Nursery Rhymes

Jousting Terminology

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Jousting Terminology
The jousting terminology used during the Middle Ages included the following terms:

  • Lists - The 'lists' were barriers which defined the battlefield in a tournament
  • Tilt - A tilt was a barrier introduced in the 14th century to prevent jousting collisions

  • Joust a plaisance - A series of elimination jousting contests which were held over over several days. An overall jousting winner would be determined
  • Pas d'armes or passage of arms Jousting event - A Knight would send out a proclamation that he would take on all jousting challengers at a specific time and place
  • 'À la toille' - A jousting event 'À la toille' was held on either side of a barrier. Prior to the 15th century, jousting events were conducted in the open rather than on either side of a barrier, which made the event much more dangerous
  • Atteint: Atteint was a common term used to determine a hit in a joust
  • Berfrois - Grandstand which housed the ladies and nobility watching the jousting tournament
  • Challenge: Calling another combatant out to combat, a challenge was either 'à plaisance' meaning friendly, or 'à la guerre' as in war
  • Coup de Grace: The death-blow a knight gave to his mortally wounded opponent
  • Mêlée: A Melee was a team combat or ‘free for all’ where teams or groups of individuals met in the field
  • Pas d’Armes: A form of tournament 'à plaisance' where combatants met to exchange pleasantries and test their skills against one another
  • Club Tourney - Two teams using blunt swords and clubs tried to knock the crests off their opponents helmets
  • Recess: A recess was a safe area where horsemen and knights could gather and rest without fear of capture
  • Venans: The Venans were the challengers in a pas d’armes
  • Tenans: The Tenans were the defenders in a pas d’armes
  • Vespers Tourney: A tournament held on the eve of a larger event, where the younger knights bachelor and squires had an opportunity to demonstrate their prowess before the other knights and assembled gallery
  • Invocation: The ceremony used to start a tournament or pas d’armes
  • Tree of Shields: The place where several colored shields were hung for a pas d’armes. Challenging knights could choose the combat they required by hitting the shield
  • Nail Money: This referred to the money paid to a tournament herald for nailing the challenging knight’s shield to the tree of shields
  • Pavilions were the name given to the bright, round medieval tents of alternating colors which housed the combatants and surgeons
Middle Ages Knights
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