The common name for a nobleman warrior in Europe's middle ages. They are known for their armor and horse riding. They tended to be cavalry that was called out by their lord in times of serious civil disturbance or war, which, in return, they received large amounts of land.
See Feudal System.
When the subject Knights is brought up, most people instantly think of brave, chivalrous men mounted upon gracious steeds always rushing off to help a poor, helpless maiden.

In truth, most Knights were anything but this in the Dark Ages when they were most common. Of course there were the occasional few who were very different from the pack and were chivalrous, but for most cases chivalry ended at the beginning of the Dark Ages, and did not re-appear till the Middle Ages.

Knights were brutish men who more often than not would rather rape and kill an innocent women (as long as she was good looking of course), than to let her be. They certainly did not rush off to save them, but could perhaps rush off to join in the fun of tormenting them. One fact which we all relate to Knights with is true though, they all had gracious steeds which cost a fair penny. The Knights themselves, though, had no love of their horse. Some tales have been told of Knights cutting of the head of their horse and sending it to the stable master they bought it from only because they had fallen from their horse while riding or in battle.

Knights often owned their own Castles and hence owned their own territories and towns. They were no less ruthless with their subjugates than they were with an enemy on the battlefield. If you displeased a Knight in his castle you would not have your life for long, and if you were female, regardless of your age, you would not have your virginity for long (though for some knights it would have been the males in place of the females).

Knights also tended to be quite a queer lot, especially by modern standards. They committed quite disgusting and gruesome acts, ranging from making necklaces of the eyes of their opponents, to bestiality.

All in all, back in the Dark Ages, the Knights were not a pleasant lot, and they were always avoided at all costs (most anyhow).

The Knights evolved from very humble beginnings. The name "Knight" comes from the old Anglo-Saxon word cnicht, which meant Household Servant or Retainer. The position of this class of citizen was rather low when the idea was adopted by England. As the need for specialized warriors developed, the Knight was elevated to the position that most of us are familiar with today.

The Canterbury Tales Project (see also Geoffrey Chaucer)

Back to the General Prologue/The Knight/The Squire.

43: A knyght ther was, and that a worthy man,
44: That fro the tyme that he first bigan
45: To riden out, he loved chivalrie,
46: Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.
47: Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,
48: And therto hadde he riden, no man ferre,
49: As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse,
50: And evere honoured for his worthynesse.
51: At alisaundre he was whan it was wonne.
52: Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne
53: Aboven alle nacions in pruce;
54: In lettow hadde he reysed and in ruce,
55: No cristen man so ofte of his degree.
56: In gernade at the seege eek hadde he be
57: Of algezir, and riden in belmarye.
58: At lyeys was he and at satalye,
59: Whan they were wonne; and in the grete see
60: At many a noble armee hadde he be.
61: At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
62: And foughten for oure feith at tramyssene
63: In lystes thries, and ay slayn his foo.
64: This ilke worthy knyght hadde been also
65: Somtyme with the lord of palatye
66: Agayn another hethen in turkye.
67: And everemoore he hadde a sovereyn prys;
68: And though that he were worthy, he was wys,
69: And of his port as meeke as is a mayde.
70: He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde
71: In al his lyf unto no maner wight.
72: He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.
73: But, for to tellen yow of his array,
74: His hors were goode, but he was nat gay.
75: Of fustian he wered a gypon
76: Al bismotered with his habergeon,
77: For he was late ycome from his viage,
78: And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.

The Knight is the first character introduced by Chaucer, and is one of the more pleasant. He is detached and unworldly, as shown by his rusty armour, and his lack of concern about his clothing. This is in marked contrast with his son, the squire. He is quietly religious having fought in the crusades and all over Europe and the near East. However, he is a fighter first, and will not shy away from fighting under a heathen warlord.

