Medieval Knight Armor
Medieval Knights were gentleman soldiers and members of the warrior class of the Middle Ages in Europe. Medieval Knight Armor was created to give these warriors a distinct advantage during battle.
Medieval Knights used horses as their preferred mode of transport. Since antiquity a position of honour and prestige has been held by mounted warriors such as the Greek hippeus and the Roman eques and knighthood in the Middle Ages was inextricably linked with horsemanship.
Medieval Knights rode to battle on horseback rather than marching on foot. Riding to battle had two key advantages: it reduced fatigue, particularly when the Knights wore their full medieval Knight armor as was the case in most battles; and it gave the Knights more mobility to react to the raids of the enemy, particularly the invasions of Muslim armies which started in the 7th century. The Knights rode to battle but dismounted to fight.
The legend of King Arthur and round table of Knights was important in defining the ideal of chivalry which is essential to the modern concept of the Knight as an elite warrior sworn to uphold the values of faith, loyalty, courage and honour. In the Late Medieval Period, new methods of warfare began to render classical Medieval Knight Armor obsolete.
Knighthood as known in Europe was characterized by the combination of two elements, feudalism and service as a mounted combatant. Both arose under the reign of the Frankish emperor Charlemagne, from which the knighthood of the Middle Ages can be seen to have had its genesis.
Some orders of knighthood, such as the Knights Templar, have themselves become the stuff of legend; others have disappeared into obscurity. Today, a number of orders of knighthood continue to exist in several countries, such as the English Order of the Garter, the Swedish Royal Order of the Seraphim, and the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. Each of these orders has its own criteria for eligibility, but knighthood is generally granted by a head of state to selected persons to recognise some meritorious achievement.
Knights were generally bearing a coat of arms, and indeed they played an essential role in the development of heraldry. As heavier medieval Knight armor, including enlarged shields and enclosed helmets, developed in the Middle Ages, the need for marks of identification arose, and with coloured shields and surcoats, coat armory was born.
Armorial rolls were created to record the knights of various regions or those who participated in various tournaments. Additionally, knights adopted certain forms of regalia which became closely associated with the status of knighthood. The livery collar is another part of the knight's regalia specifically associated with knighthood.
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