At different periods of history in different geographical regions, interesting military units arose. However, even though it originated primarily as a military class, there is only one unit that has become a symbol of heroism, courage, devotion, and loyalty over the years. Of course, only chivalry; It has been raised to a level where those who have all the features we have listed are considered worthy. Knights became one of the most important elements of European culture, especially after the 12th century. In parallel with this, chivalry acquired an institutional structure that is often used in literature and cultural products and, of course, is associated only with lofty concepts, and certain behavioral and characteristic patterns are valid. Here are 7 interesting facts about knights, brave and noble warriors of the Middle Ages.
1. In the Middle Ages, chivalry was subject to some unwritten rules.
However, the epic The Son of Roland (Song of Roland), thought to have originated in the 11th or 12th century, mentions some written rules for chivalry. For example, all knights must fear God and his church, serve with courage and faith, protect the weak and vulnerable, live for honor and glory, and respect the dignity of women.
2. French literary historian Leon Gauthier wrote that there are 10 orders of chivalry.
According to Leon Gauthier, who was born in 1832 and is known for his important work on medieval European literature, there were 10 orders of chivalry. Believe in the church, defend the church, do not lie and keep your word, be generous, always defend the truth and good, do not shy away from war and not be afraid of the enemy, love the country to which you belong, and, finally, perform all feudal duties until it is contrary to God’s rules.
3. The Crusades had an impact on the formation of the institution of chivalry.
In the 11th century, European Christians took action to prevent the spread of Islam and maintain control of Islamic geography. Thus began the military-political operation, which went down in history as the Crusades.
The warriors, who were believed to defend God’s religion from the Muslims, were regarded among Christians as the epitome of heroism and courage. For this reason, the Crusades and various teachings within Christianity played an important role in the institutionalization of chivalry.
4. The significant influence of chivalry on the part of Christianity gave rise to a concept called “knightly piety.”
Knightly piety was used in the Middle Ages to denote the high religious motivation of certain knights. This motivation for some knights was so strong that they even donated to the church the trophies they captured on the battlefield, which were their own. However, chivalrous piety led many knights to participate in battles that were declared “holy”, such as the Crusades.
5. The Battle of Agincourt hastened the collapse of the institution of chivalry.
The Battle of Agincourt, fought between British and French forces during the Hundred Years’ War, ended in victory for the British soldiers in a surprise victory over the outnumbered French knights. King Henry V of England, on the other hand, ordered the execution of many captured knights, contrary to the custom in Europe.
Meanwhile, according to ancient knightly laws, a ransom had to be paid for captured knights and freed captives. However, both the deterioration of this ancient tradition and the military failures of the knights hastened the collapse of the institution.
6. There were also female knights in history.
Yes, contrary to popular belief, women in medieval Europe could also become knights. For example, in 1149, a knighthood called “Orden de la Hacha” was founded in the territory of modern Catalonia. A feature that distinguished the unit from other knightly units in Europe was that it consisted entirely of female knights.
The Order de la Hacha was established to honor women warriors who heroically defended the geography in which they lived and distinguished themselves in various wars, and women admitted to the union received various privileges such as tax exemption.
7. The term “Coup de Grace” has been preserved from medieval knights.
This French term, meaning “final blow”, “mortal blow” and generally “blow of mercy”, was used for the final blow to the enemy in duels between medieval knights. However, the term means showing mercy, that is, killing him, with or without consent, in order to prevent the suffering of a dying and dying being.
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