Trial by combat is a legal procedure in which the defendant and prosecution settle differences by fighting each other, or fighting a third party, rather than by debating in front of a jury.

History and specifics[edit | edit source]

On Qo'noS[edit | edit source]

Rising to become Emperor of the Klingon Empire sometimes required a trial by combat. (FASA RPG module: The Klingons: Star Fleet Intelligence Manual)

The Klingon variant was called the Suv'batleth, a battle to determine who's honor would be retained, fought with the ideal that one's character and skill played equal parts in victory. In 2373, Alexander Rozhenko planned a demonstration for his grandparents with his father Worf, son of Mogh, as part of their celebration of Batlh jaj, the Day of Honor. (DS9 - Day of Honor novel: Honor Bound)

By the 24th century, trial by combat was rarely used to settle arguments on Qo'noS because the odds of victory were even between trained warriors. In 2375, General Martok suspected foul play when he pointed out to Maapek that Morjod's supporters won 90% of such trials. (DS9 novel: The Left Hand of Destiny, Book One)

Elsewhere[edit | edit source]

On Earth, it was an honorable process that took place between knights during the Middle Ages in regions governed by feudalism. (DS9 - Day of Honor novel: Honor Bound)

In 2265 on Norus, the Council of the Wise abducted James T. Kirk and Spock as spies, then sentenced them to a trial by combat against a huge robot moloth. (TOS comic: "Menace of the Moloth")

In 2266 on Mobita, Togota tribal chieftain Mwipi chose to determine Kirk's truthfulness vs. the claims of a Klingon commander with a trial by combat in the Togo jungle with Ndarpo, a muscled Togota. (TOS comic: "One of Our Captains Is Missing!")

On Jodarr, deposed King Wobine was sentenced to trial by combat with a winged kurgo by King Leroy. (TOS comic: "Spore of the Devil")

In 2267, Metrons staged a trial by combat between Kirk and Gorn Captain S'alath to end the battle between the Gorn cruiser Template:GCS and the Federation starship USS Enterprise precipitated by the Cestus III Massacre. (TOS episode & Star Trek 2 novelization: Arena, TOS - Unlimited comic: "Dying of the Light")

In 2268 on Omega IV, Yang leader Cloud William sentenced Kirk and Ronald Tracey to a trial by combat to determine who was telling the truth. (TOS episode & Star Trek 10 novelization: The Omega Glory)

In 2270 on Bira III, Spock and Montgomery Scott fought a trial by combat. They had been subjected to a brain device that turned them into leaders of the Garda and Stoyak species. Once its effects wore off, they stopped fighting, inspiring an end to war on the planet. (TOS comic: "A World Against Itself")

In 2380 on Gelrak V, USS Cerritos Commander Jack Ransom fought in a trial by combat against Vindor, a huge native, after Ransom's away team inadvertently insulted the planet's leader, Gernba. (LD episode: "Temporal Edict")

Cultures with trial by combat[edit | edit source]

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