Outside the British honours system it is usually considered improper to address a knighted person as 'Sir' or 'Dame'. Some countries, however, historically did have equivalent honorifics for knights, such as Cavaliere in Italy e. Georg Ritter von Trapp.
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Additionally there remain a few hereditary knights in the Netherlands. In Belgium , honorific knighthood not hereditary can be conferred by the King on particularly meritorious individuals such as scientists or eminent businessmen, or for instance to astronaut Frank De Winne , the second Belgian in space. This practice is similar to the conferral of the dignity of Knight Bachelor in the United Kingdom.
In addition, there still are a number of hereditary knights in Belgium see below. In the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth the monarchs tried to establish chivalric orders but the hereditary lords who controlled the Union did not agree and managed to ban such assemblies. They feared the King would use Orders to gain support for absolutist goals and to make formal distinctions among the peerage which could lead to its legal breakup into two separate classes, and that the King would later play one against the other and eventually limit the legal privileges of hereditary nobility.
The head of state now the President as the acting Grand Master confers knighthoods of the Order to distinguished citizens, foreign monarchs and other heads of state. The Order has its Chapter. There were no particular honorifics that would accompany a knight's name as historically all or at least by far most of its members would be royals or hereditary lords anyway. In continental Europe different systems of hereditary knighthood have existed or do exist. Ridder , Dutch for "knight", is a hereditary noble title in the Netherlands.
It is the lowest title within the nobility system and ranks below that of " Baron " but above " Jonkheer " the latter is not a title, but a Dutch honorific to show that someone belongs to the untitled nobility. The collective term for its holders in a certain locality is the Ridderschap e. Ridderschap van Holland, Ridderschap van Friesland, etc. In the Netherlands no female equivalent exists. Before , the history of nobility is separate for each of the eleven provinces that make up the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
In each of these, there were in the early Middle Ages a number of feudal lords who often were just as powerful, and sometimes more so than the rulers themselves. In old times, no other title existed but that of knight.
In the Netherlands only 10 knightly families are still extant, a number which steadily decreases because in that country ennoblement or incorporation into the nobility is not possible anymore. Likewise Ridder , Dutch for "knight", or the equivalent French Chevalier is a hereditary noble title in Belgium. Like in the Netherlands, no female equivalent to the title exists. Belgium still does have about registered knightly families. The German and Austrian equivalent of an hereditary knight is a Ritter. This designation is used as a title of nobility in all German-speaking areas.
Traditionally it denotes the second lowest rank within the nobility, standing above " Edler " noble and below " Freiherr " baron. For its historical association with warfare and the landed gentry in the Middle Ages, it can be considered roughly equal to the titles of "Knight" or "Baronet".
In the Kingdom of Spain , the Royal House of Spain grants titles of knighthood to the successor of the throne. This knighthood title known as Order of the Golden Fleece is among the most prestigious and exclusive Chivalric Orders. The Royal House of Portugal historically bestowed hereditary knighthoods to holders of the highest ranks in the Royal Orders.
There are very few hereditary knights and they are entitled to wear a breast star with the crest of the House of Braganza. In France, the hereditary knighthood existed in regions formerly under Holy Roman Empire control. One family ennobled with that title is the house of Hauteclocque by letters patents of , even if its most recent members used a pontifical title of count.
There are traces of the Continental system of hereditary knighthood in Ireland. Notably all three of the following belong to the Hiberno-Norman FitzGerald dynasty , created by the Earls of Desmond , acting as Earls Palatine , for their kinsmen. Another Irish family were the O'Shaughnessys , who were created knights in under the policy of surrender and regrant  first established by Henry VIII of England.
They were attainted in for participation on the Jacobite side in the Williamite wars. Since , the British Crown has awarded a hereditary title in the form of the baronetcy. Baronets are not peers of the Realm, and have never been entitled to sit in the House of Lords, therefore like knights they remain commoners in the view of the British legal system. However, unlike knights, the title is hereditary and the recipient does not receive an accolade. The position is therefore more comparable with hereditary knighthoods in continental European orders of nobility, such as ritter , than with knighthoods under the British orders of chivalry.
