Saturday, June 30, 2012

Royal Jousts at the End of the 14th Century

Steven Muhlberger's latest book on royal jousts is the first in a new series from the Freelance Academy Press.

Let me note that I'm a friend of the author, I provided two of the translations included in the book, and I expect to write at least two books for the series. Full disclosure satisfied, I will continue.

The series is quite similar in physical format to the Osprey Military series of paperbacks: Royal Jousts is an 96 page 7" by !0" paperback.

The biggest difference between Freelance Academy and Osprey is this: Freelance's authors are much more diligent in consulting primary sources, and on presenting them in translation.

As a point of comparison, I offer the Osprey Knights at Tournament. it includes not a bibliography, but a list of "Further Reading". 22 works are cited, but all but two are secondary sources.

In contrast, Muhlberger provides translations of five different contemporary accounts of the jousts at St. Inglevert, and contemporary accounts and announcements for three other royal jousts. Almost 9/10 of the text consists of contemporary, or nearly contemporary, accounts. There are ten pages of color pictures in addition to the text.

Some of the material has been previously presented on his Deeds of Arms site, but much is new.

His translations of Froissart present passages that have previously only been available in Thomas Johnes' stilted and inaccurate 1810 translation. He does abridge some of Froissart's repetitive blow-by-blow reporting of the jousts at St. Inglevert. Walter Meller's translation of Eustache Deschamps' 1389 joust announcement is only findable on Google Books if you already know it and where to look for it. Muhlberger's translation of an anonymous pastoral poem celebrating St. Inglevert is also new.

This poem is interesting evidence of the broad popular impact of these jousts. In a field near Ardres the narrator encounters frolicsome shepherds and shepherdesses, who describe the recent jousts in great detail. Pastoral poetry was a conventionalized and idealized genre: its shepherds and shepherdesses the singing cowboys of the Middle Ages. Still, the author implies that the jousts were so newsworthy that it was not implausible that shepherds in the fields 11 miles away were talking about them afterwards. Jousting was an aristocratic sport, but it entertained large crowds of commoners.

The splendor of the jousts and the literary craft of their widely distributed announcements would insure that their fame would spread far beyond their immediate audience.

The poetry of the French announcements displays the frisky and joyful side of 14th c. chivalric culture, as does the English announcement's reference to the "New Troy" of Britain's legendary past and prize for "the lady or damsel who dances best or leads the most joyful life those three days."

Muhlberger presents a convenient summary of the outcomes in Froissart's account of St. Inglevert. He also discusses the political context and goals of the jousts, the influence of St. Inglevert on later pas d'armes, and the conflicts between the different accounts with particular emphasis on Froissart's unreliability as a narrator. I have long believed that what he wrote was closer to docudrama than history.

My Writing

The Journal of Medieval Military History Volume VIII 2010 Outrance and Plaisance
Daily Life in Chaucer’s England 2nd edition 2008 (with Jeffrey L. Forgeng)
1381, the Peel Affinity: an English knight's household in the fourteenth century, 2007 (supplemental text)
Deeds of Arms; Medieval Accounts of Challenges, Jousts, & Tournaments: Compleat Anachronist #94 1997
Daily Life in Chaucer’s England, Greenwood Publishing, 1995 (with Jeffrey L. Forgeng)
The Chaucerian Handbook, 1993 (with Jeffrey L. Forgeng)
Tournaments Illuminated Magazine:
A New Way to Get Maimed Fall 1994 (#112)
Running a Tournament by King René's Rules Fall 1993 (#108)
Medieval Tournament Prizes Fall 1992 (#104)
Running a Medieval Tournament Spring 1991 (#98)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mozart Is Dead. Papageno Isn't.

I heard him last night.

Think about that, my fellow memory-binding bipeds. An imaginary creation, over 200 years old, still lives.

We are richer than emperors. If given a chance to trade places with Hadrian or Trajan, I'd refuse without hesitation, because I'd need to give up The Magic Flute. And other things.

It's a great life if you don't weaken. Or destroy the world.

So let's not do that.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Often Ignored Advice for Space Explorers

"Before departing on an interstellar mission, have each crew member… possess greater common sense than the average bowl of porridge."

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Magic Flute (2006)

Now I have another film adaption of The Magic Flute to love, and I've loved Bergman's 1975 version since its first release in the US. (How can you not love a movie originally titled as Trollflöjten?)

Branagh's version is set in an alternate universe Great War. The overture shows us a meticulously recreation of a trench system, but the blue uniforms worn by the soldiers were worn by no European army in our timeline.

An attack is launched, and biplanes fly overhead. The blazing blue stars on their fuselage were worn by no air force in our reality. It is, we will deduce later if we are paying attention, the insignia of the Empire of the Night.

At this point, we are barely 2/3 of our way through the overture.

Shortly afterwards, plucky officer and gentleman Tamino is rescued from certain death by three ladies who serve the Queen of the Night, kitted out as magical sexy steampunk nurses, descending from the sky, magically.

The Magic Flute is about magic. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.

Branagh took liberties with the original libretto, written not by Mozart but by Emanuel Schikaneder, who history records as an impresario, dramatist, actor, singer and composer and librettist for The Magic Flute. In that order.

That's OK. The original libretto was not particularly awesome.

Branagh dials up the magic. Good choice. "Queen of the Night" is not a mundane job description. Likewise her ladies.

Also, the three child-spirits seem unconstrained by mortal laws. If they need to advise, they'll be there, regardless.

Apparently, the uniform of Papegeno's unit of the Nightian Chemical Warfare Branch, Bird Division, required wearing a stuffed bird on top of your helmet.

Branagh's version does a better job than Bergman's of showing rather than telling of Sarastro's charity and forgiveness, and presenting the sexual advances of Monastos to Pamina as a real threat that shocks even his servants.

The Masonic symbolism of the original libretto becomes masonic in Branagh's production. Sarastro's fortress, scarred by war when we first see it, is rebuilt as gleaming architectural expression of reason, wisdom and measure.

Branagh's Queen of the Night is a bit more human and tragic than Bergman's, majestic and imperious, but still a crazed and deeply damaged psychomom.

In the end, Sarastro, Tamino and Pamina win, but:

...only because of the magic flute and bells, gifts of the Queen of the Night's realm of moonlight and meteors and magic, and:

...enlightenment also has false servants like Monastos, and: the end, the Queen of the Night and her three ladies fall into the outer darkness, although they sang so sweetly, but:

...we never see them hit the ground, and, in Branagh's telling:

...they can fly.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Abilement for the Just of Pees

A helme well stuffyd wt a Crest of hys de viis.
A peyre of platus and xxx Gyders.
A hanscement for the Bode wt slevis.
A botton wt a tresse in the platis.
A schelde coverid wt his deviis.
A Rerebrace wt a rolle of ledyr well stuffid.
A Maynfere with a ring.
A rerebrasce a moton.
A vambrase and a gaynpayne & ij brickette.
And ij dosyn tresse and vj vamplate.
And xij Grapers, and xij Cornallis & xl Speris.
And a Armerer wt a hamor and pynsons.
And naylys wt a byckorne.
A Goode Cowrscer and row schode wt a softe bytte.
and a gret halter for the rayne of the brydyll.
A Sadyll well stuffyd
and a peyre of jambus.
And iij dowbyll Gyrthis wt dowbill bokollus.
And a dowbill sengull wt dowbill bokullus.
And a rayne of ledir hungre teyyd from the
horse hede un to the gyrthys be twen the forther.
Bowse of the horsce for revassyng.
A Rennyng paytrell
A Croper of leder hongre.
A Trappar for the Courser.
And ij servantis on horsebake well be sayne
And vj servantis on fote all in a sute.

