Saturday, 23 April 2011

Knight in shining armor

The knight in shining armor is both a boyhood fantasy and a romantic woman's dream and therefore an obvious candidate to the groom's character.

 In medieval times you weren't born a knight, it was a title earned in battle. In Danish the word for knight is ridder - suggesting these warriors' means of transportation and their fighting technique. In the middle ages the strongest type of army was the cavalry, small armies on horseback. Infantry had become old fashion. The cavalry was heavily equipped and mostly consisted of nobles as they were the only ones who could afford the horses, armor and weapons. The men that answered when the king called for war did not have to pay taxes, an offer many wealthy men of the time chose to take.

Buying a full body armor is expensive but quite a few special shops offer to make them. The classic knight has a lot of steel plates to protect his body, some wore chain mails, but both of these were very expensive and the poorer soldiers wore a gambeson instead which was made of many many layers of fabric and quite effective too.


There's also the knights known from jousting tournaments and movies like: "A Knight's Tale". There are several groups who have specialized in reenactment of these tournaments that you can rent for the wedding and most medieval festivals have tournaments to entertain the visitors. These knights were dressed in the colors of their family and sometimes carried a token on their helmets like a bird or a crown. It was a dangerous sport, but the contests rallied a huge amount of spectators. Roger of Hoveden (1133 - 1189) described tournaments as "military exercises carried out, not in the spirit of hostility but solely for practice and the display of prowess".

Tournament book. Knight games held by Emperor
 Frederick III. Emperor Maximilian
 I and in the years 1489 to 1511

Some knights were organized in societies. One of the most famous is the Templar Knights who fought in the crusades in the Holy Land. They had a tabard over their armor so they were recognizable on the battlefield, a red cross on a white background. Many wars were fought during the middle ages and a lot of young men from all over Europe participated in the very bloody crusades. A famous character in these wars was the English king: Richard the Lion Heart also known from the numerous movies and stories of Robin Hood.

The knight is an excellent yet expensive option for the groom and it will look fantastic. Robert says that he probably will wear a tabard/surcoat like the tournament knights but with no chainmail or other armor underneath in blue and white like this: (without the helmet ant the chainmail)

So have fun becoming the knight in shinging armor:)

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