The use of language in his portrait to show his goodness centres around two things: the use of the word 'gentil', which is used here (for once) without any sense of irony, and his extensive travels, which show that he is experienced in the ways of war. He is model in his field: indeed he holds the same role that the parson holds among the religious characters.

That he is devoutly observant of religious convention is unquestionable. His armour is slightly rusty, which has rubbed off onto his jerkin. This shows that he is making his pilgrimage immediately after returning from a war, as was the custom. The legal and moral dispensation on killing was lifted as soon as the war ended, and thus all warriors were expected to go and repent as soon it their duties were concluded.

Modern English Translation, from www.fordham.edu:

A knight there was, and he a worthy man,
Who, from the moment that he first began
To ride about the world, loved chivalry,
Truth, honour, freedom and all courtesy.
Full worthy was he in his liege-lord's war,
And therein had he ridden (none more far)
As well in Christendom as heathenesse,
And honoured everywhere for worthiness.
At Alexandria, he, when it was won;
Full oft the table's roster he'd begun
Above all nations' knights in Prussia.
In Latvia raided he, and Russia,
No christened man so oft of his degree.
In far Granada at the siege was he
Of Algeciras, and in Belmarie.
At Ayas was he and at Satalye
When they were won; and on the Middle Sea
At many a noble meeting chanced to be.
Of mortal battles he had fought fifteen,
And he'd fought for our faith at Tramissene
Three times in lists, and each time slain his foe.
This self-same worthy knight had been also
At one time with the lord of Palatye
Against another heathen in Turkey:
And always won he sovereign fame for prize.
Though so illustrious, he was very wise
And bore himself as meekly as a maid.
He never yet had any vileness said,
In all his life, to whatsoever wight.
He was a truly perfect, gentle knight.
But now, to tell you all of his array,
His steeds were good, but yet he was not gay.
Of simple fustian wore he a jupon
Sadly discoloured by his habergeon;
For he had lately come from his voyage
And now was going on this pilgrimage.

Most people have a stereotypical view of knights, mostly the very late middle ages version of the Knight, chivalrous, wrapped in shiny mail, on the side of God. Unfortunately, this is a highly romanticized version of the knight, and the truth is somewhere in between, and it's not very pretty.

Originally the knight was simply a mounted warrior. Anyone who used a horse while fighting in a battle was a knight, being a knight said nothing about who you were as a person, it was simply a term, like soldier. However, eventually the term took on detail, the knight was a mounted warrior who wore mail and in addition to the normal weapons also tended towards using a lance in mounted charges, mounted charges being the specialty of the knight.

The idea of the knight that we hold today originated in the area of what we now know as France, and eventually spread throughout Europe. The noblemen merged knights, and eventually you couldn't be a knight if you weren't a nobleman, and noblemen were expected to be knights, unless you became a clergyman. This is why being knighted by the Queen of G.B. does in fact hold meaning, she is ceremoniously making you a part of the aristocracy. Although how Elton John gets to be one just cause he's gay and he plays the piano is beyond me, but let's not get off track. Anyway, by the twelfth century, the knight as we know it was made. By the sixteenth century, however, the knight was obsolete thanks to well trained infantry and handguns, cannons, etc. However, tradition kept them alive for much longer.

Chivalry

Chivalry was as much a way of life as it was a code of honor that knights were supposed to live by.

Military Aspects of Chivalry

A knight was not equipped to fight at a long distance; bows and crossbows were discouraged by the clergy as being inhumane, so hand-to-hand combat was the norm of the day. A heavy chainmail hauberk or plate mail (introduced later) was used for protection, and their offensive weapons consisted of a (shiny) sword, and lance.

What was a knight without attendants? After all, you're a nobleman and not having attendants is shameful. Part of the trappings of being a knight was having these attendants:

  • An attendant to conduct the horses.
  • An attendant to hold the heavy weapons so the knight didn't have to.
  • An attendant to assist the knight with getting on and off his horse. That chainmail IS awfully heavy...
  • An attendant to guard prisoners, which, if you caught important ones, could go for a hefty sum when you ransom them.
These attendants were not to be confused with the knight's guards, who also went with him, and also do not include the squire, who is like a knight apprentice.

