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Facts About Medieval Knights We Just Learned That Made Us Say 'Really?'

October 9, 2020 7.2k votes 1.4k voters 240.5k views13 items

List RulesVote up the facts about medieval knights you wish you'd known centuries ago.

Knights were dedicated soldiers in the Middle Ages known for their clunky full-body armor and chivalrous attitude. A lot of the information that's currently out there about knights, though, may be a little misleading. Were their suits of armor outrageously heavy? Were women ever allowed to carry on the duties knights had? Who were the Knights Templar?

The answers may be surprising; we wish we'd known about these medieval knights facts ages ago.

  • 5

    Taking Hats Off Indoors Started Because Of Knights

    From Redditor u/-LazarusLong-:

    TIL taking our hats off while inside is a relic of the ancient custom of when knights removed their helmets in the presence of those they considered friends. This was done to honor and show trust to their respective audience.

    Context: Removing one's hat when entering a building is often seen as a sign of respect. Although this practice is less prominent today because hats aren't as prolific, it remains as a form of etiquette. Historians believe the tradition started in medieval times when knights removed their helmets to identify themselves. Revealing one's face channeled trust and vulnerability to those present, and ensured no weapons were being held upon entry. 

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  • 6

    Knights Worked Out In Their Armor

    From Redditor u/InkIcan:

    TIL Knights would work out in their armor and put weights on their swords to make themselves more effective in combat. One knight even climbed a 60-foot ladder in armor by hand, with no foot support.

    Context: Written records show that at least one knight's training regimen from the medieval period included working out in full armor. This knight noted running, swinging hammers and axes, scaling walls, and climbing ladders using just his arm strength - all while fully dressed in his gear. Doing so ensured strength during strenuous fighting.

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  • 7

    Medieval Armor Was Lighter Than Expected

    From Redditor u/orangerat:

    TIL that [the] full plate armor of [a] medieval knight was about the same as the weight of the gear of [a] modern infantry soldier (30 to 50 pounds).

    Context: The weight of warriors' gear has changed substantially over the past centuries due to design and technological improvements. It's documented that in the 14th century, knights' armor was made of iron and weighed less than 33 pounds. By the end of the 16th century, the weight of armor for knights had increased to about 55 pounds. To put that into context, today's soldiers carry roughly 27 pounds in gear, with some tactical teams carrying more than 100 pounds of gear. Tests show, however, that the heavier the gear, the less efficient the soldier. That said, armor for medieval knights was not so heavy that it would impede their ability to fight.

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  • 8

    Medieval Knights Fought Differently Than What's Portrayed In Movies

    From Redditor u/quietjaypee:

    TIL that knights in the Middle Ages didn't actually fight the way we depict them in movies.

    Context: Although films and TV shows depict large armies of knights sprinting and colliding viciously until every last man of the opponent's army is down, that was likely not the case. Most fights among knights in medieval times were actually much smaller raids instead of huge collisions. When those types of fights happened, the force running in would often attempt to make the other army retreat hastily rather than encourage a head-on fight. 

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