Friday, 11 April 2014

J is for Jousting

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/




For the A-Z, I’m looking at aspects of the middle ages that might be useful to writers in constructing their worlds. People who like the middle ages tend to be a little in love with jousting. Two heavily armoured figures, charging down the lists at one another…


Certainly in the earlier part of the Middle Ages, the tournament wasn’t much like that. It wasn’t nearly so controlled. It was more like a battle, with numerous sides, no requirement to focus on the use of the lance, and occasionally even units of foot soldiers employed. Knights would ride in and try to capture one another for ransoms or forfeits, using blunted but still frankly dangerous weapons. The playing area was often loosely defined in terms of the space between two villages, and cheating was common. At least one “side” made a habit of hanging around on the edges, pretending that they weren’t playing, and then charging in at the end to capture people.


It’s certain from the historical sources that knights did joust with one another, but the formal affair of jousting as we know it is probably a later medieval thing, and those who try to push it earlier tend to conflate it with the more chaotic tournament I’ve just described.

6 comments:

DRC said...

Jousting as a sport is actually trying to make a come-back. My friend jousts in warwick and they do tournaments twice a year - full armour and everything. I believe there's also a version of 'extreme jousting' in the US. So watch this space. It'll soon reach the olympics :)

djinnia said...

wow, this is an awesome post. your a to z is so awesome i wanted to follow you, but there isn't a follow by email. sigh.

D.G. Hudson said...

Sounds like a free for all. How did they know which side you were on? Colors?

Dropping by via the A to Z Challenge.

stu said...

This is where heraldry is your friend.

DA Cairns said...

It's my first time I here. I'll be back for more. I loved the film Excalibur, ad generally appreciate the genre though I haven't written anything set in that era.

Deniz Bevan said...

Ooh, great AtoZ theme! Very hand for me, as I've got stories set in the 1400s. Maybe a little later than the Middle Ages but some things were still similar.