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Knight Costumes

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When most of us think of knights we think of the armored medieval soldiers who rescued fair maidens and slew dragons. Never mind that there isn't any such thing as a dragon! We have an idealized image of chivalry that makes knights the stuff of romance novels.

 

Not just anyone could become a knight. First, you had to have the right parents. If you weren't born to the nobility, you were out of luck. You could be a common soldier, but not a knight. Sons of the nobility would be sent at age 7 or 8 to another noble household to begin their training. They started out as pages, serving at table and cleaning & caring for the knights' armor and weapons. They received education in basic literacy, music, chess and poetry from the household's chaplain. They also spent part of each day in physical training in the arts of warfare: horseback riding, how to use a sword or lance.

 

At about age 14 a page became a squire, assigned to one particular knight. Squires accompanied their masters into battle, at first as standard-bearer and equipment manager. Later as they gained more experience they participated in the actual fighting. 

Finally by about age 21, or perhaps earlier if he distinguished himself in battle, a young man would be knighted. This was actually a religious ceremony, and the knight-to-be prepared himself by a short period of fasting, ritual purification, and prayer. He would be 'dubbed" a knight by his lord, who would tap him on each shoulder with the hilt of a sword. The new knight swore an oath of loyalty to his liege lord, the king and the church. He would often be granted an estate to hold as a vassal, which would give him an income. In return he pledged to fight for king and country when asked.

 

Why do we see knights as romantic figures? Because 19th century English writers idealized their code of chivalry. A knight epitomized the qualities that were admired in the Middle Ages. He was to be loyal, honorable, courteous, and physically strong. He should defend the weak, fight for the welfare of all, and keep the faith.

 

So, if you want to become a knight, it involves more than just picking a great costume (although that's your starting point). You need armor and weapons, and you need to study and practice chivalry. Be courteous, and defend your lady against dragons. What? There aren't any dragons in your town? Then get one of our dragon costumes for a friend.

 

Maybe you'd rather go on a crusade. The city of Jerusalem was held by Jews and Moslems, and the Church wanted them ousted. Many Christians made pilgrimages to the Holy Land, a journey fraught with danger. The Pope and many nobles thought that if Christians controlled Jerusalem it would be safer for pilgrims. So they launched a series of efforts to recapture the city. They also persecuted Jews and heretics in their own lands. Several religious orders of knights were founded, the best-known of which was the Templars.

 

Live out your own medieval romance in one of our knight costumes!