In the Medieval Age the knights were not noble in a principle; they were men that had the means to maintain horses and with them to participate in the wars, and the kings paid their services granting them privileges like to the infanzones and hidalgos.
This came to constitute a small military nobility. Enriched people that belonged to the state also formed a second nobility, for the services that they could lend to the sovereign.
During the beginning of the Reconquista the kings were surrounded of vasallos whose help could be very useful, these were given the “mílites” name. The milites were of great effectiveness in the military companies against the Moors, those that excelled received privileges.
At the beginning knights were not demanded to possess nobility, they were only required to have horse and weapons to combat; they were rewarded with lands and other luxuries, and the right to have a coat of arms, and to receive titles such as counts, marquises or viscounts. Eventually all this changed and no longer anyone could aspire to be knight.
To be an armed knight, there were norms, such as being noble for no less than three generations from your father or mother side. At seven years old they had to offer their services as page in the castle of a knight. At fourteen years old they became escuderos, having to his care the horse and his knight’s arms. The escudero accompanied the knight in his military companies, during training in the use of heavy armor, horsemanship and all the activities of a knight had to perform in a battle. During this time they were considered “donceles.”
When they turned twenty years old, they were entitled to be converted to knight. In the eve of the ceremony they must fast, confess and take communion; then he would chose his godfathers, those that should arm him and with those that would eat, the future knight ate in a separate table and with the prohibition to speak or laugh. The previous night to the ceremony the future knight should not sleep and must wear his armor. This was called “the candle of the arms”. In the morning he should take a bath and then entered the church with the sword hanging to the neck, so that the priest could blesses him. Then, he would kneel before the knight that would arm him and before the Santos Evangelios. The future knight swore to defend the religion, the homeland, the king and the weak ones, to obey the superiors, to be courteous with all and not to serve a foreign prince, not to never miss the word, not to lie, not to lie or kill, always defending fair cause risking his life.
After all this, the godfathers dressed him with the mesh, the golden spurs and the sword to the belt.
The military art revolutionized with time and this social class became unimportant and knight stop being a main part of an army.
Written by Eduardo J Farias Ramos
Translated by Ej Jr.