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The joust became an iconic characteristic of the knight in Romantic medievalism.
The participants experience close to three and a quarter times their body weight in G-forces when the lances collide with their armor.
Also in the 12th century, a special class of noblemen serving in cavalry developed, known as milites nobiles.
By the end of the 13th century, chivalry (chyualerye) was used not just in the technical sense of "cavalry" but for martial virtue in general.
The term is derived from Old French joster, ultimately from Latin iuxtare "to approach, to meet". Jousting is based on the military use of the lance by heavy cavalry.
The word was loaned into Middle English around 1300, when jousting was a very popular sport among the Anglo-Norman knighthood. It transformed into a specialised sport during the Late Middle Ages, and remained popular with the nobility in England and Wales and Germany throughout the whole of the 16th century (while in France, it was discontinued after the death of King Henry II in an accident in 1559).
Jousting was discontinued in favour of other equestrian sports in the 17th century, although non-contact forms of "equestrian skill-at-arms" disciplines survived.
There has been a limited revival of theatrical jousting re-enactment since the 1970s.
The primary aim was to replicate a clash of heavy cavalry, with each participant trying hard to strike the opponent while riding towards him at high speed, if possible breaking the lance on the opponent's shield or jousting armour, or unhorsing him.
The rival parties would fight in groups, with the aim of incapacitating their adversaries for the sake of gaining their horses, arms and ransoms.
With the development of the courtly ideals of chivalry in the late medieval period, the joust became more regulated.
The lists, or list field, was the arena where a jousting event was held.
More precisely, it was the roped-off enclosure where tournament fighting took place.