From the Hastings MS, mid 15th c.

The Pas d'Armes of Charlemagne's Tree, 1443

Some Knights and Gentlemen of the Duke of Burgundy's Court Hold a Tournament Near to Dijon

During the duke of Burgundy's residence in that duchy several gentlemen of his household, with his permission, and for his amusement, had proclaimed throughout Burgundy, and in other countries, that if there were any men of name desirous of gaining honour and renown by deeds of arms, there were gentlemen, whose names shall be presently declared, who offered to receive and furnish them with arms suitable for the enterprise. The challenges shall likewise be mentioned that were dispersed through divers countries for this purpose, by Sir Pierre de Bauffremont lord of Chargny, who was the chief of the enterprise.

The Challenges for the Tournament and the Names of the Champions

In honour of our Lord, and of his most glorious mother, of my lady Sainte Anne, and of my lord St. George, I, Pierre de Bauffremont lord of Chargny, of Monliet and of Montfort, knight, counsellor and chamberlain, to the most high, most puissant and excellent prince the duke of Burgundy, make known to all princes, barons, knights and esquires, without reproach, with the exception of those of the kingdom of France and of the countries in alliance, or subjects to my said sovereign lord, that for the augmentation and extension of the most noble profession and exercise of arms, my will and intention is, in conjunction with twelve knights, esquires and gentlemen, of four quarterings, whose names follow,-Thibault lord of Rougemont and Mussy, Sir William de Bresremont lord of Sees and of Sonnegnon, William de Brene lord of Mombis and of Gilly, John lord of Valengon, John lord of Rap and of Tirecourt, William de Champdivers lord of Chevigny, John de Chiron lord Rancheineres, Antony de Vaudray, lord of Aille, William de Vaudray lord of Collaon, James de Challant lord of Ainville, Sir Amey lord of Espirey, and John de Chavigny-to guard and defend a pass d'armes, situated on the great road leading from Dijon toward Exonne, at the end of the causeway from the said town of Dijon, at a great tree called the Hermits Tree, in the form and manner following.

"In the first place, two shields (one black besprinkled with tears of gold,--the other violet, having tears of sable), shall be suspended on the tree of the Hermit, and all those, who shall, by a king at arms or pursuivant, touch the first shield, shall be bounden to perform twelve courses on horseback with me, or with one of my aforesaid knights or esquires, with blunted lances.-- Item, if either of the champions, during their twelve courses, be unhorsed by a direct blow with the lance on his armour, such person, thus unhorsed, shall present to his adversary a diamond of whatever value he please.-- Item, the champions may arm themselves according to their pleasure, double or single, but without any wicked intentions, having their rest similar to the usual custom in war.-- Item, each person shall make provision of lances,-- but the rondelle, which lies on the hands, shall be only four fingers broad, and no more.-Item, the lances shall be all of similar length, from the point to the rest.-- Item, for the accomplishment of these feats of arms on horseback, I will supply all who may come without lances, precisely like to my own and to those of my companions.--- Item, these deeds of arms on horseback shall be performed a la toille which shall be six feet high."

Here Follow the Articles for the Deeds of Arms on Foot

"Those princes, barons, knights, and esquires, of the rank before-mentioned, who shall rather take their pleasure in performing feats of arms on foot, shall touch the violet shield, and shall perform fifteen courses with battles-axes or swords, as may be most agreeable to them."

"Item, if, during these courses, any champion shall touch the ground with his hand or knees, he shall be bounden to present his adversary with a ruby of whatever value he please.- Item, each champion shall be armed with the accustomed armour for combating in lists- Item, should any person be unprovided with battle-axe or sword, I will furnish him with the same, similar to my own or to those of my companions. These axes and swords are not to have anything extraordinary in their make, but such as are usual in these kind of combats."

"Item, he that shall have engaged himself to fight with me, or either of us, and shall throw the other to the ground, the person so thrown shall be obliged to surrender himself a prisoner whithersoever the conqueror shall order him.-- Item, the person thus made prisoner shall pay for his immediate ransom, to whomsoever the conqueror shall direct, any sum above five hundred crowns."

"Item, foreigners need not seek for particulars from me, or from my companions; for they will find persons ready to deliver such at the usual hours and places.-- Item, no stranger will be permitted to enter the lists with me or with any one of my companions, for more than one course at arms, namely, once on horseback and once on foot,-- and no one can require more of any of us during the present undertaking."

"Item, the aforesaid feats of arms, on Horseback and on foot, shall be performed on the following days: those on horseback on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays,-those on foot, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.-- Item, this pass d'armes shall commence on the first day of July, in the year 1443, and shall last forty days, exclusive of feast days and Sundays, and the feasts commanded to be kept by the court of Rome."

"Item, no prince, baron, knight, or esquire, shall pass within a quarter of a league of the spot assigned for these combats without entering the lists and taking part, or otherwise leaving as pledges his sword or spurs, according, to his pleasure."

"Item, for the accomplishment of these feats of arms, as well on horseback as on foot, to the articles above specified, I have most humbly supplicated and entreated my aforesaid sovereign lord, that he would grant me his licence and permission to perform them, he has most benignantly assented to. He has likewise most graciously appointed, as judge of the lists, that puissant prince and my most redoubled lord the count of Nevers and of Rethel, --and, in his absence, the lord marshal count of Fribourg and of Neufchatel."

"In order that this my intention of performing these deeds of arms in the manner before specified may be men fully declared, I have affixed my seal to these presents, and signed with my own hand, this 8th day of March, in the year 1442."

"Item, I beseech all princes, barons, knights, and esquires, not to construe this my intention as proceeding from any presumption on my part; for my sole motive is to exalt the noble profession of arms, and to extend the exercise of it,- and also to make acquaintance by arms with such renowned and valiant princes and nobles as may be pleased to honour me with their company. -- Item, all noble foreigners shall have sure and loyal passports from my aforesaid sovereign lord, or, in his absence, from his marshal,"

From: Monstrelet, Enguerrand de, The Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet. trans.
Thomas Johnes, two vols., (London, 1877), Book II, Chapter cclxix-cclxxi

Monstrelet's Chronicle

Monstrelet's Chronicle began where Froissart's ended, in 1400, and he carried it up through the year 1444. He died in 1453, and continuations by other hands brought the Chronicle up to 1516. While less lively and anecdotal than Froissart, he does not seem to have shared Froissart's apparent willingness to freely invent plausible details as needed. His work is probably a better record of what is known of the events he records, even if it is less engaging as literature or as a record of contemporary customs, manners, and daily life. He leave us with a number of valuable accounts of chivalric deeds of arms.

Thomas Johnes' 1877 translation is neither lively nor particularly accurate, but, as for Froissart, at this writing it remains the only complete English translation. Spelling of the Johnes translation has been standardized on modern American English.

