Welcome to the second post in the medieval series. Keep checking into the blog on a daily basis for more posts and entries to the series. The series will cover various medieval topics like mythology, knights, castles, dragons, wizards and so much more!
Knight are synonymous with dragons and castles. Once upon a time knights were the most feared and best protected warriors of the medieval ages. They were fashionable and well mannered. Naturally the knights started to diminish over the centuries as the elite fought to protect their exclusive status’.
If you wanted to become a knight you needed to be born from aristocracy. You had to undertake training from childhood, the age of 7 years old. You also needed to posses a knowledge of the rules of chivalry. Courting the most fine of ladies was not too uncommon. From 7, the child would become a ‘page’ at which point he learned how to handle horses, hunt and use mock weapons while serving a knight proper.
At age 14 they move on to become a ‘squire.’ The child would take on increasing responsibility, a type of grooming, to prepare them for knighthood. At this stage they learned how to use real weapons and began an education system, focusing on learning chivalry. Squires still assisted knights, they would hold extra lances or the shields, clean all the armour and look after several horses of the knight. By the time they reach 18, if they had done well they would be put through ‘dubbing’, a type of ceremony to make the youngster a knight. The soon-to-be knight would have to keep a church vigil overnight.
When knighted, the squire would be dressed by two knights with a white tunic and white belt to symbolise purity, black or brown stockings to represent the earth and a scarlet cloak for the blood he is now ready to spill for his baron, sovereign and church. His sword was given to him blessed by a priest with the condition that he always protect the poor and weak. The sword was unique in that it had two cutting edges, one to represent justice and the other loyalty and chivalry. The knighting knight might kiss the new knight on the cheek and then tap on the shoulder or neck with the sword or hand. After he would be given his horse and shield and banner.
Knights could partake in jousting and tournaments when not on active duty. This allowed them to maintain their horse riding skills. Jousting is where a single ride with a lance charged at the opponent who also had a lance. The goal was to knock the other opponent of their horses. The ‘melee’ was the mock cavalry battle where knights would have to capture one another for a ransom. Knights had the chance to impress those aristocratic ladies again by displaying those chivalrous skills and tournaments became ‘prestigious’ with professional tournament players. Knights could also read poetry or recite it if they wish but must have been at all times following their chivalric code.
A knight would receive a special type of burial too. Some knights joined military orders so to ensure a spot in the cemetery or church. Such examples are joining the Knight Templar. Knights would be remembered frequently though ‘effigies’. An effigy would allow a knight to be portrayed in full armour and bearing a shield, through a wooden carving onto their burial place. Temple Church in London, the base of Inner Temple, is where knights of the Knight Templar were buried, since it was their church.
Famous is the knights of the round table. The followers of King Arthur, a story told countless times through the centuries. The story of Arthur, briefly goes like this. Merlin had place a sword into a stone and stated that the first to draw the sword would become king. Arthur did pull the sword from the stone and Merlin crowned him king of Britain. A rebellion ensued, in which Arthur got rid of 11 rulers. Upon marrying Guinevere, her father gave him the round table. Those who sat at the table were all equals, and the mystical knights came from various lands. Arthur later died in a battle between himself and his nephew, Mordred.
The legends of knights are still told to this day. The story of Arthur and the sword in the stone, the sword is called Excalibur, is still revered.
Thank you for reading the second post in the medieval series. This is the second in a series about medieval England. If you liked this, please like and comment below or share, which is always welcomed. The next episode will be on wizards!