Select Bibliography on Medieval Tournaments, Jousts and Formal Deeds of Arms

Steve Muhlberger, Nipissing University

Last revised November 24, 2004

 The bibliography comes in two parts.

First is a list of modern scholarly works devoted to tournaments, jousts and other medieval deeds of arms. I make no claim that it is complete, or to have read and evaluated all the works included.

Second is a list of original sources from the Middle Ages. Most of these sources are not available in modern translations, and even the editions in Old French and Latin can be hard to find. Therefore, after listing the edition -- the best modern text of the source for those who have the linguistic skills -- I have listed a number of modern works, scholarly discussions and translations,  where available, which you may find helpful.   Again I have neither read nor seen everything included.

I am interested in adding to this list. If you know of other works, please contact Steve Muhlberger at Nipissing University.

Readers may find William Vincenti's Chivalry Bibliography useful, too.

Also, I have published excerpts of chronicle accounts and archival documents at

Secondary Materials

Anglo, Sidney. "How to win at tournaments: the technique of chivalric combat," The Antiquaries Journal 68 (1988): 248-64.

Barber, Richard W. and Juliet Barker. Tournaments: Jousts, Chivalry and Pageants in the Middle Ages (N.Y., 1989).

Thorough, well-written, and extraordinarily well illustrated.
Barker, Juliet. The Tournament in England 1100-1400 (Woodbridge, 1986).
One of the best studies available.
Barker, Juliet, and Richard W. Barker.  "The Medieval English Kings and the Tournament," in Fleckenstein (see below), pp. 212-28.

Benson, Larry D. "The Tournament in the Romances of Chrétien de Troyes & L'Histoire de Guillaume Le Maréchal," in  Chivalric literature : essays on relations between literature & life in the later Middle Ages, ed. Larry D. Benson and John Leyerle. Studies in medieval culture 14 (Kalamazoo, Mich: Medieval Institute Publications, 1980). Reprinted in Contradictions: from Beowulf to Chaucer: selected studies of Larry D. Benson, ed. Theodore M. Andersson and Stephen A. Barney. (Aldershot, Hants, England: Scolar Press; Brookfield, Vt.: Ashgate Pub. Co., 1995.)  On-line at the Harvard Geoffrey Chaucer page.

Clephan, R. Coltman. The Medieval Tournament (New York, 1995).

The original edition of 1919 was entitled The Tournament: its Periods and Phases. The scholarship is out of date, but the book includes useful excerpts from original sources.
Contamine, Philippe.  "Les tournois en France à la fin du moyen age.  In Fleckenstein (see below), pp. 425-49.

Cripps-Day, F.H. The History of the Tournament (London, 1918; reprint New York, 1982).
Scholarship out of date, but recommended for its appendices of original documents.

Denholm-Young, N. "The Tournament in the Thirteenth Century," in Studies in Medieval History Presented to Frederick Maurice Powicke, ed. R.W. Hunt, W.H. Pantin, and R.W. Southern (Oxford, 1948).

Fallows, Noel. "Just Say No? Alfonso de Cartagena, the Doctrinal de los caballeros, and Spain's Most Noble Pastime," in  Medieval Studies in Honor of Charles F. Fraker. ed. Mercedes Vaquero and Alan Deyermond (Madison: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, 1995) pp. 129-141.

Fallows, Noel. "La guerra, la paz y la vida caballeresca según las crónicas castellanas medievales," in Discursos y representaciones en la Edad Media (Actas de las VI Jornadas Medievales). Ed. Lillian von der Walde Moheno, Concepción Company, Aurelio González. Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México y el Colegio de México, 1999. 367-77.

Includes some references to jousting as described in Spanish chronicles.
Fallows, Noel. "Knighthood, Wounds, and the Chivalric Ideal in Medieval Spain." In Chivalry, Knighthood, and War in the Middle Ages. Ed. Susan J. Ridyard. Sewanee Mediæval Studies 9. Sewanee: The University of the South, 1999. 117-36.
Analysis of various horrific accidents in the lists, 'cults' of wounds, etc.
Fallows, Noel. "Un debate caballeresco del Renacimiento español: ‘caballeros estradiotes’ y ‘caballeros jinetes.’" Ínsula. Revista de Letras y Ciencias Humanas 584-585 (agosto - septiembre 1995): 15-17.
Discusses light and heavy cavalry ('genitaires' and 'stradiots') and the most appropriate (sporting) situations for both riding styles

Fleckenstein, Josef, ed. Das ritterliche Turnier im Mittelalter: Beiträge zu einer vergleichenden Formen und Verhaltungeschichte des Rittertums (Veröffentlichungen des Max-Planck-Instituts für Geschichte 80, Göttingen 1985).

