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Medieval Knights

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The medieval times focuses on groups of people in a wide variety of circumstances, settings and times. Medieval knights were warriors, and whose prime was in the late middle Ages: the twelfth though fourteenth centuries. Dominating the medieval battlefield during these years, they fought from horseback, wore body-covering armor, and used many weapons, most commonly the sword and the lance. Their skills at riding and in the use of weapons came from years of training. The special dress and training of medieval knights made them prepared for battles that would decide their people’s future.

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For most of the Middle Ages, a man must have been born the son of a knight to become a knight. Knighthood was conferred only on members of the nobility. During the young years of a knight’s life, he had to be raised and cared for by his nurse, his mother and the other women of his father’s household. He had to be taught how to behave correctly, emphasized on courtesy, since knights were expected to have good manners-at least towards members of their own social class (Corrick, 29).

At age seven or eight, many young knights were sent from home to begin a formal training for knighthood.

In his new home, the lessons were continued and horsemanship was added in. He would spend part of his time as a glorified errand boy, and the rest training with blunted or wooden swords and also learning to hunt with a spear and bow. In rare cases, the boy was taught to read, but generally not to write, and receiving some religious instruction. (Vess, 7) At age fourteen, a page that made strong progress through the rough and very strict training he could move forward to becoming a squire. The squire continued his preparation but now under the guidance of a single knight, one of those usually living in the castle of his father’s lord.

The squire’s responsibilities were numbered, so he usually had to succeed in them. Squires would accompany their master knight into battle, dress him, prepare the food and feed him, be sure his armor and arms were clean and care for his horses. (Norris, 2) Under careful watch, the squire continued his military training, working on swordsman ship and building his strength by running jumping and wrestling. But a squire’s education included more then skills of war. He had to become familiar with chivalry. In part, chivalry was a means of emphasizing the qualities needed to be a good warrior and a good vassal.

Chivalry dictated that to rigors of combat, a knight had to be brave, while a good vassal must display honor and loyalty (Corrick, 32). At the age of 21 a squire was considered old enough to take on the responsibility and duties of knighthood. But before he could take the knightly vow, he had to demonstrate to an examining knight that he had the physical strength, courage and weapon skill for the job. When the time came to be dubbed a knight, the candidate knights attended a church service, and then they either remained in the chapel, or paraded outside to stand on carpets or platforms.

In both cases, they faced a crowd of nobles, knights, relatives and general curiosity seekers. Finally, there followed the accolade, delivered by the senior knight present. Each new knight now received a gift. Frequently this gift was a warhorse in full harness. To conclude this ceremony, the warriors took up lance and shield and rode against one or more quintains. They might also take part in a mock battle celebrating their knighthoods. (Corrick 39, 40) In addition to honor and glory, many knights had more practical reason for going to war: money.

Their entire income depended upon their fighting in one conflict or another. Knights had several ways of making money through war, whether as an individual or as part of a company, knights were paid by the day, with a knight receiving about twice as much as a squire. The first was simply by another noble to fight. Occasionally, knightly mercenaries banded together into companies, and the group as a whole sold their services. In addition to his regular pay, a knight added to his income by looting. Both knights and common soldiers took anything and everything of value that they came across on the campaign trial.

A knight also earned money by ransoming other knights captured in battle; a noble or even royal prisoner could command a high ransom that could keep the lucky knight in comfort for months or even years. Any baggage, arms, armor or horses with the prisoner became the property of his captor. (Corrick 44) But by no means were all knights eager for battle. Many of those with large enough incomes spent only brief periods of time in combat and in some cases never went to war at all. If called upon, a knight as obligated to fight a certain number of days a year- usually limited to 40 days. “This arrangement satisfied both the reluctant arrior and his lord. The former did not have to ride off to war, and the latter bought himself an army of mercenaries, who did as they were ordered and stayed as long as they were paid, rather then leaving the day before battle because their service time of 40 days had run out” (Corrick 45) Medieval knights were strong, fierce warriors who has an enormous amount of responsibility; getting wages on the days activities and the pressure of going from a young boy through all the training. The special dress and training of medieval knights made them prepared for battles that would decide their people’s future.

Cite this Medieval Knights

Medieval Knights. (2017, Mar 17). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/medieval-knights/

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