Heraldic Times — Knights tournaments RSS

The Medieval Herald part 1

Early references to  Heralds in French medieval literature seem to suggest that they share a common ancestry with the minstrels, storytellers and messengers in the households of the nobility. Other 12th and 13th century writers refer to freelance individuals who followed the newly popular sport of Tournament Jousting or “ Tourneying” across Europe, employed to cry out the names of knights and recount their lineage and acts of prowess. The term “herald” seems to have its origins in the Old German word beerwald, meaning a caller or proclaimer to the army. Heralds became interested in matters armorial as at tournaments and in battle they needed to recognize and memorize the Coats of Arms of the participants. For the purpose of...

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Knight's Tournaments

Coats of arms became popular during the age of tournaments. Tournaments, which were reportedly invented by Godfrey de Preuilly in 11th century France, were a training ground for knights. They showed off their skills and gained fame (or infamy) almost like the gladiators of old. A tournament itself was really a series of mounted and armored combats, fought in contest form. Many knights competed but only one could win. The one who did prevail received a prize of some sort be it the daughter of a nobleman or a hefty purse of coin. The events themselves grew in pomp and pageantry. They were the favorite sport of medieval knights and perhaps the crowds they drew in. By the 14th century,...

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