To the very noble and powerful prince, my very dear, beloved and only brother Charles of Anjou, Count of Maine, Mortain and Guise:
I, René of Anjou your brother, want you to know that because I have long known you to take pleasure in hearing new stories and tales, I have decided to make for you a little treatise, the longest that I know of, on the form and way in which I think a tourney ought to be undertaken at court or elsewhere in the marches of France, as certain princes like to have it done. I have taken this form mostly from that used for organizing tourneys in Germany and on the Rhine, but also from the customs that they follow in Flanders and Brabant, and in the same way from the ancient customs that we used to follow in France, which I have found written down in manuscripts. From these three customs I have taken what seems good to me, and have made and compiled from them a fourth way of holding a tourney, as you will see, if it pleases you, by what follows hereafter.
Whoever wishes to hold a tourney, whether he is a prince, or a less high baron, or a knight banneret, he ought to do it as is explained hereafter.
That is to say:
That the aforesaid prince ought first to send secretly to the prince to whom he wishes to present the sword, to find out whether or not he intends to accept, and in order to arrange the appropriate public ceremonies if he wishes to accept. The prince, having before him all his barons, or at least a great number of knights and squires, ought to call the king of arms of his country, because it appertains to him before all other kings of arms; and if he is not present, in his absence, some notable herald. And the prince ought to give him a rebated sword such as is used in a tourney, and say the words that follow.
But in order to better explain the custom, here take the Duke of Brittany for the appellant on the one hand, and the Duke of Bourbon for the defendant on the other. And I have used blazons made up for my own amusement for the blazons necessary for this tourney.
Thus follow the words that the Duke of Brittany, appellant, should say to the king of arms while giving him a tourney sword like the one drawn below:
King of arms, take this sword and go to my cousin the Duke of Bourbon and tell him for me that on account of his great personal courage, valor, and chivalry, I have sent him this sword to signify that I wish to hold a tourney and bouhort of arms against him, in the presence of ladies and damsels, and many others, on the day and time named, and in a place suitable and convenient for this. And for this tourney I suggest four judges, chosen from eight knights and squires, that is to say so and so for knights, and so and so for squires; these judges will arrange the time and place and prepare the lists.
And you ought to know that the appellant lord always ought to choose half the judges: that is, two from the country of the defendant lord, and the other two from his own country or elsewhere, at his pleasure: and he ought right willingly to choose the judges from the most notable, honorable and ancient barons, knights and squires that he can find, who have seen the most and travelled and who are reputed wiser and more knowledgeable about feats of arms than other men.
Then the king of arms should go to the Duke of Bourbon, defendant, and before a great company and in the most honorable place, except for holy ground, that he can find, he should present the sword to the Duke, holding it by the point, and say to him:
Very noble and powerful prince and redoubted lord, the very noble and powerful prince and my redoubted lord the Duke of Brittany, your cousin, has sent me to you on account of the great chivalry and prowess that he knows is in your very noble person. In all love and friendship, and not out of any ill will, he wishes to hold a tourney and bouhort of arms before ladies and damsels; and to signify this he sends you this sword, which is appropriate for this."
And after the king of arms has presented the sword to the Duke of Bourbon and if the Duke has undertaken such an affair or obligation that he cannot carry out or undertake the tourney, then he may excuse himself in the manner following:
I thank my cousin for the offer that he has made to me, and on account of the great good that he believes is in me, I wish well that it pleased God that it could be so; but there is much I must think of. And on the other hand there are in this kingdom many other lords who merit this honor more than I, and know well how to arrange a tourney; which is why I pray you to excuse me to my cousin. For I have affairs to bring to an end that closely touch my honor, which necessarily I must finish before any other tasks. So, may it please him to find my excuse agreeable, for I would do anything else that pleased him.
Item, if he agrees to participate in the tourney, he should take the sword from the hand of the king of arms and say:
I accept not out of ill will, but to please my cousin, and to amuse the ladies.
And after he has taken the sword, the king of arms should say to him these words:
Very noble and very powerful prince and very redoubted lord, the very noble and very powerful prince and my very redoubted lord the Duke of Brittany, your cousin, sends you here the blazons of eight knights and squires on a roll of parchment, so that you may choose from these eight the four of them whom you would like to be the judges.
Then the king of arms should give the Duke the roll of parchment, and the Duke should study the blazons as long as he likes, and then should answer the king of arms:
As for the judges whose blazons you have shown me, the lords of such and such places, please me well for the knights, and the lords of such and such places for the squires. And as to this you will carry them letters of credence from me. Also I want you to ask my cousin the Duke of Brittany to have them write on their part that they are willing to accept, and also to tell me the day and place of the tourney as soon as possible.
Note that immediately after the Duke of Bourbon has chosen the four judges, the king of arms must send two heralds in all diligence, one to the appellant lord to get the letters to the judges, and if he thinks that the judges live far apart, another to ask them if they will gather together in some town, which they may choose, so that he may honorably present the letters of the lords appellant and defendant.
This said, the Duke of Bourbon ought to give the king of arms two ells of cloth of gold, or velvet, or at least figured crimson satin, on which he should place a large piece of painted parchment with the two principal lords of the tourney, on horseback as if at the tourney, armed and with crests. He should attach the parchment to the piece of cloth of gold, velvet or satin. And the king of arms should put it on as if it was a cloak knotted on the right shoulder, and with the permission of the Duke he should go to the judges to ask if they will accept the office of judge. And when he comes before them with the letters from the two Dukes appellant and defendant, with the piece of cloth on his shoulders, and attached to it the parchment on which are painted the lords on horseback, armed and with crests, as is shown hereafter, he should present the letters from the appellant and the defendant to them. And these letters describe the things above, and also contain credentials for the judges of the tourney undertaken by the Dukes.
Then he should say to them the words that follow hereafter:
Noble and redoubted knights, honored and gentle squires, the very noble and powerful princes the Dukes of Brittany and Bourbon, my very redoubted lords, greet you, and have charged me to deliver these letters of credence from both of them, as you will know as soon as you have read these letters, which you may do whenever it pleases you.
