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Chivalry: The Art of Being a Knight. What does ‘ Chivalry ’ mean?. Have you ever been told to behave like a ‘ lady ’ or a ‘ gentleman ’ ? This idea of good behavior has been passed down to us from the Middle Ages.

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Chivalry: The Art of Being a Knight

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what does chivalry mean
What does ‘Chivalry’ mean?
  • Have you ever been told to behave like a ‘lady’ or a ‘gentleman’? This idea of good behavior has been passed down to us from the Middle Ages.
  • The word ‘chivalry’ comes from the French word chevalerie, meaning ‘horsemanship’. But by the 10th century it had come to mean a code of conduct for knights – a way of controlling their violence and making them behave properly.
what was a knight
What was a Knight?
  • When we use the word ‘knight’, what do you think of?
  • What was a knight expected to do?
what made a good knight
What made a good knight?
  • Read this description of a perfect knight from a guide to chivalry written in 1408-9:

A steyght hed, a large brest, gret sholders, wel shapen arms – long and bygge, wel made long handes of grete bones, small bely, bygge thyes, leggis steght.

  • Can you think of any sportsmen (or women!) today who might make a good knight?
how did someone become a knight
How Did Someone Become a Knight?
  • A knight had to come from a noble household.
  • The training to become a knight began when a boy was just 7 years old, when he would leave home and go to become a page boy in the house of another noble family.
  • During this time, he would be educated. What subjects and what skills do you think he would have learned?
becoming a squire
Becoming a Squire
  • At the age of 14, the boy’s normal “schooling” would end. He would now spend al his time training to be a good knight.
  • This involved learning to use weapons, to ride a horse well and to become fit. He would wrestle, hunt, swim and play fighting games with other squires.
the making of a knight
The Making of a Knight
  • On completing his training, the squire would go through a special ceremony to become a knight.
what w as a knight e xpected to do
What Was a Knight Expected to Do?
  • Knights were land owners – their land was given to them by the king or barrons as a reward for fighting in the king’s army.
  • In return for the land, the knight had both to spend 40 days serving in the army and to find more men to fight for the king. He had also to provide his own horse and weapons.
what if there were no wars
What If There Were No Wars?
  • The knight was a trained fighter. As a page and as a squire, he had been prepared to spend his life fighting.
  • His problem was what to do when there were no wars. Life in a cold, damp castle could be pretty dull.
          • How do you think knights solved this problem?
  • They held fake battles!(Think Medieval Times Restaurant!)
  • These were like real battles, but the knights were not trying to kill each other so they used blunt weapons.
  • But that didn’t mean that it wasn’t dangerous! At one German tournament, 60 knights were killed. Many were trampled to death.

Sir Geoffrey Luttrell sets out for a tournament. His wife and daughter-in-law wish him luck and hand him a helmet.

What evidence is there that Sir Geoffrey is dressed for show, rather than going to war?

the new tournaments
The New Tournaments
  • By the 13th century, tournaments had become much safer. They were now carefully managed by a ‘marshal’ and became more of a sporting and social event for the nobility.
  • Medieval kings were very fond of tournaments – they used them to show off their wealth and sometimes their own sporting ability. There were often feasts and dancing in the evenings.

As part of the new tournaments, a sport was developed called jousting.

In a joust, two knights rode straight at each other. Each held a lance that was about 3 meters long. The lance was used to try to knock the other knight off his horse.

so when did they actually fight
So When Did They Actually Fight?
  • Between 1095 and 1270, many knights set out for the Middle East to fight in the Crusades. These were a series of battles to try to win back the Holy Land from Muslim control. This was the great age of the medieval knight.
  • In many ancient cathedrals and

churches in Britain today you can

see the tombs of these crusader



This is the tomb of Gilbert Marshal, a knight who died in 1241 during the crusades. It is in the Temple Church in London.

  • What do you notice about the way he is shown? What does it tell you about him?

But were knights always trying to fight for what they thought was right?

What do you think is happening here?

knights evolved for the better
Knights Evolved….For the Better?
  • Knights had originally been noblemen, who did their duty to their king and their country, and fought for their religious beliefs.
  • But over time, more and more men became knights who just wanted to fight and to make money quickly. The age of the ‘chivalrous’ or gentlemanly knight was over.
today s task
Today’s Task
  • Every knight would have a coat of arms. This was originally to identify him in battle, and, later at the tournaments.
  • Your homework is to design your own coat of arms.
  • Try to include symbols that tell me something about you, such as your hobbies or something about your personality. You can make it as detailed as you like.
  • Please include a paragraph on the back to explain your design.
  • You must include color in your design!