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A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a monarch or other political
leader for service to the Monarch or country, especially in a military capacity. Historically,
in Europe, knighthood has been conferred upon mounted warriors. During the High Middle Ages,
knighthood was considered a class of lower nobility. By the Late Middle Ages, the rank
had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly
Christian warrior. Often, a knight was a vassal who served as a fighter for a lord, with payment
in the form of land holdings. The lords trusted the knights, who were skilled in battle on
horseback. Since the early modern period, the title of knight is purely honorific, usually
bestowed by a monarch, as in the British honours system, often for non-military service to
the country. Historically, the ideals of chivalry were
popularized in medieval literature, especially the Matter of Britain and Matter of France,
the former based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written in the
1130s. Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, written in 1485, 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. During the Renaissance,
the genre of chivalric romance became popular in literature, growing ever more idealistic
and eventually giving rise to a new form of realism in literature popularised by Miguel
de Cervantes' Don Quixote. This novel explored the ideals of knighthood and their incongruity
with the reality of Cervantes' world. In the late medieval period, new methods of warfare
began to render classical knights in armour obsolete, but the titles remained in many
nations. Some orders of knighthood, such as the Knights
Templar, have become the subject 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. Knighthood in the Middle Ages was closely
linked with horsemanship from its origins in the 12th century until its final flowering
as a fashion among the high nobility in the Duchy of Burgundy in the 15th century. This
linkage is reflected in the etymology of chivalry, cavalier and related terms. The special prestige
given to mounted warriors finds a parallel in the furusiyya in the Muslim world, and
the Greek hippeus and the Roman eques of Classical Antiquity.
Etymology The word knight, from Old English cniht, is
a cognate of the German word Knecht. This meaning, of unknown origin, is common among
West Germanic languages. Anglo-Saxon cniht had no particular connection to horsemanship,
referring to any servant. A rādcniht was a servant delivering messages or patrolling
coastlines on horseback. Old English cnihthād had the meaning of adolescence by 1300.
A narrowing of the generic meaning \"servant\" to \"military follower of a king or other superior\"
is visible by 1100. The specific military sense of a knight being a mounted warrior
in the heavy cavalry emerges only in the Hundred Years' War. The verb \"to knight\" appears around
1300, and from the same time, the word \"knighthood\" shifted from \"adolescence\" to \"rank or dignity
of a knight\". In this respect English differs from most
other European languages, where the equivalent word emphasizes the status and prosperity
of war horse ownership. Linguistically, the association of horse ownership with social
status extends back at least as far as ancient Greece, where many aristocratic names incorporated
the Greek word for horse, like Hipparchus and Xanthippe; the character Pheidippides
in Aristophanes' Clouds has his grandfather's name with hipp- inserted to sound more aristocratic.
Similarly, the Greek ἱππεύς is commonly translated \"knight\"; at least in its sense
of the highest of the four Athenian social classes, those who could afford to maintain
a warhorse in the state service. An Equestrian was a member of the second highest
social class in the Roman Republic and early Roman Empire. This class is often translated
as \"knight\"; the medieval knight, however, was called miles in Latin,. Both Greek hippos
and Latin equus are derived from the Proto-Indo-European word root ekwo- meaning \"horse\".
In the later Roman Empire the classical Latin word for horse, equus, was replaced in common
parlance by vulgar Latin caballus, sometimes thought to derive from Gaulish caballos. From
caballus arose terms in the various Romance languages cognate to the English cavalier:
Old Italian cavaliere, Italian cavallo, Spanish caballero, French chevalier, Portuguese cavaleiro,
Romanian cavaler. The Germanic languages feature terms cognate to the English rider: German
Ritter, and Dutch and Scandinavian ridder. These words are cognates derived from Germanic
rīdan \"to ride\", derived from the Proto-Indo-European root reidh-.
