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Garth Holman

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  • Warlike Games of the Nobles; the Tournament. So eager for war and adventure were the nobles that times of peace seemed dull. Even hunting, of which they were very fond, was not exciting enough. So they had "tournaments." These were simply play-wars in which knights contended, either in single combat or in opposing troops.
  • Galleries were erected from which the ladies might view the combats and applaud their champions; and high nobles and even kings in splendid costume eagerly attended. The knights in their shining armor, with colored streamers fluttering from their lances, made a gallant picture.
  • One of them was "chivalry," which taught that every boy of noble birth should strive to be a true "knight" and every girl a "lady."
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  • A true knight was a brave warrior who feared nothing, who was always ready to fight for the poor or the unfortunate, and who would never do a mean or underhand thing. To perform a gallant feat of arms, or to help any one in distress, he would gladly risk any danger and never ask for pay. A true knight must be a good Christian and serve the church. But most of all he was to select some noble lady for whose sake he would win renown and whose smile would be his highest reward.
  • chivalry marked out for each young noble what he was to learn. At about the age of seven his training began. Usually he was sent by his father to the castle of his lord or to that of some other famous knight. Here he became a "page." He waited constantly upon the lord and his wife, and by the ladies of the castle was taught courtly manners and perhaps how to play and sing. But when he grew strong enough for more active tasks, perhaps at fourteen or fifteen, he became a "squire." He now attended more especially upon the lord. He must care for his horses, keep his arms bright, and go with him on his campaigns. Meanwhile, under the direction of his lord, he practiced constantly in the use of arms, learning to ride, to wear the heavy armor, and to wield the lance. The older squires fought beside their lords in battle.
  • The giving of "knighthood" was an impressive ceremony. After bathing and arraying himself in the required costume of red, white, and black, the young man was required to watch for a whole night before the altar of a church in which his weapons and armor had been placed. In the morning he attended mass and then, in the presence of all his family, friends, and vassals, advanced to his lord and knelt. The lord drew his sword and with the flat of the blade smote the young man on the shoulder, saying as he did so, "In the name of God,’ St. Michael, and St. George, I dub thee knight. Be brave and loyal." Then the newly made knight arose joyfully, and leaping upon his horse showed his skill in riding and in the use of his sword and lance. The ceremony ended with a great feast.
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