Bob Williams' "Mounted Knight"

Excerpt from: The Myth of the Mounted Knight
by
James G. Patterson

Perhaps no image of the Middle Ages has greater iconic power than that of the mounted knight. Covered from head to foot in burnished steel, the warrior on horseback is the very embodiment of the so-called age of chivalry. Yet contained in this potent image are a number of misconceptions about the nature of medieval warfare. These errors include the impression that from roughly 500 to 1500 armor was an unalterable constant. In reality, protective metal evolved as much during the period as modern aircraft have changed since Kittyhawk. Another fallacy is the belief that knights constituted the majority of the medieval army. The truth is that most armies in the Middle Ages were predominantly made up of infantry, and the knights themselves often fought on foot. Even amongst the mounted element, true knights were in the minority. A related misconception is that the charge of heavily armored cavalry was irresistible to any force not similarly constituted. In fact, when foot soldiers held their ground, something that occurred far more often than is traditionally realized, they usually triumphed over their mounted counterparts unless the latter were supported by infantry, and possibly archers of their own

 

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