De Vaudrey and de Compais Fight on Foot with Swords 1443

A deed done at the pas de l'arbre de Charlemagne

...the duke returned to the side of the lists ordained for combats on foot, with a white baton in his hand to serve as judge. He was very honorably accompanied by those of his blood, his nobility and his council. It wasn't long before Jehan de Compais very humbly presented himself before the duke, to perform and accomplish his arms, according to the conditions of the violet shield that he had touched, and according to the written chapters of the noble pas. De Compais presented himself unarmored, and dressed in a long robe embroidered with gold, and, after being received by the duke, de Compais retreated to his pavilion, to arm himself and make himself ready to perform his arms. It wasn't long before Antoine de Vaudrey, lord de l'Aigle rode out of the castle of Perigny. He was armed for combat on foot, a bassinet on his head with the visor raised, and over his harness arrayed in his coat of arms, with his horse covered with the same arms. Lord de Charny and his companions accompanied him, and other noble men, their friends and peers, and so he entered the lists, dismounted, and likewise very humbly presented himself before the judge his sovereign lord, and the lord de Charny spoke to present him. The duke received him in a very fine fashion, and de Vaudrey retreated to his pavilion.

It wasn't long before de Vaudrey had the two pairs of weapons, with which the arms were to be fought, delivered to the marshal of Burgundy. They were two axes and two swords, and each pair similar. The marshal presented them to the judge, and then presented them to Jehan de Compais, to choose which of the two weapons he wanted to use to perform his enterprise of battle, and to retain the weapon of his choice. De Compais chose the battle with swords and retained one, and returned the other with the two axes to the marshal. They had the weapons carried back, and the sword of arms given to those who served Antoine, and they made the customary cries and warnings. At that everyone left the lists except the eight men at arms as guards and sentinels and to separate the champions, and those who had license or orders from the duke or from his marshal.

That done, the champions left their pavilions. It seems, as I recall, that Antoine de Vaudrey left his pavilion first, or that I saw him first. He had the visor of his bassinet raised, and made a grand cross with his bannerol; and the lord de Charny gave him his sword, which he gripped in two hands, the left hand reversed and protected by the rondel, and so de Vaudrey advanced. On the other side Jehan de Compais left his pavilion, armed as is appropriate for such occaisions, his coat of arms on his back and a bassinet on his head with visor closed. Making the sign of the cross with his bannerol and taking his sword, he saw de Vaudrey advancing with his visor raised, and quickly stopped to raise his own. But de Vaudrey on his side, when he saw de Compais outside his pavilion with visor closed, knocked down his own, and then, seeing his companion raise his, he stopped to raise his own. But it happened that both of them, each one being alone, were unable to raise or open their visors, and they remained with their bassinets closed.

So they took up their swords again, and I remember that de Compais carried his sword with the left hand before, not reversed, and it was that hand that was shielded and protected by the rondel. And to regain his place in the list to encounter his companion, he ran straight forward. The two squires came together fiercely, and de Compais made the first stroke, but hit de Vaudrey's rondel. With his counterstroke, de Vaudrey gave point with his estoc to the bassinet of his companion. Why make a long prologue or long tale of these arms? The squires were strong, hardy, and courageous, and sought each other so harshly that they quickly achieved the fifteen strokes contained in their chapters, and more, without either gaining advantage, or giving ground, or losing their weapons. And they made solid hits on the body so often that the coats of arms of each of them were torn and ripped in many places. And finally de Vaudrey pierced the visor of his companion, and when de Compais felt it pierced, he threw his estoc with all his strength at the visor of his companion, and with that stroke they were both similarly taken in the visor. Each champion held the other by the pierced visor, and they lifted their swords so that both of them had their face naked and uncovered, and at that the judge threw down his baton, and had the guards restrain and separate them.

The came before the judge, each of them offering to finish if he wanted them to, but the duke of Burgundy told them that they had accomplished their arms resolutely and well, and that they had done enough, commanding them to touch together, and remain friends and brothers. They did this quickly, each returning to their own end of the lists....They left these arms with honor on both sides, and in truth they did their arms fighting so well and so fiercely, with so many strokes given to the body on each side that I haven't seen the like since. Nor have I seen, from that day to this, any combat with estoc on foot fought without retreat: and those who undertake it will find it hard to complete.

Oliver de la Marche, Memoires Paris 1884 I. 328.

Translation copyright 2002 Will McLean

Jacques de Lalaing and Jacques d'Avanchies Fight with Swords, 1450

The Wednesday following they appeared together, around eight in the morning, and for the second time Sir Jacques de Lalaing, knight of the enterprise on the one side, and on the other side, Jacques d'Avanchies, presented themselves; and sir Jacques presented himself before the judge dressed in a long robe of cloth of gold and crimson, furred with marten, in nearly the color and pattern of the violet shield touched by the said Jacques; and the squire presented himself in a long robe and retreated into his pavilion; and soon sent for the marshal of the lists, to have the swords to do the arms, and signifying to the knight of the enterprise that the squire had required eleven strokes done with a sword, advancing and stepping back three paces, according to the content of the chapters. The said swords given and presented to the squire, he chose according to his pleasure.

The cries and ceremonies done, they left their pavilions, and to speak first of Jacques d'Avanchies, he left his pavilion, entirely armed, his coat of arms on his back and gripping his sword, which they call an estoc of arms; and holding his left hand reversed and protected by the roundel of the estoc; and he was armed on his head with a armet in the fashion of Italy armed with a great bevor. And on the other side the knight of the enterprise left his pavilion which was in the manner of a little tent; strewn with blue tears. He was completely armed; and over his armor he had a palletot with sleeves of vermilion silk covered with tears as before; and so continued his finery, following the way that he had been carrying out his task, according to the conditions of the shields of his enterprise; and on his head he was armed with a bassinet with a great visor, which he had closed, and this was the first and only time which sir Jacques fought with his face covered. But the arms with the estoc, struck without being beaten aside, require secure armor, which everyone who knows the noble profession of arms can easily understand. And when sir Jacques had gripped his sword, he seemed like one of the most handsome and fierce men of arms that I have ever seen, and, beyond comparison, I have never seen a more a more handsome one.

They advanced the one against the other and, when Jacques d'Avanchies approached within six paces of his companion, he stopped in his tracks and fixed himself in the sand, the left foot forward and the point of his sword turned toward his companion; and showed well that he wished to wisely bear and sustain his deeds and the power of the knight; and sir Jacques marched boldly, and with that stroke hit the squire between the left shoulder and the edge of the bevor of the armet with a very great stroke; and the squire hit sir Jacques on the left flank. And the guards put themselves as ordered between them, and made them step back three paces, as had been said by the chapters, and for the second time sir Jacques advanced on his companion; but the squire again fixed himself in his tracks as before and put the point of the estoc before the blow, and the knight, advancing for the second time, hit very hard right beside the first hit but the squire sustained it coolly and wisely , without stepping back. The knight, who was very sure in his deeds, did not pursue the attack further, but made the same steps back as ordered and returned for the third time; and to make a long story short, so the knight continued to prosecute his attack and make the steps back as prescribed until the eleven strokes of the sword were struck by the knight, and sustained by the squire, as he had from the beginning, without the squire making any retreat from his first position, and so the judge had them parted, and so they retreated each one to his pavilion. to disarm....

Oliver de la Marche, Memoires Paris 1884 II. 188 Translation copyright Will McLean, 2002

How the squire of Savoy did his arms on foot to meet the knight guarding the pas, with the sword.