A collection of mostly German articles.   Some of these are listed separately in this bibliography.

Gaier, C. "Technique des combats singuliers d'après les auteurs 'bourguignons' du XVe siècle," Le Moyen âge, 91 (1985): 415-457; 9 (1986): 5-40.
Discusses formal single combats as seen in the Burgundian writers. The emphasis is particularly on the period 1440-70.

Gaucher, Elisabeth. "Les joutes de Saint-Inglevert: perception et écriture d'un événement historique pendant la guerre de Cent Ans," Le Moyen âge, 102 (1996): 229-243.

Discusses the five accounts of the great deed of arms of 1390, and the differences between them.

Gravett, Christopher. Knights at Tournament (London, 1988).

Published by Osprey Publishing Ltd., London, and thus widely available.
Harvey, Ruth. Moriz von Craun and the Chivalric World (Oxford 1911) (especially chapters III and IV).

Jackson, William Henry. "The Tournament and Chivalry in German Tournament Books of the Sixteenth Century and in the Literary Works of Emperor Maximilian I," in The Ideals and Practice of Medieval Knighthood: papers from the first and second Strawberry Hill conferences, ed. Christopher Harper-Bill and Ruth Harvey (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1986), pp. 49-73.

Jourdan, J.P. "La Thème du Pas et l'Emprise," Ethnologie française, 22 (1992): 172-84.

Concentrates on the very late 14th century and the fifteenth century. Relies on the concept of limited combat, as symbolized and actualized in the restricted space where a Pas takes place.

Keen, Maurice. Chivalry (New Haven, 1984), pp. 83-101.

Loomis, R.S. "Chivalric and Dramatic Imitations of Arthurian Romance," in Medieval Studies in Memory of A.K. Porter (Cambridge, Mass. 1939).

Loomis, R.S. "Edward I: Arthurian Enthusiast," Speculum 28 (1953): 118-9.

Marcigliano, Alessandro. Chivalric Festivals at the Ferrarese Court of Alfonso II d’Este (= Stage and Screen Studies; Vol. 2), Bern / Frankfurt a.M: Peter Lang 2003.

Discusses the elaborate chivalric festivals used by the ruler of Ferrara in the late 16th century to boost his international prestige.   These were theatrical festivals with no competitive combat, but which still involved noble combatants.   Reviewed online in Sehepunkt.

Meyer, Werner.  "Turniergesellschaften:  Bermerkung zur sozialgeschichtlichen Bedeutung der Turniere im Spatmittelalter."  In Fleckenstein (see above), pp. 500-12.

A discussion of the social role of late medieval tournament companies.

Muhlberger, Steven.   Deeds of Arms:  Formal combats in the late fourteenth century (Highland Village:   Chivalry Bookshelf, 2004).

Analyzes chronicle accounts of formal combats of jousts, trials by combat, and other challenges to place such events in their political, military and cultural context.

Muhlberger, Steven.  Jousts and Tournaments:  Charny and the rules for chivalric sprot in fourteenth-century France (Union City:  Chivalry Bookshelf, 2002).

An analysis of what Charny's Questions (see next section) says about jousts and tournaments in the mid-14th century.   Includes a translation of the relevant sections.

Rangstroem, Lena, ed. Riddarlek och Tornerspel -- Tournaments and the Dream of Chivalry (Royal Armoury, Stockholm, 1992).

A catalog from an exhibition held at the Royal Armoury, including descriptions of pieces and a set of short articles focusing on specific aspects of the tournament. Much of the book is devoted to 17th and 18th century
 developments. Text in both Swedish and English.
Rühl, Joachim K. "German Tournament Regulations of the 15th Century," Journal of Sport History 17 (1990): 163-82.

Rühl, Joachim K.  "Regulations for the Joust in Fifteenth-Century Europe:  Francesco Sforza Visconti (1465) and John Tiptoft (1466)," International Journal of the History of Sport, 18 (2001): 193-208.
Rühl's work is a detailed discussion of the rules and social regulations which survive from the 15th century.
Santina, Mary Arlene.  The Tournament and Literature:  Literary representations of the medieval tournament in Old French works, 1150-1226 (New York:  Peter Lang, 1999).
Primarily a literary study.

