The most significant person on the battlefield was the knight in his armour.
Knights were Sub-tenants! They received land from the Lords and bishops and in return they fought wars for the king. They also protected Lords, Bishops and their property. That means knights were warriors on horseback, who fought for their king, their lord or, in some cases, for whoever would pay for their services!
Who were the knights? Where did they sit on the feudal pyramid?
Source A- feudal pyramid What process did men go through to become a knight? Could anyone become a knight? Early on, even `lowly born' men, who were rewarded for bravery and skill in battle could become knights. But by the thirteenth century, only men of noble birth were admitted to the knighthood and, even then, only after years of training in military skills, service to others and Christian teachings.
Training for knighthood began at the age of seven when a young boy left his own family to learn the skills of a page. He studied under the supervision of the noblewomen of another household and learned to be polite, to serve God, to read and write, and to ride and hunt for wild game. At 14 years of age he could become a squire. Through service to a knight, he would learn to look after armour, weaponry and horse and continue his training in military skills, social graces and cultural pursuits.
By the age of about 21, the young man was eligible for knighthood and expected to live his life according to the rules known as the code of chivalry.
What are some characteristics of Knights? The chivalrous knight who has completed his transition into knighthood was supposed to be:
· loyal to the Catholic Church
· dedicated to helping those who were weak and easily exploited
· brave in battle
. . . He drank himself into a stupor with
considerable regularity. His castle was usually filled with prostitutes. If he got annoyed with his opponent during a chess game, he was inclined to
brain him with one of the massive pieces of the day. If his wife annoyed him, he beat her savagely. When a servant was slow to bring his wine, he threw a
javelin at him to speed his steps.
S. Painter, A History of the Middle Ages 284±1500, Macmillan, London, 1976.
He is brave and courtly and skilful, and noble and of good family and eloquent, handsomely experienced in hunting and falconry; he knows how to play chess and backgammon, gaming and dicing. And his wealth was never denied to any, but each has as much as he wants . . . He has never been slow to perform honourable deeds. He dearly loves God and the Trinity . . . he has honoured the poor and lowly; and he judges each according to his worth.
Girart, in H. Middleton, The Age of Chivalry,Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1988.
· willing to fight to protect women.
this description, how many codes of chivalry have been broken by this knight?
Source c. Different descriptions of knights.
What did knights do when they weren’t at war?
When not in battle, knights practised their skills. They did this
individually in exercises called `tilting the quintain' or in
organised tournaments. Tournaments developed from the custom of teams
of knights jousting or competing against one another on a local field. Some knights would get badly wounded and some even died competing at tournaments. Tournaments attracted large audiences that enjoyed the excitement of seeing who would be the hero of the day. People could differentiate between knights through their individual coat of arms.