chapter  1
Violence and Urban Identity in Early Modern Augsburg: Communication Strategies Between Authorities and Citizens in the Adjudication of Fights
ByB. Ann Tlusty
Pages 14

On an August evening in 1591, a fight broke out in an Augsburg beer tavern over drinks and cards between two members of the local city guard. The disagreement between Caspar Aufschlager and Caspar Rauner began as a tavern brawl, but escalated to a deadly duel after moving into the street. The popular rules governing what constituted the necessary 'incitement' to violence in the public defence of male honour were straightforward. Defamatory insults required a physical response, for ignoring provocative remarks shamed the slandered party in front of the company and invited further insults. While early modern citizens were often quick to resort to a physical response to verbal insults, they were nonetheless constrained by the unwritten ground rules of social behaviour. In defending their actions to the authorities, Augsburg citizens thus used strategies designed to appeal not to magistrates, but simply to other men who shared their cultural world.