A Vendetta is basically a feud between two or more groups of people, especially entire families and clans. A vendetta begins when one family correctly or incorrectly believes itself to have been attacked, insulted or wronged by another. Intense feelings of resentment result in the initial retaliation, which leads to the other family feeling equally resentful, angry and vengeful. Ultimately there is a long-running cycle of retaliatory violence.

This continual cycle of provocation and retaliation makes it almost impossible to end the vendetta peacefully. Vendettas frequently involve entire family members, all the relatives and associates, and can last for generations. Up to the 1900s, Vendettas were considered as legitimate legal instruments and were regulated to some degree by the law. However, Vendettas have now became illegal in their violent form, but, there are still many Families who have a feud and go out of their way to cause grief and make things difficult for the concerned person or family.

The word "Vendetta" is Italian and originates from the Latin word "vindicta" meaning "Vengeance". In modern times, the word is sometimes extended to mean any other long-standing feud, not necessarily involving bloodshed.

Vendettas often started over killing, dishonouring, maiming or insulting someone. The relatives of the said person would declare a vendetta and seek revenge by killing or otherwise physically punishing the culprits and their relatives.

Originally, a Vendetta was a blood feud between two families or clans where kinsmen of the victim intended to avenge his or her death by killing either those responsible for the killing or some of their relatives. The responsibility to maintain the vendetta usually fell on the closest male relative to whoever has been killed or wronged, but other members of the family may take the mantle as well. If the culprit had disappeared or was already dead or killed, the vendetta could extend to other relatives.

Vendetta is typical of societies with a weak rule of law or where the state doesn't consider itself responsible for mediating this kind of dispute where family and kinship ties are the main source of authority. An entire family is considered responsible for whatever one of them has done. 
The practice has mostly disappeared with more centralized societies where law enforcement and criminal law takes responsibility of punishing lawbreakers.

The gang wars of Mafia Families are also called Vendettas, with the Mafia family members replacing the kinsmen, However, they don't generally last long.

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