The Age of Chivalry

Objectives: ‡ Know what chivalry is. ‡ Know the different stages of knighthood. ‡ Know what a night was and why he was important. ‡ Have a general idea of how they warred in the Middle Ages (don¶t need to know specifics).

Chivalry was the code of conduct by which a knight was supposed to abide. ‡ Be loyal to his feudal lord, obey God, and be nice to the ladies. ‡ Some took it seriously, others didn¶t. It tended to break down especially towards the later Middle Ages. ‡ The Middle Ages wasn¶t a time of fairy tale castles and noble, honorable knights. It was a nasty time of political intrigue, bloody wars, and brutish men exercising their limited power in order to gain more power. Just like any time.

The prospective knight went through three stages: 1. Page ‡ Younger years. Would go off to other noble¶s castle, learn the art of war. 2. Squire ‡ Was Robin to a knight¶s Batman. His assistant/lackey. ‡ The knight had a lot of heavy and expensive equipment. The squire took care of it. 3. Knight ‡ When he becomes a full-fledged soldier who officially enters into a feudal arrangement with a lord.

We¶re long past the days of the citizen soldier. .The point of a knight is that he was a mounted soldier ‡ And he was a professional soldier.

the weaponry. You had to be able to afford being a knight. and large war horses that could carry them all weren¶t cheap and the knight had to buy everything on his own. Suits of armor.‡ The knights were the most important part of the army. ‡ They were also expensive. . ‡ That¶s one reason why the knight was granted his own land and revenue.

Chainmail ‡ We¶ve seen this before.Armor 1. It¶s good against slashing attacks. It¶s a bunch of interlocked rings. but bad against stabbing attacks and blunt force. .

‡ The chainmail would be long and a piece would sometimes cover the head. ‡ This is mostly replaced by plate armor. but was still worn by some lesser soldiers. . Was also often worn underneath the plate armor for extra protection. especially where there were gaps at the armor¶s joints.

2. Plate armor ‡ Actually come into use rather late in the Middle Ages. around the 1200¶s. . Especially the full suits.

. specifically smashing weapons that would disorient the soldier and special thrusting swords designed to exploit the armor¶s weaknesses. This spurred the development of different weapons.‡ The plate armor was very good against slashing and cutting weapons.

Shields ‡ Triangular shields meant to repel blows. .3.

‡ The blade length could be around 4 feet. Longswords ‡ Became popular around the 1300¶s. .Weapons Swords 1. ‡ Could be used one or two-handed and for slashing or thrusting.

2. Claymore ‡ Primarily Scottish sword. . ‡ Lighter and shorter than standard longsword.

Thus. Others ‡ Some swords were designed to relatively small triangular blades that were specifically designed to exploit gaps in the plate armor.3. 4. heavy. broad-bladed swords. they would have looked quite different (and perhaps sillier than) from normal swordplay styles. . ‡ Designed to be swung with force and penetrate armor. Broadswords ‡ Long. ‡ In fact some styles of swordplay were oriented around aiming for armor gaps.

‡ Usually one bladed and one-handed.Battle Axe ‡ Between 1 and 5 pounds. ‡ Could be swung with force to penetrate mail and armor. but sometimes had two-bladed. . two-handed models.

‡ Some models had spikes on the back or top. This was for penetrating armor at a point as well as making the axe offensive from every direction. .

‡ The axe blades all have that curved design so that it¶s easier for the blade to slide out of flesh post-slash. You don¶t want your weapon getting stuck in somebody.‡ The handle was most often iron or wood with iron bands. . ‡ This was to keep the handle from breaking from use or from getting chopped by an enemy¶s weapon.

Had a hammer on one side and a spike on the other.Bludgeon Weapons 1. ‡ You could use the hammer to serious disorient somebody in armor (and kill anybody else) and the spike could easily pierce armor. War hammer ‡ Hammer about 5 pounds and of varying length. .

