Top 10 Medieval Games & Sports That May or May Not Kill You — TopTenzNet

Top 10 Medieval Games & Sports That May or May Not Kill You — TopTenzNet

Top 10 Medieval Games That May or May Not
Kill You 10. Gameball or Soule Now, if we think that American football can
be rough, let’s look at what happened at a medieval gameball match. There were no rules
at all in regards to the numbers on a team. Violent behavior such as pushing or trampling
opponents was allowed. There were practically no other rules. Teams competed and tried to
get the ball (a stuffed animal bladder) over the line to score. Goal posts were movable
and sometimes could be even two miles apart. Matches between rival villages often lasted
for several days. Some team members could be stabbed to death as knives were not banned!
William Midleton, a Welsh poet of the sixteenth century, wrote about the numerous injuries
sustained by players. The game was considered so dangerous that King Edward IV and other
monarchs had laws passed which forbade this dangerous and violent sport. It took centuries
for the sport to become the almost genteel game of soccer and American football of today. 9. Hunting The nobility and aristocracy placed great
value on their ability in hunting and there was great prestige attached to killing wild
boars, bears, and deer. These were golden opportunities to show off their skills at
horsemanship and marksmanship. It was also a great way of providing food for all the
banquets. Hunting was dangerous as the wild boars could kill with their large tusks. There
were also risks from stray arrows and being mauled by the animals themselves. There were
also accidents caused by reckless horse riding. There is a wonderful description of a medieval
hunt in the famous poem Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. Class differences meant, of course, that hunting
was strictly for the landowners and nobility. The lower classes hated them with a vengeance.
When they dared to poach and were caught, the consequences were gruesome and savage.
They were usually hanged, but some were castrated and some were even blinded. Perhaps the worst
punishment of all was when a peasant thief was sewn into a deerskin, and was then chased
by ferocious hounds. A cruel death was inevitable. 8. Hot Cockles Here is a vaguely sadistic party game which
was a great favorite with the upper classes at Christmas parties and other celebrations.
It was popular from medieval times right up to the Victorian era. It seems to have reached
its peak of popularity in 18th century France. The blindfolded ‘penitent’ lays his head
on the ‘confessor’s’ lap. He is then beaten or spanked and has to try and guess
who it is. If he or she guesses correctly, the spanker then becomes the next penitent.
This game was also played by children but when the adults tried it, you could end up
getting badly bruised. There was always the risk that someone might take advantage of
a grudge to dole out justice. It was also popular because there were sexual innuendos
which pleased the noble classes at the time. There is a painting by Fragonard called the
A Game of Hot Cockles which is on view at the National Gallery of Art in Washington. 7. Jousting This sport was a continuation of the Roman
gladiatorial games and was no less dangerous. Basically, two knights in full armour and
with lances, raced on horseback towards each other and to try to unseat their opponent.
We can imagine the dangerous collisions and resulting injuries. Often the lances were
broken and there were many nasty injuries, and death, as a result. Backs and necks were
broken and sometimes swords and battle axes were used with drastic consequences for the
contestants. This was a high impact and high speed sport with little protective gear. Henry
II of France was killed in a jousting accident. A splinter from his opponent’s lance pierced
his brain. Jousting was regarded as a superb test of
a knight’s combat skills and was perfectly justified as training for real war and conquest.
It was also highly entertaining, with strict rules and procedures. The ladies of the court
were on hand to give out the prizes, such as a warhorse. Many knights became rich when
they won a joust because they were able to seize the loser’s horse and armour as the
prize. The loser usually had to buy his equipment back. Once the musket was invented in 1520, jousting
gradually became less popular. One weird fact is that jousting was made the official sport
of Maryland in 1962. It has been popular since colonial times. 6. Shinty The game of shinty came originally from Ireland
where it is known as hurling. Records show that the Gaels who migrated in ancient times
to Scotland brought the game with them. Hurling is still enormously popular in Ireland, where
the hurley stick is broad and slightly curved. In medieval Scotland, shinty matches, sometimes
involving massive teams of rival villagers, took place on New Year’s Day. Cold weather
sometimes meant that shinty was played on the frozen lakes. Players used skates made
from cattle shinbones! The Little Ice Age (circa 1350 to 1870) meant that colder winters
were much more frequent than now. Ice hockey is now a pale reflection of what
really went on in a medieval shinty match, whether played on grass or ice. Players were
allowed to tackle and block each other using the caman (shinty stick). The goals were known
as ‘hails’ and the teams competed by trying to get the leather ball into those areas to
score. This was a full contact sport and with no protective headgear so you can imagine
the injuries. As they were allowed to drink as well, things got rough and dangerous. It is fascinating to learn that the fictional
game of Quidditch in the Harry Potter books was actually inspired by shinty. Quidditch
has now become a reality and is actually played by 300 teams worldwide. 5. Archery If you lived in England in 1252 and you were
a male older than 15 years old, you were required by law to own a bow and arrow. Archery was
an essential skill in warfare. The longbow archers were highly trained and they could
fire up to 12 arrows in 6o seconds. It is said that an arrow released from a longbow
