Dueling Librarians

One cultural practice that has grown since the First Great War, and has also grown in acceptance due to the "Theory of Paradigm Control" has been the idea of librarians and scholars dueling against each other over matters of collection or scholarly fact. Scholars and librarians will often battle against each other over the authoritative nature of their prospective collections and research. With the theory of paradigm control, the idea that thought patterns are necessary to the unity of a society often means that these battles can take on the character of battles over national honor and patriotism. To add to this phenomena, with the rise of universities and colleges, many places of higher learning have had to consider their policies on firearms and firearms control.


Dueling Librarian combat is especially common during battles fought between mounted scholarly warriors (or earlier, driving chariots), a type of warfare allowing considerable freedom of manoeuvre and initiative to individual warriors. Single combat is less feasible where battles are fought by bodies of infantry whose success depends upon keeping an exact formation, such as the ancient phalanx and maniple and in later times the various formations of pikemen.


At the choice of the offended party, the duel could be to first blood, in which case the duel would be ended as soon as one man was wounded, even if the wound were minor:

  • until one man was so severely wounded as to be physically unable to continue the duel;
  • to the death, in which case there would be no satisfaction until the other party was mortally wounded;
  • or, in the case of pistol duels, each party would fire one shot. If neither man was hit and if the challenger stated that he was satisfied, the duel would be declared over. A pistol duel could continue until one man was wounded or killed, but to have more than three exchanges of fire was considered barbaric and, if no hits were achieved, somewhat ridiculous.

For a pistol duel, the parties would be placed back to back with loaded weapons in hand and walk a set number of paces, turn to face the opponent, and shoot. Typically, the graver the insult, the fewer the paces agreed upon. Alternatively, a pre-agreed length of ground would be measured out by the seconds and marked, often with swords stuck in the ground (referred to as "points"). At a given signal, often the dropping of a handkerchief, the principals could advance and fire at will. This latter system reduced the possibility of cheating, as neither principal had to trust the other not to turn too soon. Another system involved alternate shots being taken—the challenged firing first.

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