The twelfth day of the following month the squire of Savoy did his arms with a sword, to meet the knight of the pas. They both came at the hour of eleven within the lists where they made their presentations before the judge, as before, and so entered each one into his pavilion to arm. After the swords were inspected and the cries and ordinances done, the knight of the pas issued out of his pavilion ,his bassinet on his head, so well armed that it was a fine thing to see. And over his harness he was dressed with a robe of sanguine silk all strewn with blue tears. And the squire of Savoy was armed with an armet on his head and over his harness was dressed in his coat of arms. And they left their pavilions advancing the one on the other so that they came together to fight before the judge. The Savoyard squire asked for seven pushes with the sword to be done with three steps to step back and retreat. And the guards were so ordered, in case they wished to step back their three paces, to put them in the position where they should be; but the Savoyard didn't see well in his armet, and he bore himself without moving once from the place where he had first put himself. And there he waited for the knight of the pas who with each stroke made his steps back, always doing these steps quickly and handsomely, and then going to strike against the Savoyard who, as is said, did not move once. Then the judge, seeing the seven strokes accomplished, threw down his baton, and told them that their arms were accomplished well and honorably. They touched together and returned to their pavilions to disarm themselves.

Chastelain, Georges Chronique de Jacques de Lalain in Choix de Chroniques at Memoires sur l'Histoire de France, ed. J.A. C. Buchon Paris 1836 p. 685

Translation copyright Will McLean, 2002

The Tiptoft Rules, 1466


How many ways the prize is won.
1. First, Who so breaketh most spears as they ought to be broken, shall have the prize.
2. Item, Who so hitteth three times, in the sight of the helm, shall have the prize.
3. Item, Who so meeteth two times, coronel to coronel, shall have the prize.
4. Item, Who so beareth a man down with stroke of a spear, shall have the prize.

How many ways the prize shall be lost.
1. First, Who so striketh a horse shall have no prize.
2. Item, Who so striketh a man, his back turned, or disgarnished of his spear, shall have no prize.
3. Item, Who so hitteth the toyle (or tilt) three times shall have no prize.
4.Item, Who so unhelmeth himself two times shall have no prize, unless his horse do fail him.

How broken spears shall be allowed.
1. First, Who so breaketh a spear, between the saddle and the charnell of the helm, shall be allowed for one.
2. Item, Who so breaketh a spear, from the coronel upwards, shall be allowed for two.
3. Item, Who so breaketh a spear, so as he strike his adversary down, or put him out of his saddle,or disarmeth him in such wise as he may not run the next course after, or breaketh his spear coronel to coronel, shall be allowed three spears.

How spears shall be disallowed.
1. First, Who so breaketh on the saddle shall be disallowed for one spear-breaking.
2. Item, Who so hitteth the toyle once, shall be disallowed for two.
3- Item, Who so hitteth the toyle twice, shall, for the second time, be abated three.
4.Item, Who so breaketh a spear, within a foot to the coronel, shall be adjudged as no spear broken, but a fair attaint.

For the prize to be given, and who shall be preferred.
1. First, Who so beareth a man down out of the saddle, or putteth him to the earth, horse and man, shall have the prize before him that striketh coronel to coronel two times.
2. Item, He that striketh coronel to coronel two times, shall have the prize before him that striketh the sight three times.
3. Item, He that striketh the sight three times, shall have the prize before him that breaketh most spears.
Item, if there be any man that fortuneth in this wise, which shall be deemed to have abided longest in the field helmed, and to have run the fairest course, and to have given the greatest strokes, and to have holpen himself best with his spear, he shall have the prize.


At Tourney
Two blows at the passage and ten at the joining, more or less as they make it. All gripes, shocks, and foul play forbidden.

How prizes at Tourney, and Barriers, are to be lost.
He that giveth a stroke with a pike from the girdle downward or under the barrier, shall win no prize.
He that shall have a close gauntlet, or any thing to fasten his sword to his hand, shall have no prize.
He whose sword falleth out of his hand, shall win no prize.
He that stayeth his hand in fight on the barriers, shall win no prize.
He whosoever shall fight, and doth not show his sword to the Judges before, shall win no prize.
Yet it is to be understood, that all challengers may win all these Prizes against the defendants.
The maintainers may take aide or assistance of the noble men, of such as they shall like best.

Harl. MS 69, fo.19, in Cripps -Day, Appendix IV, p. xxvii. Note that this text appears in a 16th c. MS., so some of the details, particularly the rules for the barrier, may be later interpolations.

To cry a Joust of Peace, 15th c.

We Heralds of Arms bearing shields of devise here we give in knowledge unto all gentlemen of name and of arms. That there be six Gentlemen of name and of arms. That for the great desire and worship that the said six Gentlemen hath taken upon them to be the third day of May next coming before the high and mighty redoubted ladies and Gentlewomen in this high and most honorable court. And in their presence the said six Gentlemen there to appear at nine of the bell before noon. And to joust against all comers without the said day unto six of the bell at after noon. And then by the advice of the said ladies and Gentlewomen to give unto the best Jouster without a Diamond of 40 pounds.

And unto the next the best jouster a ruby of 20 pounds. And unto the third well jouster a sapphire of 10 pounds.

And on the said day there being officers of arms showing their measure of their spears garnished. That is, Coronel, vamplate and grapers all of a size that they shall joust with. And that the said Comers may take the length of the said spears with the advice of the said officers of arms that shall be indifferent unto all parties unto the said day.

The Coming into the Field

The six Gentlemen must come into the field unhelmed and their helms borne before them and their servants on horseback bearing either of them a spear garnished. That is the said six spears the which the said six servants shall ride before them into the field and as the said six Gentlemen be coming before the ladies and Gentlewomen. Then shall be sent an herald of arms up unto the ladies and Gentlewomen, saying in this wise: "High and mighty redoubted and right worshipful ladies and Gentlewomen, these six Gentlemen be come in to your presence and recommended them all unto your good grace in as lowly wise as they can, beseeching you for to give unto three best Jousters without, a Diamond, and a Ruby, and a sapphire unto them that ye think best can deserve it."

Then this message is done. Then the six Gentlemen goeth unto the tiltways (tellws) and doeth on their helms. And when the heralds cry "a l'ostell, a l'ostell", then shall all the six Gentlemen within unhelm them before the said ladies, and make their obeisance and go home unto their lodgings and change them.

Now be come the Gentlewomen without into the presence of the ladies

Then cometh forth a lady, by the advice of all the ladies and Gentlewomen, and gives the Diamond unto the best Jouster without. Saying in this wise: "Sir these ladies and Gentlewomen thank you for your disport and your great labor that ye have this day in their presence. And the said ladies and Gentlewomen sayen that the ye have best Joust this day. Therefore the said ladies and Gentlewomen given you this Diamond and send you much worship and joy of your lady." Thus shall be done with the Ruby and with the Saphire unto the other two next the best Jousters. This done then shall the herald of arms stand up all on high and shall say with a high voice "John hath well jousted, Richard hath Jousted better and Thomas hath jousted best of all."

Then shall he to whom the Diamond is give unto take a lady by the hand and begin the dance. And when the ladies hath danced as long as them liketh then spice wine and drink and then avoid.

