What was a knight's education in Medieval Europe?

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A knight began his training at a very early age, usually around seven years old. The first step in this training was to become a page. At this level, the young knight-in-training was to master horsemanship, the mace, dagger, lance, battle axe, and two-handed sword. The page would mount a wooden horse and practice at targets with his lance. Sword play was practiced with wooden swords. The young pages were also taught to become adept at swimming, archery, and wrestling, to name a few sports.

The next step was to become a squire, this usually happened between the ages of fourteen and twenty one. By this time, horsemanship had been mastered, and a quintain was used to master the lance. The quintain consisted of a shield and a dummy which would rotate as the squire rode towards it and aimed his lance. At this stage, the squire was an apprentice knight; injuries were frequent even though sword play was still supervised.

Upon becoming a full-fledged knight, siege warfare was learned, defending a castle as well as attacking a castle. Some of the weapon training in this type of warfare included the Trebuchet, Ballista, Mangonel, Battering Ram, and Siege Towers. Also, the knights were expected to follow the Code of Chivalry at all times.

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In Medieval Europe, the knight was a military figure who served his lord in times of war. Knightly training began at a young age, usually around seven or eight, at which time a young boy would leave his family home and live with another male relative, usually an uncle or a patron of his father. In his new household, the knight-in-training would learn to read and write, to hunt and to play chess and play music. They were also expected to learn proper manners and etiquette and the principles of religion and morality. Courtly literature, like the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, was often used to teach these boys how they were expected to behave.  

As a military figure, a knight's education also focused on building physical strength, learning the art of combat and advanced horse riding. In noble households, trainee teenage knights were taken to specially organised tournaments in which they were expected to fight, regardless of their young age.

As they progressed through this training, they were promoted to the rank of squire and would act as a personal assistant to a knight, learning first-hand all of the skills they would eventually need.

 

 

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