792.—Ancient Quintain.details

[Picture: 792.—Ancient Quintain.]
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792.—Ancient Quintain.

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The sports of the [twelfth-century] Norman lords [...]

the noble students of chivalry practised military sports, of which the principal was the quintain, in which the young man tilted with his lance at a shield or Saracen elevated on a pole or spear, past which he rode at full career.

This exercise was imitated by the young men who were not blessed with noble birth; a sand-bag being in that case substituted for a shield or a Saracen, and a quarter-staff for a lance (Fig. 792). (p. 215)

It’s not clear to me whether an actual Saracen person is meant! At any rate, the Quintain is a device used to learn what we would now call jousting. The people shown here are wearing 18th or early 19th century costumes, including a man in a top hat, and not twelfth-century costumes, so presumably we are to understand that the quintain was still standing some four hundred years later.

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