Most Knights Were Either Sons of Knights or Young Nobles

November 21, 2019

[K]nighthood was accessible to jongleurs, and even to comedians! This saying a great deal in a very few words.

But we must not go too far and generalize, for, however numerous the cases may have been, they were, after all, only exceptions. The others composed the rule—well, not perhaps the rule, but the custom—and it was contained in the following formula, “Of damoiseaux, of sons of knights, of young nobles, came the stuff of which knights are made.”

Amongst the candidates for knighthood were those who had to endure the privations, and submit to the rude discipline of an esquire; but this was not an indispensable condition, and noble birth generally was sufficient. It is true that the young noble was not born a knight, but he belonged to a social class in which, at proper age, all the male members were created knights. The man of war made his son a warrior as soon as he was able to bear his armor, and wield his sword. This was only natural, and was the result of circumstances.

 

León Gautier, Chivalry, trans. Henry Frith (London: George Routledge and Sons, Ltd., 1891), 217.

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