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Tournaments: Jousts, Chivalry and Pageants in the Middle Ages Paperback – 21 Feb 2013

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Boydell Press; New edition edition (21 Feb. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0851157815
  • ISBN-13: 978-0851157818
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 1.3 x 30.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 918,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Richard Barber is one of Britain's leading authorities on medieval history and the author of "The Penguin Guide to Medieval Europe" and "The Knight and Chivalry".

Professor of History, University of East Anglia, Norwich.

Juliet Barker is the distinguished biographer of Wordsworth and the Bronte sisters. She is also a noted medievalist and lives with her family in the UK.


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Format: Paperback
Unprofitably jaundiced perspective in places (such is the Age of Jealousy in which we live) but otherwise very sound and informative: an excellently broad and excellently illustrated overview of all kinds of genteel martial sport and chivalric ritual from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book if interested on medieval tourneys or doing redearch
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x933cd810) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95c24d58) out of 5 stars Medieval Fighting for Fun! 8 Sept. 2005
By Dr. Carl Edwin Lindgren - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In Tournaments, Richard Barber and Juliet Barker set out to trace the development of tournaments from the early melees to the later elaborate spectacles. Barber and Barker believe that tournaments were an important part of medieval society as well as a form of training for knights. They also believe that while tournaments certainly had a strong influence on romantic literature, the tournaments were themselves influenced by romantic literature.

To support their arguments, the authors rely heavily on chronicles written during the medieval period. The authors place the emergence of tournaments as a distinct game at the end of the eleventh century in France. They also link it to the development of the use of a couched lance.(14) One important distinction made by the authors is the difference between the technical tournament, which was the melee and the hastilude, which was from the Latin meaning a game fought with spears. While the term "Tournament" has become a word meaning virtually any sport involving knights, and brings up visions of knight jousting, this was not the terminology of the medieval knight. According to the authors, around 1170, new romances began to replace such works as Chansons de gests. Such new romances began to place importance on courtly love and heroism. "Thus a kind of symbiosis developed between tournaments and courtly literature, each feeding on the other and thereby encouraging their mutual development."(21)

The authors examine the tournament as it manifested in several different countries. England and France for example differed greatly by the end of the twelfth century, with France prohibiting and England licensing tournaments. However, in 1316 Pope John XXII lifted bans on tournaments, which paved the way for legal tournaments in France. The authors also examine the circumstances under which a tournament might occur. Many were indeed held as sporting events; however, several were planned as an excuse to establish a revolt or to settle a personal grievance. Other tournaments occurred as part of a battle during a siege, where attackers and defenders challenged each other to combat, either personal or in groups.

The authors place the beginning of the German tournament around the mid-twelfth century. From Germany the authors provide an excellent example of romantic literature influencing tournaments when a German knight, Waltmann von Stenstete sought challenges from knights with his female companion as a part of the prize for his defeat. There is also Ulrich von Liechtenstein who pursues jousts, but whose narrative the authors claim is full of literary devices making it difficult to tell where fact and fancy begin and end. According to the authors, by the fourteenth century, Germany also had two different types of tournaments. There were regular events, often organized locally, and there were tournaments for special aristocratic or imperial occasions. (37) It was in Germany that societies dedicated to tournaments were established.

One development of the tournament described by the authors as significant was the pass d'armes, where a group or individual would defend an area against challengers. The authors also pay attention to the development of the tournament in grandeur. By the mid-fifteenth century, tournaments were often accompanied by great theater. More attention began to be paid the setting of the tournament, and was often constructed to meet the theme of the tournament.

The book is organized chronologically within chapters that are topical. The chapters cover the development of the tournament geographically, but also as a spectacle and special event as well as an examination of the dangers inherent in the tournament. The text is easily readable and accompanied by a variety of pictures from the medieval period, which help to give the reader a true sense of the situations described.

Michael E. Watson and Dr. Carl Edwin Lindgren

American Military University
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95c24dac) out of 5 stars Everything you wanted to know about tournaments... 31 Dec. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
While books about tournaments usually just describe what tournaments generally were like .., this book takes a look at the actual historical events themselves. It describes many historical tournaments, famous participants, the backgrounds and the changing nature of the events from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance etc. In fact, the book tries to cover almost everything related to tournaments (from public disorder in tournaments to the time of day). Even so, the book holds together well and is easy to read. It is illustrated with fine historical paintings and drawings from books of the time with only a couple of photos (no modern or dismal 19-Century historical sketches).
As a 'better-than-most' book, it's only weakness is that with a mere 200+ pages it can only give a quick synthesis about the various topics it examines. For instance, the well written chapter on tournament armour could have been a bit longer (only 12 pages).
In all, the best book about tournaments so far. But still hoping for even a better book...
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95ea4a5c) out of 5 stars Excellent 19 Jan. 2004
By Dean V Maynard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Easily the best general book on Tournaments available. Some people might have wanted to more detail in certain areas buut when you concider what the authors are trying to achieve I feel they found an excellent balance.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95c25034) out of 5 stars Excellent book` 25 Dec. 2010
By Rick Chollett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is amazing. I learned many more details of tournaments in the middle ages than I had in the past ten years. It was clearly much more organized than a game of pick up football. I only wish we could bring this back as a world sport.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x95c251b4) out of 5 stars Great source of information! 29 May 2013
By Barbara L. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the book is out of print, this is the first serious research on medieval tournaments. It's a great source of information about all aspects, as spetacles and armory.
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