Well friends, I finished watching the BBC show “Merlin.” I don’t care how many adaptations to Arthurian Legend I have read/watched the end always gets to me. Merlin was no different, and the end was powerful. As I think of Arthurian Legend, I generally can’t help but think of knights, and how interesting of a life that Knights were able to live during the Medieval times. Medieval Wall has this great article on Knights. Here is just a small taste. . .
Medieval warriors of noble descent, who fought on a horse, were called knights. They preferred using a sword as a weapon, and seldom spears and axes. They appear in Europe along with feudalism, and the period they were most active in was between the 11th and 13th century. By the end of the Middle Ages, knights are replaced by infantry mercenaries, after gradually losing in significance.
Who were knights
Knighthood emerges in Europe with the appearance of feudalism, and it is mostly developed between the 11th and 13th century.1 Already during the Carolingian period, there was a substantial increase of cavalry in the military, and they were paid for their service in land properties. Warriors were thus given land, and in return they fought for the ruler, and swore him allegiance. They were given authority to collect taxes from their serfs, and they were also exempt of some of the feudal tributes. All of these warriors, that owned properties and were subordinate and loyal to their seigneurs, who granted them land, were called knights.2
A knight’s training usually started already at the age of seven, when a boy that was decided to become a knight, was sent to a kinsman, also a nobleman, to serve as a page. There he was taught the skills of warfare, and riding, but also mannerliness and politeness. At the age of fourteen he would have become a squire, becoming a servant to some other knight. There he was taught sword handling, and was also responsible for grooming the horse, and taking care of the armor and weapon of the knight that he served. Young squires had to be in great physical shape. That is why they trained regularly, fighting each other. Those trainings were extremely difficult and exhausting, so only some of them were able to finish. The squire accompanied the knight in tournaments, and even in battles, in which he helped him in preparations and armoring.
If he should successfully pass the training, a young man at the age of twenty-one was subsequently proclaimed a knight, in a grand ceremony held in his honor. In this ceremony, before the proclamation, he was obliged to demonstrate his skills in front of the guests.3 The inauguration was particularly solemn; it started by putting on the armor in the presence of the godfather, who was in most cases an intently chosen close relative.4 Then, he was awarded a weapon and special marks of knighthood, a belt, golden spurs and a crest with a motto. The Prentice pledged an oath by which he committed loyalty and bravery to his seigneur (a count, a duke or a ruler). A strike of a sword upon the shoulders and the head marked that he had become a knight.5
Keep reading here.
P.S. This is Reckless Historians’ 100th post. Thank you to our great readers out there. Your dedication in helping us pursue our passion in letting the past speak for itself has helped me grow in my own pursuit of historical knowledge. So once again, thanks for reading our past 100, here is to another 100!