could actually pierce the plate armor of the enemy at a distance of 250 yards. No great
risks here when practised as a sport but when used in battle, the longbows were stunningly
effective. The English archers at the Battle of Crecy in 1346 killed more than 2,000 French
soldiers with their longbow arrows. Once the bourgeoisie became important in Europe,
many popular archery matches were held, often between competing townships. These events
were usually accompanied by fairs and banquets. The lower classes were only allowed to take
part in more mediocre events such as running, wrestling and jumping. 4. Irish stick fighting Fighting with cudgels and sticks was a universal
sport in medieval times. The shillelagh (from the Gaelic word siúil éille, meaning “oak
club”) in Ireland is the traditional wooden stick which originally came from the Shillelagh
oak forest in County Wicklow. Most people associate this type of baton with a walking
stick but its original use was as a weapon. It was extremely useful in defending yourself
against wild animals and robbers. The ancient Celts held games known as the fiancluichi
and stick fighting was a very popular contest. We can watch the video here to get an idea
of the different thrusts, strikes, feints, holds, and positions used. There were also
precise rules because it was not a drunken brawl, as many people think. In medieval times, Irish stick fighting had
become a standard method to settle tenants’ rights. Various factions grew up and the typical
challenge was to drag a coat along the ground and dare the opposing faction to even touch
it! These fights were fierce and violent. Serious injury, maiming and death were a natural
aftermath. The surprising thing is that women were allowed to take part. However, they were
not allowed to be hit by the men, although the women could hit the men! 3. Hammer throwing Hammer throwing has very ancient roots. The
Celtic games in Ireland known as the Tailteann go back as far as 2,000 BC and hammer throwing
is believed to have been one of the contests there. In Ireland, the first contestants used
a cartwheel, no doubt inspired by the legendary Cuchulainn who is said to have started the
trend. Hammer throwing became very popular in Scotland when Edward I banned Scots from
possessing any weapons. They then turned to the hammer as an alternative. Basically, the
hammer (weighing 7 kgs for men and about 4 kgs for women in today’s competitions) has
to be thrown as far as possible. Contestants spin around three times which allow them to
gain momentum before they throw. Speed is the essence here, as indeed are strength and
accuracy. In medieval times, hammer throwing often involved
accidents as stray hammers flew into the crowd, causing many deaths and terrible injuries.
Nowadays, there are protective railing and fences to protect spectators. When they do
medieval fair re-enactments now they recommend putting a soft covering over the hammer head,
just in case! 2. Bear and bull baiting Animal baiting was so popular in the medieval
era that every town in England had a bear or bull ring where this bloodthirsty event
was held. Bull baiting was more popular in the earlier period while bear baiting became
the favorite in Elizabethan times. It is said that Queen Elizabeth I also participated at
some of these bloodthirsty events. The origin of bull baiting was actually to
make its meat tenderer to eat. Bull baiting was a great way to soften up the meat, thus
making it easier to digest! The procedure was the same for bears or bulls. The unfortunate
animal was tied to a stake in the centre of the arena and had his nose stuffed with pepper
to enrage him. He was then baited by ferocious dogs. The bulldog, as the name suggests, was
one of the most popular breeds for this purpose. They attacked the bull and aimed for its vulnerable
parts and eventually, after about an hour, would bring it to the ground in agony. Sometimes
dogs were thrown to the ground by the bull and they suffered broken backs and other traumatic
injuries. It was not until 1835 that the English Parliament actually passed a law forbidding
bear or bull baiting. 1. Sword fights and dueling In the late medieval period, dueling was enormously
popular among the noble classes. It was also practised as vital preparation for war where
man-to-man combat would be expected. When wars were not raging, duels were usually fought
to defend a man’s honor or to decide who would win a woman’s hand in marriage. Judicial
combat was accepted as a way of settling disputes. God would side with the innocent party, it
was widely believed. The winner was rarely regarded as a murderer and his social standing
usually rose to stellar levels. In medieval times, it also became a popular
sport in tournaments. Sometimes, these matches were fought to the point of surrender or for
pleasure. The longsword was the favorite weapon and it usually required two hands as it weighed
about 4 lbs, but other weapons could be used, such as axes, daggers and poleaxes. Shields
were used as attack and defence weapons. There were many techniques to learn, especially
the art of dodging and parrying. The Pell was the training area where knights went through
intensive training because this would be a matter of life or death in a real battle. The fun really started at tournaments when
the knights were divided into competing teams and the chaotic battle was known as the melee
(from the Old French meslee, meaning “brawl, confused fight”). These events were enormously
popular. During the tournaments, there were a high number of casualties and the whole
affair was not as chivalrous as you might think. It was usually chaotic, brutal, and
violent. Henry VIII suffered a severe leg injury when his horse fell on him in a jousting
tournament. Medieval fighting is now making a comeback
and there are clubs in the USA and Europe where fighters recreate the medieval atmosphere
by fighting with longswords. It has been called the world’s most violent hobby. The weapons
used are not as sharp and stabbing is not allowed to minimize the possibility of being
seriously injured. Anyone for tennis?

