Dueling According to Saviolo’s Honor and Honorable Quarrels: Certain Lies and General Lies

Image from Saviolo's PracticeLast week we discussed giving the lie.  However, as Saviolo goes on to discuss, there are many different types of lies.  Today I would like to talk about some of the different kinds of lies that may be given. 

There are several different types of lies.  Lies can be certain or conditional and also either general or special. 

Certain lies are lies that are made in affirmative speech or writing.  As an example Saviolo includes the lie “Thou hast spoken to my discredit and in prejudice of my honor and reputation, and therefore doest lie”.  This is a certain lie because it affirms something that has knowingly happened.  However, a statement such as this is also considered a general lie because it does not refer to a specific incidence. 

A general lie however, lacks lawful weight.  According to Saviolo, for a lie to be considered lawfully given it is necessary that the party giving the lie specifically declare exactly why it was given, outlining the exact cause for the giving of the lie.  So for a lie to have full and lawful weight behind it the party giving the lie needs to be able to refer to a particular incident of injury of deeds or words that can be proven to have occurred or been said.  Saviolo includes the following as an example of a sure, certain, lawfully given lie: “Alexander, thou hast said that I, being employed by his highness in his service at Pavia, have had secret conference with the enemy; wherefore I say that thou hast lied”.  This lie refers to a specific incidence and to specific spoken words.  It is also what Saviolo refers to as a special lie.  This status gives it weight and makes it lawful.

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