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Kai Parker
Kai Parker

Knight: The History and Culture of Medieval Mounted Combat


How to Become a Knight




Becoming a knight was not easy. It required years of training, dedication, and money. A young boy who wanted to be a knight usually started as a page at the age of 7 or so, serving a knight or a lord and learning basic skills like riding, hunting, and using mock weapons. At the age of 14 or so, he became a squire, assisting a full knight in battle and in daily life, and learning more advanced skills like using real weapons, armour, and horses. He also had to study the code of chivalry and other subjects like reading, writing, and chess. When he was between 18 and 21 years old, he could be dubbed a knight by another knight in a ceremony that involved an oath, a blessing, and a touch on the shoulder with a sword. This was called the accolade. Sometimes, a squire could be knighted on the battlefield for showing exceptional courage or skill. What Did Knights Wear and Use?




Knights wore metal armour of iron or steel to protect themselves from arrows and swords. The most common type of armour was chain mail, which was made of thousands of interlocking metal rings that covered the body like a coat. Chain mail was flexible but heavy and could be pierced by sharp weapons. Later on, knights started to wear plate armour, which was made of solid pieces of metal that covered different parts of the body like the chest, arms, legs, and head. Plate armour was more rigid but lighter and stronger than chain mail. Knights also wore helmets with visors or eye slits to protect their faces. Knights used various weapons in combat depending on the situation and their preference. The most important weapon was the sword, which was a symbol of the knight's status and honour. Swords were usually one metre long and had to be held with both hands. They could cut through flesh and bone with one blow. Another common weapon was the lance, which was a long wooden pole with an iron tip that could be used to charge at enemies on horseback. Lances could break or shatter on impact. Other weapons that knights used included maces, axes, daggers, bows, crossbows, and spears. What Was the Code of Chivalry?




The code of chivalry was an informal and varying set of rules that guided the behaviour of knights in war and in peace. It was based on Christian values as well as feudal duties and courtly manners. The code of chivalry aimed to make knights noble, loyal, brave, generous, courteous, faithful, humble, and merciful. Some of the main principles of the code were: - To fear God and respect the church - To serve the king or lord with honour and loyalty - To protect the weak and the oppressed - To fight for justice and truth - To respect women and love one's lady - To never lie or break one's word - To be generous and hospitable - To be humble and courteous - To avoid pride and envy The code of chivalry was not always followed by all knights or in all situations. Sometimes knights could be cruel, greedy, violent, or dishonest. However, the code of chivalry was an ideal that many knights tried to live up to. What Were Some Famous Knights?




There were many famous knights in history who became famous for their deeds in war or in tournaments. Some of them were real historical figures while others were legendary or fictional characters. Here are some examples: King Arthur




King Arthur is one of the most famous legendary knights who is said to have ruled Britain in the 5th or 6th century. He is said to have pulled a magical sword called Excalibur from a stone, proving that he was the rightful king of Britain. He also founded the Round Table, a group of loyal knights who followed the code of chivalry and went on quests to find the Holy Grail, a sacred relic. King Arthur's most trusted knight was Sir Lancelot, who was also his best friend and his wife's lover. King Arthur's enemies included his half-sister Morgan le Fay, a powerful sorceress, and his nephew Mordred, who betrayed him and caused his death. Richard the Lionheart




Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) was the king of England and one of the leaders of the Third Crusade, a military expedition to reclaim the Holy Land from the Muslim ruler Saladin. Richard was known for his courage, charisma, and military skill. He won several battles against Saladin, such as the Siege of Acre and the Battle of Arsuf, but he could not capture Jerusalem, the ultimate goal of the crusade. He also had conflicts with other Christian rulers, such as the king of France and the Holy Roman Emperor. Richard spent most of his reign away from England, fighting in France or in the Holy Land. He died from an infected wound caused by a crossbow bolt. El Cid




El Cid (1043-1099) was a Spanish knight who fought for both Christian and Muslim rulers in Spain. His real name was Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, but he was given the nickname El Cid, which means "the lord" or "the master" in Arabic. He was a skilled warrior and a respected leader who won many battles against his enemies. He is most famous for conquering the city of Valencia and ruling it as an independent lord until his death. He became a national hero of Spain and a symbol of coexistence between different cultures and religions. His life and deeds inspired many poems, plays, and movies. What Were Some Famous Stories About Knights?