Origins of medieval knighthood
In Ancient Rome there was a knightly class Ordo Equestris from which European knighthood
may have been derived. Knighthood as known in Europe was characterized
by the combination of two elements, feudalism and service as a mounted warrior. 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 portions of the armies of Germanic peoples who occupied Europe from the 3rd century CE,
had always been mounted, and some armies, such as those of the Ostrogoths, comprised
mainly cavalry. However it was the Franks who came to dominate Western and Central Europe
after the fall of Rome, and they generally fielded armies composed of large masses of
infantry, with an infantry elite, the comitatus, which often rode to battle on horseback rather
than marching on foot. Riding to battle had two key advantages: it reduced fatigue, particularly
when the elite soldiers wore armour; and it gave the soldiers more mobility to react to
the raids of the enemy, particularly the Muslim invasions which reached Europe in 711. So
it was that the armies of the Frankish ruler and warlord Charles Martel, which defeated
the Umayyad Arab invasion at the Battle of Tours in 732, were still largely infantry
armies, the elites riding to battle but dismounting to fight, providing a hard core for the levy
of the infantry warbands. As the 8th century progressed into the Carolingian
Age, the Franks were generally on the attack, and larger numbers of warriors took to their
horses to ride with the Emperor in his wide-ranging campaigns of conquest. At about this time
the Franks increasingly remained on horseback to fight on the battlefield as true cavalry
rather than as mounted infantry, and would continue to do so for centuries thereafter.
Although in some nations the knight returned to foot combat in the 14th century, the association
of the knight with mounted combat with a spear, and later a lance, remained a strong one.
These mobile mounted warriors made Charlemagne's far-flung conquests possible, and to secure
their service he rewarded them with grants of land called benefices. These were given
to the captains directly by the Emperor to reward their efforts in the conquests, and
they in turn were to grant benefices to their warrior contingents, who were a mix of free
and unfree men. In the century or so following Charlemagne's death, his newly empowered
warrior class grew stronger still, and Charles the Bald declared their fiefs to be hereditary.
The period of chaos in the 9th and 10th centuries, between the fall of the Carolingian central
authority and the rise of separate Western and Eastern Frankish kingdoms, only entrenched
this newly landed warrior class. This was because governing power, and defence against
Viking, Magyar and Saracen attack, became an essentially local affair which revolved
around these new hereditary local lords and their demesnes.
In the Early Medieval period any well-equipped horseman could be described as a 'knight,'
or miles in Latin. In the course of the 12th century knighthood became a social rank with
a distinction being made between 'milites gregarii' and milites nobiles. As the term
'knight' became increasingly confined to denoting a social rank, the military role of fully
armoured cavalryman gained a separate term, 'man-at-arms'. Although any Medieval knight
going to war would automatically serve as a man-at-arms, not all men-at-arms were knights.
The first military orders of knighthood were of Knights Hospitaller and of the Holy Sepulchre,
both founded at the First Crusade of 1099, followed by the Knights Templar and the Order
of Saint Lazarus. At the time of their foundation, these were intended as monastic orders, whose
members would act as simple soldiers protecting pilgrims. It was only over the following century,
with the successful conquest of the Holy Land and the rise of the crusader states, that
these orders became powerful and prestigious. The ideal of chivalry as the ethos of the
Christian warrior, and the transmutation of the term knight from the meaning \"servant,
soldier\", and of chevalier \"mounted soldier\", to refer to a member of this ideal class,
is significantly influenced by the Crusades, on one hand inspired by the military orders
of monastic warriors, as seen retrospectively from the point of view of the beginning Late
Middle Ages, and on the other hand influenced by Islamic ideals of furusiyya.
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor is often referred to as the last true knight. He was
the last Holy Roman emperor to lead his troops onto the battlefield.
Chivalric code
Knights were expected, above all, to fight bravely and to display military professionalism
and courtesy. When knights were taken as prisoners of war, they were customarily held for ransom
in somewhat comfortable surroundings. This same standard of conduct did not apply to
non-knights who were often slaughtered after capture, and who were viewed during battle
as mere impediments to knights' getting to other knights to fight them.