After they have read or had read their letters, and when they have asked for and heard the letters of credence, the king of arms should say to them:
Noble and redoubted knights, honored and gentle squires, I have come before you to advise, request and notify you on behalf of the very noble and very powerful princes and my very redoubted lords the Dukes of Brittany and Bourbon that if you wish to please them you will take charge of organizing, and be judges, of a very noble tourney and bouhort of arms that has recently been undertaken by them. These lords have agreed together to choose you over all others on account of the great fame of your valor, the renown of your intelligence and the praise of the virtues that have long endured in your noble persons. So, do not refuse, for much good may come of it:
And first, all may know which men are come of ancient nobility, by the way they bear arms and crests.
Second, those who have failed to behave honorably will be chastised so that the next time they will be wary of doing that which is not fitting for honor.
Third, each one who takes up the sword will get good exercise of arms.
And fourth, by chance it may happen that some young knight or squire, by doing well, will get mercy, grace, or an increase of love from his very gentle lady and mistress.
So, my noble and redoubted knights, honored and gentle squires, I ask you once again on behalf of my very redoubted lords that for all these reasons you will agree to take charge, in such a manner that by your intelligence, organization and conduct, the tourney will take place in such a way that fame and widespread rumor will go out to sustain nobility and increase honor, so that, if it pleases God, every gentleman will wish from thenceforward to practice the exercise of arms more often.
Then the judges, if they wish to accept the offer, should answer in the form and manner that follows:
We humbly thank our very redoubted lords for the honor they do to us, for the love they bear to us, and for the faith they have in us. And although there are in this kingdom many other knights and squires who know better than us how to organize and put in order such a noble deed as this tourney, nonetheless to obey our very redoubted lords, we offer with a good heart to obey and serve them, and accept the charge that has been put forth before us. And we will do it as well and as loyally as possible in this world, using all our intelligence and strength so loyally that if by chance we err, from which God protect us, it will be more from innocence than from vice. And we will submit always to the correction, good will and pleasure of our redoubted lords.
Then the king of arms should thank the judges, and ask them, as judges, to choose the day and place of the tourney, so that he can have it cried appropriately. And all the judges ought to come together in council, to choose the day and the place, so that the king of arms can begin to cry the tourney in the places appropriate; that is to say:
First, at the court of the lord appellant; second, at the court of the lord defendant; and third, at the court of the king and anywhere else that the judges advise. And if the king of arms cannot or will not go in person to the courts of other lords, to cry the tourney, he may send a pursuivant to each court to do it. But the king of arms must go personally to the court of the two lords, captains of the tourney, and also to the king.
And first of all, the king of arms should be accompanied by three or four heralds and pursuivants when he cries the festival of the tourney in the form and manner that is described hereafter.
Immediately after the judges have accepted the charge, the king of arms should have the arms of the judges painted at the four corners of the parchment; that is to say those of the two knights above, and those of the two squires below.
And first, one of the pursuivants of the company of the king of arms, who has a very loud voice, ought to cry, taking three great breaths and three great pauses:
Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye
Let all princes, lords, barons, knights and squires of the marches of the Isle de France, Champagne, Flanders, Ponthieu first of seignories, Vermandois and Artois, Normandy, Aquitaine and Anjou, Brittany and Berry, and also Corbie, and all others of whatever marches that are in this kingdom and all other Christian kingdoms, who are not banished or enemies of the king our lord, may God save him, know that on such a day and such a month, in such a place in such a town, there will be a very great festival of arms and a very noble tourney with maces of one measure and rebated swords, in appropriate armor, with crests, coats of arms and horses covered with the arms of the noble tourneyers, as is the ancient custom;
Of which tourney the captains are the very noble and powerful princes and my very redoubted lords the Duke of Brittany appellant and the Duke of Bourbon defendant;
And to make this better known, all princes, lords, barons, knights and squires of the above marches, and others from whatsoever nations they are, not banished or enemies of the king, our lord, who wish to tourney to acquire honor, may carry these little shields that will be given out presently, so that everyone may know who are the tourneyers. And anyone can have them who wants: the little shields are quartered with the arms of the four knights and squires who are judges of the tourney.
And at the tourney there will be noble and rich prizes given by ladies and damsels.
Moreover, I announce to all of you princes, lords, barons, knights and squires who intend to participate in the tourney that you must come to the inns the fourth day before the day of the tourney, and display your arms at the windows, on pain of not being allowed to participate; and this I tell you on behalf of my lords the judges, so please excuse me.
And to show you better, here below is drawn one piece after another as it should be.
That is to say, first the crest ought to be mounted on a piece of cuir boulli, which ought to be well padded to a finger's thickness, or more on the inside; and the piece of leather ought to cover all the top of the helm, and be covered with a mantling, decorated with the arms of whoever carries it. And on the mantling above the top of the helm should be the crest, and around it should be a twisted roll of whatever colors the tourneyer wishes, about the thickness of an arm or more or less at his pleasure.
Item, the helm is in the fashion of a bascinet or a capeline, except that the visor is different, as is painted below. And to better explain the style of the crest, the cuir boulli and the helm, they are shown below in three ways.
Item, the body harness is like a cuirass or like the foot harness that one calls a tonnelet. And also you may well tourney in a brigandine if you wish; but in whatever kind of body harness you wish to tourney, it is necessary that the harness be big and ample enough in all places that you may wear a pourpoint or corset underneath. It is necessary that the pourpoint be padded to three fingers' thickness on the shoulders and the length of the arms up to the neck, and on the back also, because the blows of maces and swords fall more frequently on these places than elsewhere. And to see the principal and best fashion for tourneying, drawn here below is a perforated cuirass in the best and most appropriate fashion and style possible for the tourney.
That is to say, rerebraces, vambraces, and gauntlets; which vambraces and rerebraces are made to fit easily together, and there are two kinds, of which one is white harness and the other is cuir boulli, which two kinds of white harness and cuir boulli harness are painted below.
The form and fashion of the gauntlets is as you can see below in the figure.
Item, the rebated sword should be in the form and manner hereafter painted, and similarly the mace.
