Who is a knight?

When we mention this noble title, the first thing that comes to mind is the well-known knights of the Order of the Garter in the UK, who served as a prototype for the majority of the fictional characters of knights we meet in modern films and books. But let's look a little wider and try to figure out who was called the knights in the old days and who is given this title now.

In ancient Rome

One can learn about who the knight is not only from fairy tales, but also turning to historical facts. Thus, if you look at the etymology of the word knight, you will find an interesting fact - in most European languages ​​this term is inextricably linked with the word "horse." This is explained by the fact that knights at all times were considered as a special privileged class of horse riders with their moral code and principles.

The prototype of the medieval knights of European countries was a special class of horse riders of ancient Rome. Under the Roman emperors there were two categories of horsemen:

  1. "Senator horsemen" who, as a rule,were the sons of acting senators and, by obtaining such a title, they wanted to reduce their term of military service and quickly get into the Senate, following the example of their fathers;
  2. And ordinary horsemen, who received their title only after submitting a relevant petition to the imperial office. They had a certain salary and at the end of knightly military service had the right to apply for administrative positions in the prefecture and the prosecutor's office.

In general, it should be noted that, contrary to popular belief, initially the title of knight did not give its owner any special privileges. After the fall of the Roman Empire, knightly culture spread by nomads throughout Europe and the idea of ​​chivalry was borrowed by many peoples living at that time in the territory of modern Europe.

In the Middle Age

In the Middle Ages, there were two main types of knights:

  1. Those who received this title in various spiritual monastic orders. Their service was closely associated with the defense of the ideals of the Christian faith, and therefore they were obliged to take certain vows.
  2. Those who actually carried out military service were obliged to protect their homeland and their king.Such knights were, as a rule, of noble origin, studied various military tactics and techniques of possession of weapons and often participated in battles.

The notorious knightly tournaments, about which so many novels have been written, began to be held only in the 14th and 15th centuries. Although participation in them was considered an honorable affair, it was, rather, a tribute to tradition. Although fights were often fatal, in most cases the participants of the tournament tried not to inflict fatal wounds on their opponents, as there were not so many knights, and if they had died in such quantities as shown in the novels, soon it would protect.


At the moment the title of knight is still preserved in some countries, for example, in Great Britain, but has lost its original meaning. Now this title is considered one of the most honorable in the state and is awarded to those people who have made a significant contribution to the life of the nation. If before the knighthood was awarded to those who bravely proved themselves in battle, now this title can be received by a scientist, a schoolteacher or even an ordinary worker.

As in former times, so now the ceremony of initiation into knights is the solemn ceremony of taking an oath of allegiance to his king or queen on the sword.

However, these days there are other opportunities to become a knight. There are various religious and social organizations, as well as various reconstruction circles, in which you, after joining their ranks and fulfilling the relevant requirements of the organization, will be able to award the title of knight.