What Took Place And The History Of Medieval Tournaments

1652 words - 7 pages

What Was the Purpose of Tournamentsand What Took Place During Them?The Middle Ages were a time of heroic deeds and daring battles fought by chivalric knights, but what was a knight to do in a time of peace? The creation of tournaments helped end boredom and also allowed knights to train for the next war. Tournaments, with their varying events, grew very popular not only with the participants, but with spectators as well. However, like any new trend, certain tournaments caused much controversy. This did not cause the end of tournaments though, they continued to be practiced for many years and over a wide area.It was a knights job to fight in wars, defend his lady, and prove his honor. However, in a time of peace there were little, or no, chances for him to battle. Boredom usually coupled peace and many knights, having nothing better to do, would drink themselves to death or ruin their physique by eating too much. The consequences of this were monumental. When another war came along the knights often were out of practice or were too unhealthy to fight well. Also, small battles would brake out among the knights and it was not good for any kingdom to have its own knights killing one another in duels. It was during one of these postwar times that the first tournament was created. The idea caught on fast because anything that would end the boredom was a good idea and as Morris Bishop states, "The knight could amuse himself and his lady by entering a tournament." (The Middle Ages, 124). However, all this amusement comes with a price, early forms of tournaments proved to be just as detrimental to the knights as drinking or dueling.Due to the popularity of tournaments, and the many years they were practiced, there were many different tournament events and even variations of those events depending on which territory they were held in. One of the earliest known tournament games, called a Tourney, was a mimic battle. When real wars started to thin out this game was created to replace them. Men would come together and divide into teams determined on a territorial basis. A Herald, or tournament official who oversaw the events and proclaimed winners (Medieval Entertainment, 2 of 6), would say charge and the knights would fight on horseback and on foot until victory was achieved. This event was either fought to the death or until a knight forfeited and accepted defeat. The particular game usually lasted days and as Morris Bishop states, ". . .could be pursued into the open country. . ." (The Middle Ages, 124). Another event, called a Joust, was perhaps the most commonly practiced tournament and the most well known. In later tournaments the Joust became the main event and people of all social levels would come together to watch. Unlike the Tourney, Jousting only involves two knights who ride on horses and their only weapons are a lance, to defend them self while on horseback, and a sword, to defend them self on foot. In "Medieval Entertainment" the rules are...

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