Of the size and fashion of the swords and maces, there is nothing much to say except about the length and width of the blade. It should be four fingers wide, so that it cannot pass through the eyeslot of the helm, and the two edges ought to be as wide as a finger's thickness. And so that it will not be too heavy, it should be hollowed out in the middle and rebated in front and all in one piece from the crosspiece to the end, and the crosspiece should be so short that it can just block any blow that by chance descends or comes sliding down the length of the sword to the fingers. And it ought to be as long as the arm with the hand of the man who carries it, and the mace similarly. The mace ought to have a little rondel well riveted in front of the hand to protect it. And you may, if you wish, attach a light chain, braid or cord to your sword or mace around the arm, or to your belt, so that if it escapes your hand you can recover it before it falls to the ground.
As to the fashion of the pommel of the sword, this is at your pleasure. And the weight of the maces and the weight of the swords ought to be checked by the judges on the vigil of the day of the tourney. And those maces that are not of unreasonable weight or length should be stamped with a hot iron by the judges.
The leg harness is in the same style that you wear for war, without any difference, except that the smallest guards are the best, and sollerets are very useful against the points of spurs.
The shortest spurs are more convenient than the long ones, because they won't get pulled or twisted off in the press.
The surcoat ought to be made like that of a herald, except that there should not be a pleat over the body, in order to better display the wearer's coat of arms.
In Brabant, Flanders and Hainault, and in those countries near the Germanies, they are accustomed to arms themselves differently for a tourney. They take a demi-pourpoint of two layers, not more, padded in the back and over the abdomen; and then over this a bracer, four fingers thick and stuffed with cotton. Over this they put on vambraces and rerebraces of cuir boulli, reinforced with five or six small rods the thickness of a finger, glued on, that run the length of the arm just to the joints. And for the shoulders and the elbow, the rerebraces and vambraces are made like those shown above, except that they are bigger and heavier; and they are well padded in front. And a double layer of cloth holds the rerebrace and the vambrace together like a mail sleeve. Over all this they wear a light brigandine with a perforated breast like that shown below. And as for the head armor, they have a great bascinet with a camail without a visor, and they attach the camail under the brigandine all around, to the breast and on the shoulders with strong laces. And over all this they put a great helm made all in one piece of cuir bouilli and perforated below, the size of a wooden trencher, and the eyeslot is barred with iron in a grid three fingers square, which is attached in front by a chain to the breast of the brigandine, so that you may hang it from the saddle to refresh youself, and put it on again when you wish. And while you do not have your helm on your head, no one dares to strike until you have put it back on. On this helm they put an armorial mantling, the torse or twisted roll of the device, and the crest with the tourneyer's arms, attached with laces as has already been explained. And over the brigandine they put the surcoat. And when all this is on a man, he seems more wide than tall, so I won't say anything more about it. And as to their saddles, they are of the height that is usual for jousting in ancient France, and the peytrel and the chanfron of leather also; and when they are wearing all this equipment on horseback, they cannot aid or turn their horses, because they are so clumsy. And to return to the true and more gentle fashion, the manner of arming yourself that was described above is the most beautiful and safest. And war saddles also are good for tourneying, when they are well closed behind, and not too high at the saddle-bow in front.
And as to their maces, swords and leg harness, they are like those that were described above.
Moreover, it is necessary to have a kind of hourt that is attached in front of the bow of the saddle, both above and below, in several places, as well and as securely as you can; and it falls the length of an ell in front of the saddle, and wraps around the breast of the horse. The hourt is good to protect the horse or destrier from being hit in the fray, and it also protects the legs of the tourneyers from blows.
This hourt is made of long straw between strong cloth reinforced with whipcords, and inside the hourt is a sack full of straw, in the shape of a crescent, attached to the hourt, that rests against the breast of the horse, and raises the hourt, so that it doesn't bang against the legs of the horse. And besides the reinforcement, there may be rods sewn inside that hold it straight and in place. And the fashion of the hourt is shown below, both the inside and the outside, so that you can see the one and the other, and how you put the sack inside the hourt. The fashion of the sack is thus:
The inside of the hourt is as has been shown above.
Item, cover the hourt with the coat of arms of the lord who will use it in the fight as is shown hereafter.
The barriers ought to be one-fourth longer than wide, and of the height of a man, or of the length of an arm and a half, of strong wood and with two crossbars, the one high and the other at knee- level. They should be double; that is to say a second barrier four feet outside the first barrier, to refresh the foot servants, and protect them from the press; and within this space should be the armed and unarmed men ordered by the judges to protect the tourneyers from the crowd. And as to the size of the lists, they should be bigger or smaller according to the number of tourneyers and the opinion of the judges.
And because it seems to me that the harness and equipment for tourneying have been sufficiently explained, I return to explaining the customs, rules and ceremonies that are necessary to well and honorably hold a tourney.
And to begin with, you have already heard the cry of the king of arms, who announced to all those who wish to participate in the tourney that no matter who they are they must come to their inns the Thursday four days before the tourney, before the hour of terce, on pain of not being allowed to take part, and display their coats of arms in the windows. Hence it is necessary to next describe the order and manner in which the tourneyers ought to enter the city where the tourney is held.
And first, the princes, lords and barons who wish to display their banners at the tourney ought to take pains to be accompanied, especially when entering the city, by as many tourneying knights and squires as possible; and in this way ought to make their entry as follows hereafter.
That is to say that the destrier of the prince, lord or baron who is captain of the knights and squires who accompany him ought to enter the city first, covered with the device of the captain, and with four escutcheons of the captain's arms on the four limbs of the horse, and the horse's head decorated with ostrich feathers, and on the horse's neck a collar of bells, and in the saddle a very small page, as best pleases him. And after the prince's destrier ought to enter similarly the destriers of the other knights and squires of his company, two by two, or each one by himself if you like, with the knights' and squires' arms on their four limbs, as above. And after the destriers ought to come the trumpeters and minstrels, playing, or whatever other instruments you wish; and after them, heralds or pursuivants dressed in their coats of arms; and after them, the knights and squires with all their other followers.
