Knighthood was one of the central themes of a medieval life. Although its variation existed in the early medieval and even ancient times, it became widespread and popular during the high and late medieval times.
It was during this time that various orders of the knights took birth in order to liberate the holy land of Jerusalem from Muslim occupation. During these wars and over the subsequent centuries, many famous medieval knights left their mark on history.
William Marshal was a formidable knight who proved his knightly skills in tournaments and on the battlefield in medieval times, prominent during the reign of English kings Henry II, Richard I and King John. Read more about the William Marshal *1146 -1219 >>
The history of knighthood can be traced back to Roman times when the class of the knights was called “Ordo Equestris” which in English means “Order of Mounted Nobles”.
However, unlike famous knights of medieval times, the names of ancient Roman knights are not recorded in our history.
During the early medieval times, some form of knighthood existed among the Ostrogoths and Franks. However, it was during the middle and late medieval times when the knighthood became widespread and it was during this era that the names of many famous medieval knights emerged.
Famous Medieval Knights *Early Medieval Period
During the early medieval times, the Franks attacked wide tracts of territory in Europe and made impressive conquests. It was the Franks who gave rise to the idea of a knight mounted on a horse and the idea continued to be refined over the subsequent centuries.
Among the famous medieval knights of early medieval times, we can include El Cid who was a Castilian knight. His real name was Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar and he spent his life fighting against the Moors, who gave him the name of El Cid.
Famous Knights *Late Medieval Period
During the high and late medieval periods, the Christian West came in contact with the Muslim East through the Crusades.
It was during this time that various popular knight orders including Knights Templar, Knights Teutonic, and others were formed and many famous medieval knights left their mark on the collective memory of Europe.
Amongst the most famous medieval knights from the middle and late medieval times, we can name ‘Alexander Nevsky’who was the prince of Novgorod, ‘Richard the Lionheart of England who led the Third Crusade, and others!
Richard, I *Richard The Lionheart
Famous Medieval Knights
Among the most famous medieval knights, various were warriors which meant that they had spent most of their life either on the battlefield or in skirmishes against the enemies.
These warrior knights were different from the knights who hailed from nobility and did not regularly participate in the wars. Among these famous warrior knights of medieval times, we can include William Marshal, Godfrey of Bouillon, Jean Boucicaut, etc.
Most Famous Knight of Medieval Times
One of the most famous medieval knights was ‘King Arthur of England‘ who, however, is considered to be more of a mythological personality, considering the countless legends surrounding him.
‘Edward the Black Prince’ is also one of the most famous medieval knights, he was the Prince of Wales and was called Black Prince because of the black armor that he wore during battles.
Medieval King Edward III was also known as the Black Prince
Summary of Medieval Knights
Knighthood has its roots in the ancient world when the order of knights existed in Rome. However, the phenomenon of knighthood itself became common during the middle and late medieval times, particularly after the Crusades.
It was after this time that many devastating battles were fought throughout Europe and many famous medieval knights wrote new tales of bravery and chivalry.
The Cody of Chivalry Rules for Medieval Conduct of a Medieval Knight