Vale, Juliet. Edward III and Chivalry: Chivalric Society and its Context, 1270-1350 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1982).

Van den Neste, Évelyne.  Tournois, joutes pas d'armesdan les villes de Flandre à la fin du Moyen Age (1300-1486). (Paris:   École des Chartes, 1996.)

Using civic records from Flanders as her most important evidence, Van den Neste reveals the vast amount of jousting activity that took place in northern France in this period.   The book focuses on the organizational effort behind the competitions.

Young, Alan. Tudor and Jacobean Tournaments (London 1987).

Texts and Original Sources

Anglo, Sydney, ed. The Great Tournament Roll of Westminster: A collotype reproduction of the manuscript.  Oxford:  Clarendon Press, 1968.
A 16th-century manuscript celebrating a joust sponsored by Henry VIII of England.  Anglo provides extensive commentary.

Anglo, Sydney. "Le Jeu de la Hache. A Fifteenth-Century Treatise on the Teaching of Chivalric Axe Combat" Archaeologia 109 (1991) 113-28

A manuscript manual concerning the use of a weapon sometimes used in formal deeds of arms.
L'Histoire Guillaume le Maréschal, ed. P. Meyer (Paris, 1901).
An Old French biography of William Marshal, the great tournament champion of the twelfth century, written for his followers shortly after his death in 1219. William Marshal's political importance and the unique qualities of the biography have produced an abundant literature.

History of William Marshal, Vol. I, ed. A.J. Holden, S. Gregory & D. Crouch (Anglo-Norman Text Society, 2002).  This is the initial volume of an English translation, the first.  I have not yet seen a copy.

Crossland, Jessie. William the Marshal: The Last Great Feudal Baron (London, 1962). Meant as a free translation and interpretation of the 13th c. original. Includes some detailed anecdotes from the History.

Crouch, David. William Marshal: Court, Career, and Chivalry in the Angevin Empire 1147-1219 (London, 1990). See especially pp. 171-184. Of William Marshal's modern biographers, Crouch is the least interested in his subject's career as a tourneyer. Rather, he sees the Marshal as an outstanding practitioner of 12th century "courtesy," the art of maneuvering in the envious and dangerous environment of the court. Crouch criticizes previous biographers of the Marshal for being too romantic.

Duby, Georges. William Marshal: Flower of Chivalry (New York, 1985). Duby was a leading scholar of the twelfth-century French-speaking aristocracy; however this book has attracted a good deal of criticism.

Duby, Georges. "Youth in Aristocratic Society," in The Chivalrous Society, tr. Cynthia Postan (Berkeley, 1980), pp. 112-122. One of Duby's most important discussions of the social environment in which the tournament became a prominent social custom.

Esmark, Kim. "Man of Honor - Aspects of Medieval Knightly Identity in the Verse Biography of William the Marshal," in The Birth of Identities, ed. Brian McGuire (Copenhagen, 1996). A discussion of how knightly identities were forged in the public eye, in tournament and otherwise.

Gillingham, John. "War and Chivalry in the History of William the Marshal," in Thirteenth Century England II, ed. P.R. Coss and S.D. Lloyd (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1988), pp. 1-13. A critique of earlier scholarship on the Marshal.

Jarman, T.L. William Marshal, First Earl of Pembroke and Regent of England (Oxford, 1930). I have not read this work.

Painter, Sidney. William Marshal: Knight-Errant, Baron, and Regent of England. (1933; reprint, Toronto, 1982). An old but still valuable investigation of every aspect of William Marshal's career.

Bretel, Jacques. Le Tournoi de Chauvency, ed. M. Delbouille (Liege, 1932).
A poetic account of a tournament held in October, 1285. It is briefly discussed in Maurice Keen's Chivalry, pp. 93-94, and Juliet Vale's Edward III and Chivalry, pp. 5-12.
Brush, Henry Raymond (ed.). “La Bataille de trente Anglois et de trente Bretons." Modern Philology 9 (1911-1912): 511-44.
Brush, Henry Raymond (ed.).  "La Bataille de trente Anglois et de trente Bretons II." Modern Philology 10 (1912-1913): 82-136.
This anonymous poem is the fullest account of the famous Combat of the Thirty of 1351.   Brush's two articles are the most recent scholarly edition.    

