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What did knights do?

Knights fighting with swordsKnights fighting with swordsKnights were fighting men of the Middle Ages. They were ranked lower than nobility, but higher than merchants. A knight served a king or lord, promising his loyalty at all times. In return, he received land. He underwent many years of training to learn fighting skills. He was expected to follow a code of chivalry. When not fighting wars, knights took part in tournaments, where jousting contests were held.


A knight on horsebackA knight on horseback

Chivalry

Knights were “gentlemen soldiers”. The first knights were soldiers who rode into battle on horseback rather than on foot. This gave them the advantage of speed.

Knights were expected to follow a code of chivalry. This meant they had a duty to defend the weak and show courtesy, especially towards women. Many knights, however, failed to live up to these high standards.

A full hauberk, a knight's chainmail coat, might be made of 30,000 rings. A full suit, including mail leggings and mittens, was extremely heavy, weighing up to 30 kilograms (nearly 70 pounds).

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