A Question of Style: The Historical Tournament

This week, Dame Aoife brings us a list of links for fencing and armoured combat tournament styles, and the heraldry that adds to their pageantry. If you're planning an event, this edition of Aoife's Links will help make it more fun.

Greetings, my Faithful Readers!

This week's Links List is about tournament styles. Whether you're all for more fun, or you're for the most historical atmosphere possible, this is the Links List for you. This list is for the heavy weapons fighter, for the fencer, for the Herald, for the Marshal, for the Autocrat, and for the observer. There will be something in here for each of you.

As always, please don't hesitate to share this list wherever it will find a ready audience. If you wish to reprint this or any of the other Links Lists, I'd appreciate it if you'd drop me a line. It's terrific to hear where they appear around the globe.



Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon
m/k/a Lisbeth Herr-Gelatt
Riverouge, Endless Hills, AEthelmearc

Cunnan's Tourney Styles
(Site excerpt) BERTIE BEETLE TOURNEY Also known as a body parts tourney. Each fighter has to collect a "body part": left leg, right leg, left arm, right arm, body and head. It's run like a meat grinder. During a bout each fighter's blows to various body parts (limbs etc.) are recorded. The loser of the bout stays on.

Chronique Glossary of Terms
(see Seven Sins Tournament)

Mol Atlantia-Tournament formats
(Site Excerpt) Elimination Tournaments
Single Elimination
Double Elimination
Triple Elimination
Atlantian Speed Tournament
Determination of Initial Pairings

Philosophical Fighting
(Site Excerpt) There are those who view each individual bout in a tournament as a duel, of whatever kind, generally to the death. Again this mindset lends itself well to a competitive framework. I have heard those who prefer this viewpoint say that it helps to get their adrenaline going to "believe" the blade they are facing is real and that their opponent is out to kill them. I can certainly see where this would lend a competitive edge and at the same time provide a bit more of the renaissance mindset. The drawbacks tend to deal with persona play, in that it is impossible to explain why you are in a duel with someone who is supposed to be your friend and how you can get away with seeing or speaking with them later if they, or you, are supposed to be dead. Again the competitive edge from this viewpoint also tends to downplay the display of the ideals we proclaim to be attempting to display somewhat, but not as much as the Sport mindset would seem to do.

A Heraldic Tree for Use in SCA tournaments
(Site Excerpt) Happily, all is not lost. The idea of keeping score certainly isn't new, and they did keep track of who was doing well out on the field. As an example, a Sir John Tiptoft set out a series of ordinances in 1466 related to scoring within the joust, 'reserving always to the queen and to the ladies present the attribution and gift of the prize, after the manner and form accustomed.' As further example, jousting cheques were used to track the performance of each of the participants in the day's activities, an example of which appears in figure 1, from the Field of Cloth and Gold joust between members of the English and French royalty in 1520.2

King Rene's Tournament Book
(Site Excerpt) .Item, immediately after a lord or baron arrives at the inn, he should display his coat of arms in the window. He should have the heralds and pursuivants put up a long board attached to the wall in front of his lodgings, on which is painted his blazon, that is to say his crest and shield, and those of his company who will take part in the tourney, knights and squires alike. And he should have his banner displayed at a high window of the inn, hanging over the road; and for doing this the heralds and pursuivants ought to be paid four sous for putting up each coat of arms, and each banner, and they must supply the nails and ropes to nail and raise and lower the banners, pennons and coats of arms whenever it is necessary. And note that the captains of the tourney should do the same as the other lords and barons in front of their inns: there is no difference, except that at the windows of their inns they should display their pennons with their banners: and the barons who put up their banners at the windows are required on their honor to display the coats of arms of at least five other tourneyers with their banners, as a company.

How to run a Pas de' Armes
(Site Excerpt) The Company of the Grail has come to the current outline after careful study of other Tourney company practices, and historical research. Essentially the pas de'armes is a challenge of peace. One or more defenders, known popularly as the 'tenans', would make it known that they would hold a particular place on a particular day. Such challenges were designed to showcase the prowess, courtesy, and in general to celebrate the knightly virtues with a demonstration of prowess and Chivalry.

Tenans of Noble Folly
(Site Excerpt) The Tenans of Noble Folly, inspired by the tournament societies and secular knightly orders of the 14th and 15th centuries, attempts to foster attitudes of chivalry through the tournament experience. Striving to bring our message chiefly using "chivalry by example," we pioneered and have sponsored the pas d'armes tournament format; helped other groups to organize themselves into similar companies; and have tried to encourage and guide the new "chivalric renaissance" in and out of the SCA.

Golden Chain Tournament
(Site Excerpt) We, the Chivalry of AEthelmearc, wish to announce the creation of the Golden Chain Tounament. Throughout the year certain events will be designated as holding "Golden Chain Tounaments". At these tournaments members of the Chivalry will attend for the specific purpose of evaluating fighters for their potential as future members of the Chivalry as well as to actively fight and teach technique.

History of Jousting
(Site Excerpt) The earliest tournaments appear to have evolved in mainland Europe. There are many references to such European events during the 12th century, and during this century such events became quite popular amongst the mounted soldiery of the continent. In addition, there are certain documents which detail the arrival of the sport in England during the reign of King Stephen in the mid 1100's.

Stefan's Florilegium: Tournaments-Art
(Excerpt from ONE message) A 13th century-style Ransom Tournament. Setup: The fighting field should be large enough for the fighters to be fighting in small, separate melees but should have an open area big enough to hold a general melee of all fighters. At one end of the field set up the retreat, a roped-off area in which there will be no combat. There should be two entrances into the retreat, well-separated. Spectators can watch from the retreat, so it might be placed in front of a hill, bleachers, stage, etc.

Of the Undertaking of a Tournament
(Site Excerpt) In order to work in this area of formalizing an approach to the rules of engagement with respect to tournaments, I have used a number of treatises that reference early period [ 1 ] historical swordplay (XVI and XV centuries) from the medieval period including King René's "Book of the Tournament" to help define a method of conducting a tournament that is relatively consistent with the medieval period.

Vexillator: On More Period Tournaments
by Master Arval
(Site Excerpt) A re-creative tournament can have two aims: providing lots of fighting with less interference from the list officers, and creating a grand medieval pageant. These two goals can be served by the same tournament, but they can also be at odds. It is important that the participants understand what they are trying to accomplish before they start. For example, a re-creation of a late-period tournament might well turn out to be more ceremony and procession than fighting; it must be understood that it is a display, almost a piece of theater, intended more for the spectators than for the participants.

The Medieval Tournament
(a past Links List)