Crapelet, G.A., ed. and trans. Le Combat de trente Bretons contre trente Anglois publié d'après le manuscrit de la Bibliothéque du Roi. Paris: Crapelet, 1827.  An edition and translation into modern French based on one of the two existing manuscripts

Ainsworth, William Harrison. "The Combat of the Thirty, From an Old Breton Lay of the Fourteenth Century." Bentley's Miscellany 45 (1859): 5-10, 445-59.   An English translation based on Crapelet, with commentary.   The translation is available at the Deeds of Arms site.  
Chacón, Hernán. Tractado de la cauallería de la gineta. Introduction, Text and Notes, Bibliography, Lexicographical Index., ed. Noel Fallows. Exeter Hispanic Texts 55. Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1999. xli + 60 pp.
First published in 1551, this is a manual on light cavalry, with emphasis on sports such as 'sports with canes', bullfighting on horseback, etc. Detailed technical advice.
(Charny, Geoffroi de.)  Kaeuper, Richard W. and Elspeth Kennedy, The Book of Chivalry of Geoffroi de Charny:  Text, context and translation (Philadelphia:  University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996).  
A guide to the practice and theory of chivalry by a prominent knight of the mid-14th century.   It briefly discusses the place of jousts and tourneys in the life of a good man at arms.
(Charny, Geoffroi de.)  Questions Concerning the Joust, Tournaments and War.         
Three lists of questions on points of law concerning the three main martial activities of fourteenth-century knights.   Charny provided no answers, so the questions are tantalizing and difficult to interpret.   The original texts are available  in two unpublished doctoral dissertations.

Rossbach, Jean, ed.  "Les Demandes pour la joute, le tournoi, et la guerre de Geoffroy de Charny (XIVème siècle)." Unpublished dissertation, University of Brussels, 1961-2.

Taylor, Michael Anthony, ed. “A Critical Edition of Geoffrey de Charny’s ‘Livre Charny’ and the ‘Demandes pour la joute, les tournois, et la guerre.”  Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of North Carolina, 1977.
The joust and tournament questions are translated and discussed in Muhlberger, Jousts and Tournaments (see  above).
Díaz de Gámez, Gutierre. El victorial: cronica de don Pero Niño (Madrid, 1989).
A 15th century biography of a famous Spanish knight, which includes some descriptions Spanish and French deeds of arms that he attended.

 Díaz de Gámez, Gutierre. The Unconquered Knight: A Chronicle of the Deeds of Don Pero Niño (London, 1928). A partial English translation. It includes these descriptions of deeds of arms: 

pp. 39-40: King Enrique of Castile honors the feast of the Church with festivals, including jousts, tourney and sports with canes.

pp. 142- 148: Pero Niño takes parts in French jousts, which are described in some detail.

pp. 149-154: Pero Niño is invited to help represent the Duke of Orleans' household in a challenge against champions of the Duke of Burgundy. This politically-charged but tournament-like event is forbidden by the King of France.

Duarte, King of Portugal. Livro da ensinanca de bem cavalgar; por Joseph M. Piel. [Lisbon] : Impr. Nacional-Casa da Moeda, 1986.
Very extensive treatment of arts related to horsemanship, covers jousting and tilting and quite an extent, has a section on mounted swordplay. Only a small portion of this has been translated, the translated text and associated analysis comprises the latter portion of Barber and Barker's Tournaments. Other small portions have been translated and published by Professor Anglo in his article "How to Win at Tournaments", Sydney Anglo; 'Jousting-the Earliest Treatises'; Livrustkammaren. Journal of the Royal Armoury (1991-1992); and in his book "The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe
Duarte, King of Portugal, 1391-1438. Livro dos conselhos de el-Rei D. Duarte : (livro da cartuxa) / transcrição de João José Alves Dias , introdução de A.H. de Oliveira Marques e João José Alves Dias , revisão de A.H. de Oliveira Marques e Teresa F. Rodrigues., Ed. diplomática., Lisboa : Editorial Estampa, 1982
Another work containing portions of Bem Cavlagar, Duarte's other work Leal conselheiro, and a section on how to train.
Fallows, Noel. Un texto inédito sobre la caballería del Renacimiento español: Doctrina del arte de la cauallería, de Juan Quijada de Reayo. Hispanic Studies TRAC (Textual Research and Criticism) Volume 14. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1996.
First published in 1548, this is a manual on heavy cavalry, with emphasis on tilting in the lists, also the difference between fighting for sport and fighting in combat. The book includes extremely detailed technical advice on the art of jousting. Also includes an Appendix in the form of a catalog of all known Spanish military manuals printed in the 16th century. Like Chacon (above) this is the first technical manual of its kind in Spain, with emphasis on technical expertise as opposed to moral or ethical concerns
Fallows, Noel. The Chivalric Vision of Alfonso de Cartagena: Study and Edition of the “Doctrinal de los caualleros. Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta, 1995.
Critical edition of one of the most comprehensive chivalric manuals of the middle ages. Composed circa 1444 by by Alfonso de Cartagena, Bishop of Burgos. Book III is devoted to tournaments.
Froissart, Jean. Chronicles.
A classic account of the chivalric culture of the 14th century. There are many editions in French and English.

