A knight was a professional heavy cavalry soldier in the Middle Ages. Knights were the best soldiers in the kingdom. Knights fought for lords or nobles, and got land in return. They thought honour was very important, and they had a code of honour called chivalry. A knight usually had a coat of arms, also called an armorial achievement.
Knights in the Middle AgesEdit
Knights were first used in the 8th century in the late Roman armies. The era of the knights lasted until the 16th century. After that, national armies replaced feudal armies. Many knights were recruited as officers in the new armies.
Although they no longer fight as elite warriors, knights still exist.
Today, Queen Elizabeth II names Knights of the Commonwealth Realms. To knight a person, she taps their shoulders with the flat side of a sword during a ceremony. Bill Gates, Clint Eastwood, Michael Caine, Elton John, and George H.W. Bush have all been knighted.
Some British orders of knighthood still exist, like the Order of the British Empire. Today, knights are called “Sir” followed by their first name.
Many members of nobility are descended from knights. For example, Wijerd Jelckama is descended from a knight who died at the siege of Antioch in 1199.