60 Replies to “Top 10 Medieval Games & Sports That May or May Not Kill You — TopTenzNet”

  1. I'm sorry, I gave this video a thumbs down because you had a mixture of sports and games–and even back then they considered a lot of the topics you touched based on as sports not games. I was actually excited, I thought you had a list of games I never heard about that were deadly lol but most of these I have already heard of and knew they were dangerous/deadly.

  2. dueling is still done today, in germany and here in england as a past time, mostly done away from the public though as it can look like an assault, they allow cold steel training swords and full sharpend metal. And yes the injuries can be nasty, my older brother had his finger sliced down to the bone and iv had my knees paralyzed for weeks. But it helps toughen you up.

  3. It is cool to know that so many of those dangerous sports are still around in a way today. Nothing quite as dangerous but I like the idea of the originals not dying off completely.

  4. As children, we played a game called 'German Bastards'. One team were the Nazis, if there were 4 of them then they thought of a four letter word, each had a letter in mind and they split up around the streets. The other team were the allies, they had to hunt down the 'German Bastards' and basically do whatever it took to get the individual to squeal. Once all the letters were known, the allies had three guesses as to the word. If they got it right, they remained the allies and the 'Bastards' went again. If they got it wrong, roles were reversed. I prefer to think of it as practical literacy, rather than blind thuggery. This was England in the 90's, good times.

  5. Medieval Games & Sports  like blood bowl best games ever these so called "affaleats are wienes" back in my day we played on a football feild of rocks and we threw a stone that looked almost like a football thats HOW MANAMALS PLAY!! OOOOO RAAHHHH!!!

  6. You wanna talk about a medieval sport that can kill you? let's talk about Skin-Pulling, it's a game the vikings made where it's basically tug-of-war but if you lose you get pulled into a pit of fire and burn to death and the winners get the spoils from the raid.

  7. haha Im from maryland and jousting is awesome!! I go to the Renaissance fair every year to watch the joust

  8. 3:08 This was a high impact and high speed sport with little protective gear

    … besides the full plate armor and shield, of course ^ᴥ^

  9. Some of these 'sports' were more Renaissance than medieval, but overall this video is pretty good!

    (BTW, the biggest of the clubs you mentioned is the Society for Creative Anachronism- and while the martial sport are really big, there's a lot more to it than sport. And there's branches all over the world. Check out the Newcomers Portland- there likely a branch near you!)

