Se­lect your op­po­nent wisely

All About History - - HOW TO WIN A JOUST -

Choos­ing your op­po­nent in a joust was mat­ter of ut­most im­por­tance – your hopes of vic­tory and hon­our would be de­cided the mo­ment you picked them. No­bil­ity, abil­ity and rank all had to be con­sid­ered when choos­ing an ad­ver­sary. Like many other as­pects of the joust, there was an air of the­atri­cal­ity about this. Com­monly a chal­lenge was an­nounced by strik­ing the shield of your de­sired op­po­nent. French writer Jean Frois­sart records squires sim­ply be­ing sent to de­liver this call to arms. In later pe­ri­ods, com­plex Trees of Hon­our were con­structed. These struc­tures were hung with the shields of com­peti­tors and those wish­ing to joust merely had to touch their lance to the shield of the man they wished to face. At Henry VIII’S Field of the Cloth of Gold tour­na­ment, the Tree of Hon­our was made of in­ter­twined hawthorn and rasp­berry branches to rep­re­sent the bind­ing to­gether of Eng­land and France.

Heraldic shields helped iden­tify jousters to the crowd

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