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In Medieval times, a knight was a mounted warrior in the service of a Lord. The word 'knight' is derived from the German word 'knecht', which means 'servant'.

In later periods, being made a knight was a great honour. A knight's behaviour, both in battle and normal life, was guided by a code of conduct.

In classical chivalry, the knight was accompanied by a squire, a page and a man-at-arms, the whole then being known as a lance. From this comes the phrase free-lance, meaning a lance which was not in fealty to a superior lord.

A knight was, in general, in command only of his own lance, and took orders from a marshall. A number of knights were reckoned to be sufficiently experienced to command other knights: they did so as the marshall's delegate. If a knight rose sufficiently to be viewed as capable of being given a command of his own, it was customary then to make him a knight-banneret.

In some countries knighthood also indicated that one was of noble birth. In other countries (such as England), the title was not hereditary.

See Also:

Knights in the SCA

The SCA has a polling order of peerage that is the Order of Chivalry. Only members of this order are considered knights. SCA knights can be male or female but must swear fealty to the Crown. If a member is invited to become a member of the order but won't swear fealty, then they are considered a Master or Mistress at Arms not a knight.

According to Corpora,

The candidate must be considered the equal of his or her prospective peers with the basic weapons of tournament combat. To become a Knight, the candidate must swear fealty to the Crown of his or her kingdom during the knighting ceremony. Masters of Arms may choose to swear fealty, but are not required to do so.
The duties of the Chivalry are as follows:
  • To set an example of courtesy and chivalrous conduct on and off the field of honor.
  • To respect the Crown of the kingdom; to support and uphold the laws of the kingdom and Corpora.
  • To enrich the kingdom by sharing his or her knowledge and skills.
  • To support and uphold the Crown of his or her kingdom.
  • To enhance the renown and defend the honor of the peer’s Lady or Lord.
  • To advise the Crown on the advancement of candidates for the Chivalry.
  • To bestow the Accolade of Knighthood upon a candidate for the Order of Knighthood, as the sole right as Sovereign or acting directly for the Sovereign, for only a Knight can create a Knight.

A white belt is officially reserved for use by knights but most will also wear a fealty chain. The wearing of spurs by knights varies a lot from kingdom to kingdom (see IKA), and in some kingdoms squires also traditionally wear spurs. And, of course, those engaged in Equestrian activities wear spurs as tools rather than regalia.

Rolls of Honour

Each SCA Kingdom maintains a listing of their Chivalry, including the date each Knight or Master at Arms was dubbed, as part of the Order of Precedence. This is often called a Roll of Honour, and is usually listed online.

Alternate Titles

The SCA recognizes the following alternate titles in other languages as equivalent to Knight:

Language Alternate Form of Knight Alternate Form of Sir
Albanian Kreshnik Zotni
Arabic Faris[a] --
Catalan Cavaller Senyor
Czech Ryti Lord
Danish Ridder Herre
Dutch Ridder Mijnheer
Estonian Rüütel Söör
Finnish Ritari Ritari
French Chevalier Sieur
German Ritter Sir
Greek Strâtiotes Hippôtes / Kûrios
Hebrew Parash[a] Sair[ah]
Hungarian Lovag Ür (Uram)
Icelandic Riddari Herra
Irish Gaelic Ridire Sior / An ridire
Italian Cavaliere Sir
Latin Miles Eques
Middle Norwegian Riddari Herre
Old English Cniht / Ridda --
Old Norse Riddari Riddari
Polish Rycerz Pan[i]
Portuguese Cavaleiro Cavaleiro
Romanian Cavaler Domnule
Russian Rytsar --
Scots Gaelic Ridire a Shir / Shair
Spanish Caballero Don (Dona)
Swedish Riddare Herr
Turkish Sövalye Sör
Welsh Marchog[es] / Cyfurdd /
Dyl(y)edog / Pendefig