We have a pretty expansive definition here at Beast Travel of what constitutes a travel story. We cover shenanigans at museums, mafia-run beach towns, archaeological breakthroughs, and crumbling private residences. We also believe travel isn’t just about going to a different place, but often a different time.
That’s why this week selection for Just Booked, our twice-a-month series on gorgeous travel-related coffee table books, is Taschen’s colorful reproduction of Emperor Maximilian I’s famed manuscripts of his jousts, Freydal: Medieval Games: The Book of Tournaments of Emperor Maximilian I with accompanying text by Stefan Krouse director of the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s Imperial Armory in Vienna. The work originally was created to showcase Maximilian (whose literary alter-ego was Freydal) and his famed love of jousting tournaments. Dubbed “the last knight,” his manuscript detailed 64 of the tournaments. The manuscripts were worked on between 1512 to 1515, and overseen by Maximilian himself. (Maximilian was famous for turning to paper for propaganda, including the iconic paper triumphal arch designed by Durer.)
The book is full of all the pomp and pageantry—gloriously armored horses, fantastic weaponry, outrageous clashes, and sumptuously dressed nobility. If it’s not enough to transport a reader to the mythic world of knighthood and chivalry before a summer jaunt in Europe, we’re not sure what will.
Freydal: Medieval Games: The Book of Tournaments of Emperor Maximilian I with commentary from Stefan Krause. (Taschen: $200)