Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rules for Mounted Swordplay at the Pas du Perron Feé of 1463

The first shield on the right signifies that you (the defender) will be bound to confront on that Sunday, from sunrise to sunset, one after another all the knights and squires who wish to touch it with their rebated sword. All the noble men who wish, without touching the said shield, to come to the entrance of the list, will be presented with a sword as well as a lance which they may use at their discretion until it is broken or lost. Then, they may strike until the assailant has given twenty-two strokes of the sword: whoever strikes the most will win against his companion.
Thrusting was allowed: the horse of the defender, Philippe de Lalaing, was knocked to the ground by a sword thrust by Jean de Damas. Several times a champion dropped their sword and had it returned to them to continue their fight. Lalaing fought four opponents on the first day of this combat, six on the second, eight on the third and six on the last. The overall winner of the combats with lance and sword was the count of Saint-Pol. After they shivered their lances they struck great sword blows against each other until Saint-Pol had struck twenty-two blows to Lalaing's twenty. The overall winner was apparently not decided simply by the number of sword strokes alone: Josse de Lalaing struck twenty-seven blows to Philippe's twenty-one, more than Saint-Pol, but failed to hit with the lance.

These relatively simple rules should be of interest to those interested in recreating medieval armored combat. They provide an imperfect simulation of what was required to win in all out, unrestricted combat, but that's true of any practical modern simulation. And they allow an excellent recreation of one form of medieval sportive simulation of that sort of combat.

Régnier-Bohler, Danielle. 1995. Splendeurs de la cour de Bourgogne récits et chroniques. Paris: Laffont p.1170 Translation by Will McLean, 2013

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