  10. England in 1500's: Young men are required to own a bow and arrows at 15.
    England now: You can't buy a knife until you're 18.

  11. I do want to say that HEMA (historical european martial arts) is actually a lot safer than you make it out to be at the end of the video. At lest official HEMA is. They generally use blunt weapons, and require at least head and hand protection, preferably more.

  12. #5… Longbow archers could fire more than 1 arrow every 5 seconds (12/min) – the best archers could fire up to 20 per minute (1 every 3 seconds). The average was 8~10 as battles could last a long time and ammunition was not infinite.

  13. If you want to watch the medieval fighting check out the SCA or Armored Combat League. It's a really fun sport. Not to be mixed up with HEMA though which is newer. But all three of these sports are fun to watch and participate in.

  14. The sport of "sword fighting" is generally referred to as HEMA, or Historical European Martial Arts, and most clubs actually use wood or ballistic plastic practice swords. We train in the longsword, short sword and buckler, spear, and dagger mostly. The poleax or battle ax is not unheard of, however during practice the fighters must be in full harness, which is incredibly expensive, or risk severe injury. The normal protective garments worn during practice are a gorget (armor worn around the neck), a heavy padded jacket known as a gambeson or the more modern HEMA jacket, and a helmet either a steel medieval style or a modern HEMA mask, and gloves (hockey gloves work very well). Ive been practicing this sport for 7 years and have never had any serious injuries, lots of big bruises though, just like any other martial arts safety is a huge concern. If anyone is interested look up the Schola Saint George or the SCA.

  15. Wait, did you just say that knights wore little protective gear while jousting? I'm just curious what counts as protective gear if a full suit of plate armor doesn't qualify. I'm not saying it wasn't dangerous, but it's not as if they were jousting in their skivvies.

  16. my grandmother's last name is Archibald, and she is from Scotland. we apparently come from a family ​of Royal archers in Scotland, who apparently guarded the king. hence the name, I guess…

  17. I live in Scotland and I play shinty you don't have to wear a helmet but I do there was a competition
    Yesterday called the Mactavish cup

  18. Longsword fencing with modern protective gear is actually very safe. "Stabbing" (thrusts) are most definitely allowed. They are a critical component to Italian and German longsword traditions.

    Here are some links for those who are interested. Come join the fun!

  19. No freaking human powered weapon had a chance of penetrating properly made plate or mail. Not a freaking chance at all.

  20. gameballs still played every year in Ashbourne,Derbyshire, 1 side of the town vs the other, all windows&flowerbeds are barricaded. I played it myself& yes its dangerous with almost no rules

  21. I thought you guys would know jousting rarely ended in death softwood tips were stuck on the end of the lances and a joust would end when one of these was broken indicating there had been an accurate hit, this allowed contestants to practice without one person dieting. People obviously did occasionally die but this was relatively a rare occasion, if people had died all the time the upper classes would soon have been wiped out!

  22. I thought you guys would know jousting rarely ended in death softwood tips were stuck on the end of the lances and a joust would end when one of these was broken indicating there had been an accurate hit, this allowed contestants to practice without one person dying although this did happen on occasion!

  23. Me and my neighbors are gearing up for a gameball match right now. The other town doesn't know we're playing but hey no rules is no rules am I right

  24. Archery was the specialty of Freemen, yeoman and peasants not the aristocracy/rich who saw it as a hobby rather than a key skill…it was a blue collar profession not a blueblood sport…
    Also seriously???? Jousting no protective gear???? except for Full plate armor modified helmets, extremely heavy Padding under the armor, specially modified saddles, and stirrups, break-away lances, special non penetrating points on the lances, and it had absolutely nothing to do with gladiatorial combat it was a practical demonstration of the knights skill and was intended not only for competition but training and practice. A knight who did well at the joust could not only expect a prize he could command a very high price for his services…as a combatant…Deuing, once again a very practical practice which was usually fairly bloodless, cuts bruises, a few scars but very few deaths…and once again it was a way for a commoner to find a very lucrative way of life as a soldier,mercenary, or bodyguard, for rich employers….And "Modern" Medieval combat has been around since the late sixties and early seventies…I happen to do it myself…axe me about it…

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