French editions:

Froissart, Jean. Chroniques, 15 vols. (Paris, 1869-). Considered by many as the most authoritative edition, from the Société de l'Histoire de France, in progress.

Froissart, Jean. Oeuvres, ed. Kervyn de Lettenhove, 28 vols. (Brussels, 1867-1877).  The best complete edition.  It is available at the French National Library's Gallica site as a series of PDF files.

Froissart, Jean. Chroniques, ed. J.A.C Buchon, 3 vols. (Paris, 1840) The primary source for the Penguin translation.   Also available at Gallica.

English translations:

Froissart, Jean. Chronicles (Harmondsworth, 1978). This is the abridged Penguin translation, which includes a long description of a tournament at St. Inglevert on pp. 373-381.

Froissart, Jean. Chronicles of England, France, Spain, and the adjoining countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the Coronation of Henry IV , trans. Thomas Johnes, 2 vols. (London, 1849). This is the most recent unabridged translation of Froissart (though there are later printings). The most important formal deeds of arms can be found at the Tales from Froissart site, in the Index of Deeds of Arms, Tournaments, and Duels.

There is also a famous 16th century English translation of Froissart by Lord Berners in a variety of editions.

Henri de Laon. Le Dit des hérauts.

Edited in Langfors, A. "Le Dit des hérauts par Henri de Laon," Romania 43 (1914). See also Keen, Chivalry, p. 88.
Lena, Pero Rodríguez de. El passo honroso de Suero de Quiñones, ed. Amancio Labandeira (Madrid: Fundación Universitaria España, 1977). 
A 15th century chronicle of a passage of Arms on the Bridge at Obrigo. Suero and his ten companions, to prove his chivalric love of a lady, broke over three hundred lances.
René d'Anjou. Traictié de la forme et devise d'ung tournoy.
A book on how to put on a tournament, written in 1460 by a royal patron of tournaments . The text can be found in an appendix of F.H. Cripps-Day, The History of the Tournament (London, 1918).

King René's Tournament Book, tr. E. Bennett (n.p., 1992) is an English translation; the paper edition is now of out of print, but an electronic version can now be found at

 Coulet, Noel, Alix Planche, and Francoise Robin, Le roi René; le prince, le mecèné, l'ecrivain, le mythe (Aix-en-Provence, 1982). A study of all aspects of Rene's life.

Sandoz, Edouard. "Tourneys in the Arthurian Tradition," Speculum 19 (1944): 389-420.
An edition of a late fifteenth-century treatise describing how tournaments were conducted in the time of Uther Pendragon and Arthur: La form quon tenoit des tournoys et assemblees au temps du uterpendragon et du roy artus... It includes the arms of 150 knights of the Round Table (emblazoned, i.e. sketched, in the article).
Sarasin, Sarasin: Le Roman du Ham ed. A. Henry (Paris, 1939).

Sarrazin, "Le Roman du Hem" ed. F. Michel in Histoire des Ducs de Normandie et des Rois d'Angleterre SHF (Paris, 1840).

A poetic account of a tournament of 1278. It is briefly discussed in Maurice Keen's Chivalry, p. 93, and in Juliet Vale's Edward III and Chivalry, pp. 12-16.
Ulrich von Liechtenstein. Frauendienst, ed. R. Bechstein (Leipzig, 1888).
Ulrich von Liechtenstein was a thirteenth-century Styrian knight who wrote a long poem about two great jousting tours that he made, one dressed as Frau Venus and the other as King Arthur. Scholars still debate whether this is an early work of autobiography or an early novel in verse.

Thomas, J.W. Ulrich von Liechtenstein's Service of Ladies (Chapel Hill, 1969) is a partial translation which omits many of the original's descriptions of tournaments. The account of the "Venus journey" is on pp. 98-179. This is more a humorous and affectionate evocation of jousting than a realistic and detailed account.

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