During the middle ages, the term knight referred to a mounted and armoured soldier. Originally, knights were warriors on horse-back, but the title became increasingly connected to nobility and social status, most likely because of the cost of equipping oneself in the cavalry. Knighthood eventually became a formal title bestowed on those noblemen trained for active war duty.
In theory, knighthood could be bestowed on a man by any knight, but it was generally considered honorable to be dubbed knight by the hand of a monarch. By about the late 13th century, partly in conjunction with the focus on courtly behavior, a code of conduct and uniformity of dress for knights began to evolve. Knights were eligible to wear a white belt and golden spurs as signs of their status. Moreover, knights were also often required to swear allegiance to a liege lord.
A knight was to follow a strict set of rules of conduct. These were the knightly virtues:
- Mercy (Towards the poor and oppressed. They were supposed to be harsh with evil-doers.)
- Fear of God
- Utmost graciousness and courtesy to ladies
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