Rus Articles Journal

Knightly tournament: a duel in honor of the great lady or the legalized squaring of accounts? Part 1

In due time tales of chivalry were extraordinary popular both in Europe, and in Russia. It is natural that at them without fail there were descriptions of tournaments on which noble knights battled with each other in honor of great ladies or for the sake of execution of not less noble vows. In real life everything was much simpler. Often tournaments turned into carrying out duels for squaring of accounts or into a frank form of extortion, to refuse a duel, even by a call from obviously strongest opponent, knightly honor did not allow. The loser was often obliged to give to the winner of a horse and an armor, and sometimes in addition and to pay a peculiar repayment.

It is considered that official duels of knights with in advance stipulated conditions of fight appeared in the 9th century. In ancient chronicles the description of carrying out at that time peculiar tournaments between soldiers of kings Ludovic Nemetsqui and Karl Lysy remained. They were carried out in the form of group fights, and the show was surprising on the gloss and the dominating order: so at all large number participating and at a variety of nationalities nobody dared to put another a wound or to offend it a swear word .

Probably, similar stadia more intended for sharpening of military skill, and lost in them was not as the parties serially came, defended. It is curious that according to the chronicler, they were carried out at big confluence of the audience, and separate fights began with duels of kings.

Gradually knightly duels of " steel; to acquire rules and traditions. But till the 13th century they often came to an end with serious wounds and death of participants of fights. The fact that chain armors were the main protective equipment of knights at that time was the main cause, and fights were carried out by the military weapon. If the knight did not manage to beat off the opponent`s spear a board, the serious trauma was almost inevitable. Besides, the majority of fights was group when the knights who are beaten out from a saddle could get under hoofs of horses. In group fights it is difficult to follow rules therefore they often turned into the real fights.

At this time there was a rule that the won knight receives as a prize of a horse and an armor of won. As a rule, the weapon was not among a prize. By the way, the task of the winner was to provide protection prostrate that he did not get under hoofs of horses and could leave the arena independently or from it was taken out.

The death or serious mutilations of knights in a peace time disturbed monarchs. Restrictions or prohibitions of tournaments for a certain time begin to be introduced. The church which only in the 12th century published five edikt against tournaments also is connected to it. As completely to forbid carrying out tournaments it is already unreal, development of rules of their carrying out begins. There is special armor with the strengthened armor on breasts and the tournament weapon. There is also a tradition of carrying out tournaments. For them begin to create special arenas around which stands and places for the audience, tents for training of knights for fight are placed. There are heralds and managers of tournaments. Tournaments began to be held not only among knights, but also among the noblemen who did not receive a knightly rank yet. Noble tournaments were held by similar rules and practically did not differ from knightly. There were also cases of carrying out the mixed tournaments to participation of knights and ordinary noblemen.

In the XIV-XV centuries group duels practically cease to be carried out, and the tradition of receiving by winners of the horses and an armor won dies off, too it was the consignment note. Prizes began to be allocated to winners with organizers of tournaments or to be completed at the expense of joint contributions of participants. There is a ritual of an awarding the prizes by great ladies or maidens whom to choose often it is provided to winners. It was promoted much by the tales of chivalry singing of sublime romantic love and devotion of knights to great ladies.

At knights it became fashionable to decorate the armor with signs of an arrangement of ladies - veils, kerchiefs, scarves, and to devote duels to ladyloves. Sometimes the winner won two prizes established by the organizer of tournament. The first for a victory to it was handed by the lady, and the second, as a rule it was jewelry, it handed in reply to the ladylove. Now ladies become also patronesses of tournaments. Most often it were wives, daughters or nieces of organizers of tournaments.

About how tournaments in the 15th century were organized and held, we can learn with all details as many original documents, including " remained; Book of the " tournaments; written in 1460 by the duke Anzhuysky for application in France. Book became a peculiar guide to carrying out knightly tournaments. By its preparation the duke had to work seriously, here is how he describes it: Mostly I took as a basis how tournaments in Germany and on Rhine are arranged, but also paid attention and to how they are carried out in Flanders and Brabant, and to those ancient ways which we use in France, found me in manuscripts. From these three ways I took that it seemed to me good, and created the fourth way of carrying out tournament which you learn further on their basis if you wish .

In To the Book the important place is allocated for descriptions of a role of ladies in the organization of tournament and rewarding of winners. The whole ritual was for this purpose offered. Organizers of tournament elected two great ladies who were entrusted to choose the most noble and wise knight, to hand it a precious scarf and to proclaim it the honourable knight of tournament. This knight on whose end of a spear the scarf was attached acquired very broad rights: I will allow to kiss chosen it, to be at them during a feast and dances prior to the beginning of and after the end of tournament which main manager it became. It could stop any fight. If someone is too strongly beaten, this knight will concern his helmet a scarf, and all who attack it have to stop and not dare touching it because from now on ladies took it under the protection and protection .

Upon termination of tournament or its part which awards follow the honourable knight chooses one from two ladies for delivery of awards, and two maidens to bear at the same time the scarf removed from its spear. Awards can be a little: the winner of tournament, and also for the best blow a spear, broken during duels has more than all copies, sustained most of all fights, without having lost a helmet, etc.

the Procession for an awarding the prize turns out solid: the honourable knight, behind him the lady with a prize and the maidens with a scarf supported under hands by knights and surrounded with judges and heralds. They to three times bypass a system of knights, will not stop before awarded yet. The herald solemnly proclaims: You look, here the noble lady accompanied with the honourable knight and my masters judges who came to hand you a tournament award because you are recognized as the knight who battled today best of all in tournament fights and my lady asks that you accepted it with good will . According to recommendations of the duke, then the lady has to open an award and hand to it. It has to take an award, kiss the lady and two maidens if wishes. And then the King of Arms, heralds and their assistants have to cry out his war-call . Beautiful ritual, isn`t that so?

Except the organization of encouragement of winners in To the Book the procedure for test " was in detail described; powers participants, preparation of the weapon and an armor for duels, carrying out fights, peculiar security measures and punishments are in detail listed for violations of the rules, the rights and duties of all officials tournament. The similar sets of tournament rules were created at the yards of many European monarchs, bringing the clearness and a certain monotony in carrying out knightly tournaments.