Tudor and Jacobean Tournaments |
This is the first book to trace the history & significance of the tournament in all its aspects in the Tudor & Jacobean periods. In its original medieval form, the tournament was a cross between sport & warfare, often an event involving two large opposing groups of knights who fought each other across a wide area of country. Loss of life or limb was common. These brutal events were a far cry from the carefully controlled & staged affairs that tournaments had become by Tudor times, a development that mirrors a profound change in role. As a vehicle for training in warfare, the Tudor & Jacobean tournament was largely anachronistic, but it played a crucial part in the political & cultural life of the country. These events were a major instrument of political propaganda, a public spectacle which the monarch could use in the profoundly serious business of displaying his or her magnificence. They were frequently staged & lavishly financed, with the provision of rich & costly trappings for participants & key spectators alike. Tournaments were also of considerable importance in keeping alive the ideals of chivalry, & all that these implied about service to king & country. Unlike later court entertainments, tournaments were spectacles at which even the meanest citizen could bask in the display of royal magnificence. Drawing on much original research, Professor Young fully explores all aspects of the tournament & its significance, including the construction of tiltyards, the tournament as theatre, & tournament literature, some of which was contributed by such great figures as Philip Sidney & Ben Jonson. But above all Young makes clear that the tournament was never mere entertainment, extravagant fantasy, or the archaic exercise of obsolete military skills. In fact, Tudor & Jacobean tournaments helped to keep alive values & ideals which perhaps contributed to the English Civil War, the American Civil War & even World War I.