Fascinating Facts About Medieval Knighthood And The Knights That Changed History

Clad in armor while astride fierce destrier warhorses, knights once roamed medieval Europe in the service of their lords and kings. While the idea of the knight has been romanticized in tales of knights in shining armor saving helpless maidens, there was a lot more to knighthood than the fantastical stories we have been told. In reality, knights were servants, with the Old English word for knight directly translating to mean exactly that. They were mounted warriors of lower nobility who served as elite fighters for a lord who paid them in the form of land and holdings. Now, saddle up your warhorse to learn some fascinating facts about these distinguished soldiers and details about some of the most famous knights in history.

The Origins Of Knighthood Can Be Traced Back To Ancient Rome

Origins Of The Knight
DeAgostini/Getty Images
DeAgostini/Getty Images

Although there are countless other requirements, riding a horse into battle is one of the key components of being a knight. The concept of having a specific branch of the military fighting on horseback is thought to have originated during the time of the Roman Empire.

The Romans had soldiers similar to knights who formed an equestrian order referred to as the Ordo Equestris. Although there isn’t a direct connection between the Ordo Equestris and medieval knights, they have many similarities such as their status and military purpose. Charlemagne is credited with the creation of the medieval knight after he began using soldiers on horseback in order to defend his massive empire.