Personal Honor As Instrument Of Social Control
The breeding ground of honor [was] the state of semi-anarchy (when it was not complete anarchy) that prevailed in most of the world before the invention of the nation-state in early modern Europe. In such an environment, personal honor and the respect it elicited from others was almost the only instrument of social control, and this was still true to a considerable extent right through the [English] Tudor period. Describing the feud between two grandees in the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth, Lawrence Stone writes that “Both in the brutality of their tactics and in their immunity from the law, the nearest parallels to the Earl of Oxford and Sir Thomas Knyvett in the London of Queen Elizabeth are Al Capone and Dion O’Banion, Bugs Moran and Johnny Torrio in the Chicago of the 1920s.” Among such people, honor was a matter of grim necessity, a workaday proposition by which their power and status in the world were measured and on which their very lives depended.
— James Bowman, Honor: A History, p. 54