Saracen Joust

The Saracen Joust of Arezzo (Giostra del Saracino, Giostra ad burattum) is an ancient game of chivalry. It dates back to the Middle Ages.

It was born as an exercise for military training. This tournament was regularly held in Arezzo between the 16th century and the end of the 17th century, when memorable jousts in baroque style were organized. The game went on for the whole Modern Age, having an important social function within the urban community. The joust was indeed a great public event during the visit of important authorities (sovereigns, princes, etc.), or it was used to make certain civil feasts more solemn (e.g. carnivals and nobless weddings).

The joust – which became a typical tradition of Arezzo at the beginning of the 17th century – declined progressively during the 18th century and eventually disappeared, at least in its "noble" version. After a brief popular revival between the 18th and 19th century, the joust was interrupted after 1810 to reappear only in 1904 in the wake of the Middle Ages reappraisal operated by Romanticism. Finally, the joust was definitely restored in 1931 as a form of historical re-enactment set in the 14th century, and quickly acquired a competitive character.

Contents

Current Joust

The historical reenactment takes place every year in Arezzo on the last but one Saturday of June, by night (the so-called San Donato Joust, dedicated to the patron saint of the town) and on the first Sunday of September, in the afternoon (the September Joust). The protagonists of the event are the four quarters of the town of Arezzo:

  • Porta Crucifera known as Culcitrone(green and red colors),
  • Porta del Foro known as Porta S.Lorentino(yellow and crimson colors),
  • Porta Sant'Andrea (white and green colors) and
  • Porta del Borgo, today called Porta Santo Spirito (yellow and blue colors).

The Saracen Joust is organized by the Municipality of Arezzo through a special institution whose governing body (the managing council) which is chaired by the Major of Arezzo, but also includes the presidents ("Rettori") of the four competing quarters.

The jousting day starts in the morning, when the town's Herald reads the proclamation of the joust challenge, and then continues with a colorful procession of 350 costume characters and 27 horses parading along the streets of Arezzo. The topic moment of the parade is the blessing of the men-at-arms, which takes place on the steps of the Duomo and is given by the Bishop of Arezzo.

The knights' tournament is held in the precious scenario of Piazza Grande, guided by the "Maestro di Campo" and preceded by the costume characters and the town's ancient banners entering the square accompanied by the sound of trumpets and drums. Some important moments can be defined at this stage of the event: the highest authorities of the Joust entering the square (the magistrates, the Jury, the quarters' presidents), the performance of flag-wavers, the jousters galloping into the racing field, each knight representing an ancient noble family of Arezzo, the knights' arrangement on the "lizza" (jousting track), the Herald reading the Challenge of Buratto (a poetic composition written in octaves in the 17th century), the crossbowmen and the soldiers greeting the crowd shouting "Arezzo!", the magistrates' authorization to run the joust and finally the Joust's musicians playing the Saracen Hymn, composed by Giuseppe Pietri (1886–1946).

Then, the real competition starts. The jousters of the four gates (the real protagonists of the event) gallop their horses with lance in rest against the Saracen, an armor-plated dummy representing a Saracen holding a cat-o'-nine-tails in his hand ("Buratto, King of the Indies"). The sequence of charges is drawn on the week preceding the joust during a costume ceremony in Piazza del Comune. It's almost impossible foreseeing what the result of the joust will be: it depends on the ability, the courage and the good-luck of the eight jousters who alternate on the packed-earth sloping track (the lizza) that runs transversally across Piazza Grande. The competition is won by the couple of knights who hit the Saracen’s shield obtaining the higher scores (scores range from 1 to 5). The quarter associated to the winning knight receives the coveted golden lance. In the event of a draw between two or more quarters after the standard number of charges (two sets of charges for each jouster) the prize is assigned with one or more deciding charges. At the end of the joust, mortar shots will hail the winning quarter.

The rules of the tournament are contained in technical regulations that repeat – virtually unchanged – the Chapters for the Buratto Joust dating back to 1677. They are easy to understand, and yet worded in such a way as to guarantee a long-lasting suspense. The outcome of the fight between the Christian knights and the "Infidel" is undecided until the very last moment due to dramatic turns of events. For instance, jousters may be disqualified if they ride accidentally off the jousting track, or their scores may be doubled if their lance breaks after violently hitting the Saracen.

See also

Gallery

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Arezzo — Infobox CityIT official name = Comune di Arezzo img coa = Arezzo Stemma.png img coa small = image caption = Piazza Grande; from left S. Maria della Pieve, the Tribunal Palace and the Lay Fraternity. region = RegioneIT|sigla=TOS province =… …   Wikipedia

  • Justa del Sarraceno — La Giostra del Saracino o Justa del Sarraceno, es una evocación histórica medieval que tiene lugar en la ciudad de Arezzo. En ella participan los cuatro Barrios en la cual está dividida la ciudad, es decir: el Barrio de Porta Crucifera (conocido… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jousting — is a sport played by armored combatants mounted on horses. It consists of competition between two mounted knights using a variety of weapons, usually in sets of three per weapon (such as tilting with a lance, blows with the battle axe, strokes… …   Wikipedia

  • C64-Spiele — Der C64 ist ein 8 Bit Heimcomputer, der in den 1980er Jahren u. a. als Spielkonsole sehr verbreitet war. Hier eine unvollständige Liste bekannter Spiele: Spiele, die schon einen eigenen Artikel haben, stehen auch in der Kategorie:C64 Spiel. 0 9… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Knight — Knighthood redirects here. For modern British honours, see Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom. For other nations, see State decoration. For other uses, see knight (disambiguation) and knights (disambiguation). Royal and noble… …   Wikipedia

  • Ivanhoe — infobox Book | name = Ivanhoe orig title = translator = caption = Ivanhoe UK paperback cover ifdc| log=2008 May 17 author = Sir Walter Scott cover artist = country = United Kingdom language = English series = Waverley Novels genre = Historical… …   Wikipedia

  • Foligno — Infobox CityIT img coa = Foligno Stemma.png official name = Comune di Foligno name=Foligno|mapx=42.9|mapy=12.69 region = Umbria province = Perugia (PG) elevation m = 234 area total km2 = 263 population as of = january 1, 2005 population total =… …   Wikipedia

  • Angelica (character) — Angelica is a character in the epic poem Orlando innamorato by Matteo Maria Boiardo. She reappears in the saga s continuation, Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto, and in various later works based on the the two original Orlando pieces. The… …   Wikipedia

  • International Gladiators 2 — (IG2) was filmed in the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham during 1995 and was broadcast on ITV in 1996. Unlike International Gladiators 1 , this series featured six countries and around forty Gladiators. Gladiators UK Gladiators The entire team …   Wikipedia

  • Tightrope (Gladiators) — Tightrope tightrope1.jpg A contender races down the zip line part of Tightrope Year Introduced 1997 Country of Origin  United Kingdom …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.