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Christopher VaughnStrever




Location: San Antonio, TX
Joined: 13 Jun 2008
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 382

PostPosted: Sat 10 Dec, 2011 12:57 pm    Post subject: What it must have been like- to be a knight!         Reply with quote

Now, I am not talking about Knight errants or lesser knights,but those knights of prestige on and off the battle field. On one side of the block, you murder, ransom and do all that is possible to keep you wealth as high as it is (on and off the battle field). On the other side of the block, you are wealthy. So wealthy that you can buy your way out of just about any circumstance. You can purchase the most luxurious armor that others are envious of. A life, that others want to have. And when you turn the block to another side... you have political influence. Your opinion can help start wars and your attitude can produce trivial conflicts with other knights. and on the fourth side of the block, you have in your power to be the arresting cop, judge and jury to make people uphold any political law or religious law that was passed.

Physical Power of Arms, Able to kill. Full of monetary wealth, Able to buy. Political ties, Able to govern. And Religious Authority, Able to be above ecclesiastical authority.

Now I know some of these items were not available to all Knights, but remember I am talking about the upper class of Knights.

All that power, in any mans hands would certainly produce a selfish, autonomous (self governing) type of man. I for one would not want that much power. I don't think I would like the person I would grow to become...

How about you?

Experience and learning from such defines maturity, not a number of age
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Felix R.




Location: Germany
Joined: 08 Oct 2006
Reading list: 25 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 555

PostPosted: Sat 10 Dec, 2011 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I donīt think it was that easy. You wouldnīt have been a superhuman. You would have had to pay taxes, have people of the same status as you that wouldnīt like you and possibly would make your life difficult. You would have to think about getting enough to eat for you and yours. Would have to go to war, or pay a lot of money not to have to go.... etc.
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Sat 10 Dec, 2011 2:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, rebellion wasn't exactly unknown for such powerful men... Wink

Reminds me of a poem, by Rudyard Kipling:

Gold is for the mistress -- silver for the maid --
Copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade."
"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,
"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all."

So he made rebellion 'gainst the King his liege,
Camped before his citadel and summoned it to siege.
"Nay!" said the cannoneer on the castle wall,
"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- shall be master of you all!"

Woe for the Baron and his knights so strong,
When the cruel cannon-balls laid 'em all along;
He was taken prisoner, he was cast in thrall,
And Iron -- Cold Iron -- was master of it all!

Yet his King spake kindly (ah, how kind a Lord!)
"What if I release thee now and give thee back thy sword?"
"Nay!" said the Baron, "mock not at my fall,
For Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of men all."

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown --
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown."
"As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small,
For Iron -- Cold Iron -- must be master of men all!"

Yet his King made answer (few such Kings there be!)
"Here is Bread and here is Wine -- sit and sup with me.
Eat and drink in Mary's Name, the whiles I do recall
How Iron -- Cold Iron -- can be master of men all!"

He took the Wine and blessed it. He blessed and brake the Bread.
With His own Hands He served Them, and presently He said:
"See! These Hands they pierced with nails, outside My city wall,
Show Iron -- Cold Iron -- to be master of men all."

"Wounds are for the desperate, blows are for the strong.
Balm and oil for weary hearts all cut and bruised with wrong.
I forgive thy treason -- I redeem thy fall --
For Iron -- Cold Iron -- must be master of men all!"

"Crowns are for the valiant -- sceptres for the bold!
Thrones and powers for mighty men who dare to take and hold!"
"Nay!" said the Baron, kneeling in his hall,
"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of men all!
Iron out of Calvary is master of men all!"


Also comes in song form, by some woman named Leslie Fish: http://lesliefish.com/mp3s/iron.mp3


I guess it isn't really that on topic, since Kipling was 1800-1900s, but I like it and it relates somewhat. The overall point I wanted to make was that quite a few barons and the like throughout history decided they could be king too. Admittedly, when you consider how many barons and such there must have been, it probably comes out to a rather low percentage, but for some power corrupts...

Felix also has a good point. It's easy to point to the rich in any time period and say they must be living it up and enjoying themselves, but they have their own issues as well.

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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Rex Metcalf




Location: Western N.C.
Joined: 15 Feb 2008
Reading list: 43 books

Posts: 64

PostPosted: Sat 10 Dec, 2011 3:13 pm    Post subject: Re: What it must have been like- to be a knight!         Reply with quote

Christopher VaughnStrever wrote:
.

All that power, in any mans hands would certainly produce a selfish, autonomous (self governing) type of man. I for one would not want that much power. I don't think I would like the person I would grow to become...

How about you?


I tend to think with my heart, I would use my wealth and prowess for good.

In the vein of poetic quotes I submit my favorite, and in my case, accurate, from Lord Byron:

When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home,

Let him combat for that of his neighbours;

Let him think of the glories of Greece and of Rome,

And get knock'd on the head for his labours,


To do good to mankind is the chivalrous plan,

And is always as nobly requited;

Then battle for freedom wherever you can,

And, if not shot or hang'd, you'll get knighted.
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Sun 11 Dec, 2011 10:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

your post reminds me of what i believe is a pivotal description of a knight from "the Gesta Tancredi of Ralph of Cean"

"Over time his prudent soul (Tancred) raised concerns that caused him anxiety. It seemed that his military life contradicted the lords command."

Ralph continues to describe the nature of God's laws and those of the time that Tancred was raised in. how a knight was expected to kill his kin over quarrels where as christians were taught to turn the other cheek to strangers who would harm them. how you should give your belongings to those who are needed but in stead knights would sack and burn entire towns. he talks more about just general life and the conflict that a christian man in a knight's position had to be.

now Ralph was writing to honor Tancred (after his death) but i don't read such a simple description of a man from that era very often. much of the time historians of the time are writing many years from the evens that happened and they tend to over glorify their patron.

Tancred seemed to be an interesting young man - another one from about the same time would be Raymond of Toulouse. read about him and see if you can lock in what kind of man he was. he's an opportunist, but he also seems to be someone pushed away by other leaders and when he had every right to be king of jerusalem but didn't push the issue. why???


my research into the first Crusade is not what happened but why, and i've been digging into the personalities of as many of the leaders as i can to understand that through period writings and i'm finding some very interesting qualities in these people.



so what would it be like to be a knight, what is it like to be yourself? the only difference is the way in which we live within our own laws.

if someone told you - you can challenge someone to a fight to the death for lying to you, touched you, or said they saw you crying - would you if it's within the law?
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Kurt Scholz





Joined: 09 Dec 2008

Posts: 390

PostPosted: Sun 11 Dec, 2011 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So much power for command can make you go nuts because you have to order lots of things all the time. To be able to enjoy life you must relax, have subordinates give orders and respect your limits. At worst it's quite compareable to being a dictator or a warlord in today's world. You live through the sword, you die through the sword.
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Doug Lester




Location: Decatur, IL
Joined: 12 Dec 2007

Posts: 167

PostPosted: Sun 11 Dec, 2011 2:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Being at the top or near the top of a ridged hierarchy had it's problems too. Assisting in an untimely death is a great way to create a job opening. If a lord or chieftain was on the loosing side of a political dispute it could mean death or exile. For those subservient to him it might mean applying for clemency and pleading fealty to the winning side. Also having no official method of redress of grievances might lead to acts of vengeance.
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