What Was the Purpose of Tournaments
and What Took Place During Them?
The Middle Ages were a time of heroic deeds and daring battles fought by chivalric knights, but what was a knight to do in a time of peace? The creation of tournaments helped end boredom and also allowed knights to train for the next war. Tournaments, with their varying events, grew very popular not only with the participants, but with spectators as well. However, like any new trend, certain tournaments caused much controversy. This did not cause the end of tournaments though, they continued to be practiced for many years and over a wide area.
It was a knights job to fight in wars, defend his lady, and prove his honor. However, in a time of peace there were little, or no, chances for him to battle. Boredom usually coupled peace and many knights, having nothing better to do, would drink themselves to death or ruin their physique by eating too much.
The consequences of this were monumental. When another war came along the knights often were out of practice or were too unhealthy to fight well. Also, small battles would brake out among the knights and it was not good for any kingdom to have its own knights killing one another in duels. It was during one of these postwar times that the first tournament was created. The idea caught on fast because anything that would end the boredom was a good idea and as Morris Bishop states, "The knight could amuse himself and his lady by entering a tournament." (The Middle Ages, 124). However, all this amusement comes with a price, early forms of tournaments proved to be just as detrimental to the knights as drinking or dueling.
Due to the popularity of tournaments, and the...