The classic image of a knight is that of a soldier who fights against the enemies of his king and lord on horseback and at the same time defends the principles of chivalry. Knights are believed to date back to the Ordo Equestris (order of chivalry), nobles on horseback from ancient Rome. However, the image of the knight comes from "The Song of Roldan" and other legends of Charlemagne and his Paladins, which spread from France to England after the Conquest of Normandy in 1066. Historically, only a select class of people could obtain the gentlement Tittle. However, in the last century, there have been several modern ways to become a gentleman.
Method 1 of 4: Become a Medieval Knight
Step 1. You have to be of noble birth
During feudal times, the opportunity to become a knight was in practice reserved for the nobility. This was because they were the ones who possessed the wealth necessary to have and maintain a horse, armor, and weapons that the knights required to defend their lord's lands.
A family can be appointed by the king as part of the nobility (ennobled) if one of its members performs an outstanding service worthy of a knight
Step 2. You must have been born a boy
While currently both a male and a female can be knighted, historically the rule was that only males could be knighted. What's more, the word “knight” derives from the Anglo-Saxon word “cniht”, which means “child”. However, there were exceptions.
- In 1149, the Order of the Ax was created to honor the women of the city of Tortosa, Catalonia (Spain). They dressed as men to drive away the Moors, who had invaded the city. They received a title equivalent to that of knighthood.
- The legends of Charlemagne do mention the adventures of a female knight named Bradamante, who was Charlemagne's niece. However, at first Bradamante pretended to be a man until she met Rogero and fell in love with him.
Step 3. Learn from your parents what it means to be a gentleman
During the first seven years of his life, a boy had to learn from his parents the manners and customs required of a gentleman. Likewise, it is the parents who have told stories of knightly feats to their son and taken him to tournaments. Additionally, the games were to involve, for example, taking a wooden sword and shield and using them against the feudal lord's imaginary enemies.
Step 4. Become a page
At the age of 7, a child could become a page (also called a "varlet" in English, which means "little vassal") in the service of a nobleman or one of the court ladies who lived under the lord's roof.. The boy would be dressed in the colors of his lord's house and his rank would be lower than that of the other pages who have served longer. As a page, his work would be divided between housework, physical activities and his education.
- Housekeeping duties included serving as a waiter and helper during the lord's meals, taking care of the maintenance of his clothes, and helping him dress. The latter also included helping the lord put on and take off his armor during knights' jousts.
- Physical activities included learning to ride and hunt carrying weapons and a hawk during both activities. Learning to use a sword, the practice of which he began when he was still living with his parents, would have become a regular activity. Furthermore, as a page he would also have learned how to joust and hold a spear while riding a wheeled training horse, which was pulled by two other pages towards the target.
- The education was based on the formation in values that the page received from their parents, which also included religious training and the development of reasoning skills and mental acuity through games such as chess and backgammon.
- The richer the noble, the greater the prestige one gained by serving as a page. However, the richer the nobleman, the greater the number of pages he would have in his service and the greater the competition among them for status within the nobleman's house.
Step 5. Become a squire
In general, at the age of 14, although on some occasions it could be at the young age of 10, a page would become an apprentice to a knight, particularly as his armigero or squire (which comes from the French "escuyer", who means "who carries or carries the shield"). During this work, the knight-in-training was viewed as a young man and therefore had greater duties, greater responsibilities, and higher expectations than when he was a page boy.
- The pageman's housework of tending the castle lord during his meals would now shift to the squire, who would have to serve the knight in a similar way (as he had done with his lord). The squire would also help his knight put on the armor and maintain it, either during tournaments or battles, and would take care of the horse. The squire who cared for the lord of the castle in this way would be known as a “body squire”, which was considered the highest rank among the squires who lived in the castle.
- The practice of handling weapons, which were made with wooden swords, toy spears and training horses with wheels, would now be carried out with real weapons. Squires also had to learn to swim and climb to be able to take over a castle.
- The manners lessons included learning the code of chivalry (referring to conduct in battle and respect for what the knight promised to uphold), as well as lessons in music and dance. Squires also learned the art of heraldry and the symbols of their own house and other nobles, so that they could identify an enemy or friend on the battlefield.