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However, unlike the continental orders, the British baronetcy system was a modern invention, designed specifically to raise money for the Crown with the purchase of the title. Women were appointed to the Order of the Garter almost from the start. In all, 68 women were appointed between and , including all consorts. Though many were women of royal blood, or wives of knights of the Garter, some women were neither. They wore the garter on the left arm, and some are shown on their tombstones with this arrangement.
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In , a proposal was made to revive the use of robes for the wives of knights in ceremonies, but this did not occur. Queens consort have been made Ladies of the Garter since Queens Alexandra in ,  Mary in and Elizabeth in The first woman to be granted a knighthood in modern Britain seems to have been H. Her daughter received the same honor in , as well as her granddaughter in The order was open to "princes and chiefs" without distinction of gender.
The first European woman to have been granted an order of knighthood was Queen Mary, when she was made a Knight Grand Commander of the same order, by special statute, in celebration of the Delhi Durbar of The other was possibly for a female knight. Here is a quote from Menestrier, a 17th-century writer on chivalry: "It was not always necessary to be the wife of a knight in order to take this title. Sometimes, when some male fiefs were conceded by special privilege to women, they took the rank of chevaleresse, as one sees plainly in Hemricourt where women who were not wives of knights are called chevaleresses.
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It was the first religious order of knighthood to grant the rank of militissa to women. However, this order was suppressed by Sixtus V in In his Glossarium s. Gertrude in Nivelles Brabant , after a probation of 3 years, are made knights militissae at the altar, by a male knight called in for that purpose, who gives them the accolade with a sword and pronounces the usual words. The inhabitants [of Tortosa] being at length reduced to great streights, desired relief of the Earl, but he, being not in a condition to give them any, they entertained some thoughts of making a surrender.
Which the Women hearing of, to prevent the disaster threatening their City, themselves, and Children, put on men's Clothes, and by a resolute sally, forced the Moors to raise the Siege. The Earl, finding himself obliged, by the gallentry of the action, thought fit to make his acknowlegements thereof, by granting them several Privileges and Immunities, and to perpetuate the memory of so signal an attempt, instituted an Order, somewhat like a Military Order, into which were admitted only those Brave Women, deriving the honour to their Descendants, and assigned them for a Badge, a thing like a Fryars Capouche, sharp at the top, after the form of a Torch, and of a crimson colour, to be worn upon their Head-clothes.
He also ordained, that at all publick meetings, the women should have precedence of the Men. That they should be exempted from all Taxes, and that all the Apparel and Jewels, though of never so great value, left by their dead Husbands, should be their own. These Women having thus acquired this Honour by their personal Valour, carried themselves after the Military Knights of those days. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 29 September For other uses, see knight disambiguation and knights disambiguation. For the Roman social class sometimes referred to as "knights", see Equites.
Further information: Bucellarii. Main article: Accolade. Main article: Chivalry. Main article: Tournament medieval. Main article: Knight-errant. Main article: Military history.
Further information: Chivalric order. Further information: Military order society. Main article: Spanish military orders. El-Felys Creations. Knights were often vassals, or lesser nobles, who fought on behalf of lords in return for land. New York: Crescent Books. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved LEO German-English dictionary. Martin H. Jones and Roy Wisbey. Suffolk: D. Brewer, The knight in medieval England, Conshohocken, PA: Combined Books.
A Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Macmillan Company. Retrieved 18 January Houghton Mifflin Company. Papers from the sixth Strawberry Hill Conference Woodbridge, England: Boydell. Technological Solutions, Inc. How Stuff Works. January 22, History World. Charles Anderson Read ed. The Cabinet of Irish Literature, Vol. The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. November 15, Historical Dictionary of Late Medieval England: — Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Greenwood August 15, Oxford University Press; 1st edition July 22, Boydell Press November 18, Gladiators: From Spartacus to Spitfires.
