Understanding the Knight in the Age of the Crusades, c.1100-1204

Beaman, Jack (2021) Understanding the Knight in the Age of the Crusades, c.1100-1204. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

Medieval military terminology in crusading sources from c.1100-1204 is the focus of this study. An interrogation of when knights developed into a coherent grouping is central to the thesis. Definitions of knights on a military, economic and social basis are explored. The approach exposes and emphasises often overlooked nuances of medieval military structure.

Due to the terminological basis of the thesis, it considers mainly written sources which focus on crusading expeditions. The methodology is based around the premise that the crusading movement was broadly representative of contemporary medieval society and armies from large swathes of western Christendom. This allows for the use of evidence from the selected sources to support conclusions about domestic structures. As such, the methodology provides a significant and fresh perspective.

The thesis makes clear that medieval military history is far more nuanced than has often been represented. It exposes further military categories than have previously been identified. It also opposes the popular misconception of knights as exclusively heavy, shock cavalry and works to dispel this myth. Rather it argues that knights were general-purpose elite soldiers.

The key contribution is that it both establishes and emphasises the difference between the knightly grouping and the knightly identity. The former -the knighthood- was a socially coherent grouping as early as 1120, while the latter formed the precursor to chivalry as a set of values. The dating of a coalesced knighthood also represents a departure from previous estimates in the final quarter of the twelfth century.

Finally, the adopted approach has wider application than the scope of the thesis. It could be used as a framework for further studies on other facets of the medieval period such as social structure, piety and religious rhetoric.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Taylor, Claire
Hodgson, Natasha
Keywords: knights, Crusades, medieval history, medieval warfare
Subjects: C Auxiliary sciences of history > CR Heraldry
D History - General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval history
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of History
Item ID: 64387
Depositing User: Beaman, Jack
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 04:40
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2021 04:40
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/64387

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