Knighthood & Chivalry: Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Knighthood and chivalry were two important elements of medieval society. In this lesson, discover who knights were, what their purpose was in the community, and how they used a Code of Chivalry to determine their daily actions. Updated: 02/28/2020

Medieval Europe

Let's travel back in time hundreds of years to the Middle Ages, to an era full of excitement! The Middle Ages occurred between the 5th and 15th centuries, and are often referred to as medieval times in Europe. During this period, soldiers called knights emerged as heroes of the community. Knights played an important role in daily life, and now are symbolic of the medieval era.

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  • 0:04 Medieval Europe
  • 0:25 Who Were Knights?
  • 1:02 Knightly Responsibilities
  • 1:33 Code of Chivalry
  • 2:16 Changes in Society
  • 2:38 Lesson Summary
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Who Were Knights?

In order to become a knight, you usually needed to be wealthy and born into nobility. Nobility included kings, queens, wealthy land owners, and powerful lords and ladies of estates, called manors.

However, if you weren't part of the nobility, there was still a chance you could become a knight. If you displayed bravery and were successful in battle, you could still go through the process of becoming a knight. First, you would start out as a page, and train to use weapons and ride horses.

After finishing training, you would become a squire. This meant you would train the pages and also serve a knight. If you were successful in going into battle with the knight you served, then this meant you earned status of being a knight!

Knightly Responsibilities

What would you do when you became a knight? Lots of things! Knights were soldiers and fought battles that could be very brutal. To practice, they would participate in tournaments. These tournaments included different events, including jousts.

A joust was a contest where two knights faced off against each other on horseback. The goal was to knock off the other knight with weapons, like a long wooden pole called a lance. As you can imagine, this event could be quite brutal and sometimes it even resulted in death. The winner often received money and public approval for their battle skills.

Code of Chivalry

There were rules of conduct knights had to abide by. These rules are often referred to as the Code of Chivalry. In order to use chivalry in daily life, a knight had to be loyal to their lord or king. They also had to show bravery and courage on the battlefield.

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