The Tournament -- Its Periods and Phases

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Excerpt: "The Tournament, as practised in Germany and towards the close of the sixteenth century in England, France and Italy, must have been a rather dull performance, as the minute regulations and the cumbersome equipment precluded that dash and intrepid onslaught which make the descriptions by Froissart and other writers of his time such excellent reading. Even the gorgeous displays of Henry VIII leave us rather cold when we find that the king invariably won, and that the queen could stop the tilting at her pleasure, which was presumably when her lord had had sufficient entertainment. We have only to note that the suit in the Tower made for Henry VIII to fight on foot in the lists weighs 93 lbs., to realize that no man could be strenuous or energetic in this equipment; and when we find that the horse in the sixteenth century joust had to carry a dead weight of 340 lbs., it will be manifest that he could only amble gently along the tilt, and could not dash headlong down the lists, as the artist would have us believe. The whole subject of arms and armour teems with such disillusioning; but to the earnest student these are taken with grace, because they are born of facts quarried out of masses of written and printed records with years of incessant perseverance and devotion."

Publication date
July 03, 2021
File size
2 MB