An armed combat, usually under royal licence, between knights, designed to show their skills and valour. Tournaments were introduced into England from France in the 11th century. Early versions tended to be confused occasions of mock battles between groups of knights, but they were formalized in the 15th century. The elaborate ritual, in which heraldry played an important part, included the issuing and accepting of challenges, conditions of engagement, and points scoring (according to the number of broken lances or blows sustained). Fighting could be on horseback with swords (tourney) or on foot. Simple mounted combat (jousting or tilting) with the two knights charging on either side of an anti‐collision barrier (the tilt) was the most dramatic, but there were also mock sieges and assaults on defended places. Blunt weapons and padded armour reduced accidents, but deaths did occur, including that of Henry II of France in 1559.
Subjects: World History.