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Mensur & Schmiss: German Dueling Societies
Mensur & Schmiss: German Dueling Societies

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Mensur & Schmiss: German Dueling Societies
by MD Stanley B Burns, Elizabeth A Burns, J Lawrence Burns

This is the first photographic history of the student academic duel, the Mensur, practiced in Germany since the eighteenth century. The slashing swordplay of this fascinating Western European ritual often resulted in a Schmiss, or facial scarification. The Schmiss scar was a record of one’s courage, cherished as a badge of honor that signified masculinity and high social position. This compilation of over 175 images documents all aspects of the tradition: combatants, seconds, referees, spectators and attending surgeons before, during, and after the Mensur, as well as the celebrations and social functions that were part of Germanic student life. The Mensur is still practiced today although hidden from public view. The astute observations of Mark Twain and Jerome K. Jerome, both travelers through Germany during the nineteenth century, are included.This book emphasizes the Corps and other elite fraternity groups that engaged in Mensur, vividly documenting the camaraderie, seriousness, reality and violence of the academic duels.

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