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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Medieval History

- The Middle Ages -
Knights, Medieval Warfare, and Heraldry

Medieval Warfare

Tactics and Techniques
Knights made up the mainstay of the medieval army. They were supported in battle by foot soldiers and archers. Knights were often held in reserve for the decisive part of a battle. Knights were very powerful warriors - one knight was supposed to equal eight foot soldiers. New weapons were designed for a hammering motion.

During a siege, a knight was to wait while the others scaled the walls, dug tunnels, etc. The knight waited until he could enter the castle and engage in battle. Knights did not always fight to the death. The Church and the Code of Chivalry put the emphasis on capturing and treating an opponent honorably. Capture was more profitable, as it allowed for the ransoming of the captured knight.

St. George Slays Dragon
One of the best known legendary dragons was said to have been slain by St. George,
the patron saint of England. Painting by Paolo Uccello.

Code of Chivalry
Within the castle, the knight lived a life devoted to war. Knights rode horses - a mounted warrior. His only purpose was to fight. A knight's training began early. Young noble boys began as "pages," doing simple services for knights in the castle. Adolescent nobles became "squires" who would take care of the knight's equipment and follow him into battle.

The basic weapons of a knight were the lance, the broadsword, and the shield (until full body armor made the shield obsolete). Other weapons included the "mace," a heavy medieval war club with a spiked or flanged metal head, used to crush armor. The "flail" was a manual threshing device consisting of a long wooden handle or staff, and a shorter free-swinging stick attached to its end. The "war hammer" and "battle axe" were also used by knights.

The Code of Chivalry was developed to control the violent nature of knights.

Heraldic Shields
Simple designs found on old heraldic shields are called charges, or ordinaries.
The designs of many modern flags are based on these shapes.

During the Middle Ages, a knight in full armor was hard to recognize because his face was hidden by his helmet. Knights began to use special designs worn on their shields and surcoats. These designs became special family emblems, a coat-of-arms that no one else could wear. The officials who kept records of the coats-of-arms and awarded new ones were called Heralds. The College of Heralds in London still does this.

What Signifies What?

Blue - Loyalty and truth.

Silver - Peace and sincerity.

Purple - the majestic color of justice; the color of royalty.

Chevron - the V-shaped symbol of Protection. Often a reward for notable achievement and faithful service.

Crescent - half-moon shape with upturned horns and means faith and hope.

Eagle - represents speed and wisdom.

Fleur De Lies - denotes valor, faith, and wisdom.

Greyhound - represents courage, vigilance, loyalty, and fidelity.

Griffin - a mythical beast with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle. Represents perseverance, vigilance, and valor.

Hawk - represents someone who is vigorous in the pursuit of their objective.

Leopard - represents a warrior of courage and valor.

Lion - represents strength, courage, generosity, and majesty.

Back to Top of Page

1. Early Middle Ages: Dark Ages and Feudalism

2. Clovis, Charles the Hammer, Charlemagne,
Magyars, Vikings / The Life of a Serf

3. The Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages

4. High Middle Ages / National Monarchies

5. The Black Death

6. Knights, Heraldry, and Medieval Warfare

7. The Hundred Years War

8. Medieval Culture

8th- to 15th-Century Poems and Prose
Dante Alighieri, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland & more.

Including: Divine Comedy, Beowulf, Canterbury Tales...
Medieval Poetry I
Medieval Poetry & Prose II

More Information
The Entire Bayeux Tapestry

Mr. Sedivy's Tour of Medieval Rothenburg

Medieval Penalties of Shame and Honor -
Crime and Punishment in the Middle Ages

Historical Periods of
World History Class Study

| Prehistory | Mesopotamia & Phoenicians |
| Ancient Egypt | Greece | Rome |
| Medieval History | The Renaissance |
| Exploration | National Monarchies |
| The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment |
| Colonial America and American Revolution |
| The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era



Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000

Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Modern European History | Advanced Placement European History | Rise of England | World History |
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