Item, immediately after a lord or baron arrives at the inn, he should display his coat of arms in the window. He should have the heralds and pursuivants put up a long board attached to the wall in front of his lodgings, on which is painted his blazon, that is to say his crest and shield, and those of his company who will take part in the tourney, knights and squires alike. And he should have his banner displayed at a high window of the inn, hanging over the road; and for doing this the heralds and pursuivants ought to be paid four sous for putting up each coat of arms, and each banner, and they must supply the nails and ropes to nail and raise and lower the banners, pennons and coats of arms whenever it is necessary. And note that the captains of the tourney should do the same as the other lords and barons in front of their inns: there is no difference, except that at the windows of their inns they should display their pennons with their banners: and the barons who put up their banners at the windows are required on their honor to display the coats of arms of at least five other tourneyers with their banners, as a company.
In front of the judges should come four sounding trumpeters, each carrying the banner of one of the judges, and after the four trumpeters, four pursuivants each wearing the coat of arms of one of the judges, dressed like the trumpeters. And after the four pursuivants should come the king of arms who cried the tourney, alone, wearing over his coat of arms the piece of cloth of gold, velvet, or figured crimson satin, and over that, the parchment with coats of arms as described before.
And after the king of arms should come the two knights who are judges, side by side, each on a fair palfrey covered with the judge's coat of arms right down to the ground. The judges should be dressed in long robes, the best they can afford. And the two squires should come after them, similarly. And each judge should be accompanied by a foot servant with his hand on the bridle of the destrier. Also each of the judges ought to have a white rod as tall as he is in his hand, which he carries upright, on foot and on horseback, wherever he is, during the festival, so that everyone may better know who are the judges. And after them should come as large an entourage as possible.
And note that as soon as they have arrived, the lord appellant and the lord defendant ought to send their chamberlains and their accountants to the judges, to do and pay for whatever the judges find necessary, as is more clearly explained hereafter.
The judges ought to keep their entourage together during the festival and if at all possible lodge themselves in a religious house where there is a cloister, because there is nothing so convenient for setting up the crests of the tourneyers as a cloister. (The day after the judges and the tourneyers arrive at the inns, each tourneyer must bring his crest and banners to be set up by the judges, and divided by the judges into those of one side and those of the other, and visited by and shown to the ladies.) And the judges should have in front of their inn a cloth three arms'-lengths high and two wide, on which are drawn the banners of the four judges held by the king of arms who cried the festival, and above at the top of the cloth should be written the two names of the captains of the tourney, that is, the appellant and the defendant, and at the foot, below the four banners, should be written the names, surnames, lordships, titles and offices of the four judges.
On the evening after the lords, knights and squires arrive, and the judges as well, all the ladies and damsels who have come to see the festival should assemble in a great room after supper. Then the judges should come there with their white rods and their trumpeters sounding, and the pursuivants in front of them, and the king of arms, in such an order and triumph as they entered the city, except that they are on foot. In that room they will find their place prepared and they should stand there.
Similarly, all other knights and squires should come at that hour to the hall. Then, by the order of the judges, dancing should begin. After everyone has danced a half hour or so, the judges should have their pursuivants and the king of arms mount up onto the gallery where the minstrels play, to make a cry in the form and manner that follows:
That is to say, that the pursuivant who has the loudest voice should cry, taking three great breaths, and three great pauses:
Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye.
And then the king of arms should say:
Very high and powerful princes, dukes, counts, barons, lords, knights and squires at arms: I notify you on behalf of my lords the judges that each of you must bring your helm, with the crest which you intend to wear at the tourney, and your banner, at the hour of noon, to the inn of the judges, so that the judges, at one o'clock, may set them up for the ladies to come and see and give their opinions to the judges.
And tomorrow, there is nothing else for you to do except that there is a dance after supper, as today.
After this has been announced, the dancing should begin again, and last as long as the judges like. Then they should bring out wine and spices, and so everyone leaves the festival at the end of the first day.
The next day, at the hour aforesaid, they should bring the banners, pennons, and crests of the captains to the cloister, to present them to the judges: and afterwards all the other banners, and helms with crests, as described before, in the order that follows:
First, the banners of all princes should be brought by one of their knight chamberlains, and the pennons of the captains should be brought by their senior valets or carvers.
And the banners of the other knights banneret, by gentlemen, as they wish.
The princes' helms should be brought by their squires.
And the helms of the other knights banneret, knights and squires, by gentlemen or honest valets.
When the helms have been set up and displayed, then ladies and damsels may come, with lords, knights and esquires, to see all of them. The judges should lead them three or four times around the cloister to see the crests. And there should be a herald or pursuivant, who will tell the ladies the name of the person whose crest is before them. And if one of them has spoken ill of the ladies, they may touch his crest, and the matter will be considered the next day. All the same no one will be beaten at the tourney except by the decision of the judges, and after the case has been debated and proven and found to merit punishment: and in that case the malefactor will be well beaten, so that he feels it in his shoulders, and so that he will not in the future speak ill of the ladies, as he did before.
And besides the complaints of the ladies, there are certain other more serious offenses and worse than speaking ill of women, for which the punishment that follows is due to those who have committed them.
The first case and the most serious is when a gentleman is found to be a liar and to have broken a promise, especially in a matter of honor.
The second is when a gentleman is a usurer, and manifestly lends at interest.
The third case is when a gentleman marries a wife who is a commoner, and not noble.
Of these three cases, the first two cannot be remitted, because one must have rigorous justice at a tourney, and they are so dishonest and outrageous that if anyone is found to have committed them, after he has been notified, his helm is cast to the ground.
Note: If there comes someone to the tourney who is not a gentleman in all his lines of descent, but who is a virtuous person, he should not be beaten the first time, except by princes and great lords, who, without hurting him, should beat him with their swords and maces, and this should always be considered to be an honor. And this will be a sign that because of his great goodness and virtue, he deserves to be at the tourney, and from then on no one may reprove him for his lineage in any place of honor where he is found, at the tourney or elsewhere. There too he may bear a new crest, or change his arms if he wishes, and keep them thereafter for himself and his heirs.
