In 1500 Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I was Europe’s most powerful ruler and a famous tournament competitor. His court invented new forms of jousting and he employed many of the best armourers, including members of the Seusenhofer and Helmschmid families.
Maximilian I wrote books in which he was the thinly disguised hero and presented himself as the last great chivalric knight.
Henry VIII married Katherine of Aragon, whose sister Juana had married the Emperor Maximilian’s son, Philip. Young Henry admired Philip and Maximilian and aspired to be like them.
Maximilian I wanted Henry VIII as his ally to attack France and presented him with gifts of fine armour. When Henry’s troops captured the French city of Tournai in 1513 he celebrated victory by jousting in the market square.
Learn more about the objects in the gallery at Tournament Top Ten
Armour commonly and mistakenly referred to as ‘chainmail’ should correctly be called MAIL, which is derived from the Old French word maille, meaning chain. The word ‘chainmail’ literally translates as CHAIN CHAIN!