Step 6. Be invested as a knight
Assuming the squire proved worthy of the lessons, at age 21 he would be knighted. In some cases, such as demonstrating particular courage in combat, this honor could be received earlier (as promotions are given today for outstanding performance in battle) and only with a small arming ritual. The formal knighthood ceremony consists of several rituals and involves the following steps:
- A night of vigil in the chapel of the castle of the lord whom the future knight would represent, which includes a ritual bath to symbolically purify the aspirant. The would-be knight was dressed in a white robe to represent purity and covered with a red robe to represent nobility. On his feet he wore shoes and black socks that symbolized that he would give his life to the service of his lord and his order of knights if necessary. The shield and sword that the knight would wield would be placed on the altar in the chapel, while the aspirant would be kneeling or standing before him silently praying for a period of 10 hours.
- In the morning, a mass was celebrated with a sermon on the duties of a knight. At this time, the friends and family of the future knight were present. The priest then blessed the sword and shield and handed them over to the knight's patron, who then handed them over to the noble lord who would conduct the ceremony. This could be the lord of the castle, a more important nobleman, or even the king. In the time of Henry VIII, only the reigning monarch could confer knighthood.
- Two patrons introduced the knight to the noble lord who presided over the ceremony. In front of him, the knight swore allegiance and vowed to ward off traitors, treat women with the utmost respect, and perform all the rituals of the church. Then, the nobleman who presided over the ceremony presented the knight with the sword and shield, and touched his shoulder with the flat part of the sword or with the palm of the hand, pronouncing the following words: “I name you Sir (the gentleman's name). " The patrons then put the sword and sheath on the knight's waist and the spurs on his heels, at which point he could use the title "Sir."
- Becoming a knight required being able to pay the expenses that come with this honor. Squires who could not afford the expenses of being knights were called "Patrine Weapons" and were allowed to carry a spear and shield. However, they did not have any of the other accoutrements carried by a named knight.
- The squire used to accompany the knight to the battlefield, where from a distance he held the instruments that the knight was not using at that time. If the knight fell in battle, the squire had to take up a weapon and protect his knight's body. If the squire managed to repel the other knight's attack, he had the right to take the horse, shield, armor, and sword of the defeated knight. That became his armorial and he automatically assumed the knighthood of the vanquished.
Method 2 of 4: Become a Knight of the British Empire
Step 1. Be exceptional in your field
Whereas during medieval times knighthood was an award for military merit, today in the UK the knighthood is awarded to certain individuals for exceptional achievements in their area of work, whether in business and industry, education, science, religion or entertainment.
Actually, there are five degrees of honor in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire: Knight Grand Cross (GBE), Knight Commander (KBE) (Knight Commander), Commander (CBE) (Commander), Officer (OBE) (Officer) and Member (MBE) (Member). Only the first two allow their beneficiaries to use the honorary title before their name
Step 2. British citizenship
In medieval times, the knighthood only belonged to males. Today, this honor can be awarded to both men and women, who are given the title Dame (Lady) instead of Sir (Knight). However, to receive this honor, you must be a British citizen.
Non-British citizens cannot be knighted, but can receive the Honorary Title of Knight upon recommendation of the Foreign Office. They are not subjected to the naming ceremony and cannot use the title associated with the honor of becoming a Knight or Lady, but they can use the initials of the order to which they belong, as do knights with British nationality. If they later become British citizens, they can claim all the honors that come with being a knight
Step 3. Be invested as a knight
The investiture can be public or private, and includes a naming ceremony (where the knight is "armed") conducted by the reigning monarch or a member of the royal family representing the monarch. Then follow the presentation of the badge.
- Unlike medieval chivalry, modern knights have no military obligation to the Crown.
- Members of the clergy who receive the knighthood are not “armed”, as the use of the sword is not considered appropriate for their vocation. Furthermore, they also do not use the title associated with the honor of becoming a Knight or Lady.
Method 3 of 4: Become a Knight of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism)
Step 1. Obey and respect the laws that govern the SCA, as well as the kingdoms and baronies it houses
The purpose of the SCA is to educate and entertain its members and others by recreating various aspects of medieval life, from the routine to the fighting between men. As a member of the SCA, you are subject to its laws, as well as the laws of the regional (kingdom) and local group to which you belong (barony, canton, university or region) to guarantee order, in the same way as knights they complied with the laws and guaranteed order within their kingdoms. Like medieval knights, who were seen as an example of the laws they followed, you will also have to be an example as a knight within the organization.
Step 2. Respect your leaders
Regional groups or kingdoms are led by a king or queen, while a seneschal leads the smaller groups within a kingdom. You must show respect for these people by virtue of the position they occupy. If you truly become a knight, you will have to take an oath of allegiance (loyalty) to them.
