Homage a Dr. Seuss

Among punning medievalists, this passage is known as "Palamon and Arcite Hear a Hoo!"

    Sorry about that.  Chivalric tournaments tended to follow the same patterns all over Europe, though terminology sometimes varried from nation to nation.  It was an "international sport," as well as good practice for real fighting between wars.  In fact, the kings of many nations often forbid tournaments in periods when their rule was uncertain because it was easy for a "tournament" to turn into the gathering of a real army at unpredictable places in the realm.  The Papacy opposed tourneying because of the violence that so often broke out among participants and spectators.  In fact, Pope Hillarion X once remarked that "I went to a war the other day and a tournament broke out!"  Ahem.   Tournaments might be structured around jousting, the State Sport of Maryland, in which two knights in plate armor and armed with lances rode at each other in an attempt to unseat their opponent by striking him on his shield before his lance touched theirs.  (Maryland "knights" charge individually at a ring suspended in the air, which they attempt to and frequently do (!) pierce with a needle-like lance tip.)   The other major form of tournament was the melee, also known as a "bohort," in which a mob of competitors fought each other, making and breaking alliances, until the victor could be determined either by being the last one standing/riding or by being acclaimed the winner by heralds who tallied strokes given and received, falls, unhorsings, etc.  The tournament Theseus will propose for Palamon and Arcite will be a variant on the melee.