Introduction to tournament header

Introduction to Tournament

YouTube link to Introduction to Tournaments Tournaments were extreme sporting events that were often organised to show royal or noble power. Like modern elite sports events, many tournaments were also lavish displays that brought together competitors and spectators from far and wide.

Some tournament contests were fought on horseback, others on foot but all needed strength, skill and bravery. Tournament competitors also needed expensive equipment, often wearing armour carefully designed to reduce risk of injury or death. Later tournament armour was also beautifully decorated. Like present-day sports kit, it often combined the latest technology with style and fashion.

Tournaments through time

Tournaments probably began in the 11th century as mock battles between two opposing teams and provided good training for war.

At first they used weapons and wore protective armour that were the same as they used in battle. Gradually special armour was created for the different tournament events, in response to the particular threats of the lance, sword and axe.

Like some sports armour today, improvements to safety were constantly made and fashions changed so that champions looked good as well as stayed safe.

Tournaments became spectator events, often with lavish costumes and prizes. As a colourful and dangerous spectacle the tournament lasted 600 years.

Tournament timeline

Did you know?

Sticky-backed plastic?

Armour is not just made from iron and steel, but also from bronze, silver, gold, wood, leather, bone, and can be decorated with precious stones and even shells. Modern armours use ceramics and plastics.

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