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  • Knights Would Take Off Helmets In Conflict Or During A Joust - And Nothing Would Be Underneath It on Random Dumbest Things Pop Culture Has Us Believe About Medieval Knights

    (#7) Knights Would Take Off Helmets In Conflict Or During A Joust - And Nothing Would Be Underneath It

    The Trope: Either in the heat of a clash or a joust, knights donning full armor remove their helmets only to reveal that they aren't wearing proper headgear.  

    Why Is It Inaccurate?: Firstly, it would be a terrible idea for any knight to remove their helmet in the heat of a clash or even for a joust. They are the only means of protection for one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body. Helmets remained an important piece of armor even when full-plate body armor became obsolete. Under the helmet, knights' chain mail didn't stop at their necks. Their coats also included a hood. Knights wore a layer of fabric as a padded cap between their head and the helmet. The padding further protected a knight's head by cushioning any blows he might receive. In the 14th century, some knights even wore a smaller helmet under their great helm called a basinet. Between the basinet and the great helm, knights would also wear a cloth wreath called an orle to prevent the two helmets from hitting one another. Not having those multiple layers would have been at the very least uncomfortable, but also unnecessarily dangerous in the worst case scenario.

    Notable Offenders: In A Knight's Tale, Will takes off his helmet (as well as his whole suit of armor) for the final joust. Furthermore, characters in A Knight's Tale don't always have mail or fabric between their helmet and head. William Wallace, who was a Scottish knight, and his men in Braveheart don't just lack proper knightly headgear; they are woefully, inaccurately dressed for conflict. Wallace would never have fought in a tartan kilt, since they didn't exist for another couple of centuries. In Kingdom of Heaven, Balian isn't wearing any form of head protection for the entire siege of Jerusalem.

  • Knights Only Wielded Heavy, Mighty Swords on Random Dumbest Things Pop Culture Has Us Believe About Medieval Knights

    (#5) Knights Only Wielded Heavy, Mighty Swords

    The Trope: Whether carrying, wielding, or wearing it, a knight isn't a knight without a sword. Knights revered swords so much that they gave their tactical tools names.

    Why Is It Inaccurate?: Knights really did value swords, especially since they were often status symbols, and some historical figures named their instruments, like Charlemagne's Joyeuse. Medieval swords weren't as heavy as most people imagine, though. After all, a sword that was too heavy to swing wouldn't be useful. Though they could be found in different varieties, a typical sword for conflict wouldn't weigh more than 10 pounds. Medieval knights also relied on a menu of tactical gear, including lances, axes, and daggers. In fact, lances and spears were usually the first tools knights would use on the battlefield. When Norman knights successfully infiltrated England in 1066, they wielded spears.

    Notable Offenders: The trope of a knight and his sword has its roots in medieval literature. The 11th century's The Song of Roland, for instance, spotlights the relationship between a Frankish knight and Durendal, his divine sword. King Arthur's legendary sword, Excalibur, appears in Arthurian stories ranging from Sir Thomas Malory's 15th-century text Le Morte d'Arthur to 20th-century films like The Sword in the Stone and Excalibur.

  • When They Weren't Fighting, Knights Went On Adventurous Quests on Random Dumbest Things Pop Culture Has Us Believe About Medieval Knights

    (#1) When They Weren't Fighting, Knights Went On Adventurous Quests

    The Trope: Heroic knights-errant embark on quests to rescue a damsel in distress, track down the Holy Grail, or defeat a monstrous villain.

    Why Is It Inaccurate?: Historical knights were warriors, land owners, and politicians - they didn't have time to embark on semi-mythic quests. Knights may have invoked a higher purpose for their fights; the Crusades, for example, were framed in religious terms. Knights could also go on pilgrimages to holy sites in places such as Santiago de Compostela, Rome, and Canterbury. But the idea of a knight-errant journeying on a personal quest is more fiction than fact.

    Notable Offenders: The trope of the questing knight-errant can be traced back to medieval literature and the tales of fictional knights like Perceval and Sir Gawain. Filmmakers deployed this old trope in movies and TV series like ExcaliburKnightfall, and Quest for Camelot. The trope even got a modern spin in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

  • The Mounted Knight Was The Most Important Force On Every Battlefield on Random Dumbest Things Pop Culture Has Us Believe About Medieval Knights

    (#2) The Mounted Knight Was The Most Important Force On Every Battlefield

    The Trope: Knights were the medieval military's VIP fighters who could make or break a conflict.

    Why Is It Inaccurate?: Knights were undoubtedly a crucial component of medieval military tactics. Armies that lacked armored knights were often overwhelmed by opponents who used them, such as when mounted Norman knights defeated English foot troops at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. But knights weren't invincible. By the late Middle Ages, better technology had made knights more vulnerable, since instruments like longbows, crossbows, and eventually arms could penetrate their armor. During the 100 Years' War, for example, the English longbow was an important tool in some of England's victories. Knights weren't always deciding factors in acts of conflict, either. Sieges relied on a variety of troops and technologies.

    Notable Offenders: Thanks to courtly romances and Arthurian legends, pop culture - including films like Ironclad and First Knight and television shows like Knight Fight - fixates on knights as the ultimate medieval fighter. Video games that enable players to adopt the POV of knights further invoke this trope.

  • Knights Thought Peasants Were Disposable on Random Dumbest Things Pop Culture Has Us Believe About Medieval Knights

    (#12) Knights Thought Peasants Were Disposable

    The Trope: Arrogant knights slay, injure, and victimize peasants without a second thought.

    Why Is It Inaccurate?: Peasants certainly suffered under the politics, power struggles, and conflicts of the nobility. Indeed, knights sometimes offed peasants and generally looked down on them. But at the same time, disposing of peasants wouldn't have been in knights' best interest. Like other nobles, knights depended on peasants for income, whether through taxes or by working their land.

    Notable Offenders: Modern adaptations of the Robin Hood story, including 1938's The Adventures of Robin Hood and 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, emphasize tensions and inequalities between nobles and peasants. Monty Python and the Holy Grail satirizes the view of medieval peasants as filthy urchins.

  • Knights Always Pledged Themselves To And Supported A Lord Or King on Random Dumbest Things Pop Culture Has Us Believe About Medieval Knights

    (#8) Knights Always Pledged Themselves To And Supported A Lord Or King

    The Trope: The chivalrous knight is devoted to a liege lord and shows fidelity by protecting him, undertaking quests on his behalf, or enacting vengeance to honor his memory.

    Why Is It Inaccurate?: Knights didn't always remain bound to a lord or king. Some knights belonged to independent religious orders, including the Knights Hospitaller or the Knights Templar. Others enlisted themselves to mercenary companies. Medieval knights sometimes rebelled against regal authority, such as when Sir Henry "Hotspur" Percy took up arms against King Henry IV of England in 1403.

    Notable Offenses: Films, such as First Knight, Prince Valiant, Last Knights, and Ivanhoe, and television shows idealize the relationship between a knight and his liege lord. 

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About This Tool

Speaking of the Middle Ages, many people always think of castles, banquets, churches, the Black Death, and poor peasants. However, the most exciting symbol of the Middle Ages may be the knight. These knights are often portrayed as heroes in movies or novels, wearing sharp swords and shiny armor. The great reason those medieval knights are respected is that they have always been the core on the battlefield before gunpowder was introduced to Europe, at least in legends and literary works.

This random tool shares the 13 most surprising facts about medieval knights to reveal the truth that most people don't know.

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