The punishment for the two principal serious offenses described above is as follows:
That is to say, that the other lords, knights and squires at the tourney ought to arrest and beat the offender until he agrees to give up his horse, which is the same as saying, "I yield me." And when he has yielded, the other tourneyers should have their people on foot and on horseback cut the girth of his saddle and carry the miscreant to the list barrier on the saddle and set him on it as if on horseback, and keep him there in that state, so that he cannot get down or sneak away until the end of the tourney; and his horse should be given to the trumpeters or minstrels.
The punishment for the third offense is that the offender ought to be well beaten, until he gives up his horse like the other above. But his girth is not cut nor is he put on horseback on the barriers, as for the first two offenses. Instead the reins of his horse are taken from his hands and over the neck of his horse, and his mace and sword are cast to the ground, and he is led by the bridle to a herald or pursuivant who will take him to a corner of the lists, and keep him there until the end of the tourney. And if he tries to escape or flee from the hands of the heralds, he may be beaten again and his girth cut and be put on horseback on the barriers, as above.
In the fourth case, of a gentleman who has spoken ill of the honor of ladies or damsels, without reason. And for punishment he should be beaten by the other knights and squires at the tourney, until he cries in a loud voice to the ladies for mercy, so that everyone can hear him, and promises to never again speak ill or villainously of them.
And to return to our subject, when the judges have divided the helms and banners into two sides, each of the servants who carried the helms and banners to the inn, with the permission of the judges will carry them to his lord and master, in the same order and triumph as he carried them in, or otherwise if his master wishes. And nothing else happens this day, except that after supper, just as the evening before, there will be dancing, to which all the knights and squires should come. And after the first or second dance, the king of arms and the pursuivants should make a cry, by the order of the judges, as was described before, as follows:
High and powerful princes, counts, barons, knights and squires, who today presented to my lords the judges and to the ladies also, your crests and banners, which have been divided into two equal sides, under the banners and pennons of the very high and very noble prince and my very redoubted lord the Duke of Brittany appellant and my redoubted lord the Duke of Bourbon defendant: my lords the judges wish you to know that tomorrow at one hour after noon the lord appellant, with his pennon alone, will come to show himself in the lists, accompanied by all the other knights and squires who are of his party, on their destriers, covered with their coats of arms, and themselves without armor but dressed as well and prettily as possible, so that my lords the judges may take their oath. And after the lord appellant has shown himself, and the oath is taken, and he has left the lists, the lord defendant will do the same at the second hour, and similarly take his oath, and let no one fail to appear.
And know that at the hour after dinner when he ought to come, the heralds and pursuivants, dressed in their coats of arms, should go crying through the city before the inns of the tourneyers: "To honor, lords knights and squires! to honor! to honor!" And then each tourneyer, armed with his weapons and gently dressed, without armor, a lance or baton in his hand, should mount his horse. And he should have a banneret with him, who should carry his banner rolled and not displayed, and his valets on foot or on horseback, also unarmed, who will accompany him to the inn of their captain, where he will come to accompany his pennon to the barriers, and thence into the lists. And similarly the defendant with his barons and the others of his side, after the appellant has left.
The oath that the judges take from the princes, lords, barons, knights and squires at the tourney is as follows:
The judges' herald will say to the tourneyers:
High and powerful princes, lords, barons, knights and squires, each and every one of you, please raise your right hand on high, towards the saints, and all together, as you will in the future, promise and swear by the faith and promise of your body, and on your honor, that you will strike none of your company at this tourney knowingly with the point of your sword, or below the belt, and that no one will attack or draw on anyone unless it is permitted, and also that if by chance someone's helm falls off, no one will touch him until he has put it back on, and you agree that if you knowingly do otherwise you will lose your arms and horses, and be banished from the tourney; also to observe the orders of the judges in everything and everywhere as they order delinquents to be punished without argument; and also you swear and promise this by the faith and promise of your body and on your honor.
To which they will answer. "Yes, yes." This done, the defendant should enter the lists to show himself, as described below.
On this day nothing else happens, except that there is dancing after supper like the day before, and after everyone has danced a little, the king of arms should mount up to the gallery of the minstrels, and have one of the pursuivants cry:
Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye.
And then he should say:
High and noble princes, counts, lords, barons, knights and squires who will be taking part in this tourney: I am to tell you on behalf of the judges that each of you must be in the lists tomorrow at noon, armed and ready for the tourney, because at one hour after noon the judges will cut the ropes to begin the tourney, where there will be rich and noble gifts given by the ladies.
Moreover, I warn you that no one can bring within the lists mounted servants beyond the specified number: that is to say four valets for a prince, three for a count, two for a knight, and one for a squire, and as many foot servants as you like; because that is the rule the judges have made.
This done, the judges should come to the ladies, and choose from them two of the most beautiful and noble, whom they should lead with torches, heralds and pursuivants. And one of the judges should carry a long veil, embroidered, jewelled and ornamented very beautifully with gold. And the judges should lead the ladies around the room on their arms, until they find a knight or squire who is among the tourneyers, whom the judges have chosen beforehand to honor above all others, before whom the ladies and judges stop together. And the king of arms should say to the knight or squire what follows:
Very noble and redoubted knight (or very noble and gentle squire), as it has always been the custom of ladies and damsels to have compassion, those who have come to see the tourney that will be held tomorrow, fearing that some gentleman who has done ill out of simplicity may be chastised too heavily by the demands of justice, and not wishing to see anyone beaten very hard, regardless of who he is, unless they can help him, the ladies have asked the judges to assign to them a famous, wise, and notable knight or squire who, more than all others, deserves the honor of carrying on their behalf this veil on the end of a lance tomorrow at the tourney. And if someone is too severely beaten, the knight or squire will touch his crest with the veil, and all those beating him must stop and not dare touch him: because from that hour forward, the ladies have taken him under their protection and safeguard. You have been chosen above all others at this tourney to be their knight (or squire) of honor, and undertake this charge, and they ask and require you to do as they wish, and so do the judges.
