Medieval Europe: The Magic Of Tournaments

Sport has always played a crucial role in all social classes but particularly for the medieval age, the upper class and tournaments were related. If one would transform, so would the other. Knights would group into parties and fight difficult battles in jousting for tournaments – the aim here was to make everyday life at court more interesting. Most of the time life then was all about long, gruelling days and intense hard work. These tournaments started to act as a mode of entertainment, during the break-periods.

Jousting was one of these regular tournaments that would keep the fighting skills sharp for all knights, and also aid them in staying in good shape for battle. The tournaments were real battles, real fights with not a lot of rules governing them. But the fights grew so violent later, the church had to intervene and change the rules to keep people safe. Tournaments, unlike other games that were segregated by classes, was allowed amongst all classes.

After the church intervention, noblemen started to sponsor them; they would provide a purse of money as the prize. At the end of the tournament, a big banquet was often held in honour of the knight who had just won. The game of jousting was such that two knights, dressed in heavy armour, would get on horseback and use a long weapon (the joust) and try to stab their opponent. Jousting would be held infront of thousands of people and gave knights the perfect excuse to demonstrate their abilities.

This medieval tournament began around the 10th Century of the Middle Ages with the arrival of chivalry. Knights were interested in pursuing training before actually heading into battle. Over time it developed into a form of entertainment from military exercise and it became an all-day event, including feasts, pageantry and dancing. On the rewards front, some other options included the winner receiving the loser’s horse or armour, or even hold the losing knight on parole, which would result in the knight having to go back to his estate and raise money to give to the winning night.

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