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Thomas Hoogendam




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 20 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2005 1:27 pm    Post subject: Proper definition of the term "Knight"???         Reply with quote

Jared Smith's post on the economics of medieval times was very interesting.

However, I did realize that my definition of the term Knight is most likely way off.

Could anyone tell me what a Knight really is? I know this may seem like an odd question, but I'd rather ask and admit I don't know, then walk around 'knowing' something and being completely wrong. Happy
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Daniel Staberg




Location: Gothenburg/Sweden
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2005 1:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Proper definition of the term "Knight"???         Reply with quote

Thomas Hoogendam wrote:
Jared Smith's post on the economics of medieval times was very interesting.

However, I did realize that my definition of the term Knight is most likely way off.

Could anyone tell me what a Knight really is? I know this may seem like an odd question, but I'd rather ask and admit I don't know, then walk around 'knowing' something and being completely wrong. Happy


Knight was a social rank which also happend to correspond with a type of fighting man using a certian type of equipment and tactics. As time went on the word fell out of use as a descritpion for a certain type of troops and simply denoted a social rank. I've posted a reply to Jared in his tread which goes into the terminology in somewhat greater detail.
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Thomas Hoogendam




Location: The Netherlands
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2005 1:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, that certainly answered questions and raised some. Big Grin

Daniel, are there any texts or books you recommend on the Knightly class?? Or perhaps better, books that could tell me more on the social structure of medieval times??
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Daniel Staberg




Location: Gothenburg/Sweden
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2005 2:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas Hoogendam wrote:
Well, that certainly answered questions and raised some. Big Grin

Daniel, are there any texts or books you recommend on the Knightly class?? Or perhaps better, books that could tell me more on the social structure of medieval times??

From a mainly a military viewpoint but coverign some of the social and economic factors I'd recomend JF Verbruggen's "The art of war in Western Europe" and Philippe Contamine's "War in the Middle Ages". for an examination of the English knights Michael Prestwich's "Armies and warfare in the Middle Ages : the English experience" provides some valuable information.

My onw studies and research are mainly from the viewpoint of military history so I don't tend to go deep into the socio-economic factors unless they have an impact on the military action.

Btw do yoy read/speak any other foreign languages apart from english? I might be able to recomend a few text in French and German.
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Thomas Hoogendam




Location: The Netherlands
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Reading list: 8 books

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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2005 2:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I only know a little German. No French. But if you of any good texts in German, please recommend. I could always try.

In the meantime, I'll look into the other texts you've recommended. Thank you very much. Happy
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jun, 2005 8:42 pm    Post subject: Becomming someone you'll respect.         Reply with quote

If you are obviously good at what you do, few people will worry about how much money your family has.

I am the worst swordsman in my sparring group, but actually the wealthiest. I also have to spend more time worrying about holdings than fighting with swords. The same may have been true of others in earlier times.....

If you choose something like playing polo or collecting very exotic sports cars, your wealth may be limiting unless you have uncommon "horse trading" skills. Whether or not high quality equipment and knighhood fit into the this later category is really the sort of "devils advocate" exploration intended by my earlier post.

Hope some people have some fun with the knightly class post. I posted a follow up with some links. Perhaps Daniel will shoot it full of holes, or we will go off on another tangent.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2005 4:20 am    Post subject: Re: Becomming someone you'll respect.         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
If you are obviously good at what you do, few people will worry about how much money your family has.

I am the worst swordsman in my sparring group, but actually the wealthiest. I also have to spend more time worrying about holdings than fighting with swords. The same may have been true of others in earlier times.....

If you choose something like playing polo or collecting very exotic sports cars, your wealth may be limiting unless you have uncommon "horse trading" skills. Whether or not high quality equipment and knighhood fit into the this later category is really the sort of "devils advocate" exploration intended by my earlier post.

Hope some people have some fun with the knightly class post. I posted a follow up with some links. Perhaps Daniel will shoot it full of holes, or we will go off on another tangent.



not really true in medieval case. knights and captains faught up front, not from the rear like modern times. so if your no good with a lance or sword, your dead. then no more land holdings. besides, if your no good, then someone who is will jsut come in and take your stuff Wink hehehe
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Joe Yurgil





Joined: 01 Jun 2004

Posts: 122

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2005 7:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well in the truest sense in all cases and time periods it helps to look at the etymology of the word. Knight's original meaning was that of a boy, especially a servant (possibly stable boy as the origin of our useage since not only were they often cavalry but much of the positions of authority in the middle ages had their origins in horse related things). The military distiction came later on but was in place at least by 1000. So what is a knight? Quite simply he is a retainer, just like a samurai, only with a different etymology. Obviously there were many more distinctions placed on the word and the social position which it implies later on but even at that, knights were always seen to be servants to a king/lord/other-similar-thing.
Sj, ar s ek fur minn.
Sj, ar s ek mur mina ok systur mina ok brur minn.
Sj, ar s ek allan minn frndgar.
Sj, kalla eim tl min.
Bija mr at taka minn sta hj eim slum Valhallar, ar drengiligr menn munu lifa allan aldr.
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Jeff Johnson





Joined: 05 Jan 2004

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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2005 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What a knight was is highly dependant on time and place. A lot of what modern people think of as pertaining to knighthood - all of the Chivalry and riding about on a horse in plate armor is Arturian romanticism and Victorian revisionism. At the time of the height of plate armor, it had evolved into a more social and financial situation rather than military.
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Jeff Johnson





Joined: 05 Jan 2004

Posts: 116

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2005 10:41 am    Post subject: Re: Becomming someone you'll respect.         Reply with quote

Chuck Russell wrote:
not really true in medieval case. knights and captains faught up front, not from the rear like modern times. so if your no good with a lance or sword, your dead. then no more land holdings. besides, if your no good, then someone who is will jsut come in and take your stuff Wink hehehe


Which is why the rich folks had retainers working for them - to keep them alive while they fought up front.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2005 2:16 pm    Post subject: Where the rich guys were during battle?         Reply with quote

I have not researched this, just stumbled through a few articles while actually looking for surviving swords, etc.

The landholder titled knights represented both the law and the financial well being of fairly large units of calvary. Their function is to coordinate the charge, and remain in the rear with the main unit banner, order/choose regrouping location, sending in of reserves etc. That was my take on it after reading some period instructions for how a charge is to be conducted. The idea of the Baron in the front is actually true in some heroic examples where various leaders would "turn the momentum" and inspire their men by entering personally. These examples tend to occurr in a setting where their men are faltering or the battle is very close. I suspect these are the exceptions, not the common rule. At least a couple of articles on nobility and knighthood stated that nobles could purchase knighthood as a title without being particularly good in terms of combat skill. Why anyone would is way beyond my comprehension though! One possibility might be that they would have to send their own required men at arms to be led and sacrificed first by a competing noble who had purchased the right to title, and with it the right to command the forces of those who had not. Just a wild guess.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Eric Nower




Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 22 Dec 2004

Posts: 174

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2005 10:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all,

As I was reading "Daily life in Medival times" by Frances and Joseph Gies ( Barnes and Noble special...good deal for $15) I came across a simple but descriptive sentance that might help.


"Thus the knight was a member of the noble class socially through the profession of arms, economically through the possession of horse and armour, and officially through a ceremony imbuded with a religious sanction."

Don't know if that helps or hurts,but I thought everybody might like that.

May God have mercy on my enemies, for I shall have none.
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