Chivalry developed as an early standard of professional ethics for knights, who were
relatively affluent horse owners and were expected to provide military services in exchange
for landed property. Early notions of chivalry entailed loyalty to one's liege lord and bravery
in battle, similar to the values of the Heroic Age. During the Middle Ages, this grew from
simple military professionalism into a social code including the values of gentility, nobility
and treating others reasonably. In The Song of Roland, Roland is portrayed as the ideal
knight, demonstrating unwavering loyalty, military prowess and social fellowship. In
Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, chivalry had become a blend of religious duties, love
and military service. Ramon Llull's Book of the Order of Chivalry demonstrates that by
the end of the 13th century, chivalry entailed a litany of very specific duties, including
riding warhorses, jousting, attending tournaments, holding Round Tables and hunting, as well
as aspiring to the more æthereal virtues of \"faith, hope, charity, justice, strength,
moderation and loyalty.\" Knights of the late medieval era were expected
by society to maintain all these skills and many more, as outlined in Baldassare Castiglione's
The Book of the Courtier, though the book's protagonist, Count Ludovico, states the \"first
and true profession\" of the ideal courtier \"must be that of arms.\" Chivalry, derived
from the French word chevalier, simultaneously denoted skilled horsemanship and military
service, and these remained the primary occupations of knighthood throughout the Middle Ages.
Chivalry and religion were mutually influenced during the period of the Crusades. The early
Crusades helped to clarify the moral code of chivalry as it related to religion. As
a result, Christian armies began to devote their efforts to sacred purposes. As time
passed, clergy instituted religious vows which required knights to use their weapons chiefly
for the protection of the weak and defenseless, especially women and orphans, and of churches.
With the rise of Renaissance humanism and moral relativism, the knight–and chivalry
along with him–lost much of his relevance to society, and the idealism of chivalric
romance was fundamentally rejected in Niccolò Machiavelli's Il Principe and more directly
derided in Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote. The medieval literary genre of chivalric romance
had been the high-water mark of idealism and romanticism in literature, but in the 16th
century Machiavelli instructed aspiring political rulers to be ruthlessly pragmatic and to apply
the principle that the ends justify the means, directly counter to the high-flown idealism
of late medieval chivalry. Later, the high-flown values of chivalric romance were heavily satirized
in Cervantes's Don Quixote, which portrayed the charmingly idealistic protagonist as a
lovable but hopelessly delusional imbecile. Medieval and Renaissance literature
Knights and the ideals of knighthood featured largely in medieval and Renaissance literature,
and have secured a permanent place in literary romance. While chivalric romances abound,
particularly notable literary portrayals of knighthood include The Song of Roland, Geoffrey
Chaucer's The Knight's Tale, Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier, and Miguel de Cervantes'
Don Quixote, as well as Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur and other Arthurian tales.
The ideal courtier—the chivalrous knight—of Baldassarre Castiglione's The Book of the
Courtier became a model of the ideal virtues of nobility. Castiglione's tale took the form
of a discussion among the nobility of the court of the Duke of Urbino, in which the
characters determine that the ideal knight should be renowned not only for his bravery
and prowess in battle, but also as a skilled dancer, athlete, singer and orator, and he
should also be well-read in the Humanities and classical Greek and Latin literature.
Later Renaissance literature, such as Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote, rejected the code
of chivalry as unrealistic idealism. The rise of Christian humanism in Renaissance literature
demonstrated a marked departure from the chivalric romance of late medieval literature, and the
chivalric ideal ceased to influence literature over successive centuries until it saw some
pockets of revival in post-Victorian literature.
Heraldry and other attributes
One of the greatest distinguishing marks of the knightly class was the flying of coloured
banners, to display power and to distinguish knights in battle and in tournaments.
Knights are generally armigerous, and indeed they played an essential role in the development
of heraldry. As heavier armour, 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. At the Battle of Crécy, Edward III of England sent his
son, Edward, the Black Prince, to lead the charge into battle and when pressed to send
reinforcements, the king replied, \"say to them that they suffer him this day to win
his spurs.\" Clearly, by this time, spurs had already become emblematic of knighthood. The
livery collar is also specifically associated with knighthood.
