Knights were organized into different ranks, which were based on their social status, military prowess, and personal accomplishments. In this article, we will explore the different rankings of knights throughout the medieval period.
“The ranks of knighthood were not merely a system of social hierarchy, but a code of conduct and a way of life.” – Frances Gies, author of “Knights in History and Legend: The Coursedelivered at University of Rochester on June 4, 1970.”
The first rank of knighthood was the page. Pages were usually boys between the ages of seven and fourteen who were sent to live with a knight or lord. Their duties included serving their lord, carrying his armor and weapons, and learning the basics of combat and chivalry. Pages were also responsible for taking care of the horses and other duties required around the castle.
“The rank of a knight was more than just a title, it was a symbol of courage, honor, and loyalty to one’s lord and kingdom.” – David Crouch, author of “The Birth of Nobility: Constructing Aristocracy in England and France, 900-1300.”
The next rank was that of the squire. Squires were young men, usually between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one, who had completed their training as a page. They were expected to serve a knight as his assistant, and their duties included helping the knight dress for battle, maintaining his weapons and armor, and accompanying him into battle. Squires were also expected to learn how to fight, ride horses, and develop their skills in combat.
The third and most prestigious rank of knighthood was the knight. A man could be knighted after years of training as a page and squire, or he could be knighted for exceptional bravery in battle. Knights were expected to adhere to a strict code of chivalry, which included being loyal to their lord, protecting the weak and innocent, and showing respect to women. Knights were also expected to be skilled in combat, jousting, and other martial arts.
“From the humble beginnings of a squire to the pinnacle of knighthood, the journey of a medieval knight was a long and arduous one that required discipline, skill, and a strong moral character.” – Richard W. Kaeuper, author of “Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe.”
The banneret was a higher rank of knighthood that was granted to knights who had distinguished themselves in battle. Bannerets were granted the right to bear a banner, which was a flag that was carried into battle. Bannerets were also given the right to lead a group of soldiers into battle, and they were considered to be among the most respected and prestigious of knights.
“The medieval knight was not just a warrior, but a social and political figure whose influence extended far beyond the battlefield.” – Christopher Gravett, author of “Knights at Tournament.”
The baronet was a title that was created in the 17th century. It was a hereditary title that was granted to knights who had distinguished themselves in battle. Baronets were granted the right to be addressed as “Sir” and were given a coat of arms. Baronets were also given land, which was passed down from father to son.
The knight commander was a rank that was created in the 16th century. It was a title that was granted to knights who had distinguished themselves in battle or in service to the king. Knight commanders were given the right to wear a special insignia, which was a badge that was worn on the left breast of their armor. Knight commanders were also given the right to lead a group of soldiers into battle.
“The medieval code of chivalry was a complex set of rules and expectations that defined the behavior of knights in all aspects of their lives, from military service to courtly love.” – Maurice Keen, author of “Chivalry.”
The knight grand cross was the highest rank of knighthood. It was a title that was granted to knights who had distinguished themselves in service to the king or queen. Knight grand crosses were given the right to wear a special sash, which was worn across the body from the right shoulder to the left hip. Knight grand crosses were also given a special star, which was worn on the left breast of their armor.
In conclusion, the medieval period was a time of great chivalry and honor, and the different rankings of knights reflected the values of the time.
From pages to knight grand crosses, each rank had its own set of duties and responsibilities, and each was considered to be a great honor. The legacy of knighthood has continued to this day, with many people still recognizing the value of the medieval knight.
“Chivalry” by Maurice Keen
This classic work explores the origins and development of chivalry as a social and cultural phenomenon in medieval Europe.
“The Knight in History” by Frances Gies
This book offers an engaging overview of the role of the knight in medieval society, from their origins as mounted warriors to their role as courtly figures and symbols of aristocracy.
“Knighthood in Medieval Literature” by Elizabeth Archibald
This book examines the portrayal of knights in literature from the medieval period, from epic poetry to romance and chivalric tales.
“The Book of the Order of Chivalry” by Ramon Llull
This medieval text provides a fascinating insight into the ideals and practices of chivalry, including the duties and obligations of knights and their role in society.
“The Medieval Knight” by Christopher Gravett
This book explores the history, training, and equipment of medieval knights, as well as their role in battle, politics, and society.