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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 240.4k 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.

  • 1

    Medieval Swords Weren't Outrageously Heavy

    From Redditor u/donkawechico:

    TIL it was not hard to lift a medieval sword. Even large blades were less than 5 pounds.

    Context: Despite claims that ancient swords could weigh up to 40 pounds, according to Ewart Oakeshott, author of Sword in Hand: A History of the Medieval Sword, finding swords that weigh more than 5 pounds is difficult. Oakeshott, a historian and researcher who handled or owned many of these swords, said they generally weighed about 2.5 to 3.5 pounds, and at the most 4.5 pounds.  

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  • 2

    Female Knights Were Uncommon But Possible

    From Redditor u/RightIsTheName:

    TIL In the Middle Ages there were women knights. The word "damehood" should be used instead of "knighthood," and British "Dame" or French "chevalière" for its members.

    Context: Throughout history, women have not typically been able to earn the title of "knight." As a workaround, however, other chivalric missions allowed females to enter into the realm of knighthood without the official title. Additionally, the Knights Templar admitted women for the first 10 years of its existence. 

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  • 3

    The Knights Templar Invented Banks And Checks

    From Redditor u/MrSilk13642:

    TIL the Knights Templar invented international banking and payable checks.

    Context: At the end of the 11th century, the Knights Templar decided to come up with a way to help pilgrims pay for food and travel accommodations without carrying around large sums of money. Instead, they would leave their money with the Knights Templar and carry around a card noting the credit they had. They weren't the first organization to do this, but they were the closest to the private banks of today. The Knights Templar also acted as brokers and offered loans.

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  • 4

    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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