From Landsdowne Ms. 285(John Paston's copy of the Grete Booke) fo. 10b, reproduced in Cripps-Day, F.H. The History of the Tournament (London, 1918; reprint New York, 1982). Appendix, p.xxxiv

An alternate versino from the Hastings MS:

To crie a Justus of Pees

We Herrowdys of Armis beryng sheldis of deviis here we yeve in knowlache un to all Gentill men of name and of armus. That ther ben vj Gentilmen of name & armus. That for the gret desire and worschippe that the sayde . vj Gentilmen hath taken up pon them to be the iij day of May nex comyng be fore the hy & myghtty redowttyd ladys & Gentilmen there to a pere at ix of the belle be fore noone. And to Juste a yens all comers wtoute on the sayd day un to vj of the belle at after noon.

And then be there a vise of the sayde ladys & Gentille wymmen to yeve un to the best Juster wtoute a Diamunde of xl li.

And un to the nexte the best juste a rube of xx li. And un to the thyrde well juste a sauffer of x li. And on the sayde day there beyng offecers of armis schuying thayre mesure of thayre speris garnyst. That ys Cornall wamplate & grapers all of asyse that they schall. Juste wt and that they sayde Comers may take the lengthe of the seyde speris wt the a vise of the sayde offecers of armys that schall be in defferant un to all parteys on the sayde day.

The comyng in to the felde

The vj Gentillmen most com in to the felde un helmyd and theyre helm borne be fore tham & thayre servant on horsbake beryng eyther of tham a spere garniste. Yt is the sayde vj speris the wheche the sayde servantis schall ride be fore them in to the felde & as the sayde vj Gentillmen ben com be fore the ladyys & Gentilwime. Then schall be sent an harawde of arm up un to that worschypfull ladys & Gentylwymmen these vj Gentill men ben come in to yowre presens and recomaundit ham all un to yowr goode grace in as lowli wyse as they can besechyng yow for to gyffe un to iij best Justers wtowte a Diamownd & a Rube & a sauffer un to them that ye thenk best can deserve hit.

Thenne this message is doon. Then the vj Gentill men goyth un to the tellws and do on theyr helm. And when the harrawdis cri a lostell a lostell, then schall all the vj Gentill men wtin unhelm them before the seyde ladyys. And make theyre abeisans and go hom un to their loggyng & chaunge them.

Now be com to the Gentyll men withoute in to the presens of the ladyys

Then comyth forth a lady. Be the a vise of all the ladiis & Gentill wymmen & yevis the Dyamund unto the beste Juster wtoute. Sayying in this wise sere these ladiis & Gentill wymmen thank yow for yowr dysport & yowr gret labur that ye have this day in thayre presens. And the sayde ladiis and Gentyll wymmen sayyn that the ye have beste Just this day. There fore the sayde ladys & Gentillwymmen gyff yow this Diamunde & sende yow mych worschyp & ioye of yowr lady. Thus schall be doon wt the Rube & the Sauffer un to the other ij nex the best Justers this don.

Then schall ye harraude of arm stonde up all on hey & schall sey with a hey voyce John hath well justyd. Rycharde hath Justyd better. & Thomas hath justyd best of all.

Then schall he that the Diamonde ys gyf un to he schall take a lady by the honde & be gynnyth the daunce. And when the ladiis hath dauncyd as longe as hem lykyth then spicys & wyne & drynke. And then a voyde.

A Combat between Sir John de Mello and the Lord de Chargny, 1435

On the 11th day of August in this year, a combat at arms took place at Arras, in the presence of the duke of Burgundy, as judge of the lists. A handsome scaffold was erected for him in the great market-place, on which were seated behind him the dukes of Bourbon and of Gueldres, the counts de Richemont, constable, de Vendome, d'Estampes, and many other great lords. The combat was between Sir John de Mello, a very renowned knight banneret of Spain, appellant, without any defamatory quarrel, but solely to acquire honour, against Pierre de Bauffremont, lord of Chargny, knight banneret also, a native of Burgundy, and knight of the Golden Fleece. The terms were, to break three lances only. When the lord de Chargny had acceded to this request, he in his turn demanded from the Spanish knight a combat on foot with battle-axes, swords and daggers, until one of them should lose his arms, or place his hands on his knees, or on the ground, -subject, however, in all cases, to the decisions of the judge of the field.

These proposals having been for some time agreed to by the two knights, on Thursday morning, about ten o'clock, the Spanish knight appeared in the lists, attended by four others, whom the duke of Burgundy had ordered to accompany him, -namely, the lord de l'Or, governor of the Rethelois, the lord de Ligny, the lord de Saveuses, and the lord de Sainzelless, with four or five of his attendants, one of whom bore on the end of a lance a small banner emblazoned with his arms. The other knights carried his lances; and thus without more pomp, he made his obeisance to the duke of Burgundy, and retired from the lists by the way he had come on the left hand of the duke. He waited a considerable time for his adversary, who at length appeared grandly accompanied by the counts d'Estampes, de St. Pol, and de Ligny, together with the earl of Suffolk, all bearing his lances. Behind him were four coursers, richly caparisoned with his arms and devices, with pages covered with robes of wrought silver, and the procession was closed by the greater part of the knights and esquires of the duke of Burgundy's household. Having made his bow to the duke, as the Spanish knight had done, he withdrew to the right of the lists.

When they were ready, they ran some tilts with lances, without any injury on either side. Then the Spaniard mounted a courser which the duke of Bourbon had lent him, for his own shied at a lance. They broke their lances with great courage against each other, until the number agreed on had been performed. Neither were wounded, although the helmet of don Mello was a little broken. They then quitted the lists, with the assent of the duke of Burgundy, and returned to their lodgings accompanied as before.

The Spaniard wore over his armour a vermillion-coloured mantle, with a white cross on it, like to the badge of the French, which created a disgust in some of the Burgundian lords, as it seemed to mark a partiality for their enemies. When he was informed of this, he excused himself by saying, that in consequence of the strict alliance which had so long continued between the kingdoms of France and Spain, he could not with propriety wear any other badge.

On the morrow, which was a Friday, the duke of Burgundy proceeded to the lists, between eight and nine o'clock in the morning, grandly attended by his chivalry, and with him came the princes who had accompanied him the preceding day. Shortly after, the lord de Chargny, the appellant, appeared with the same persons as on the first day, who carried the weapons he was to combat with. He was mounted on a courser covered with housings of his arms, and followed by four pages mounted in like manner, and by the greater part of the knights and esquires of the duke of Burgundy's household, with some other nobles.

Having thus entered the lists, he went to dismount at his pavilion, and thence on foot to make his obeisance to the duke; after which he retired to a seat, where he waited a full hour for his adversary. When he arrived, he was accompanied as on the preceding day, -and the knights and esquires whom the duke of Burgundy had appointed to attend him bore his weapons for the combat. Behind him were his servants, one of them carrying a small banner at the end of a lance. On his entering the lists he saluted the duke, and withdrew to his pavilion. While he remained there, he was frequently admonished by the knights that attended him, who gave him the best advice in their power for the success of his combat, but he paid not any attention to what they said, nor would discover to them his plans, telling them not to be any way concerned about him, for that, with God's good pleasure, he would do his duty.