Types of knighthood Military–monastic orders of knighthood
Knights Hospitaller, founded during the First Crusade, 1099
Order of the Holy Sepulchre, also founded during the First Crusade in circa 1099
Order of Saint Lazarus established about 1100 Knights Templar, founded 1118, disbanded 1307
Teutonic Knights, established about 1190, and ruled the Monastic State of the Teutonic
Knights in Prussia until 1525 Other orders were established in the Iberian
peninsula, under the influence of the orders in the Holy Land and the Crusader movement
of the Reconquista: the Order of Aviz, established in Avis in
1143 the Order of Alcántara, established in Alcántara
in 1156 the Order of Calatrava, established in Calatrava
in 1158 the Order of Santiago, established in Santiago
in 1164. Chivalric orders
After the Crusades, the military orders became idealized and romanticized, resulting in the
late medieval notion of chivalry, as reflected in the Arthurian romances of the time. The
creation of chivalric orders was fashionable among the nobility in the 14th and 15th centuries,
and this is still reflected in contemporary honours systems, including the term order
itself. Examples of notable orders of chivalry are:
the Order of Saint George, founded by Charles I of Hungary in 1325/6
the Order of the Most Holy Annunciation, founded by count Amadeus VI in 1346
the Order of the Garter, founded by Edward III of England around 1348
the Order of the Dragon, founded by King Sigismund of Luxemburg in 1408
the Order of the Golden Fleece, founded by Philip III, Duke of Burgundy in 1430
the Order of Saint Michael, founded by Louis XI of France in 1469
the Order of the Thistle, founded by King James VII of Scotland in 1687
the Order of the Elephant, which may have been first founded by Christian I of Denmark,
but was founded in its current form by King Christian V in 1693
the Order of the Bath, founded by George I in 1725
Honorific orders of knighthood From roughly 1560, purely honorific orders
were established, as a way to confer prestige and distinction, unrelated to military service
and chivalry in the more narrow sense. Such orders were particularly popular in the 17th
and 18th centuries, and knighthood continues to be conferred in various countries:
The United Kingdom and some Commonwealth of Nations countries such as Australia;
Some European countries, such as The Netherlands and Belgium.
The Holy See — see Papal Orders of Chivalry.
There are other monarchies and also republics that also follow this practice. Modern knighthoods
are typically awarded in recognition for services rendered to society, which are not necessarily
martial in nature. The British musician Elton John, for example, is a Knight Bachelor, thus
entitled to be called Sir Elton. The female equivalent is a Dame.
In the United Kingdom, honorary knighthood may be awarded in two different ways.
The first is the membership of one of the pure Orders of Chivalry such as the Order
of the Garter, the Order of the Thistle and the dormant Order of Saint Patrick, of which
all members are knighted. In addition, many British Orders of Merit, namely the Order
of the Bath, the Order of St Michael and St George, the Royal Victorian Order and the
Order of the British Empire are part of the British honours system, and the award of their
highest ranks, comes together with an honorary knighthood, making them a cross between orders
of chivalry and orders of merit. By contrast, award of other British Orders of Merit, such
as the Distinguished Service Order, the Order of Merit and the Order of the Companions of
Honour does not confer a knighthood. The second is being granted honorary knighthood
by the British sovereign without membership of an order, the awardee being called Knight
Bachelor. In the British honor system the knightly style
of Sir is accompanied by the given name, and optionally the surname. So, Elton John may
be called Sir Elton or Sir Elton John, but never Sir John. Similarly, actress Judi Dench
DBE may be addressed as Dame Judi or Dame Judi Dench, but never Dame Dench.
Wives of knights, however, are entitled to the honorific \"Lady\" before their husband's
surname. Thus Sir Paul McCartney's ex-wife was formally styled Lady McCartney. The style
Dame Heather McCartney could be used for the wife of a knight; however, this style is largely
archaic and is only used in the most formal of documents, or where the wife is a Dame
in her own right. The husbands of Dames have no honorific, so Dame Norma's husband remained
John Major until he received his own knighthood. Since the reign of Edward VII a clerk in holy
orders in the Church of England has not normally received the accolade on being appointed to
a degree of knighthood. He receives the insignia of his honour and may place the appropriate
letters after his name or title but he may not be called Sir and his wife may not be
called Lady. This custom is not observed in Australia and New Zealand, where knighted
Anglican clergymen routinely use the title \"Sir\". Ministers of other Christian Churches
are entitled to receive the accolade. For example, Sir Norman Cardinal Gilroy did receive
the accolade on his appointment as Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the
British Empire in 1969. A knight who is subsequently ordained does not lose his title. A famous
example of this situation was The Revd Sir Derek Pattinson, who was ordained just a year
after he was appointed Knight Bachelor, apparently somewhat to the consternation of officials
at Buckingham Palace. A woman clerk in holy orders may be appointed a Dame in exactly
the same way as any other woman since there are no military connotations attached to the
honour. A clerk in holy orders who is a baronet is entitled to use the title Sir.
