International Palace Game Picture

Visegrádi Nemzetközi Palotajátékok
2005 július 8.-10.

"Az Úr 2005. esztendejében, július havának második hetében 8-9-10. napján fényes ünnepség veszi kezdetét a visegrádi királyi palotában. A magyarok királya, Károly vendégül látja a csehek királyát és ennek fiát, a morva herceget, a lengyelek királyát, bajvívó vitézeiket és díszes kíséretüket. Érkezik még számtalan nemes Magyarországból és más országokból, hogy tanúi lehessenek a királyok találkozójának és a lovagi tornának. Mint azt a heroldok már jó elõre kihirdették, a tornán a legnemesebb, legvitézebb bajvívók vesznek részt, melyre a magyarok vitéz és bölcs királya, Károly és gyönyörû városa, Visegrád szeretettel vár minden érdeklõdõt."

International Palace Game in Visegrád
8.-10. July 2005.

History of tournaments

The origins of knighthood can be traced back in time to the appearance of the "Magyars" in Europe - in fact it was the type of warfare practiced by our ancestors that lead to the forming of armored cavalries in the Western European kingdoms. Soon the power of the nobles in these lands depended solely on the size of their private army raising European wide respect for the knights.

No one was born a knight. Young men of the age had to go through a special education and prove their ability with heroic acts before they became one. From the 11th century on standards on morals and ethics were established whereby the well-known image of the brave, virtuous and devoted knight was born. This process was also supported by the Church: on holidays and certain days of the week the knights were called on to set good example and were not allowed to fight (a regulation referred to at the time as "Treuga Dei").

The golden age of the knights was without doubt the period of the Crusades. The first crusaders protected the Christian pilgrims visiting the city of Santiago de Compostela (in today's Spain) against the Moors . When Jerusalem was occupied by the Turks in 1071 the pope Orban II announced the first 'international' and European wide Crusade in order to liberate the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. In the following two centuries the series of Crusades continued but without much military and political success. The last city in the Holy Land held by crusaders fell to the Turks in 1291. In spite of the general military failure the Crusades left an undeniable impact on European culture and everyday life. Every nation had its own legendary knight figure whose deeds served as constant food for thought in literature. Such heroes include King Arthur in the Celtic, Roland in the Frank, Sigfrid in the German and Cid in the Spanish mythology. These literary works became the cornerstones of the profane literature in the Middle Ages.

The cultural and moral ideals represented by the knights found their way to Hungary during the Crusades. The Hungarian knights took an active part in the attempts of liberating the Holy Land while some of the orders of the Western European knights settled permanently in Hungary. The presence of the different orders and the influence exercised by the knights reached its heights during the reign of the Anjou dynasty in the 14th century. Charles of Anjou organized jousting tournaments regularly in his royal court at Visegrád and founded the Saint Gregor order, one of the two Hungarian based orders for knights. His son, Louis the Great was one of the most respected Hungarian knights, leading many successful military campaigns against non-Christians.
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