Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Carousel, think you know what it is?

History of Jousting - The Carousel

This was something I had always wondered about. When my daughter was young, we could never walk by a carousel without stopping to let her ride it. Even years before that, as a kid, I wondered, how did this ever come to be a circular ride with horses on it. The benches to sit on were obvious, parents wanted to sit in dignity while their kids rode amazingly fabulous rides. Typically horses, I've seen all kinds of fantastic beings as themes, Unicorns, Bunnies, sea animals, just about anything you can think of. 

Then there are the models of carousels. My ex wife, being a horse trainer and riding instructor, a rider since she was four, loved collecting San Francisco Music Box Company carousels. I would buy her these for Christmas, including one that was a full Carousel and a bit expensive. I can't find a picture of that online anywhere now, maybe that is a good thing, for her, collectable-wise.

Then I started giving them to our daughter, starting her out with the snow globes with a single horse in them. That way she couldn't easily break them. As she got older, she got the external kind.

Then she moved up to a single carousel horse. They are quite fantastical looking things. They were always a bit more than I could understand, but the girls loved them. But still, where did they originate? I finally found out kind of inadvertently.

But these are just toys. The originals were a bit more, aggressive in their existence, use and purpose.

Many thanks to Middle-Ages .org for the following information:

The decline of jousting in England occurred at a faster rate than the rest of Europe - due to the development of the new entertainment offered in the theatre. In France the notions of Chivalry continued tournaments and jousting into the seventeenth century - these were also referred to as Carrousels. The word Carousel is derived from the words "garosello" (Italian) and "carosella" (Spanish), both of which mean "little war". 

The origins dated back to the time of the crusades when a carousel was a horseman's game in which cavaliers pelted each other with balls. The "carrousel" was a ring-spearing tournament in which expert riders used their lances to spear small rings suspended between two posts at full gallop. Young French princes trained for this type of tournament by sitting on wooden horses which were attached to a center pole. The young nobles would attempt to spear small rings dangled along the outer edge of the device. 

To make this more difficult the device was powered round and round by a horse or a servant. The device was soon referred to as a carousel. This history of Jousting remains with us today at fairgrounds in the form of the Carousels!

Many thanks to Middle-Ages .org for this information.

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