Outside the British honours system it is usually considered improper to address a knighted
person as 'Sir' or 'Dame'. Some countries, however, historically did have equivalent
honorifics for knights, such as Cavaliere in Italy, and Ritter in Germany and the Austro-Hungarian
Empire.
State Knighthoods in the Netherlands are issued in three orders, the Order of William, the
Order of the Netherlands Lion, and the Order of Orange Nassau. Additionally there remain
a few hereditary knights in the Netherlands. In Belgium, honorary knighthood can be conferred
by the King to particularly meritorious individuals such as scientists or eminent businessment,
or for instance to astronaut Frank De Winne, the second Belgian in space. This practice
is similar to the award of the title of Knight Bachelor in the United Kingdom. In addition,
there still are a number of hereditary knights in Belgium.
In France and Belgium, one of the ranks conferred in some Orders of Merit, such as the Légion
d'Honneur, the Ordre National du Mérite, the Ordre des Palmes académiques and the
Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France, and the Order of Leopold, Order of the Crown and
Order of Leopold II in Belgium, is that of Chevalier or Ridder, meaning Knight. However,
those awarded this order are not being knighted in the sense discussed in this article and
should not be confused with honorary or hereditary knights.
In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth the monarchs tried to establish chivalric orders
but the hereditary lords who controlled the Union did not agree and managed to ban such
assemblies. They feared the King would use Orders to gain support for absolutist goals
and to make formal distinctions among the peerage which could lead to its legal breakup
into two separate classes, and that the King would later play one against the other and
eventually limit the legal privileges of hereditary nobility. But finally in 1705 King August
II managed to establish the Order of the White Eagle which remains Poland's most prestigious
order of that kind. The head of state confers knighthoods of the Order to distinguished
citizens, foreign monarchs and other heads of state. The Order has its Chapter. There
were no particular honorifics that would accompany a knight's name as historically all its members
would be royals or hereditary lords anyway. So today, a knight is simply referred to as
\"Name Surname, knight of the White Eagle\". Hereditary knighthoods
Continental Europe
In continental Europe different systems of hereditary knighthood have existed or do exist.
Ridder, Dutch for \"knight\", is a hereditary noble title in the Netherlands. It is the
lowest title within the nobility system and ranks below that of \"Baron\" but above \"Jonkheer\".
The collective term for its holders in a certain locality is the Ridderschap. In the Netherlands
no female equivalent exists. Before 1814, the history of nobility is separate for each
of the eleven provinces that make up the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In each of these, there
were in the early Middle Ages a number of feudal lords who often were just as powerful,
and sometimes more so than the rulers themselves. In old times, no other title existed but that
of knight. In the Netherlands only 10 knightly families are still extant, a number which
steadily decreases because in that country ennoblement or incorporation into the nobility
is not possible anymore. Likewise Ridder, Dutch for \"knight\", or the
equivalent French Chevalier is a hereditary noble title in Belgium. It is the second lowest
title within the nobility system above Écuyer or Jonkheer/Jonkvrouw and below Baron. Like
in the Netherlands, no female equivalent to the title exists. Belgium still does have
about 232 registered knightly families. The German and Austrian equivalent of an hereditary
knight is a Ritter. This designation is used as a title of nobility in all German-speaking
areas. Traditionally it denotes the second lowest rank within the nobility, standing
above \"Edler\" and below \"Freiherr\". For its historical association with warfare and the
landed gentry in the Middle Ages, it can be considered roughly equal to the titles of
\"Knight\" or \"Baronet\". In France, the hereditary knighthood existed
in regions formerly under Holy Roman Empire control. One family ennobled with that title
is the house of Hauteclocque, even if its most recent members used a pontifical title
of count. Italy and Poland also had the hereditary knighthood
that existed within the nobility system. Ireland
There are traces of the Continental system of hereditary knighthood in Ireland. Notably
all three of the following belong to the Welsh-Norman FitzGerald dynasty, created by the Earls of
Desmond, acting as Earls Palatine, for their kinsmen.
Knight of Kerry or Green Knight — the current holder is Sir Adrian FitzGerald, 6th Baronet
of Valencia, 24th Knight of Kerry. He is also a Knight of Malta, and currently President
of the Irish Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
Knight of Glin or Black Knight — now dormant. White Knight — now dormant.