One musn't forget the banners that the knight carried with him. Not only did he carry his own family crest on a pennant (forked end, not to be confused with real banners), he also carried a banner with the crest of the baron he was under. House crests are, of course, hereditary.

Social Aspects of Chivalry

One of the reasons knighthood merged into the aristocracy was because it was realy really expensive being a knight! You had to buy the weapons, pay for the upkeep, then there were the horses, and what about the armor, after a while the price alone basically kept poor people from being knights, let alone the laws that were later made that kept them from legally being made knights, except by the king. Knights, in fact, could knight other people; providing, of course, they were of the proper training, social status, and age. If not of the proper birth, only the king could make them knight.

Religious Aspects of Chivalry

Since clergy played a part in knighting people, by blessing the sword, chivalry quickly assumed religious aspects as well. The Crusades easily come to mind when one thinks of how knighthood was tied to the church. Clergy quickly seized upon certain opportunities to require knights to vow to only protect the weak, such as widows, orphans, children, and of course, the church. This vow is where the concept of honor that we now tie to the ideas of chivalry and knighthood come from, and the people quickly came to view knights almost as the status of monks. At first simple religious traditions were observed, but the act of becoming a knight gradually became more and more complex, sometimes involving fasting and rebaptism.

Historical Periods of Chivalry

Chivalry can be seperated into four periods, depending upon who you ask, of course. Up until this point I've been jumping around a bit from period to period to get my points in, but this is strictly in order of chronology.
The Crusades
The crusades were the golden age of the knight, the one for which we usually look to today. Holy, mustached, chainmailed, everyone knows what I mean. The church took the knight under its wing, and the knights even received a tenth of the church's revenue to help defray the costs (their attendants, etc.). After all, the knights were taking over foreign countries for the church.
Military Orders
Because of the need to occupy Jerusalem, a fourth vow was created, thus creating the military orders of knights. The fourth vow stated that the knight would perpetually fight against the infidels. It was in these orders (for clarification, an order here is meant organization) that the concept of chivalry reached its epogee, the perfect fusion of war and honor (this is as opposed to the crusades, where the idea of the knight as we know it was formed. The knight and chivalrous code are similar concepts, but there are subtle distinctions).
Secular Chivalry
At this point, chivalry no longer had a religious aspect, now that the crusades had ended, and due to literature romanticizing chivalry, it began to become all about "the damsel in distress" and helping noblewomen, etc. Usually, bad things happened with this concept, because knights apparently didn't think anything was wrong with helping themselves to other men's wives.
Societal Chivalry
Chivalry was simply a lip service people paid, a way for noblemen to joke around and have a good time. A fad, if you would, albeit a long lasting one.
As one can see, the ideas we recognize as the knight and his chivalrous code constitute only a rather short period of time, and are rather stereotypical. Still, what a time and ideal it was? Don Quixote is an example of how the ideals of such a small period of time seeped into European culture.
Sources:
  • http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03691a.htm
  • http://history.boisestate.edu/westciv/medsoc/bellator.htm

Back to
Final Fantasy Tactics
Final Fantasy Tactics Job List

Knight
Prerequisite: Level 2 Squire.
Weapons: Sword, Knight Sword
Helmet: Armored Helmet
Armor: Armor, Robe
Can use shields.
Fine warriors, bold and brave with etiquette. Draws 'Battle Skill' with the powerful knight sword.
Move: 3
Jump: 3
Physical Evasion Rate: 10%