Everything being ready, the king-at-arms, called Golden Fleece, proclaimed, in three different parts of the lists, that all who had not been otherwise ordered should quit the lists, and that no one should give any hindrance to the two champions under pain of being punished by the duke of Burgundy with death. Eight gentlemen armed were appointed to stop or raise up either of the champions, as the judge of the field should direct. When the proclamation was made, the lord de Chargny issued out of his pavilion, holding his battle-axe in his right hand, the iron part toward his adversary, and thus advanced a little forward.

The Spanish knight advanced at the some time from his pavilion, having a kerchief thrown over his helmet that covered his visor, which was half raised.-but this kerchief was taken away, when he was advancing, by his servants. They made for each other with vigorous strides, brandishing their lances; but the Spaniard all this time had his visor raised. The lord de Chargny, without waiting for his adversary, threw his lance at him as he approached, while the Spaniard advanced to throw his, and hit him on the side, where he was wounded, as well as in the arm, for the lance hung in the vambraces of his armour, whence the lord de Chargny soon shook it off on the ground. The two champions now approached with great courage, and handled their weapons very nobly; but the lord de Chargny was much displeased that his adversary did not close his visor.

While they were thus combating, the duke of Burgundy gave his signal for the battle to cease, and ordered the champions to be brought before him, who seemed very much vexed that an end had be put so soon to their combat, -more especially the Spaniard, who twice declared aloud that he was far from being pleased that so little had been done; for that he had come at a great expense, and with much fatigue, by sea and land, from a far country, to acquire honour and renown. The duke told him that he had most honourably done his duty and accomplished his challenge. After this, they were escorted back to their lodgings in the same manner as before. The Spanish knight was much noticed by very many of the nobles present, who greatly praised him for his courage, in thus having fought with his visor raised, -for the like had not been before seen.

When this combat was over, the duke of Burgundy paid great respect and attention to the Spanish knight, by feasting him at his hotel on the Sunday and following days, -presenting him at the same time with many rich presents, to reimburse him for all the expenses he had been at. The knight soon afterward took leave of the duke and his company, and departed from Arras on his return to his own country.

From: Monstrelet, Enguerrand de, The Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet. trans.
Thomas Johnes, two vols., (London, 1877), Book II, Chapter clxxxi.

Challenge of Arms of Piers de Masse, 1438

In the worship and in the name of God our blessed lady Virgin Mary and my lord Saint Denis mine avower and condider. I Piers de Masse Squire of the Realm of France born de quater Cotes of my arms without any reproach hath required in the town of Pounteis John Astley Squire born within the Realm of England de quater Cotes of his arms, without any reproach for to do Arms on horseback half at my Request and half at his request. And that we twain be appointed for to do and accomplish the said arms on horseback before le treshaulte et tres excellent et tres puissaunt prince le Roi de France my sovereign lord of the which he of his good grace hath appointed that he himself will be our judge that same day of these articles here ensuing.

The first Article is that we twain shall be armed upon horseback in harness double without any shield and rest of vantage and either of us to be armed as us seemeth best for to break either of us twain, six spears that is twelve spears in the whole and all of one length. And of such greatness as either of us may bear at our pleasure.

The second Article is that I Piers de Masse shall let make the said twelve all of one length. And I the said Piers will that ye have the choice of the said twelve spears.

The third article is that I the said Piers de Masse shall make that field and the Tilt in the midst for to keep our horses God save and keep them from harm.

The fourth article is that which of us twain that God of his high grace will that hath the better shall have of the other his helm or other habillement the which he bears upon his head for to bear upon his lady.

These be the arms that John Astley squire did accomplish within the town of Paris in Saint Anton's street. And smote the said Piers de Masse through the head with a spear in the year of our lord 1438 before King Charles of France was done the 29th day of August, the 16th year of the reign of King Henry the VIth.

From Landsdowne Ms. 285(John Paston's copy of the Grete Booke) fo. 15b, reproduced in Cripps-Day, F.H. The History of the Tournament (London, 1918; reprint New York, 1982). Appendix, p.xxxv

An alternate version of the text from the Hastings MS:

In the worschip and in the name of god and oure blessid ladi virgyn marie and my lorde seynt Denys mon avouer and codyder. I Peiere de masse squier of the reem of Frauns born de quarte cotes of my armes wt out ony reproche haith reqirid in ye toun of pounteis ihon asteley squer born wt ynne ye reme of yngeland de quarte cotes of his armys wtoute ony reproche for do doe armys an horsbak half at my requeste and half at his request and that we tweyne be a poyntid for to doe and acuple pei seid armys an horsbak before le treshaute et tresexcelent et trespyssaunt pince le roye de Fraunce my sovereyn lorde of the whech he of his goode grace haith apoyntid that he hymselfe wol be oure iuge that same day of these artiklis here suinge.

The firste artikle is that we tweyne schal be armyd a pon horsbak in harnes double wt oute ony shilde and reste of vauntage and ethir of us to be arimud as us semyth beste for to breke ethir of us tweyne vj spris that is xij speris in that hole and alle of on lencthe and of such gretenesse as eythir of us may bere at oure plesyre.

The seconde artickyl is that I peire de masse schal lette make the seyde xij speris all on lengt and I wel that ʒe have the choyissche of the seide xij speris.

The thirdde artickill is that I the seide peirre de masse schall make the Felde and the Telle in the mddis for to kepe oure horssis god saffe and kepe them frome harme.

The fourthe artickill is that whiche of us tweyne that god of his heye grace woll that hathe the bettyr schall have of the todyr his helme o odyrr a bylmannt the which he berys apon his hede for to bere unto his ladye.

These be the armys that John Asteley squire didde a complye a compluse it yn the toun of parris in seynttantonne strette smoitte the seide peirre de masse thorwe the hedde wt a spere in the yere of oure lorde mcccccxxxviij before kyng charlys of Fraunce was don the xxix day of Auguste the rayne of kyng Harry the vj xji.

The Duke of Bourbon's Enterprise 1414

Nous, Jean Duc de Bourbonnois, Comte de Clermont, de Fois, et de l'Isle, seigneur de Beaujeu, per at chambrier de France, desirans eschiver oisivete et explecter nostre personne, en advancant nostre honneur par le mestier des armes, pensant y acquerir bonne renommee, et la grace de la tres-belle de qui nos sommes serviteurs, avon n'agueres voue et empris que nous, accompagne de seize autres chevaliers et escuyers de nome et d'armes, c'est asavoir l'admiral de France, messire Jean de Chalon, le seigneur de Barbasen, le seigneur du Chastel, le seigneur de Gaucourt, le seigneur de la Heuze, le seigneur de Gamaches, le seigneur de S. Remy, le seigneur de Monsures, messire Guillaume Bataille, messire Droûet d'Asnieres, le seigneur de la Fayette, et le seigneur de Poularques, chevaliers: Carmalet, Loys Cochet, et Jean du Pont, escuyer, porterons en la jambe senestre chascun un fer de prisonnier pendant a une chaisne, qui seront d'or pour les chevaliers, et d'argent pour les escuyers, par tous les dimanches de deux ans entiers, commencans le dimanche prochain après la date de ces presentes, ou cas que plutoit ne trouverons pareil nombre de chevaliers et escuyers de nom et d'armes, sans reproche, que tous ensemblement nous veuillent combattre à pied jusques à outrance, armez chacun de tels harnois quil luy plaira, portant lance, hasche, espee et dague ou moins de baston, de telle longuer que chascun voudra avoir, pour estre prisonniers les uns des autres, par telle condition que ceux de nostre part qui seront outrez seiont quittes en baillant chascun un fer et chaisne pareils à ceux que nous portons: et ceux de lautre part qui seront outrez seront quittes chascun pour un bracelet dor aux chevaliers et dargent aux escuyers, pour donner la ou bon leur semblera, etc....