Then the ladies should give him the veil, asking him to do this; and after, the knight (or squire) kisses them, and then answers them as follows:
I humbly thank my ladies and damsels for the honor it has pleased them to do to me: and although they could easily have found others who could do this better, and who merit this honor more than I, nevertheless I obey the ladies freely and will do my loyal duty, asking always that they forgive my mistakes.
Then the herald and pursuivants should tie the veil to the end of a lance, which they should raise on high, and afterwards one of the pursuivants should carry it upright in front of the knight or squire of honor from that hour onwards. And he should spend the whole evening beside the greatest lady who is at the festival.
And while they are with the ladies, the king of arms should have a pursuivant make a cry, as follows:
Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye.
Then the king of arms should say:
Let all prince, lords, barons, knights and esquires know that N. has been chosen by the ladies to be knight (or squire) of honor, because of his honor, courage, and gentleness. You are commanded by the judges, and the ladies also, that when you see this knight (or squire) tomorrow lower this veil over some one of you who is being beaten for his misdeeds, no one should dare to beat or touch him; from from that hour the ladies have taken him under their protection and mercy, and this veil is called The mercy of ladies.
And this done, the ladies should begin dancing again, and dance as long as the judges wish, and then they should bring wine and spices, just as on the previous days.
On the day of the tourney, after the ladies have climbed up into their scaffold, the knight (or squire) of honor ought to enter the lists with the judges, fully armed, with a helm with a crest on his head, and his horse covered with his arms, ready to fight, the mace and the sword hanging from the saddle, carrying the lance to which the veil is tied. And in this way he should come first between the king of arms and the judges, or between the two senior judges, who ought to arrive a half hour before the tourneyers, just as they made their entry into the city, with sounding trumpets. And they ought to enter the lists, and go around the lists once or twice, to see if the ropes are good and to arrange for the people to cut them; and then they should leave the said knight (or squire) of honor between the two ropes, with four or six valets on horseback, and as many on foot, or otherwise if he wishes; and the four judges should take the helm off his head with their own hands, and give it to the king of arms, who should carry it before them to the ladies' scaffold, and there the judges should give it to the ladies. Then the king of arms should say:
My very redoubted and honored ladies and damsels, behold your humble servant and knight (or squire) of honor, who has entered the lists ready to do what you have commanded, and behold his helm and crest which you should keep in your scaffold, if it pleases you.
Then a gentleman or honest valet, chosen for this, should take the crest to the ladies' scaffold and put it up on a lance about the height of a man, or a little more, and carry it in his hands in front of the ladies, so that everyone can see it during the tourney.
And this done, the judges should take their leave and go up into their scaffold, and the knight (or squire) of honor should stay between the ropes, with his servants, until the tourneyers arrive.
An hour before the lord appellant enters the lists, he should send his trumpeters on horseback through the city, to collect his party, who will know by the trumpets that they should collect in the street before his inn, or another place nearby, as ordered by their lord; and where his pennon is set up for them to assemble, so that they may enter the lists all together.
And the lord defendant should do the same thing before he is supposed to enter the lists.
On the morning of the day of the tourney each of the knights and squires, knights banneret and others alike, ought to do what he needs to do before lunch time; and also they should rest if it seems good to them; for after ten o'clock they will have no spare time to do anything, except to arm themselves and get ready for the tourney. After eleven o'clock they should be ready and armed on their destriers, leaving their inns to assemble at the inn of their captains, with whom they are tourneying that day, at the hour that the heralds and pursuivants have announced. For at eleven o'clock, the heralds and pursuivants should go crying before the inns of the tourneyers, with loud voices, "Take up, take up your helms, take up your helms, lords knights and squires, take up, take up, take up your helms and come out with banners to gather at the banner of your captain." Then each of the tourneyers should be ready in the street, and should go on horseback to the inn of the captain, or else to some wider street, as he has been advised by the captain, to escort the captain's banner, and assemble all the tourneyers.
Note that in Flanders, Brabant, and the Low Countries, where they often hold tourneys, it is the custom that the kings of arms, heralds and pursuivants carry the banners. Each tourneyer gives to the heralds and pursuivants who carry his banner a coat with his arms and a big strong horse, and a habergeon if the herald or pursuivant wants one, with a salet, vambraces, rerebraces, gauntlets, and leg harness. But in the high Germanies and on the Rhine, they don't do this; for the banners of the tourneyers are carried by young and handsome companions, dressed for war, and on horseback; who are all armed like crayfish or in white harness, with sallets or kettle hats trimmed with feathers, and leg harness; and they have over their clothes fair hukes with goldwork or the devices of their masters. And they are mounted on horses almost as strong as the tourneyers'; the horses are covered richly and gently. And these companions are always at the tails of their masters' horses, and never let their banners fall, or lose their masters in the crowd. I think this custom is better than that of Flanders, or Brabant, because many of the heralds and pursuivants in France are poorly dressed, and when they are armed and holding banners, they are so hindered that they let the banners fall, nor can they follow their masters; which is very inconvenient and dishonorable for their masters.
Item, when the tourneyers have arrived and assembled together, the lord appellant, with whom they should ride together to the lists, should come to the place where they are assembled, in the form and manner described hereafter.
That is to say, that they should have kings of arms, heralds, or pursuivants with them, and many trumpeters and minstrels sounding; and the lord appellant's pennon should be carried before him by someone, as described above. After this pennon should come the lord appellant, and at the tail of his horse whoever carries his banner. And after him two knights banneret in front with their banners, and twenty tourneyers, and then banners and tourneyers alternately, and in such order they proceed to the barriers. And when they are before the barriers, their servants should make a great cry; and then all the knights and squires should lift their right arms over their heads, holding their swords and maces, as if threatening to strike; then they should go a pace just to the gate through which they should enter the lists, and there wait quietly. And then the herald of the lord appellant should say to the judges:
My honored and redoubted lords, the very high and very powerful prince and my very redoubted lord the Duke of Brittany my master, who is present as the appellant, presents himself to you with all the noble baronage that you see, whom you have placed under his banner, very eager and ready to begin the tourney assigned today with my very redoubted lord the Duke of Bourbon and the noble baronage equally ready to fight under him; asking that it please you you to prepare for him a place to do this, so that the ladies who are present can see the entertainment.
