The Other Side of KnightsPosted: November 13, 2011
Boys think that a knight's job is to kill people during wars although this was not always the case. Knights were actually respected and even though they are the 'middle class' they were role models to the younger generation.
‘A Knight is a feared and loved’
Regardless of the fact they could killed a multitude in less 24 hours, knights did have gentleman like qualities. These qualities were thought to them from being a page to a knights, and even after being a knight they passed down these manners and good qualities to their squires.
‘Teach your children manners. It is beneficial for them’
At the age of seven, a boy was sent away from his home and sent to a castle or manor of a lord as a page and undergo the first part of training. A Page’s training was not all fighting but actually serving the men and ladies of the manor. The ladies of the court would teach the page how to play chess, the harp, sing and, of course, good manners. Some page’s were taught how to read and write, although this was not necessary as literacy was not considered something important. Basically, pages acted like normal boys but were taught from a young age to be responsible men.
‘With power comes great responsibility’
A squire was expected to follow his master everywhere, whether is was to battle, hunting or just visiting an old friend. A knight would never leave the house without his squire. Having being thought good manners by his [the lord’s] ladies, a squire should have the patience and good virtue to not complain and always be content. A squire would also show a substantial amount of responsibility as he had to care for his master’s horse, armour and younger page’s. Because a knight would have to agree to the dubbing of a squire, he [the squire] may act extra nice to his lord in order to be dubbed quicker. Being a squire is the most crucial part of being a knight, as it would determine what type of knight he will be, whether he be a good, fair or ugly knight.
‘I dub thee Sir Knight’
Before a squire can be dubbed as a knight, he had to undergo a few religious aspects as the Church was the centre of these times. The Church owned many plots of land and became very rich. Before a knight could become a knight, he first had to take a bath, which symbolises the washing of sins, and was clothed in a long white robe, to symbolise a pure heart and service to God. The night before, whilst the church was empty, he would place his armour on the floor, guard it, and pray that he would be able to fulfill his destiny, and live up to the expectations of the people. At the dawn of the day, a priest would here his confessions and bless his weapons and armour. The priest would remind him about his duties to the Church and then he was dressed in a red tunic, a white belt and a white coif. His silver spurs were covered with gold and then he would kneel infront of a noble, which most likely was the man who he had served as a squire. Once he was dubbed with the famouse words ‘I dub thee Sir Whoever, knight,’ he would be expected to live up to the people’s expectations.
Chivalry is divered from the word ‘Chevalier’ or ‘Cheval’ which means ‘horseman’ or ‘knight. It first was used to build up skills but became more of a ‘code of conduct’. Chivalry was influenced Chrstian values and exphasised fair play. It came around the time to the crusades, holy wars, and encouraged knight to be graceful and ‘perfect.’ A Knight would pledge to be brace, just in battle, defend the weak, and to display gentleman-like qualities towards woman. Knight’s saw themselves as nobility once they ‘followed’ chivalry, this was not the case as there are many levels of knights. The point of chivalry was to make the perfect man and then the perfect society. The people of the towns and villages would celebrate Chivalry as they were ‘the best thing ever!’. They would have parades that include colourful banners, fanfares of trumpets and basically PARTY! (well, not like us). The people of the towns and villages would judge the knights if their dress, hunting, fighting and dining were acceptable. Though Chivalry was a good idea, and helped the middle ages come one step further to becoming a ‘perfet society’, chivalry did very little to prevent brutality and treachery.
‘Nobilty comes at an expensive price’
Being a knight was not cheap. First you had all your armour that was heavy, expensive, and unattractive. You also had to pay for your horses expenses. A minimum of three: one for battle, one for baggage and one for casual riding. Then you had to hire a squire. A squire was a knight in training and followed you around ALL THE TIME! On top of that, you had to have extra money flying out of your pockets to attract fair, beautiful maidens, her brothers and her father. You couldn’t marry a girl without impressing her with your Bling Bling. And the worse part, if you chose a girl, you had to ‘keep’ her. Even if she hates you, your stuck with her. If she marries another knight, you kill him, actually, you would hold an enormous grudge against them. Basically, you need a lot of $$ to become a knight. Even though you get paid heaps of money, you have to pay for your castle, guards, and any other unneccessary objects.
Not any knight could have a castle. Normally the noble and the king knights would have a castle.
Medieval castles were made of Stone, Motar and wood. They were on huge hills that overlook a village. A castle would had many rooms and included a master, a kitchen, dining hall, halls, chapels, solar, gerderobes and many other (arguably) unnecessary rooms. Because knights were attacked frequently, they had many defensive techniques. They would have holes in the wall so they could shoot arrows and kill enemies, moats and drawbridges to keep out the unwanted guests, spiral staircases, to exhaust enemies, and loopholes. All worked well, but didn’t mean a knight was immune to attacks. Within the castles walls likes a knight’s subjects, tournaments, villages, shops, churches, cemeteries and many many more.
‘From stripes to animals’
Heraldry was one of the ways to recognise what family you came from. It is the picture on your shield, flag or armour that showed the world who you are. Each heraldry included a family motto and family coat of arms. The point of heraldry was to be able to recognise who was on your side, or enemy, from a distance so they were bright, bold, and filled of contrasting colours.
Blue – Loyalty and truth.
Silver – Peace and sincerity.
Purple – the majestic color of justice; the color of royalty.
Chevron – the V-shaped symbol of Protection. Often a reward for notable achievement and faithful service.
Crescent – half-moon shape with upturned horns and means faith and hope.
Eagle – represents speed and wisdom.
Fleur De Lies – denotes valor, faith, and wisdom.
Greyhound – represents courage, vigilance, loyalty, and fidelity.
Griffin – a mythical beast with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle. Represents perseverance, vigilance, and valor.
Hawk – represents someone who is vigorous in the pursuit of their objective.
Leopard – represents a warrior of courage and valor.
Lion – represents strength, courage, generosity, and majesty.
Above is a list of what some symbols and colours mean.
Heraldry was important to the medieval society as it made an individual, individual (even though other people would wear the same thing as him). Even though heraldry is from long ago, it is still used in some European countries today.
During a knight’s spare time, when there no battle to win, they would enter tournaments. Tournaments consisted of a number of mounted and armoured combats that are set out as contests.
Jousting: there are two types of jousting:
- Joust a plaisance – over a several days, knights would joust in through an elimination process. The winner is the knight who wins all their jousts.
- Pas d’armes or passage of arms jousting – a knight would send out a proclamation telling everyone he will take all jousting challengers at a specific time and place.
On the left hand side, there was supposed to be another stand with a book of laws, chivalry. Unfortunately, i was running late to school. As i ran out of the door, the piece fell off, was trampled and thrown in the bin. *sigh* life doesn’t always go your way, but it still isn’t bad… right?
Sooo, now you kinda get the idea of Medieval knights:
1. Would you like to be one?
2. Would you marry one?
3. Would you live near one?
4. Would you live in the same period as one?
Feel free to comment below 🙂
Ntjreferences: (main references) http://www.medieval-life.net/ http://www.unc.edu/~haggerty/herald_heraldry.html http://www.knightsandarmor.com http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/ http://medievalcastles.stormthecastle.com/ http://medieval-castles.net http://library.thinkquest.org (this is not the complete bibligraphy, but the main references only)