Item, et serons tenu nous duc de Bourbonnois quand nous irons en Angleterre, ou devant le juge que sera accorde, de la faire saavoir a tous ceux de notre compaignie que ne seroient pardeca, et de bailler a nos dits compagnons telles lettres de monseigneur le Roy, qui leur seront necessaires pour leur license et conge, etc. Fait a Paris, le premier de janvier, l'an de grace 1414.

Cripps-Day, Appendix II. xiiii, giving Memoires de M. de Peiresc as source.

We Jean Duke of Bourbon, Count of Clermont, of Fois and of l'Isle, Lord of Beaujeu, per and chamberlain of France desiring to put aside idleness and display our person, in advancing our honor by mastery of arms, thinking to acquire good renown , and the grace of the great beauty to which we are servant, have just sworn and undertaken that we, accompanied by sixteen other knights and squires of names of arms that is to say the Admiral of France, Sir Jean de Chalon, the Lord of Barbasen, the Lord of Chastel, the Lord of Gaucourt, the Lord of Heuze, The Lord of Gamaches, the Lord of St. Remy, the Lord of Monsures, Sir Guillaume Bataille, Sir Droûet d'Asnieres, the Lord of Fayette, and the Lord of Poularques, knights: Carmalet, Loys Cochet, and Jean du Pont, squires, bearing on their left leg a prisoner's iron hanging from a chain which will be of gold for the knights and of silver for the squires, for every Sunday for the next two years, beginning with the next Sunday after the date of these presents until we are able to find an equal number of knights and squires of names and arms without reproach, who wish to fight with us all together on foot to the outrance, each one armed in such harness as pleases him, carrying lance, axe, sword and dagger or lesser weapons of such length as he wishes to have until each one is taken prisoner by the others, according to the condition that those of our side which are defeated will be released by each giving a prisoner's iron and chain equal to those which we carry. And those on the other side who are defeated will be released by a bracelet of gold for the knights and a bracelet of silver for the squires to give where it seems best.

Item: and we, the Duke of Bourbon will be bound, when we are in England or before a judge which we shall agree upon, to make this known to those of our company that are not there, and to give to our said companions such letters from my lord the King which shall be necessary for their license and passport, etc., Done at Paris the first of January the year of grace 1414.

Translation copyright Will McLean, 2003

How Arms Were Done in the Mines Before Arras, Between the Count d'Eu and Lord Montagu (1414)

After these deeds were done, many things were devised between those of the city and those outside, and they said that arms would be undertaken within the mines; the Count d'Eu would meet with Lord Montagu, captain of the city, and do arms under certain conditions. That is to say that Lord Montagu was to be within the mines, armed and equipped with axe, sword and dagger as seemed good to him; and the Count d'Eu outside the mines armed and equipped likewise. And the arms were so devised that if Lord Montagu was able to issue out of the mines, against the will of the Count d'Eu and by force of arms, the Count d'Eu would be required to give him a diamond worth a hundred shields. And, if the Count so guarded the exit that Lord Montagu was unable to come out, the said Lord Montagu would likewise be required to give him a diamond worth a hundred shields. And so the arms were accomplished: and the Count d'Eu, who was a youth, guarded the exit of the passage so valiantly that Lord Montagu was never able to conquer him. And when it was completed, with a good will he paid him the diamond, which was presented to the Count d'Eu to give to his lady.

Jean Le Fevre, Seigneur de Saint-Remy Chronique Paris 1876

Translation copyright Will McLean 2002

Friday, June 22, 2012

Victory of Seven French against Seven English in a Private Combat 1402

Although every private combat which does not have the goal of the public interest may be accused of temerity, there are, however, men who engage in these sorts of enterprises, solely to make themselves a reputation for valor. There were these that did so: Sir Arnaud Guillain, Sir du Chatel, Bataille, Archambaud de Villars, Clignet de Brabant, Jean called Champagne, and a certain Carius, all brave French gentlemen. Desiring to give splendor to their enterprise, they sent to England a herald of arms to courteously provoke an equal number of English to swordplay. The issue of this fight would be to establish, they said, the superiority of French knights over English knights and therefore show which of the two nations ought to be considered the bravest. The herald, admitted into the presence of the King of England, added that the French had chosen a closed field near the city of Bordeaux, where they proposed to fight to the finish and that they would agree on each side that whoever admitted themselves vanquished would pay a diamond for their entire ransom.

This unlooked-for provocation stung the pride of the English. Whether from resentment, hate or from shame of refusing such combat, Lord Scales, Sir Aymant Chotet, John Heron, Richard Boutevale, John Fleury, Thomas Tile and Robert de Scales, all brave and valiant men, accepted the challenge with the consent of the king of England.

The Duke of Orleans, brother to the King, having learned that none of the conditions had been refused, and considering that the champions were all of his household, resolved to do abundant alms in many holy places. He did the same at the church of St. Denis, and asked the monks to pray with fervor for them. Although wise men disapproved of this combat as unreasonable, and justifying in the eyes of foreigners the proverb which accused the French of being the most presumptuous of all people, the matter for which he made the offerings turned out successfully in the end.

They returned on one side and the other to the place designated. So that all would pass without tumult and without disorder, two noble knights, the Breton Lord Harpedanne and the English Earl of Rutland were charged to lead and conduct the champions of both sides with a very large escort of armed men. On the 19th of May they conducted them to the lists as had been arranged. They dismounted and entered armed at all points into the field, encouraged by the cries of their assistants. They gave the signal for combat. Before coming hand to hand, the English had resolved to direct their first attack against Sir du Chatel, Breton, who they knew to be the most redoubtable of their adversaries; so they sought to knock him down. They directed at him two vigorous blows with the lance, but he threw them back on either side with great force. On both sides all arms were put in use; each was animated by the hope of victory.

I leave it to courtiers and captains to describe the address and the agility each displayed in this circumstance, the eagerness and valor with which they aided each other, and the fear that seized the spectators, as they saw the blood cover those on both sides and the victory indecisive. I will content myself with saying that the combat was long and fierce, and they each were mutually weighed down with injuries. The English, all striking redoubled strokes with the arm of Hector, sent the French back in need of a healing broth, and on their side the French reproached their adversaries with the ignominious end of their King Richard. Finally an English knight was killed, and the others, who were gravely injured, surrendered.

So, with victory complete, the Lord of Harpedanne, Breton, led the victors to Paris, where the lords of the court received them with all sorts of marks of friendship, and many presents, as they had sustained the dignity and honor of France. The others returned to England humbled and troubled. This reverse ought to have taught them to abstain from similar hazards. But they did not leave off, during the next two years, to attempt the same proceedings against new adversaries, sometimes of a greater number, sometimes of a lesser number, and , what merits amazement, with such eagerness, in spite of how the fight had gone against them. I remember that during that time many people sought to understand how the French showed such an extraordinary animosity. I apprehend that they had conceived an implacable hate against the English because of the horrible murder of their king and the injurious banishment of the queen, daughter of the king of France, and that they did not venture to rise up openly against them, or be seen as having violated the truce, and so they sought an honorable opportunity for revenging their intolerable injuries.

