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Knight Weaponry

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Introduction

The figure that comes to mind when the word knight is mentioned is usually a man in shining armor on a horse saving a damsel in distress or jousting in a tournament for the prestige and honor. Part of that image is true but knights were heavily involved in real battles and violence in medieval culture. The false image leads to questions such as, what was the knight's armor really like? How are weapons shown in medieval art and what made them so deadly? How did they change over time and what lead to the knight's decline? The gruesome arsenal of the medieval knight is evident in artifacts and in art. The answers to the questions will reveal why they were they were considered the most dangerous soldiers on the battlefield. The knight's equipment was a statement all in itself. Everything from the outside said something about his status in society. Certain pieces of armor and weapons had great importance and were more expensive than others giving the owner great esteem. The more expensive and elaborate the equipment was told everyone how successful in battle the knight was, in or out of the tournament arena. From helm to horse told the status of the knight. Weaponry in a culture can only go as far as the resources and the technology will allow it. The middles ages saw advancement in some areas of armor craft and weaponry. Most of the weapons that were used were modified looking back on earlier types. Swords have been used all throughout history and in many cultures but the sword that identifies with the medieval knight is the longsword or often called the warsword. Most images that display knight are shown with a longsword. In a Bayeux tapestry swords being carried and loaded on Norman ships to invade England and the swords are the weapon most in number than other type of weapons.1 Even if the knight is shown with a different primary weapon, such as a spear, the knight will still have a sword at this side to use. ...read more.

Middle

A knight in full armor riding on a horse a full gallop was still very difficult to penetrate or knock off but not impossible. If he was knocked off he was in danger because his heavy armor limited his mobility. Different variations were made throughout the years and armor developments were also made for jousting. The armor was more for show and made to only take a wooden lance instead of metal weapons. At the height of the fourteenth century the knight was far superior to any foot soldier. With all the aggressive weaponry that the knight possessed there were also shields that he held for defense. There were various kinds of shields that a knight carry but the simplest shield would have been the buckler. It was small and usually made of wood and was cheaper to purchase. The size was meant to deflect and block blows from an enemy rather than protect the body. In a battle scene image from the fourteenth century from the Holkham Picture Bible Book, bucklers are shown being held high to blow the enemy's blows.19 The most common shield that is pictured with the knight is the kite shield. This shield was also made of wood but also reinforced with metal making it heavier, protective and, of course, more expensive.20 The size and kite-shape gave mounted warriors perfect protection that he needed from shoulder to waist. The tower shield was another shield seen with the medieval knight. It was rectangular but curved towards the body offering full body safety. It was most effective against arrows and lances. It was very heavy but protection was always favored. Lastly, the helm was one of the final pieces of armor that was put on. The helm protected the head and neck. This piece of armor changed over time with advancements in technology and preference in style. It started off as a mail hood or coif with an iron nasal strip covering the nose, which was very vulnerable. ...read more.

Conclusion

The knight had trained since his childhood for his advanced skills in weaponry and now could be killed by even a peasant who wielded a gun with hardly any training. Knights soon faced other cavalry who wielded pistols. Glory and honor would soon be replaced effortless skill. 1 Frances Gies, The Knight in History, (Harper and Row Publishers), 17. 2 Christopher Gravett, Knight Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600, (Osprey Publishing), 87. 3 Alan Baker, The Knight, (John Wiley, Inc.), 39. 4 Alan Baker, The Knight, (John Wiley, Inc.), 39 5 Ibid., 39. 6 Alan baker, The Knight, (John Wiley, Inc.), 39. 7 Ibid., 40. 8 Christopher Gravett, Knight Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600, (Osprey Publishing), 72. 9 Christopher Harper-Bill, Ideals and Practices of Medieval Knighthood, (The Boydell Press), 155. 10 Christopher Gravett, Knight Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600, (Osprey Publishing), 42. 11 Christopher Gravett, Knight Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600, (Osprey Publishing), 144. 12 Alan Baker, The Knight, (John Wiley, Inc.), 46. 13 Ibid., 41. 14 Richard Barber, The Knight and Chivalry, (Rowman and Littlefield), 199. 15 Ibid., 41. 16 Richard Barber, The Knight and Chivalry, (Rowman and Littlefield), 200. 17 Ibid., 197. 18 Alan Baker, The Knight, (John Wiley, Inc.), 46. 19 Christopher Gravett, The Knight Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600, (Osprey Publishing), 89. 20 Alan Baker, The Knight, (John Wiley, Inc), 51. 21 Christopher Gravett, Knight Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600 (Osprey Publishing), 22 Alan Baker, The Knight, (John Wiley, Inc.), 51. 23 Christopher Gravett, Knight Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600 (Osprey Publishing), 57. 24 Christopher Gravett, Knight Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600 (Osprey Publishing), 121. 25 Christopher Gravett, Knight Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600 (Osprey Publishing), 80-81. 26 Ibid., 227. 27 Richard Barber, The Knight and Chivalry, (Rowman and Littlefield), 19. 28 Christopher Gravett, Knight Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600, (Osprey Publishing), 148. 29 Christopher Eger, The Pike as a Weapon in History, (Web). 30 Christopher Eger, The Pike as a Weapon in History, (Web). 31 Christopher Gravett, Knight Noble Warrior of England 1200-1600, (Osprey Publishing), 124. 32 Alan Baker, The Knight, (John Wiley, Inc.), 42. 33 Ibid., 180. ...read more.

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