The history of Medieval Knights can be traced back to the early medieval times, although the knight gained in popularity and became much more established and defined during the high and late medieval times.
It was during this later period when various orders of the knights were formed throughout Europe, particularly during the Crusades with the Muslims in the East. Thus the late medieval times are a high point in medieval knights’ history.
The concept of knighthood during medieval times also derives inspiration from the ancient world. A similar concept existed in ancient Rome and Greece where their status was higher than the ordinary citizens although lower than the senatorial class.
A certain amount of fortune was a prerequisite for becoming a knight and the status was forfeited if the required fortune could not be managed. Thus medieval knights’ history can trace its roots back to the ancient world. Charles the Bald is an important medieval knight from this era.
Medieval knights’ history during the early medieval ages revolves around the Franks who conquered vast tracts of territory throughout Europe. The Franks had large numbers of warriors who fought on horseback and gave rise to the whole concept of knighthood.
Also, during these times, Europe was fragmented into small parts ruled by local lords and they hired knights for their protection and for battles against other lords.
In medieval knights’ history, it was during the high medieval times that knighthood attained the social status of note. This was the era when Crusades were fought and various orders of knights such as Knights Hospitaller, Knights Templar, Order of Saint Lazarus, Teutonic Knights, and others took birth. Rules and ceremonies of knighthood were also formed mainly during this age.
Late medieval times are the most important era in medieval knights’ history because knighthood became established at the beginning of this era and its decline began by the end of the same period.
Knights mainly hailed from nobility and their weapons were better and more expensive compared to the weapons of the common soldiers. The Code of Chivalry also developed and many knights were granted estates by kings and nobles.
Many knights made their mark during the long medieval knight history. For instance, during the Crusades, Richard the Lionheart proved himself to be a great military leader and a worthy knight. Another famous medieval knight was El Cid who fought against the Moors in Spain during the 11th century.
Other famous medieval knights include Alexander Nevsky, Edward the Black Prince, William Wallace, and others.
The history of Medieval knights has its roots in the ancient world but the actual phenomenon became popular during the middle and late medieval times. Various factors were responsible for this rise of knighthood. Some of them were invasions of Vikings from the North and the Ottoman Empire from the East.
The concept continued to evolve throughout medieval times when it became customary for kings and lords to grant estates to the knights in return for their protection.