The French nobility was acculturated to violence that coexisted with courtliness. Feuding is indelibly associated with the Middle Ages, with a culture that is opposed to modernity. But, in fact, evidence for feuding in France before 1559 is fragmentary. Among the aristocracy at least private violence was increasingly under control during the late Middle Ages: revenge killing as a feature of high politics had been eradicated by the beginning of the 16th century. Factors often identified with modernity did much to create the conditions for a recrudescence of vindicatory violence: social mobility, Protestantism, and duelling. Vindicatory violence increased in France because of, not in spite of, the social and economic dynamism associated with the Renaissance, as the traditional elite was challenged by the enterprising and socially mobile.
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