This done, the herald in the judges' scaffold should answer for the judges, saying as follows:
Very high and very powerful prince and my very redoubted lord, my lords the judges here present have heard and understood what your herald has said for you; to which they answer that your presence is very pleasing, and they well perceive the great and high will for honor and desire for valor that is in you and in the barons present under you, for which reason and because this tourney was proclaimed several days before, so that it could come to pass in good time and joyously, they assign the place there within the lists on the right side, and you may enter in God's name when you like.
This said, the one who bears the pennon of the appellant lord should enter first, and then the lord appellant, and then immediately he who carries his banner, and then the knights banneret with their banners, and the tourneyers in the order in which they came, and they should go a pace with trumpets sounding and minstrels singing, as soon as someone opens the passage into the lists, by which they should enter: and when it is open, they should enter within, and their servants should make a great cry, and the tourneyers should lift their arms high over their heads, making threatening motions with their swords or maces, as described before. And when they are in the lists, they should take their place on their side, and arrange themselves for battle, in the best array and order that they can manage behind the rope on their side, without leaving their side, so that those farthest to the front cannot go any farther. And those who hold banners should place themselves at the tails of the horses of their masters, and the other servants on horseback should surround them, and those on foot should be whereever seems best, but not in the front where their masters are, and in this way they should wait for the defendant to come to the lists in the way which follows.
The lord defendant should collect his men before his inn in the same way as the lord appellant, or elsewhere as he commands by heralds and pursuivants, as before, and then come to the barriers with his barons and the other tourneyers and be presented to the judges. From there he should enter the lists, and say the words and do the proper things, like the lord appellant, without changing anything, except that in all the speeches he makes to the judges, where the other called himself the appellant, he calls himself the defendant. And to keep it short, when he is in the lists, he should ready himself for battle, and set up his banners as the lord appellant did, and the tourneyers under him against the rope nearest to them. Between the two ropes there should be a space established by the judges, as described before. And at the four ends of the stretched ropes, there should be four big strong men in pourpoints, each of whom holds a big carpenter's axe or hatchet to cut the ropes. But before they are cut, the king of arms should have the trumpets sound, and cry in a loud voice three times, "Be ready for the ropes to be cut, be ready for the ropes to be cut, be ready for the ropes to be cut, you who are committed to this; then rush into battle and do your best." Then when the two sides are arranged as if for battle and ready for the tourney the king of arms should make another cry:
Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye.
My lords the judges pray and require that none of you gentlemen tourneyers beat another with the point or back of the sword, nor below the belt, as you have promised, nor strike nor draw unless it is permitted; and also that none of you attack anyone whose helm falls off until he has put it on again, and also that none of you beat anyone more than anyone else, unless it is someone who, for his sins, has been singled out for this.
Moreover, I advise you that when the trumpets have sounded the retreat and the barriers are open, if you stay longer in the lists, you will not win the prize.
After the trumpets have sounded and the cry has been made, the judges should give the tourneyers a little space, the length of seven psalms, or thereabouts, to put themselves in order. And when this is done, the king of arms should cry, by the order of the judges, taking three great breaths and three great pauses, "Cut the cords, and begin the battle when you wish." And after the third cry has been made, those who are to cut the cords should cut them. And at once those who carry the banners and the foot servants and those on horseback should shout the cries of each of their tourneying masters. Then the two sides should gather together and fight until by the order of the judges the trumpets sound the retreat.
Item, know that while the tourneyers are fighting, the pursuivants should be between the two lists, and the trumpeters too, who should not play, but should shout the cries of whichever of the tourneyers they like.
Item, the two pennons of the two captains, that is, the appellant and the defendant, should not leave the ends of the lists, each on his side where they entered for the tourney.
And note here that the tourneyers may keep within the lists with them their valets on horseback and foot, up to the specified number, each according to his rank; which valets on horseback should be armed with jazerants or brigandines, sallets, gauntlets, leg harness, and they should have the shaft of a lance, about two and a half or three feet long, in their fists, to defend themselves against the blows that might fall on them in the press. And it is their job to take their master out of the press when he asks and they can do it, always crying the cry of their master.
And the foot servants ought to be in pourpoints or short jackets, with sallets on their heads and gauntlets on their hands, and in the right hand the shaft of a lance two arms'-lengths long. And their job is to lift man and horse with their staffs when they see them fall to the ground, if they can, and if they can't lift him, they should stand around him and protect and defend him with their lances with which they make lists and barriers until the end of the tourney, so that the other tourneyers cannot overrun him. And if they do this and he is saved by them, he must give them wine at the command of the judges.
When it seems to the judges that the tourney has lasted long enough, they should have their trumpets and horns sound to end the tourney, which done, they should have their herald or pursuivant say the following words:
Let the banner bearers ride out, leave the lists, and return to your inns; for you lords, princes, barons, knights and squires who have tourneyed in this place before the ladies, have so done your duty that henceforth you may go out and leave the lists in good time; for already the prize is awarded, which will be given by the ladies to him who deserves it.
This cry made, the trumpeters of either side should sound the retreat; and then the men who cut the ropes, the guards of the lists and the foot servants should open the lists on both sides. And those who carry the pennons and banners of the two captains should go out a fair pace, without waiting for their masters, if they don't want to come yet. And the other banners should follow one after another, from the side of the lord appellant and the side of the lord defendant, going out on the side where they entered, as beautifully as possible and attended by all their men; and they should return to their inns, as described above. And at the same time the trumpeters should keep sounding the retreat until there are no more tourneyers in the lists. And they may go in troops fighting among themselves to their inns, or without attacking each other, as they wish; and in this way the tourney is finished and over.
The knight of honor should leave the barriers with the banners and march first, and the pennons and banners should come after him. And when they pass before the ladies' scaffold the man who held his helm and crest in the scaffold should come down and get on a horse, and carry the helm in front of the knight of honor till they reach the inns, in the same way as they entered.
