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You can choose your language settings from within the program. Changes must be reviewed before being displayed on this page. In the late medieval period, new methods of warfare began to render classical knights in armour obsolete, but the titles remained in many nations. Royal Norwegian Order of St.
A narrowing of the generic meaning “servant” to “military follower of a king or other superior” is visible by 1100. 732, the Frankish forces were still largely infantry armies, with elites riding to battle but dismounting to fight. Emperor in his wide-ranging campaigns of conquest. Although in some nations the knight returned to foot combat in the 14th century, the association of the knight with mounted combat with a spear, and later a lance, remained a strong one. The older Carolingian ceremony of presenting a young man with weapons influenced the emergence of knighthood ceremonies, in which a noble would be ritually given weapons and declared to be a knight, usually amid some festivities. The rank of knight developed in the 12th century from the mounted warriors of the 10th and 11th centuries.
These were given to the captains directly by the Emperor to reward their efforts in the conquests, and they in turn were to grant benefices to their warrior contingents, who were a mix of free and unfree men. Although any medieval knight going to war would automatically serve as a man-at-arms, not all men-at-arms were knights. The institution of knights was already well-established by the 10th century. While the knight was essentially a title denoting a military office, the term could also be used for positions of higher nobility such as landholders. The nobles also provided their knights with necessities, such as lodging, food, armour, weapons, horses, and money. The knight generally held his lands by military tenure which was measured through military service that usually lasted 40 days a year.
Vassals and lords could maintain any number of knights, although knights with more military experience were those most sought after. In some cases commoners could also be knighted as a reward for extraordinary military service. Pages then become assistants to older knights in battle, carrying and cleaning armour, taking care of the horses, and packing the baggage. They would accompany the knights on expeditions, even into foreign lands. In a religious ceremony the new squire swore on a sword consecrated by a bishop or priest, and attended to assigned duties in his lord’s household.
All of these were even performed while wearing armour. Upon turning 21, the squire was eligible to be knighted. The knighting ceremony usually involved a ritual bath on the eve of the ceremony and a prayer vigil during the night. On the day of the ceremony, the would-be knight would swear an oath and the master of the ceremony would dub the new knight on the shoulders with a sword. Squires could also be conferred knighthood early if they showed valor and efficiency in battle. Knights were expected, above all, to fight bravely and to display military professionalism and courtesy.
When knights were taken as prisoners of war, they were customarily held for ransom in somewhat comfortable surroundings. During the Middle Ages, this grew from simple military professionalism into a social code including the values of gentility, nobility and treating others reasonably. The early Crusades helped to clarify the moral code of chivalry as it related to religion. As a result, Christian armies began to devote their efforts to sacred purposes. As time passed, clergy instituted religious vows which required knights to use their weapons chiefly for the protection of the weak and defenseless, especially women and orphans, and of churches.