the Middle Ages, there was a definite structure in society.
You were born into a class of people and generally
stayed in that class for your entire life. Working hard
not change your status. Your clothing, food, marriage,
homes, etc., were determined for you. After the rank
of king, the hierarchy was the nobles, the knights,
the clergy (religious people), the tradesmen and the peasants.
easiest way to become a knight was to be the son of a
noble. At about age 7, the sons were taken to
castle to be trained as a page. They spent their time
becoming strong, riding horses and mastering the use of
They learned how to read, write and speak Latin and
also learned about dancing and the rules of chivalry
(the set of rules for honorable behavior).
At about age
16, the page became a squire whose duties were to work
for a knight. He dressed the knight, served
tended his horse and cleaned his weapons. Squires also
practiced wearing heavy armor and using weapons. At
about age 20, if
the squire was worthy, he was made a knight in a “dubbing” ceremony.
In the ceremony, the knight-to-be knelt before the
lord of the manor. He was touched on each shoulder
proclaimed a knight.
Under their armor, the knights
wore padding to ease the pain of wearing such heavy
the early years, knights wore chain mail. These were
metal chains linked together. It took about
body armor out of mail. The covering for
their chests and arms weighed between 20 and 30 pounds
up to 200,000 rings. In the later years,
knights wore full metal
The helmets that knights wore had eyeholes
(usually slits in the metal) and breathing holes
so the knights could
get sufficient air.
Shields were made of wood
or metal and generally had the knight’s family
seal shown on it to help identify him.
The sword was the
major weapon of the knight
and weighed about 21⁄2 to 3
pounds. It was worn on his left side
around his waist.
The other weapons that
a knight used were a knife (worn on
the right side) and a
lance (a long
spear used while
Metal axes, battle hammers and maces
(a long metal or wooden pole with a heavy
introduced when armor became too strong
to penetrate with a sword.
appeared in tournaments or jousts. They sat on
a horse and carried
a lance with
a blunt end.
face-to-face with another knight
to try and knock him off his horse. This was
practice for real warfare.
Knights often traveled the world;
however, because they were noblemen, they
had a castle that they
The castle was
a private fortress protected by the knights.
nobles’ families lived
within the part of the
castle called the keep.
The upper floors were for
the bedrooms of
the lord and his family.
floors were where the visiting knights stayed,
generally in a very
Castles were generally
quite smoky. A central fire area
with a hole
roof was standard.
tapestries, hung on
the walls, but the floors were often
dirt-covered with dried
or were made
of stone. Dogs generally
were allowed to go anywhere. By today’s standards,
we would find the cleanliness to be
Late in the Middle Ages, knights
began to follow the practice
of chivalry The ideal
chivalrous when he possessed
these virtues and qualities:
to serve his king and his country
Avoid lying, cheating
Believe in justice