We all know about knights. Everyone knows how strong they are and also how noble. How does a person train to be a knight? A person has to go through two stages before becoming a knight. The first one is a page and the second a squire.
The child of a noble is usually chosen for knighthood. A boy at the age of 6-8 is sent to a Lords castle to start the training. At this stage the boy is known as a page. Playing “chicken” (which was a game where you sat on someone’s shoulders and tried to knock the other player down) was a good way for a young page to build up strength for fighting The boy learned about armor and weapons. The boy practiced riding and jousting on a wounded or sometimes an old horse. Later the page would get a real horse to ride.
The page would practice weaponry by striking a sword against a wooden piece, this would build up his muscles. He would practice fighting with wooden and dull weapons. He would also practice hunting and handling hawks and falcons. Pages were also excepted to serve meals to knights and lords they were taught how to carve meat suitably.
He was not only taught how to fight, for a knight had to be polite as well. The lady of the castle took on this job. She would teach the page manners and behavior. She would teach him to sing and play instruments and she would also teach him to dance. Sometimes the lady would even teach him to read and write. Priests gave the page religious training, and like the lady he would teach him to read and write. By the time a page was grown he would learn to charge at a wooden target, sometimes designed to spin around and knock down the weak. In real life the wooden target would be an opponent.
I cant believe that kids would have to leave their homes at the age of 7. Maybe it was to build up their strength, and bravery. Well its ok I guess, if you got a horse and you were taught to read and write, when other people around you were illiterate.
Around the age of 14 the page would become a squire. He would follow and learn from a real knight. He would fight by his side and sometimes even protect him. The squire would dress the knight for battles and tournaments. He would take care of the knights armor and weapons. He would become practiced or skilled with the armor and weapons, he would sometimes wear the armor so he would be used to it.
The squire would practice fighting with real weapons on wooden dummies. He would practice using the sword, lance, and spear. By the time he was a grown squire he would be familiar with the weapons.
It must have been fun to learn to fight, and fight side by a true knight. This reminds me of apprentices in the middle ages, in a book I read last year. Apprentices were not given money, but were taught the job and they were taken care of.
Between the ages of 18 and 20 a squire was named knight. The knight who trained the squire mostly did this. The night before the squire became a knight he would confess all his sins to a priest to start a new life without sin. He was given a symbolic bath and then he fasted, cleansing his soul. That night he would dress up in white and pray and he kept watch over his armor and his weapons in the chapel. The next morning he would be dressed in symbolically colored clothes – red (for his blood), white (for purity), and brown (for the return to the earth when he died). Gold patches were attached to his ankles and he was tied up with a sword. With a tap on each shoulder with a sword, he was named knight. Swords and gilt spurs could now be used as a symbol of knighthood .If a knight ever disobeyed his promises or if he was dishonorable, he would be put to death through another ceremony.
I never thought that knights had to undergo such brutal training. From the age of 6 or 7 he had to stay away from his family. I still look up to knights and how brave they were. I never knew that knights were so loyal and polite. If I was in the middle ages I would want to be a knight, but then Id have to be royalty. Well I would be naturally!!