Chronique du Religieux de Saint-Denys, ed. M.L. Bellaguet, v. 3 Paris: 1842. p.30-35

In this year, a valiant knight from the marches of Guyenne, named Sir Jean de Herpedenne, Lord of Belleville and of Montegue, who was seneschal of Saintonge for the King, on which marches he often had fine encounters, and feats of war, made known at Paris at the court of the King, that he had there some nobles of England, desiring to do arms for the love of their ladies, and if there were any French who wished to come, they would receive them with the aforesaid intention. When certain nobles who were near Paris, particularly at the court of the Duke of Orleans, heard of this they lifted up their ears, and came to the said Duke of Orleans and begged him to give them leave to go resist the enterprise of the English, intending to fight the said English, which were on one side and the other renowned as valiant men in England and Guyenne. The names of the English were Lord Scales, Sir Aymon Cloiet, John Heron, Richard Witevalle, John Fleury, Thomas Trays, and Robert de Scales, valiant men, strong and powerful in their body and used to arms.

The names of the French were Sir Arnaud Guillon, Lord of Barbasan, Sir Guillaume de Chastel of lower Normandy, Archambaud de Villars, Sir Colinet de Brabant, Sir Guillaume Bataille, Carouis and Champagne, who were all valiant gentlemen, and the Duke of Orleans gave them leave, confident in their prowess and their valiance. There was some difficulty made over Champagne, because he had never been at war nor at such work, but he was one of the best wrestlers that you could find. And because of this the Lord of Barbasan said to the Duke of Orleans: "My lord, let him come because as soon as he holds his enemy in his hands and comes to grips with him, he will, by wrestling, throw him down and discomfit him."And so leave was given to Champagne like the others. They left for Paris in good order and equipped with armor and other things necessary in such matters, and they went very diligently in Guyenne to the said seneschal of Saintonge, and the chief of those seven French was the Lord of Barbasan, and of the English the Lord Scales.

And the combat was arranged for the 19th day of May. On this day the parties came together well arrayed, armed and dressed appropriately. In the morning they heard mass with great devotion, and received each one the precious body of Jesus Christ. Grandly and notably the Lord de Barbasan exhorted them to do well, and to guard their welfare and honor. Showing them the true and reasonable quarrel which the king had against this ancient enemies of England, without having regard to fighting for the ladies nor to acquire the grace of the world, and only to defend themselves against the enterprise of their adversaries, with many other good teachings. As for the English, it's not rightly known what they did, but some say that while arming themselves they drank and ate very well. And they came to the field eager to fight well and to show their valor. And they were haughty and grand , showing proud courage. And the French showed good signs of having a great will to defend themselves. And the English were equipped with targes and pavises for the throwing of the lances.

Then the herald made his cry, at the command of the seneschal of Saintonge, judge ordained with the consent of the parties, that each was to do his duty. So they approached each other, and threw their lances without having any effect, and came to axes. And because it seemed to the English, that if they were able to strike down Sir Guillaume de Chastel, who was large and strong, they would be more easily able to accomplish their intention, they decided to go with two against him. And because they did this, Archambaud found himself alone without anyone facing him, so that he came to the one who was having to do with Carouis, who was the first that he found, and gave him a stroke of the axe on the head so that he fell to earth. This was the said Robert de Scales, who died. And as for Champagne, it was as they said it would be. When he joined with his man, he gave him a wrestling fall so that he fell beneath him and so surrendered. Archambaud went to aid Sir Guillaume de Chastel who had much to do. Soon one of the English near him was constrained to leave de Chastel and to take on Archambaud. There were many fine arms done on side and the other, and at last the English surrendered. Sir Guillaume Bataille had much to do, so that he fell and was thrown to earth by the English, but he was rescued by some of the French . And to make a long story short, the English were discomfited.

Jean Juvenal des Ursins Histoire de Charles VI, Roy de France in Nouvelle Collection des Memoires pour Servir a l'Histoire de France Paris 1836 Vol. 2 p.421-423

Copyright Will McLean, 2003

Galiot de Baltasin and Phillipe de Ternant Fight with Swords, 1446

The arms with lance accomplished, the champions returned to their pavilions to prepare and refresh themselves, and the marshal had presented to Galiot de Baltasin two estocs, which they call swords of arms, and certainly I've never seen two more beautiful or powerful weapons. Galiot chose one and the other was carried back to the lord de Ternant, who fairly soon afterwards came outside his pavilion, armed as before; but instead of his coat of arms, he was dressed in array with sleeves of white satin, all cut in the manner of scales, embroidered and covered with sparkling goldsmith's work in a most noble fashion. And I remember that he looked like one of the nine worthies, as they are depicted. He held his sword, the left hand forward and reversed and protected by its rondel. And on the other side Galiot de Baltasin came out of his pavilion, gripping his sword like it belonged to him, and they marched to encounter each other, and met each other with a very hard impact; quickly the guards came between them to prevent following up, and the officers at arms carried the measures which contained the length of five paces and had them measured out on each side, and quickly they recommenced their arms. At their meeting the lord de Ternant gave such a great stroke to his companion that he pierced a hole in his bassinet, and that hit was made very close to that made by the stroke of the lance. On the third coming together, Galiot hit the lord de Ternant on the bottom of the right shoulder, and with that blow he pierced the gardebras, and carried it away on the end of his sword. Very quickly they had the lord de Ternant rearmed and they returned for the fourth time; and they met so hard that they both damaged the points of their swords and they agreed to bring them two more. At the fifth coming together the lord de Ternant advanced and made a watchful stroke, surprising Galiot, and giving him so great a hit on the top of his head that he stepped back. And the sixth coming together, Galiot hit on the rondel of the lord de Ternant and broke it and they agreed to change swords. The seventh coming together they met each other very hard. On the eighth Galiot hit the gauntlet of the lord de Ternant and pierced quite through it, and many thought that he had wounded his hand, but by great good fortune, he was not wounded at all. And they gave them other gauntlets; and they performed the eleven pushes of the sword, well and hardily done and accomplished, and so they returned to their pavilions.

Oliver de la Marche, Memories Paris 1884 II. 72.

Copyright Will McLean, 2002

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

Canvas Width in 16th c. Northern italy

The widest canvas readily available to 16th c. Venetian painters seems to have been a bit over a meter wide: 106-110 cm according to this.

This seems to be close to the most common width used by Rembrandt: 107 cm or 1.5 Brabant ells. It was possible to weave wider canvas: a few of Rembrandt's paintings used canvas that was probably originally 145, 175 and even 210 cm wide. However, the wider canvas seems to have been disproportionately expensive, since artists were willing to accept the presence of seams and use narrower cloth on all but the most important commissions. Narrower loom widths were used on smaller paintings: 70 and 85 cm. The last dimension seems also to have been used for sailcloth.

Friday, June 08, 2012

They Said This Air Would Be Breathable

Redshirts is existentialist comic space opera from John Scalzi. Or existentialist space comic opera. Does that sound like something you'd like to read? If it does, it is.

More fun than a barrel of Borgovian Land Worms, each with their own "rather evolutionarily suspect rotating jaw."

But wait: there's a theme song. And a tribute video. And a ukulele cover version by John Scalzi.

They said this air would be breathable.