Another Irish family were the O'Shaughnessys, who were created knights in 1553 under the
policy of Surrender and regrant. British Baronetcies
Since 1611, the British Crown has awarded a hereditary title in the form of the Baronetcy.
Like knights, baronets are accorded the title Sir. Baronets are not peers of the realm,
and did not sit in the House of Lords when it was a hereditary house, therefore like
knights they remain commoners in the view of the British legal system. However, unlike
knights, the title is hereditary and the recipient does not receive an accolade. The position
is therefore more comparable with hereditary knighthoods in continental European orders
of nobility, such as ritter, than with knighthoods under the British orders of chivalry.
Women in orders of knighthood England and the United Kingdom
Women were appointed to the Order of the Garter almost from the start. In all, 68 women were
appointed between 1358 and 1488, including all consorts. Though many were women of royal
blood, or wives of knights of the Garter, some women were neither. They wore the garter
on the left arm, and some are shown on their tombstones with this arrangement. After 1488,
no other appointments of women are known, although it is said that the Garter was granted
to Neapolitan poet Laura Bacio Terricina, by King Edward VI. In 1638, a proposal was
made to revive the use of robes for the wives of knights in ceremonies, but this did not
occur. Queen consorts have been made Ladies of the Garter since 1901. The first non-Royal
woman to be made Lady Companion of the Garter was The Duchess of Norfolk in 1990, the second
was The Baroness Thatcher in 1995. On Nov. 30, 1996, Lady Fraser was made Lady of the
Thistle, the first non-Royal woman.. The first woman to be granted a knighthood in modern
Britain seems to have been H.H. Nawab Sikandar Begum Sahiba, Nawab Begum of Bhopal, who became
a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India in 1861, at the foundation of
the order. Her daughter received the same honor in 1872, as well as her granddaughter
in 1910. The order was open to \"princes and chiefs\" without distinction of gender. The
first European woman to have been granted an order of knighthood was Queen Mary, when
she was made a Knight Grand Commander of the same order, by special statute, in celebration
of the Delhi Durbar of 1911. She was also granted a damehood in 1917 as a Dame Grand
Cross, when the Order of the British Empire was created. The Royal Victorian Order was
opened to women in 1936, and the Orders of the Bath and Saint Michael and Saint George
in 1965 and 1971 respectively. France
Medieval French had two words, chevaleresse and chevalière, which were used in two ways:
one was for the wife of a knight, and this usage goes back to the 14th century. The other
was possibly for a female knight. Here is a quote from Menestrier, a 17th-century writer
on chivalry: \"It was not always necessary to be the wife of a knight in order to take
this title. Sometimes, when some male fiefs were conceded by special privilege to women,
they took the rank of chevaleresse, as one sees plainly in Hemricourt where women who
were not wives of knights are called chevaleresses.\" Modern French orders of knighthood include
women, for example the Légion d'Honneur since the mid-19th century, but they are usually
called chevaliers. The first documented case is that of Marie-Angélique Duchemin, who
fought in the Revolutionary Wars, received a military disability pension in 1798, the
rank of 2nd lieutenant in 1822, and the Legion of Honor in 1852. A recipient of the Ordre
National du Mérite recently requested from the order's Chancery the permission to call
herself \"chevalière,\" and the request was granted.
Italy As related in Orders of Knighthood, Awards
and the Holy See by H.E. Cardinale, the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary was founded by
two Bolognese nobles Loderingo degli Andalò and Catalano di Guido in 1233, and approved
by pope Alexander IV in 1261. It was the first religious order of knighthood to grant the
rank of militissa to women. However, this order was suppressed by Sixtus V in 1558.
The Low Countries At the initiative of Catherine Baw in 1441,
and 10 years later of Elizabeth, Mary, and Isabella of the house of Hornes, orders were
founded which were open exclusively to women of noble birth, who received the French title
of chevalière or the Latin title of equitissa. In his Glossarium, Du Cange notes that still
in his day, the female canons of the canonical monastery of St. Gertrude in Nivelles, after
a probation of 3 years, are made knights at the altar, by a knight called in for that
purpose, who gives them the accolade with a sword and pronounces the usual words.
Spain To honour those women who defended Tortosa
against an attack by the Moors, Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona, created the Order
of the Hatchet in 1149.