Used to disorient armored foes and kill the rest. Didn¶t need a lot of skill to use either and was relatively cheap. could penetrate armor. . Mace ‡ Simple club-type weapon.2. ‡ Advantage in that there was no ³front´ or ³back´ to the weapon so it didn¶t matter which was it was facing when you swung it. If spiked.

‡ Didn¶t transfer vibration to user. ‡ Could provide more force than mace or hammer due to leverage. ‡ But it was tiring to use (had to be in constant motion) and could be dangerous to friends. ‡ Hard to block since chain will curve around shield or other defense. .3. ‡ Good defense since people won¶t get in the way. Flail ‡ Spiked ball attached to a stick by a chain.

Between 9 and 14 feet long.Polearms 1. ‡ Made out of wood with spear tip. . Lance ‡ Used underarm by knights in charges and could break almost any infantry formation.


. Pikes ‡ Basically. ‡ Good for distance work.2. about 10 to 15 feet in length. some kind of very long spear. especially against mounted knights. Provided for a stiff defense but bad for close-in work.

Halberd/glaive/voulge ‡ Like a pike. Halberd .3. but includes an axe or blade portion.

Voulge .

Glaive .

That¶s so that even if you missed with the spike or blade. you could hook the knight¶s armor and drag him off his mount. ‡ Note the hooks on some of them. ‡ Didn¶t take a lot of skill to use either. .‡ The halberd could also be swung with extreme force and could easily cleave armor and helmets. You might also snag the horse or his reins and again neutralize the mounted knight¶s advantage.

Range Weapons 1.5 feet in length. ‡ With proper arrowhead. ‡ Typically about 6. . ‡ Fired in mass volleys for distance and at shorter distances for accuracy. Longbow ‡ Wooden bows popularized in England. ‡ Effective range of about 250 yards. could easily pierce armor at short distances.

there were specialized methods for pulling back the string. . The simplest method involved you putting your foot in that loop at the end. ‡ Could have a draw weight of up to 350 pounds.2. Some used cranks and gears. Crossbows ‡ Fired small projectiles called bolts that were shorter but heavier than arrows. Because of this. hooking the string with a special tool on your belt and then pulling.

.‡ Advantages ‡ Didn¶t take the skill to use that a normal bow did. ‡ Extremely powerful and armor-piercing. ‡ Could be kept cocked and ready.

sometimes with a metal tip.Siege Weapons 1. ‡ Wheel it up to the door or gate. ‡ Suspended by rope or chains within sheltered structure to protect soldiers from arrows and other nasty stuff. Battering ram ‡ A log. pull back and swing. .

Siege tower ‡ Wheeled tower that would be pushed towards castle walls. . ‡ Would get to wall and drop gangplank. allowing soldiers inside to pour over the walls.2. ‡ Often with archers and crossbowmen to fend off attackers.


‡ Used counterweight and rope system that produced great leverage and force ± much greater than a standard torsion catapult. Trebuchet ‡ Like a hybrid catapult and sling. Greek fire. beehives. etc. grapeshot. Smaller ones could be used several times per minute. ‡ Projectile (could be stone. various corpses [bonus if diseased]. .3. ‡ The big ones could be used two or three times an hour.) would be launched either over the walls or at them with the purpose of breaking them down. ‡ Modern recreations can easily launch cars several hundred yards.



kept siege towers away and. ‡ Allowed both defense of defenders while allowing them spaces to shoot arrows. as a wall. 2. Battlements ‡ Notched structures at the top of walls that.Castle builders responded with defensive efforts. could keep artillery like trebuchets out of range. if wide enough. . 1. This prevented the undermining of walls. formed a parapet. Moats ‡ Artificial bodies of water around the castle.

The corners of the rectangular ones limit the available firing angle. Turrets ‡ These are the rectangular or circular tower structures that are often at castle corners.3. ‡ Allow defenders at the top and there are often small slit windows in the tower that allow archers to shoot out of them. . They start using circular ones because then archers have a wider angle of fire. ‡ Early versions were rectangular.

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