Whilst doing research for my third book, The Serpent Prince, I did quite a lot of research into dueling, and in the process ran into a veritable goldmine of cases of Fatal and Near-Fatal Testosterone Poisoning in the human male.

Case Studies of Fatal and Near-Fatal Testosterone Poisoning in the Human Male

Case Study # 1:

In 1547 Guy Chabot, Baron de Jarnac, and François de Vivonne, sieur de La Châtaigneraie fought in a French court-ordered duel. (In a court-ordered duel, a judicial case is decided by a duel to the death by the protagonists of the case or their proxies.) The men fought for a bit, paused for a breather and when they came back to the dueling ground, Jarnac hamstrung Châtaigneraie in both legs, severing at least one artery in the process. Jarnac then offered to end the duel if Châtaigneraie would admit he was at fault. Châtaigneraie, despite the fact that he was lying on the ground hemorrhaging, refused. Jarnac appealed to the king, who had witnessed the duel. The king eventually ordered the duel stopped, but by that point it was too late and Châtaigneraie died from blood loss. 

As a footnote, Jarnac’s distinctive move came to be known as the le Coup de Jarnac.

Case Study # 2:

The year was 1613, the gentlemen in question were Edward Sackville, the Earl of Dorset and Lord Edward Bruce. Both men were interested in the same lady, Venetia Stanley, and naturally they decided to settle who would wed her by dueling. But dueling was very much frowned upon by the king, James I, so first they had to travel to The Netherlands. There they fought with rapiers. Dorset started off fairly badly by immediately receiving a sword thrust through his chest. You might think that would be the end of the whole thing right there, but if you did, you would be a) a female and b) not taking into account testosterone. Dorset kept fighting, in the process losing a finger. At one point, both duelist were locked together by their blades with each refusing to give ground. Eventually Dorset wrestled his blade free and stabbed Bruce twice, killing him. Dorset returned to England in triumph—only to find that Miss Stanley had married a third man in his absence,

Case Study # 3:

Charles Mohun, 4th Baron Mohun, was a rake of the old school. He fought his first duel at the age of fifteen, killed three men in duels, and was twice tried for murder by the House of Lords–both trials ending in his acquittal. In 1712, Lord Mohun, a Whig, challenged the Duke of Hamilton, a Tory, over a long running lawsuit. They met on the morning of November 15th in Hyde Park, attended by their seconds. There they fought with swords so terribly that both principles died from their wounds. The seconds, who had also fought in the duel, were charged with manslaughter and murder. The Tories then accused the Whigs of plotting the duel, the seconds gave differing accounts about what exactly had happened, and the trial became another scandalous debacle.

And as Mohun had no heir his title died with him.