Knighthood, Chivalry & Tournaments
Resource Library

Deeds of Arms -- From the Archives
Documents relating to
                                     Formal Deeds of Arms of the Fourteenth Century

                   edited by Steven Muhlberger

This is a supplement to the Deeds of Arms site, affiliated with the KCT Resource Library.

"Deeds of Arms" began as a collection of chronicle accounts that described formal deeds of arms -- jousts, duels, and other challenges -- which took place in the fourteenth century.   Some of those accounts were written quite close to the event, others long after, but all were literary reconstructions, written for literary effect.   Like many other historical texts, they have to be taken with a grain of salt, because they were written to make an effect on a specific audience, not as an impersonal, impartial record of "what really happened."

This section collects the texts of various archival and other documents concerning formal deeds of arms.  Do archival documents necessarily tell us "what really happened?"   I make no such claims.  However, the documents here have advantages for those interested in how deeds of arms were organized and performed.   The archival documents are often royal orders, commanding a certain person to do something, or royal licences, allowing a certain person to do something.   The events are usually proposed for the near future.   One of the best uses of archival documents is for dating deeds described, but not as precisely, in literary accounts.  Other documents include proclamations or invitations for an upcoming deed.   They allow us to see what organizers thought was effective, appealing advertising.

Thanks to Will McLean for his contributions to this collection.

All translations by Steven Muhlberger are copyright 2003 by Steven Muhlberger, but may be used for educational purposes.

Begun February 19, 2003.
Last updated on February 25, 2003.

Historical Materials on Knighthood and Chivalry -- KCT Library

Nipissing University Disclaimer