Tournaments

Jousting in the Post Chivalric Age

So, how do we get to the jousting tournaments?

After the age of the Crusades and the Chivalric Orders (both Monastic and the regular Orders) but before the Renaissance Period, you have a set of knights that may or may not have a war to fight or a damsel in distress to defend.  You have a class then of supposedly landed nobility that have very little land, possibly no way to make money of the land that they have been deeded due to the English Common Law that they live under.  What is a knight to do then to make money.  Well of course, they start tournaments and they start touring the land showing off the prowess that they have in combat due to years of training.  They could at that point find tournaments to participate in so that they could have an income while they waited for the next order from their Order or the next war to happen.

Tournament Activities

  • The Mass Charge – This was for all assembled knights.  The knights, as companies or individuals would line up across from each other and at the sound of the trumpet would charge into battle.  This battle used blunt lances, and blunt weapons and sword attacks that were designed to score points.  The knights would attack with lances first.  The un-horsed knights were out as this was the end of the first round.  After that point, the knights that were left would begin an attack on horseback, or on foot with blunt weapons or swords and shields.  The final winner f this fight was crowned champion.
  • Armed Combat – There would be divisions of armed combat throughout the day.   This could be done either on foot or on horseback.  Knights would fight with just a melee weapon and they would fight sword and board style as well.  And though the winners of this combat were certainly valurous it was the joust that became the main event.
  • Jousting – Much like the jousting at the Ren Faires around the world now, the jousting at the tournaments during the late medieval period was he main attraction at the tournaments.  Full contact jousting with blunt tips is nothing to be trifled with.  Their were accidents and hits in these tournaments that caused the deaths of knights.  They were charging across hard packed turf toward another knight with a blunted lance in hand.  They would hit each other scoring points for strikes, broken lances and of course the unhorsing of an opponent.

The tournaments that these knights fought in were lucrative for the ones that were good enough to win.  They were good for the communities that put the tournaments on.  People came to the towns from the countryside to see the jousting and the fighting, the contests at arms.  They spent money in the towns, stayed at the inns, visited the public houses and of course spent money with the merchants that surrounded the tournament grounds.  In other words, the tournaments of the late medieval period were a lot like the Ren Faires that we visit today:  merchants, food, crafters, artisans, jousting, live shows, street performers and other forms of entertainment.