I came across A Knight’s Tale, a really good movie set on jousting tournaments medieval England. This prestigious sport was very popular at the time and so much emotion and excitement usually went on the matches by the opponents and spectators. Interestingly the world’s first historical novel author, Sir Walter Scott has written his famous novel Ivanhoe on this setting.
Medieval knights’ jousting
A jousting match in a tournament/ Source
I immensely enjoyed watching A Knight’s Tale. This action-drama movie enjoyed a spectacular play by the late Heath Ledger. It also contained so many subtle jokes and funny scenes and when it combines with romance and action/adventure theme it engages the audience the most.
A Knight’s Tale trailer
Many know about these brave and novel European medieval knights but how many of us know that the world’ first knights were Iranian Cataphracts also known as Asvaran?
How many know that the world’s first jousting battle happened in Iran (also known as Persia in West)?
Battle of Hormuzgan, the worlds’ first jousting battle between two Iranian dynasties: Ardeshir I of Persia vs. Adravan V of Parthia
(Source: Iran Archeology Facebook Group)
Shapur the son of Ardeshir was present at the Hormozgan battle and struck Arodavan’s grand-vazir by lance in a jousting battle
The oldest Jousting scene in Sassanids rock relief depicting Ardeshir’s victory over Adavan V the last Parthian king (right).
Parthian seven clans still remained powerful force in Sassanid dynasty.
I quote from Nabil Rastani:
The Parthians were overthrown by the Sassanians (224-651AD) in the 3rd century at the fierce jousting battle of Hormuzgan in 224AD it was here the first jousting battle in history occurred Ardashir I of Persia the founder of the Sassanians had a duel with Ardavan V of Parthia were he was slain, and the Sassanians were victorious .
The Sassanians inherited the cavalry warfare traditions already richly developed in the region by Parthia. Since the Sassanid Empire was by far superior organized and trained than the loosely-bound Parthian Empire, their army was by all means effective, and hence created a number of impressions on western sources.
Other Iranian jousting scenes:
Parthian jousting scene at Dura-Europos, Syria/ Source: هزاره های گمشده: اشکانیان (پارتها) نگارش: پرویز رجبی
Parthian jousting scene at Tange Sarvak, Iran: هزاره های گمشده: اشکانیان (پارتها) نگارش: پرویز رجبی
Naqsh-e Rostam/ Double Equestrian victory relief of Sassanid King Hormizd I, jousting against an enemy, most likely to represent King Papak of Armenia
Naqsh-e Rostam/Double Equestrian victory relief of Bahram II, Sasanid King, unseating an enemy in a jousting battle
Jousting was not fogotten after Islam and Iranian practiced it at least to Timurid time. The following bronze bowl depicts a duel scene between a swordsman and a jouster both mounted.
The Golden Disk of Heaven: Metalwork of Timurid Iran (Persian Art Series)/ Linda Komaroff/ Mazda Pub (August 1992)
Epic duel fighting in front of a castle after 700 C.E. in current day Tajikestan, formerly Sogdiana state of Sasanids. Taken from “SOGDIANA vi. SOGDIAN ART” entry of Iranica.