From the round table to your body, the knight tattoo is one that will make a bold statement to those that wear this stoic symbol. When you’re talking honor and loyalty, the knight might be one of the most representative symbols that one could have inked onto their body.
The knight tattoo can be represented in many ways. This goes for getting an actual knight tattooed on your body or having the armor itself inked on your skin. It can be shown in different ways. An example of this might be a knight’s weapon or certain symbols that represent a nationality or kingdom.
In this post, we’ll talk about what a knight is and the meaning behind the knight tattoo. This will insure that when you ask your tattoo artist for that knight tattoo, you’ll know more about it’s meaning than your artist does.
A monarch or a political leader was able to grant the honorary title of knighthood to a person for their service to the monarch. This is usually in a military capacity, but the honor has been known to be bestowed for other reasons. Knighthood was considered to be a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages. By the time the Late Middle Ages came along, the rank of knight was linked to qualities of chivalry which was a code of conduct the knight. Knights were generally payed in land holdings who fought for a lord. These lords trusted the horseback warriors.
At a very young age, male children would begin learning the art of the sword. In certain circumstances, a boy that was not of noble blood could be knighted. In the middle ages, knights were closely associated with the skills or riding and fighting from horseback and this originated in the 12th century all the way to the 15th century. Knights were also linked with the sport of the joust because of their skills on horseback.
However, as times changed, so did the position of the armored knight. New methods of warfare began to make the classic knight obsolete in the late medieval period. Knights were an example of what strength, honor, integrity and courage looked like in medieval times. To be knighted was one of the highest honors that could be bestowed upon a person and therefore a dream of all young men and women throughout time. It’s not a surprise people would want this symbol on their person.
The Evolution of the medieval knight
The Ordo Equestris or order of mounted nobles were a knightly class back in ancient Rome. These were generally Frankish cavalry who were elite fighters and always rode on horseback. When the Frankish ruler Charles Martel won the Battle of Tours in 732 against the Umayyad Arab invasion, his forces were mostly infantry with elites riding into battle. This was probably the closest thing to medieval knights to date.
In the Early Medieval time, any horseman that was well-equipped could be labeled as a knight. The first of those knights appeared in the 8th century during Charlemagne’s rule. During this time, the Franks were usually on the attack and now instead of being infantry that rode horses, they stayed on horseback and fought from there. This came with the discovery of the stirrup which held a rider’s foot in place while he was mounted.
With these horseback riding warriors, Charlemagne’s conquests went far and wide and they were granted land as payment called benefices. These plots of land were given to captains by the emperor to disperse amongst his men as payment for their services.
Moving forward to the 12th century, knights had become a social rank. At this point, there was a difference between mounted riders and true knights. Because the rank of knight became most notable a social rank, those that weren’t of noble blood became known as “man-at-arms” while the noble blood were knighted.
The first military orders of knighthood were:
Knights Hospitallers – Founded in 1099
The Holy Sepulchre – Founded in 1099
Order of Saint Lazarus – Founded in 1100
Knights Templars – Founded in 1118
Teutonic Knights – Founded in 1190
It wasn’t until the following century that these orders became prestigious and powerful. It took the conquest of the Holy Land and the crusader states rising up for the meaning of the knight to turn into a position of honor. Before that, they were mostly simple servants that protected pilgrams.
Then you have the legendary warriors like the paladins, the Matter of Britain and the Matter of France that made the idea of knights being chivalrous an acceptable notion. The Crusades had a significant influence on the term ‘knight’ being transformed from that one that meant ‘servant’ or ‘soldier’ to one of a higher class and ethos.
When getting a knight tattoo, one must think of the direction they want to take it. As discussed before, there different ways a knight could be inked on the body. The person might use the idea of adding armor to their body. This could be done as chainmail or plated. Another idea is to have the knight mounted on a horse. Still another way to portray the knight is with a sword and shield in a standing position.
If you are thinking about getting a knight tattoo, you will want to think long and hard about if the meanings will always be significant for you. While it is true that people rarely regret getting their knight tattoos, it’s also true that these designs are much tougher to cover up should you end up not liking it anymore. Take your time coming up with a design and meanings to use and chances are you will not have any regrets.
Since the majority of knight tattoos are quite complex, you will definitely want to work with an artist who you can trust. These are not easy jobs to do and they can take many hours to make, so do your research on artists around you and find one who has a lot of experience with more complex designs. This research is made a lot easier these days thanks to Google and sites that allow people to rate their artists.
In addition to the post above, we hope that by scrolling through the pictures below you’ll be able to have a better idea of what you might want to get. If you’re having trouble deciding, please reach out to us so we can help. Good luck!