By the Sword: A History of Gladiators Quotes.

1. "He either fears his fate too much / Or his deserts are small / That puts it not unto the touch / To win or lose it all."
- Richard Cohen, By the Sword: A History of Gladiators

2. "In 1830, the writer Charles Augustin Saint-Beuve (1804–69) fought one of the owners of Le Globe in heavy rain; Saint-Beuve held an umbrella throughout the duel, claiming that he did not mind dying but he would not get wet."
- Richard Cohen, By the Sword: A History of Gladiators

3. "Divinity students always fought in these peaked caps, as a scar would terminate their careers."
- Richard Cohen, By the Sword: A History of Gladiators

4. "The symbolism of the action has been replaced by the reality of the touch."
- Richard Cohen, By the Sword: A History of Gladiators

5. "Two poets, Nikolai Gumilyov and Maximilian Voloshin, fought a duel over a non-existent woman."
- Richard Cohen, By the Sword: A History of Gladiators

6. "when the American sabreur Peter Westbrook suffered his near-fatal neck injury, his Hungarian coach, Csaba Elthes, simply sat down, lit a cigarette, and muttered, Typical: I create champion; then I kill him."
- Richard Cohen, By the Sword: A History of Gladiators

7. "Agesilao had his rivals even in Italy, chief among them Eugenio Pini from Livorno, who could be just as short-tempered. When he fought Rue The Invincible, the French master who, hit twice in succession, failed to acknowledge being hit as etiquette dictated, Pini pulled the button from his foil and with his next attack ripped open Rue’s jacket. He then tore off his mask and shouted, I suppose that one didn’t arrive either?"
- Richard Cohen, By the Sword: A History of Gladiators

8. "when the one-legged Marquis de Rivard was challenged, he sent a surgeon in reply and suggested that in the interests of fighting on an equal footing his opponent should submit to a similar amputation. The duel was called off."
- Richard Cohen, By the Sword: A History of Gladiators

9. "Once introduced, however, the fighting épée was seen to have merits well beyond its uses in formal dueling; its practitioners had to develop the duelist’s mentality: hit without being hit."
- Richard Cohen, By the Sword: A History of Gladiators

10. "As late as 1883, when dueling of all kinds had almost been eradicated elsewhere, a rapier duel between a soda-water seller and a catfish dealer lasted eighty-three minutes before either combatant drew blood."
- Richard Cohen, By the Sword: A History of Gladiators

Browse By Letters