How to win a joust

10th-16th cen­tury (all mod­els)

All About History - - CONTENTS -

Ev­ery­thing you need to know to tri­umph at a Me­dieval tour­na­ment

Op­er­a­tions Man­ual

The Mid­dle Ages val­ued mar­tial prow­ess as the ul­ti­mate virtue. Skill with sword, mace and lance was re­quired by knights if they were to sur­vive the wars that plagued Eu­rope, so tour­na­ments de­vel­oped where knights could demon­strate their war­rior abil­i­ties and pre­pare for con­flicts. Early com­pe­ti­tions were bloody af­fairs with melees where knights fought en masse and death was fairly com­mon. Sol­diers en­ter­tained the crowds and of­fered an out­let for vi­o­lence but this se­ri­ously de­pleted the small pool of man­power a king could call on.

Over time, rules de­vel­oped that turned these fren­zies of blood­let­ting into chival­ric events that pro­vided a rel­a­tively safe way of show­ing a knight’s skill. From the 1400s on­wards, knights in jousts wore full ar­mour and re­stricted their weaponry to lances. To han­dle such an un­wieldy weapon was a mark of at­tain­ment that could bring wealth as well as hon­our. For those seek­ing to move up in so­ci­ety, as well as no­bil­ity wish­ing as­so­ciate them­selves with the ro­man­tic val­ues of the age, the joust­ing lists were events worth risk­ing their lives for. If you want to win – and sur­vive – a joust, here are ten things you need to know.

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