KNIGHTS AND CHIVALRY Knights were a large part of the Middle Ages. A lot people think that knights are soldiers who were covered in metal, and fought dragons and evil people. Although they were warriors, or soldiers, knights never fought dragons. Knights fought for their king or lord because land was promised to them. To become a knight you had to be born a noble boy and start training at age seven.

The boys didn't go to school because he was sent to live with another noble family as a page. A page learned to work with horses and weapons. He also learned manners and to be polite. He ran errands for the noble family.

At age 14 a page became a squire to a knight. As a squire you had to serve the knight. By watching the knight the squire learned how to fight and use the weapons to strengthen his body. The squire had to do many things with the knight.

If the knight had to go into battle the squire had to go too. When the knight got wounded the squire fixed his wounds. If the knight was in danger the squire rescued him, and if the knight died the squire would setup a proper burial. A squire learned to make and serve meals and was the knight's personal servant. On the squire's 21 st birthday his skills would make him a knight.

His skills were tested during tournaments. There was a ceremony for the squire when he was ready to become a knight. On the night before the ceremony the squire bathed and put on special clothes. He prayed alone in a church with his weapons.

The next day the knight got a sword and other weapons. When the squire knelt down the older knight 'dubbed' him by tapping him on the side of the neck with the sword. Now he was officially a knight. The only thing that protected the knight was his armor.

The reason for the armor and the shields was to protect the knight. Armor was made of metal so bows and arrows wouldn't pierce them. Most of the armor covered the chest and the face because if they stabbed the knights in the legs they usually wouldn't be an injury that would kill them. It was also very hot and heavy. It weighed about 66 pounds. The knights used all different kinds of weapons.

The crossbow was a type of gun that shoots arrows. Longbows shoot arrows but they could not go through armor. Longbow arrows could be started on fire and shot in to castles. Maces were like a spiked club. Axes had wooden handles and at the end of it was a sharp point.

Swords were metal weapons with sharp points so when the knights went into battle they could attack on foot and could protect themselves better. Chivalry, knighthood's code of behavior, was part of the knight's way of life. He defended the church and was ready to die for it. He loved the land of his birth, and gave generously to everyone.

A knight fought against injustice and evil, and never surrendered, blinked or flinched in the face of the enemy. His code of honor and loyalty was sometimes only shown to members of his own class. He usually acted how he wanted toward people in lower classes. Because the middle ages were so violent it was hard to stop knights from not following the code. But a knight who was proved guilty of cowardice or other serious misconduct was disgraced by having his sword and his spurs broken. The knights had a very different life from the peasants, kings, lords and emperors.

Knights had to be loyal but that almost only applied to members of their own class. They usually acted brutally toward people in lower classes. The knights had a very important role in the Middle Ages. BIBLIOGRAPHY "Knights." World Book Encyclopedia.

2 nd ed. 1993. Sands Stella. 'Becoming a Knight.' Kids Discover Knights and Castles, February 1995." Knights." Encarta 99. 1 st ed. 1999.