Battle Skill

Head Break
Used to destroy item equipped on enemy's head.
Range: Weapon
Effect: 0
Speed: Now
JP: 300
Armor Break
Used to destroy item equipped on enemy's chest.
Range: Weapon
Effect: 0
Speed: Now
JP: 400
Shield Break
Used to destroy equipped shield of enemy.
Range: Weapon
Effect: 0
Speed: Now
JP: 300
Weapon Break
Used to destroy equipped weapon of enemy.
Range: Weapon
Effect: 0
Speed: Now
JP: 400
Magic Break
Diminishes enemy's MP.
Range: Weapon
Effect: 0
Speed: Now
JP: 250
Speed Break
Diminishes enemy's speed level.
Range: Weapon
Effect: 0
Speed: Now
JP: 250
Power Break
Diminishes enemy's attack power.
Range: Weapon
Effect: 0
Speed: Now
JP: 250
Mind Break
Diminishes enemy's magic attack power.
Range: Weapon
Effect: 0
Speed: Now
JP: 250
Reaction

Weapon Guard
Parry attacks with equipped weapon.
Trigger: Physical Attack
JP: 200
Support Abilities

Equip Armor
Equip armor regardless of job.
JP: 500
Equip Shield
Equip shield regardless of job.
JP: 250
Equip Sword
Equip sword regardless of job.
JP: 400
Move Abilities
(The Knight does not have Move Abilities)

Comments:

The abilities of the Knight are not very impressive; his true strength lies in defense. The ability to equip a variety of armors and the Weapon Guard ability make him evasive and sturdy against physical attacks. Magical offenses might present a problem.

Knight (?), n. [OE. knight, cniht, knight, soldier, As. cniht, cneoht, a boy, youth, attendant, military follower; akin to D. & G. knecht servant; perh. akin to E. kin.]

1.

A young servant or follower; a military attendant.

[Obs.]

2. (a)

In feudal times, a man-at-arms serving on horseback and admitted to a certain military rank with special ceremonies, including an oath to protect the distressed, maintain the right, and live a stainless life.

(b)

One on whom knighthood, a dignity next below that of baronet, is conferred by the sovereign, entitling him to be addressed as Sir; as, Sir John.

[Eng.] Hence: (c)

A champion; a partisan; a lover.

"Give this ring to my true knight." Shak "In all your quarrels will I be your knight."

Tennyson.

Knights, by their oaths, should right poor ladies' harms. Shak.

⇒ Formerly, when a knight's name was not known, it was customary to address him as Sir Knight. The rank of a knight is not hereditary.

3.

A piece used in the game of chess, usually bearing a horse's head.

4.

A playing card bearing the figure of a knight; the knave or jack.

[Obs.]

Carpet knight. See under Carpet. -- Knight of industry. See Chevalier d'industrie, under Chevalier. -- Knight of Malta, Knight of Rhodes, Knight of St. John of Jerusalem. See Hospitaler. -- Knight of the post, one who gained his living by giving false evidence on trials, or false bail; hence, a sharper in general. Nares. "A knight of the post, . . . quoth he, for so I am termed; a fellow that will swear you anything for twelve pence." -- Nash. -- Knight of the shire, in England, one of the representatives of a county in Parliament, in distinction from the representatives of cities and boroughs. -- Knights commanders, Knights grand cross, different classes of the Order of the Bath. See under Bath, and Companion. Knights of labor, a secret organization whose professed purpose is to secure and maintain the rights of workingmen as respects their relations to their employers. [U. S.] -- Knights of Pythias, a secret order, founded in Washington, d.C., in 1864, for social and charitable purposes. -- Knights of the Round Table, knights belonging to an order which, according to the legendary accounts, was instituted by the mythical King Arthur. They derived their common title from the table around which they sat on certain solemn days.

Brande & C.

 

© Webster 1913.


Knight, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Knighted; p. pr. & vb. n. Knighting.]

To dub or create (one) a knight; -- done in England by the sovereign only, who taps the kneeling candidate with a sword, saying: Rise, Sir ---.

A soldier, by the honor-giving hand Of Cur-de-Lion knighted in the field. Shak.

 

© Webster 1913.

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