Chivalry, the order of knighthood, and especially, the code of knightlybehavior, comes from many origins. In Middle English, the word “chevalrie”meant “mounted horseman”. In Old french, the word “chevalrie” meantknightliness or “chevalier” meaning knight.
(Microft, Encarta) Almost allorigins of the word meant horseman. Warfare was not an option in the medieval period and the knight was themost crutial part. The knight’s ability, and the military strength of the lordor king were nessesary for their survival. A knight was loyal to his king eventhough he was not always a member of his personal court. He was also loyal tohis lord or landowner. Most of all, he was loyal to God, as all Christianknights were.
A Christian knight had virtues of fidelity, piety, loyalty anddevotion to God. However, some knights did not live this ideal lifestyle. (Duby)A young boy in training to be a knight spent the first few years of hislife in care of the women in his family. At the age of 7 years old, a child ofnoble birth would be placed in the castle of a lord or govenor.
This is wherethe training for knighthood began. As a page, the boy would be tutored inLatin and French, but he devoted most of his time to physical exersice, andduties. A page was educated in wrestling, tilting with spears, and militaryexercises that were done on horseback. He was also taught dancing and playingof musical instruments in their leisure time. As a page, a boy was taught howto carve and serve food as a waiter, and other services around the castle.
Itwas his duty to help the master of the castle in anyway needed. These taskswere not hard labor, but simply prepared him for what was yet to come. (Microsoft Bookshelf)By the time a page was 14, he was expected to qualify as a competentsquire. Now with the more laborious course, his real training began. He mustvault on his horse in armor, run and scale walls, and spring over ditches inarmor. He must be able to maneuver a battle-ax without raising the visor of hishelmet or taking a breathe.
He must have mastered horsemanship. A squire musthave acquired courtesy and have chosen a mistress of his heart. A lady of thecourt whose service to her was the glory and occupation of a knight. Her smilesof gratitude were his repayment for his work.
A squire, having received serioustraining as a mounted soldier, rode into battle and helped his master in manyways. In battle a squire wore silver spurs to distinguish him from a knight. In this way, he was a lesser target than a knight. He also helped his assignedknight dress in armor and care for his arms. He would clean and polish hisknight armor after every use.
This period usually lasted about five or sixyears, then a squire was ready for knighthood, around age twenty. The earliest knighting ceremonies were very simple. A knight justbuckled the armor on the squire to be knighted. However, it became a morecomplex ceremony as time went on. One man would buckle the sword while anotherfastened the spurs.
The squire knelt before the man knighting him. The knightgave the squire a tap on the back of the neck with his hand. Another knight, orKing would confirm these actions in the ceremony. This tap, called the”accolade” from the French word “col”, meaning neck, was followed by the words,”I dub you knight. ” (Gies) When Christianity became more closely linked withknighthood, religious ceremonies became part of the knighting process. Before asquire was knighted he confessed with many nights of prayer.
The night beforeknighting, a squire underwent a strict fast and received the sacrament. Thenext day he washed and put on pure white clothing for the ceremony with a swordsuspended from his neck. At dawn, the chaplain came to hear confession andcelebrate mass. Then gifts such as a coat of mail, a sword or spurs weregirdled on.
Then came the accolade. It consisted of three strokes with theflat of the sword on the shoulder and neck followed by, “in the name of God, ofSt. Michael, of St. George, I make thee knight; be valiant, courteous, andloyal”. When this exercise was complete, he received his helmet, spear, andshield.
After the knighting was accomplished, the newly made knight placed hisgifts on the altar and took part in the festivities. He now would be acceptedas a member of the order of knighthood and chivalry. Category: English