The inhabitants [of Tortosa] being at length reduced to great streights, desired relief
of the Earl, but he, being not in a condition to give them any, they entertained some thoughts
of making a surrender. Which the Women hearing of, to prevent the disaster threatening their
City, themselves, and Children, put on men's Clothes, and by a resolute sally, forced the
Moors to raise the Siege. The Earl, finding himself obliged, by the gallentry of the action,
thought fit to make his acknowlegements thereof, by granting them several Privileges and Immunities,
and to perpetuate the memory of so signal an attempt, instituted an Order, somewhat
like a Military Order, into which were admitted only those Brave Women, deriving the honour
to their Descendants, and assigned them for a Badge, a thing like a Fryars Capouche, sharp
at the top, after the form of a Torch, and of a crimson colour, to be worn upon their
Head-clothes. He also ordained, that at all publick meetings, the women should have precedence
of the Men. That they should be exempted from all Taxes, and that all the Apparel and Jewels,
though of never so great value, left by their dead Husbands, should be their own. These
Women having thus acquired this Honour by their personal Valour, carried themselves
after the Military Knights of those days.
See also Accolade
Chivalric orders Destrier
Heavy Cavalry Knightly Virtues
Knight-errant Medieval warfare
Nobility Orders, decorations, and medals of the United
Kingdom Papal Orders of Chivalry
Counterparts in other cultures Cataphract
Kshatriya Samurai
Youxia Notes
References Arnold, Benjamin. German Knighthood, 1050-1300.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985. ISBN 0-19-821960-1 LCCN 85-235009
Bloch, Marc. Feudal Society, 2nd ed. Translated by Manyon. London: Routledge & Keagn Paul,
1965. Bluth, B. J. Marching with Sharpe. London:
Collins, 2001. ISBN 0-00-414537-2 Boulton, D'Arcy Jonathan Dacre. The Knights
of the Crown: The Monarchical Orders of Knighthood in Later Medieval Europe, 1325-1520. 2d revised
ed. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press, 2000. ISBN 0-85115-795-5
Bull, Stephen. An Historical Guide to Arms and Armour. London: Studio Editions, 1991.
ISBN 1-85170-723-9 Carey, Brian Todd; Allfree, Joshua B; Cairns,
John. Warfare in the Medieval World, UK: Pen & Sword Military, June 2006. ISBN 1-84415-339-8
Church, S. and Harvey, R. Medieval knighthood V: papers from the sixth Strawberry Hill Conference
1994. Boydell Press, Woodbidge Clark, Hugh. \"A Concise History of Knighthood:
Containing the Religious and Military Orders which have been Instituted in Europe\". London,
1784. link Edge, David; John Miles Paddock Arms & Armor
of the Medieval Knight. Greenwich, CT: Bison Books Corp. ISBN 0-517-10319-2
Edwards, J. C. \"What Earthly Reason? The replacement of the longbow by handguns.\" Medieval History
Magazine, Is. 7, March 2004. Embleton, Gerry. Medieval Military Costume.
UK: Crowood Press, 2001. ISBN 1-86126-371-6 Forey, Alan John. The Military Orders: From
the Twelfth to the Early Fourteenth Centuries. Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK: Macmillan Education,
1992. ISBN 0-333-46234-3 Hare, Christopher. Courts & camps of the Italian
renaissance. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1908. LCCN 08-31670
Keen, Maurice. \"Chivalry\". Yale University Press, 2005.
Laing, Lloyd and Jennifer Laing. Medieval Britain: The Age of Chivalry. New York: St.
Martin's Press, 1996. ISBN 0-312-16278-2 Oakeshott, Ewart. A Knight and his Horse,
2nd ed. Chester Springs, PA: Dufour Editions, 1998. ISBN 0-8023-1297-7 LCCN 98-32049
Robards, Brooks. The Medieval Knight at War. London: Tiger Books, 1997. ISBN 1-85501-919-1
Shaw, William A. The Knights of England: A Complete Record from the Earliest Time. London:
Central Chancery, 1906.. ISBN 0-8063-0443-X LCCN 74-129966
Williams, Alan. \"The Metallurgy of Medieval Arms and Armour\", in Companion to Medieval
Arms and Armour. Nicolle, David, ed. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press, 2002. ISBN 0-85115-872-2
LCCN 2002-3680
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