Step 3. Participate in SCA events
If you hope to become a gentleman of the SCA, then you have to participate in the events that the SCA organizes. You don't have to attend all of them, but you do have to participate in a number of different activities and find the ones that you do best. You will have to compete in tournaments, but you should not restrict your participation only to these types of events. Participation also includes the following:
- Assume your character as best you can. You don't have to be exactly like an authentic character, but you do have to do a good job, a reasonable and acceptable one. Also, you can always ask for help if you need it.
- Share your skills with others, and in return, you must be willing to learn from them. If you have skills or knowledge that could benefit your colleagues, share it with them. Similarly, you must be willing to learn what your peers have to teach you. You may get two things: a new skill and a new friend.
- Share your resources with others if you can. This is called “hospitality” and it means that, in addition to teaching, you offer your time and talents to help other members. It can be as simple as lending your sword to someone who broke theirs or as complex as organizing an event.
Step 4. Show the behavior of a knight of the kingdom
You should not only treat your leaders with respect and courtesy, but also your teammates and, if you participate in a tournament, your opponents. Your character may be part of a culture that does not stand out for its courteous behavior, but you cannot use it as an excuse for misbehaving at events (Brave, the main character of a comic strip, was of Nordic blood, but acted in a dignified way of a knight of King Arthur's court and not as a barbarian Viking).
- The only form of courtesy you are expected to practice as a knight, and should be practiced before you become one, is to defend the honor of your consort (the SCA confers knighthood on both men and women, therefore that your consort is your partner). A garment or symbol that identifies the consort is used when one competes in a tournament. Your actions in the tournament fall not only on you, but also on your consort.
- However, introduce good-looking items to your character as a show of courtesy, such as ostentatiously removing your feathered hat when an Italian fencer bows in front of the queen.
Step 5. Do well in combat
You must develop your fighting techniques in tournaments to the point that you can face any opponent, regardless of whether you win or lose.
Step 6. On the recommendation of the other knights, the monarch may make you knight
Most kingdoms have a knighthood council that advises the monarch regarding the suitability of potential candidates for knighthood. Knowing these people can help you in your goal, but it is the monarch who ultimately decides.
- Although it is the most recognized, the SCA is not the only organization that reconstructs and promotes the history of medieval times. Other organizations of this type may (or may not) offer the opportunity to become a gentleman. If so, they most likely have standards similar to the SCA.
- Whichever organization you belong to, you will find that it is better to focus more on the journey to becoming a knight than on the goal of being one. Try to spend more time honoring others and don't worry so much about when you will receive the honors.
Method 4 of 4: Other Ways to Become a Knight
Step 1. Get the title through an achievement in your life
This type of gentleman will not have the addition of GBE or KBE. This title is only intended for men. In English, it is known as Knight Bachelor and is the lowest ranking title in the male order. This is the lowest rank of male knights. Women awarded this honor will bear the title Lady Jane Jones, the title DBE, Lady Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, as it is the lowest rank of the female order.
Step 2. Join a civic or religious organization
There are some organizations that include the word "Knight" in their names or as a title that can be earned by moving up the ranks of the organization. There are also legitimate religious organizations to appoint their officers, ministers and knights as Fratres Militiae Christi
Step 3. Buy the title
It is possible to earn the title of "knight" simply by paying the membership fee in certain organizations or by enrolling in a rewards program that includes the title of "knight".
Step 4. Join an organization that promotes the ideals of chivalry in the modern world
Some social organizations, such as the International Fellowship of Chivalry-Now, are dedicated to promoting the ideals of a knight's behavior in daily life, rather than having their members put on armor and begin to be beaten.
- Many of the chivalric traditions associated with medieval knights can be traced to Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen consort of Louis VII of France and later Henry II of England. He was so fond of the stories of King Arthur that he tried to model his royal court after these stories and encouraged his troubadours to sing tales about knights.
- While the image of knights in shining armor implies a full suit of forged chainmail, these pieces were only used towards the end of the Middle Ages. In the early part of medieval times, knights wore a chainmail shirt called hauberk or boiled leather shirts, a process that served to harden them. When chainmail became common, knights had two suits, one for battle and the other for use in parades.
- Not all the knights or Patrine Weapon fought in the service of the same lord or sovereign. Those who offered their services to anyone who would pay them enough were called "freelance" ("free spearman").