23 Medieval Knights Facts That Separate Fact From Fiction
Being a knight during the medieval era might seem like a glamorous gig. However, the Middle Ages was an extremely violent time — and medieval knights did more than just protect castles. Modern-day romanticizations aside, being a knight was highly hazardous, even with the protection of full body armor.
Imagine attending grueling, on-the-job training for 12 (or more) years just for the privilege of heading to war. Sure, the perks of prestige, acquiring free land, and getting cozy with married ladies were probably nice. But knights endured a great amount of sacrifice to reach their status — and often lost their lives.
Granted, medieval knights had it much easier in times of peace than they did in times of war. But with a new religious Crusade starting up about every five minutes back then, there wasn't a lot of free time for knights to spend rescuing damsels in distress.
Nevertheless, after you did fulfill your military responsibilities for the year, chances are you'd just be left alone for the rest of the year to go tending to your free land (when not governing all the peasants that live on it). Perhaps you'd dabble in politics. You'd probably still be going to church a lot. Maybe do some light hunting.
Still, many boys born into the noble bloodline of lords or knights put themselves through an immense amount of trouble to gain these titles. The knighthood meant you'd have basically a normal life with a few great perks to balance the danger that came with the job.
But life was shorter and a little more black-and-white in the Middle Ages. It was apparently more important to die a hero for your cause than to live a few more years as a peasant.
See more in the gallery of medieval knights facts above.
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several published book covers in her career as a graphic artist.