In the evening after supper all the ladies, damsels and tourneyers should assemble in the hall where they dance as they did the evening before. And the knight of honor should come there with the veil carried in front of him on the end of a lance, and in the company of the judges come before the ladies, thank them for the honor they have done to him, and ask them to pardon his faults and excuse his simplicity.
This said, the veil is taken off the lance and given to the knight of honor who returns it to the ladies and kisses them, and then returns with the judges, those who are knights on the right and those who are squires on the left.
When it is time to give the prize the judges and the knight of honor, accompanied by the king of arms, heralds and pursuivants, should go to chose one of the ladies and two damsels in her company, and lead them out of the hall to some other place, with a great many torches, and then should return to the hall with the prize in the way that follows:
First, the trumpeters of the judges should go before, playing, then all the heralds and pursuivants like a fleet of ships; and after them the king of arms alone, and after him the knight of honor carrying the shaft of a lance in his hand, about five feet long or thereabouts. After the knight of honor should come the lady who carries the prize covered with the veil that was carried before the knight of honor, and on her right and left should come the judges, knights and squires, who should support her under the arms; and to the right and the left of the knights should be the two damsels on the arms of the two judges who are squires. The two damsels should hold the two ends of the veil, and in this way they should go three times around the hall, and then stop before the one to whom they wish to give the prize.
Then the king of arms should say to the knight to whom the prize will be given the words that follow, and he should do him the honor due to his estate, whether he is a prince, lord, baron, knight, or squire, saying:
Behold here this noble lady, my lady of such a place N., accompanied by the knight or squire of honor and by my lords the judges, who have come to give you the tourney prize, because you have been judged the knight or squire who has fought best today in the melee of the tourney, and my lady prays that you will take it with good will.
Then the lady should uncover the prize, and give it to him. Then he should take it and kiss her, and the two damsels if he likes. And then the king of arms, heralds and pursuivants should shout his battle cry around the whole room.
And this done, he should lead the lady to the dance, and the judges, the knight of honor, the king of arms and the pursuivants should lead the two damsels back to their places, without sounding the trumpets any more.
When they have finished their dance, the king of arms, or a herald, should cry the jousts for the next day, for all those who want to joust individually rather than in teams, at which jousts there will be three prizes given.
The first will be a wand of gold for him who strikes the best blow with a lance that day.
The second will be a ruby worth a thousand ecus or less, for him who breaks the most lances.
And the third will be a diamond worth a thousand ecus or less, for him who stays the longest in the lists without losing his helm.
Item, hereafter follows a list of the things the judges must do when they accept the office of being judges at the tourney;
Hereafter also what the king of arms must do;
Item similarly what the heralds and pursuivants must do;
Item hereafter, the things the lords appellant and defendant must do, each for his part, concerning the charges, costs and expenses, and the ceremonies.
And similarly the other lords and bannerets, each in his place, and the valets on horseback also.
And first, the judges ought to fix the day and the place, in some good town, in a central location, so that many knights and squires can come from all parts.
And the place chosen by the judges ought to be agreeable to both the parties: that is to say, the appellant and the defendant, and by their confirmation and decision rather than anyone elses'; because the appellant and defendant must pay the expenses for the tourney equally.
Item, the judges must go to the town where the tourney will be, to see if it is a suitable place.
Item, they must arrange for the lists to be made according to their plan.
Item, see that in the town there is a great hall where the ladies and damsels can assemble to dance, with a dressing room where they may go to refresh and rest themselves, or change their clothes if they wish.
Item, in the hall should be tables and trestles, benches, chairs, stools, dressers, hanging wooden chandeliers, which are called crosses, with wooden bowls to hold the torches to light the hall; the gallery where the minstrels may play and from which they may make cries in the hall, and tapestries to decorate it, linens and also vessels of pewter and silver on a high sideboard.
Item, to arrange the inns for the tourneyers in the town.
Item, to have the scaffolds by the lists set up, for the ladies and for themselves.
Item, to have written down the cries and ceremonies that they have to make, as has been fully described above.
Item, to provide for the supper the eve of the tourney, and for the dinner and supper the day of the tourney, for the ladies in the hall;
And for the wine and spices on the other days, and the torches and lighting in the hall and elsewhere.
They also ought to know about all the questions and debates that may come up at the tourney.
And they ought to pay the heralds and pursuivants with them for their expenses, and especially ought always to have with them the king of arms who cried the festival, and the four pursuivants with four trumpeters, and similarly ought to pay for their expenses during the festival; for the pursuivants may serve in many ways during the festival.
The two captains ought to pay all the expenses of the judges, and in general all the expenses, fees and charges equally: and the captains should do honor to the judges, and give to each judge an ankle-length gown of silk cloth, of the same color, so that during the festival they may be known and honored by others: that is to say to the two knights of velvet cloth, and to the two squires, damask.
Item, immediately after the judges have arrived at the place of the tourney, the lords appellant and defendant must each send to the judges a steward and an accountant, and each a quartermaster and a clerk, that is to say, the stewards and accountants to pay for and do what the judges order, and the quartermasters and clerks to arrange the lodgings for the lords, knights, squires, tourneyers, ladies and damsels and others who come to the festival, as was described at length in the chapter about the inns of the judges.
Note that the king of arms should be in the scaffold with the judges.
And also note that the judges should not allow anyone to appear at the tourney mounted on a horse of excessive and outrageous size and stronger than the others, unless he is a prince.
All the knights and squires who have never tourneyed before must pay for their helms and their welcome to arms, to the king of arms, heralds or pursuivants, at their pleasure or by the order of the judges: and nevertheless if they have paid before for a joust it doesn't follow that they do not have to pay again for the sword, for the lance cannot pay for the sword. But whoever has paid for a helm for the sword, that is to say for a tourney, will be free of the lance, that is to say of the joust.
Item, the horsecloths of the horses decorated with coats of arms are the right of the king of arms, heralds and pursuivants, and the banners and crests go to the church of the cloister where they set up the banners and crests, or to other churches as the judges order.
Item, those who won the prize ought to give something to the trumpeters and minstrels, and also the two captains of the tourney.
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