Becoming a Knight
During the middle ages, in order to become a knight one had to go through many years of training.
A knight-to-be spent at least fourteen years of his life learning the proper conduct and etiquette of
knighthood. Once the years of training were completed, often an elaborate ceremony took place when the
gentleman was knighted. Once knighted, the man had to live by the code of chivalry. This code had the
basic guidelines of a knight's behavior. This code was so respected that abiding by it brought honor and
respect from others.
The education of a knight began at the age of seven. This was when a boy was taken from his
home and sent to the castle of a famous noble, perhaps his father?s lord. Here he served the lord and the
lady as a page until he was fourteen years old. One of the many duties of a page was to accompany the lord
and lady at all times. He also waited on them during meals, and went with them on various affairs doing
whatever was asked of him. As a page, he received religious instruction from the chaplain. The squires
taught the page fighting skills, and gave him training in arms. The mistress and her ladies taught the page
to honor and protect all women. He also learned to sing and to play the lute, in order to hunt and hawk.
The most important thing that he learned during the seven years as a page was how to care for and ride a
horse. This was a skill that was essential when becoming a knight, because a horse was his primary mode
of transportation.
At the age of fourteen, the page became a squire, and at the same time, was formally assigned to a
knight. He now learned to handle a sword, lance, and to bear the weight of heavy armor. Along with his
continued duties from when he was a page, he now had to carve at the dinner table, and accompany his
knight to war. He was constantly receiving instructions from the knight, and attended to the knight?s
personal needs. He assisted the knight with putting on his armor, and had to make sure the sword and other
arms of the knight were polished. He also had to care for the knight's horse, which entailed grooming,
feeding, and constant attention. The squire stood by in battles to give aid in a conflict should the knight be
overmatched, and to lend his horse should his master lose his own. It was the squire who picked up the
knight when he fell, and took his body away if he was injured or killed. This all lasted for the next seven
years of the squire's life. At the end of th!
is period, when he was twenty-one, a squire who had demonstrated his competence and worth, either by
successful completion of his training or on the actual field of battle, was knighted.
The ceremony of the squire becoming knighted was often very elaborate. The squire had to first
take a purification bath that symbolized the purity of his new life. After the bath, he knelt or stood all night
in prayer before the altar on which the armor he would wear later lay. In the morning they had a religious
ritual, with perhaps a sermon on the knight?s duty to protect the weak, make wrongs right, and honor
women. After this, in the courtyard in the presence of the assembled knights and fair ladies, the knight's
armor was buckled on. He was presented with a pair of golden spurs, which only a knight could wear, a
shining new suit of armor, a sword, a shield, a lance, and a charger. After putting on the armor piece by
piece, he knelt to receive the accolade. This was a blow upon the neck or shoulder, given by the
officiating lord, or knight with his fist, or with the flat of a sword. As the blows were given, the lord said,
?In the name of God and St. Michael and S!
t. George, I dub thee knight; be brave and loyal.? He was now a full-fledged bachelor knight entitled to all
the honors and privileges of his rank.
Still at other times the ceremonies were not quite as elaborate. Sometimes they were forced to
make it short and simple because of war. It was not uncommon for a