Knights were not only famous for their real-life adventures, but also for their fictional ones. Many stories, legends, and myths were written or told about knights in the Middle Ages and beyond. Some of them were based on historical events or characters, while others were purely imaginative or fantastical. Here are some examples: The Song of Roland




The Song of Roland is one of the oldest and most famous epic poems in French literature. It tells the story of Roland, a brave knight who served under Charlemagne, the king of the Franks. Roland was in charge of guarding the rear of Charlemagne's army as it retreated from Spain after fighting against the Muslims. He was ambushed by a large enemy force at a mountain pass called Roncevaux. Roland refused to blow his horn to call for help from Charlemagne, because he did not want to appear cowardly or dishonourable. He fought valiantly until he died, along with all his men. The poem praises Roland's loyalty, courage, and sacrifice. The Arthurian Legends




The Arthurian Legends are a collection of stories about King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table. They are based on various sources from different times and places, such as Celtic myths, French romances, and English chronicles. They include tales of magic, adventure, love, betrayal, and quest. Some of the most famous stories are: - The Sword in the Stone: How Arthur became king by pulling out a sword that was stuck in a stone. - The Lady of the Lake: How Arthur received his magical sword Excalibur from a mysterious woman who lived in a lake. - The Quest for the Holy Grail: How some of Arthur's knights searched for the cup that Jesus used at the Last Supper. - The Love Triangle: How Arthur's wife Guinevere fell in love with his best knight Lancelot, and how their affair caused trouble for Camelot. - The Death of Arthur: How Arthur was wounded by his traitorous nephew Mordred at the Battle of Camlann, and how he was taken to Avalon, a mystical island where he would rest until he returned to save Britain. The Canterbury Tales




The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the late 14th century. It is considered one of the masterpieces of English literature. It tells the story of a group of pilgrims who travel from London to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket. Along the way, they decide to tell each other stories to pass the time and entertain themselves. There are 24 stories in total, each told by a different pilgrim with a different personality and background. One of them is the Knight, who is described as a noble, wise, and experienced warrior who has fought in many wars and crusades. His story is about two young knights who fall in love with the same lady and compete for her favour in a tournament. What Was the Impact of Knights on Society and Culture?




Knights had a significant impact on the society and culture of the Middle Ages and beyond. They were not only warriors, but also leaders, judges, administrators, and patrons of arts and learning. They influenced the political, social, economic, and religious aspects of life in Europe and other regions. Some of the impacts of knights were: - They helped to shape the feudal system, a hierarchical structure of land ownership and loyalty that dominated medieval Europe. Knights were vassals who swore allegiance to a lord or a king in exchange for land and protection. They also had their own vassals, such as peasants and serfs, who worked on their lands and paid them taxes and services. - They participated in the crusades, a series of religious wars between Christians and Muslims over the control of the Holy Land and other places. The crusades had positive and negative effects, such as spreading Christianity, increasing trade and cultural exchange, causing violence and bloodshed, and creating tensions and conflicts among different groups. - They supported the growth of chivalric literature, a genre of writing that celebrated the ideals and values of knighthood. Chivalric literature included epic poems, romances, chronicles, biographies, and manuals. It influenced the development of languages, arts, and education in Europe and beyond. - They contributed to the emergence of heraldry, a system of symbols and colours that identified knights and their families. Heraldry was used on shields, banners, flags, coats of arms, seals, and other items. It helped to distinguish friends from foes in battle, to show one's lineage and status, and to express one's personality and achievements. How Did Knights Change Over Time?




Knights did not re


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