History for Kids Geography for kids Science for kids Kids Educational Site and Search Study and Homework for kids Sports Games
advertisement

Middle Ages

Tournaments, Jousts, and the Code of Chivalry

History >> Middle Ages for Kids

When not fighting wars, knights needed to hone their skills. One way to do this was through tournaments and jousting. These events were a great way to keep in shape during times of peace.


Tournaments

Tournaments were pretend battles between groups of knights. When a town or area would have a tournament they would invite knights from other areas. Typically the local knights fought against the knights from outside the area.

The battle took place on a large field. On the day of the tournament a large crowd would gather to watch. There would even be stands built where the local nobles could sit to watch. Both sides would parade past the spectators shouting war cries and showing off their armor and coat of arms.

The tournament would begin with each side lining up and preparing for the charge. At the sound of a bugle each side would lower their lances and charge. The knights that were still on their horses after the first charge would turn and charge again. This "turning" is where the name "tournament" or "tourney" comes from. This would continue until one side won.

As you can imagine, tournaments were dangerous. The lances used were blunted so that knights would not be killed, but many were still injured. The best knight from each side was often awarded a prize.

Jousts

Jousting was another very popular competition among knights during the Middle Ages. A joust was where two knights would charge each other and try to knock the other off their horse with a lance. Jousting was the highlight of many games and events. The winners were heroes and often won prize money.


The Ideal Knight

Knights were expected to behave a certain way. This was called the Code of Chivalry. The ideal knight would be humble, loyal, fair, Christian, and have good manners.

Code of Chivalry

Here are some of the main codes which Knights tried to live by:
  • To follow the church and defend it with his life
  • To protect women and the weak
  • To serve and defend the king
  • To be generous and honest
  • To never lie
  • To live by honor and for glory
  • To help widows and orphans
Many knights took vows that they would maintain the code. Not all knights followed the code, especially when it came to dealing with people of the lower classes.

Interesting Facts about Tournaments, Jousts, and the Code of Chivalry
  • Sometimes a knight or group of knights would stake out a bridge and refuse to let other knights pass unless they fought. This was called "pas d'armes".
  • Tournaments and jousts attracted crowds of people for entertainment. In many ways, the knights of the Middle Ages were like the sports stars of today.
  • Tournaments, jousts, and pas d'armes were all part of a number of competitions called "hastiludes".
  • Sometimes the winning knights won the losers' horses and armor. The losers then had to buy them back. Talented knights could become rich this way.
  • The word "chivalry" comes from the Old French word "chevalerie" meaning "horseman".
  • Jousting was outlawed in France when King Henry II was killed in a joust competition in 1559.


Take a ten question quiz at the tournaments, jousts, and chivalry questions page.

More subjects on the Middle Ages:

Overview
Timeline
Feudal System
Guilds
Medieval Monasteries
Glossary and Terms

Knights and Castles
Becoming a Knight
Castles
History of Knights
Knight's Armor and Weapons
Knight's coat of arms
Tournaments, Jousts, and Chivalry

Culture
Daily Life in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages Art and Literature
The Catholic Church and Cathedrals
Entertainment and Music
The King's Court

Major Events
The Black Death
The Crusades
Hundred Years War
Magna Carta
Norman Conquest of 1066
Reconquista of Spain
Wars of the Roses

Nations
Anglo-Saxons
Byzantine Empire
The Franks
Kievan Rus
Vikings for kids

People
Alfred the Great
Charlemagne
Genghis Khan
Joan of Arc
Justinian I
Marco Polo
Saint Francis of Assisi
William the Conqueror
Famous Queens



History >> Middle Ages for Kids

Kid's Poll



More polls











Privacy Policy

Kids Games  History for Kids  Homework Help  Science  Geography for Kids 

About Ducksters  Link to Ducksters  Teachers 

Last updated: This site is a product of TSI (Technological Solutions, Inc.), Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use.


To cite this article using MLA style citation: