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Actual and Imaginary Knighthood

Updated on June 19, 2016

Knights can be classified as being people with many different aspects that make them the type of knight that they are. In stories we see the chivalry that plays out and the classic knightly actions. Knights were warriors as well they weren’t just people of courtly romances. The stories consisted of mythical heroes as well as knights who were all about love and dying for that love. The stories, from King Henry to the classic Disney renditions, are all fiction and between actual knights and imagined knights, the actual knights were more warriors than the ones that have been shown to us through story telling.


Stories make it out to seem that everything is better than it really is or was. Everything is more exaggerated and for this reason it brings people to believe things that may not necessarily be true. Chivalry and love are main topics within the stories about knights and the medieval period. IN the story of Brutus, he is the leader of the Trojans and he goes out and defeats civilizations and claims territories and eventually comes to Britain, which he names after himself. With this fictional story it shows the over exaggeration on how people made it seem like knights or these warriors were able to defeat hundreds of civilizations and claim thousands of territories when in reality that probably never happened and would probably never happen even today. In part of the story it even goes on to talking about how Brutus was able to slay a whole army of people with the slash of his sword.

Apart from the achievements that knights supposedly made within these stories they are made out to be people who would do anything for love, thus came chivalric romance. In these stories the knights would come to the help of their maidens and rescue them from for example, a dragon or more realistically the enemy side. Songs were created by troubadours who would also state that the knights would ride off into the sunset after rescuing a maiden in distress.


From the historical context that I have read the knights are actually quite the opposite of what they are made out to be in the stories. They were real warriors, people who fought for what they believed in and what was right. They were people who were dedicated to their purpose, to war. Just like today, people in the army are dedicated to the cause of war. Knights were the same way. It wasn’t all about the fame and the women it was about war.

From the stories to actual accounted historical documents, it is shown that through history perspective can change and what something might seem may not be the case. For knights there is a huge difference between imaginary and actual knighthood. It wasn’t all about romance but it was about what they truly cared about which was war.


© 2016 EstherHoekstra


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