family has them. Only weapons differ...

loved this post, thanks for this great and interesting subject !! upvoted ! )

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Hey, thank you so much! :D