Originally, the Emperor of Germany betrothed his daughter Fenice to the Duke of Saxony. When the German potentate broke his pledge in order to give her to Emperor Alis of Greece instead, the Duke of Saxony fought for her, attacking the combined armies of Greece and Germany.
At last the Saxon duke agreed to formal single combat with Alis’ nephew Cligés (who had slain the duke’s nephew in the fighting). Seeing himself about to be defeated by the teenaged champion, the duke tried to save face by conceding early, on the pretext that it could give him no honor to defeat so young a lad, while Cligés had already won honor simply by standing up to him so long.
Not even the duke’s own men were fooled; yet, since the duke had, after all, had a legitimate grievance, one cannot help but feel some symphathy with him.