With support from the University of Richmond

History News Network

History News Network puts current events into historical perspective. Subscribe to our newsletter for new perspectives on the ways history continues to resonate in the present. Explore our archive of thousands of original op-eds and curated stories from around the web. Join us to learn more about the past, now.

Eight Knights Who Changed History

There’s no more iconic symbol of medieval Europe than the knight: clad in shining armor, jousting with his rivals, wearing a token of his lady love. But knights were far more than romantic figures—they were a triumph of military technology. Accounts from the Middle Ages describe the well-trained, heavily-armed warriors trampling through enemy forces while chopping off limbs and heads. 

The resources needed for horses, armor and weaponry meant that knighthood was generally a job for the rich. Most knights came from noble families, and success in battle might lead to a royal grant of additional land and titles.

Naturally, as leaders of armies, knights were responsible for winning—and losing—some of the most important battles of the Middle Ages. But they also made history in other ways. Many held important religious positions as well as military ones. Some were writers of history and poetry, helping to craft the image of the knight that we still know today.

Read entire article at History Channel