Man at Arms

How to be entertained when one is a lord in the Middle Ages?

If you are a lord, you do not interfere much with the populace. As a  your activities and entertainment will be totally different. In addition, your imposing castle and large yard allow you to organize games without even leaving your home and receive all the beautiful people you want. You are not in lack of space.

First of all, in your castle, you can receive various acrobats to entertain you during a meal, during the afternoon or evening. They can be musicians, actors, tightrope walkers, knife throwers, jesters, pitres, mimes, storytellers, etc.

The lords and burghers are also passionate about hunting, it is even one of their favorite pastimes. The villagers are even forbidden to hunt big preys that are reserved for the lords, they must be content with small preys. As for the children, they go hunting with their fathers to practice archery.

Then, the lords also engage in games of chance and strategy. For example, chess is very popular with nobles, because chess is a war game. Otherwise, they play card games or dice.

 

The main activity reserved for the lords remains the tournaments. Indeed, this activity is reserved for lords because only knights can participate. All the greatest knights in the country are invited to tournaments organized by kings and great lords to face one another. The knights present their armor before competing. Then they compete against each other in different events, often fighting with different weapons. All the weapons are made harmless, the spears are not spiked, the swords are no longer sharp. This does not mean that there is never an accident, on the contrary, accidents are very  and sometimes fatal.

The most spectacular event of the tournaments is the game. The game takes place in the following manner: two knights clash, each one of them is on one side of the barier, on horseback, and advance towards each other with a spear and must make their opponent fall from his mount. The combatants are supported, encouraged, by a damsel, who gives the knight of his choice a handkerchief or a veil that the knight will wear on his arm, spear, or neck during the fight. Once a knight is disarmed, the fight can continue on the ground, with swords. The loser must then publicly admit his defeat and the winning knight wins everything the loser posses: armor, horse and even the losing knight himself, whom can buy his freedom by paying a ransom to the winner.

The winner of the tournament is the one who has the most victories. Tournament prices may vary. The prize can be a damsel, money but especially honor and recognition. These tournaments also serve as training for young knights. For others, it’s a real profession to participate in these tournaments.

So, lords and burghers, get your sword, your spear and join a tournament, it’s time to entertain.