Canary Press August 15, Chapter: Pas D'armes. The image of aristocracy in Britain, — 1. London: Routledge. Retrieved 4 December Origins of Heraldry. Procter Press, London: A Study of "Don Quixote". Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta. The Knight in History. Harper Perennial July 26, Introduction: What is a Knight. All Things Medieval. The Independent. Archived from the original on London: Burke's Peerage Limited. The London Gazette Supplement. The London Gazette.
West Bow Press. May 22, Arnold, Benjamin. German Knighthood, Oxford: Clarendon Press , Feudal Society , 2nd ed. Translated by Manyon. Bluth, B. Marching with Sharpe. London: Collins, Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press , An Historical Guide to Arms and Armour. London: Studio Editions, Boydell Press, Woodbridge Clark, Hugh The replacement of the longbow by handguns.
Embleton, Gerry. Medieval Military Costume. UK: Crowood Press, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, Keen, Maurice. Yale University Press, Laing, Lloyd and Jennifer Laing. Medieval Britain: The Age of Chivalry. New York: St. Martin's Press , A Knight and his Horse , 2nd ed. The Medieval Knight at War. Although the Templars were opposed by those who rejected the idea of a religious military order and later by those who criticized their wealth and influence, they were supported by many secular and religious leaders.
Beginning in , Hugh undertook a tour of Europe and was well received by many nobles, who made significant donations to the knights. The Templars obtained further sanction at the Council of Troyes in , which may have requested that Bernard of Clairvaux compose the new rule. Bernard also wrote In Praise of the New Knighthood c. In Pope Innocent II issued a bull that granted the order special privileges: the Templars were allowed to build their own oratories and were not required to pay the tithe; they were also exempt from episcopal jurisdiction, being subject to the pope alone.
The rule of the order was modeled after the Benedictine Rule , especially as understood and implemented by the Cistercians. The Knights Templar swore an oath of poverty, chastity, and obedience and renounced the world, just as the Cistercians and other monks did. Like the monks, the Templars heard the divine office during each of the canonical hours of the day and were expected to honour the fasts and vigils of the monastic calendar.
They were frequently found in prayer and expressed particular veneration to the Virgin Mary. They were not allowed to gamble, swear, or become drunk and were required to live in community, sleeping in a common dormitory and eating meals together. They were not, however, strictly cloistered, as were the monks, nor were they expected to perform devotional reading most Templars were uneducated and unable to read Latin.
The Templars gradually expanded their duties from protecting pilgrims to mounting a broader defense of the Crusader states in the Holy Land.
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They built castles, garrisoned important towns, and participated in battles, fielding significant contingents against Muslim armies until the fall of Acre , the last remaining Crusader stronghold in the Holy Land, in By the midth century the constitution of the order and its basic structure were established. It was headed by a grand master, who was elected for life and served in Jerusalem.
Templar territories were divided into provinces, which were governed by provincial commanders, and each individual house, called a preceptory, was headed by a preceptor. General chapter meetings of all members of the order were held to address important matters affecting the Templars and to elect a new master when necessary.
Similar meetings were held at the provincial level and on a weekly basis in each house. The Templars were originally divided into two classes: knights and sergeants. The knight-brothers came from the military aristocracy and were trained in the arts of war. They assumed elite leadership positions in the order and served at royal and papal courts. The sergeants, or serving-brothers, who were usually from lower social classes, made up the majority of members. They dressed in black habits and served as both warriors and servants.
The Templars eventually added a third class, the chaplains, who were responsible for holding religious services, administering the sacraments, and addressing the spiritual needs of the other members. Although women were not allowed to join the order, there seems to have been at least one Templar nunnery.
The Templars eventually acquired great wealth.
The kings and great nobles of Spain , France, and England gave lordships, castles, seigniories, and estates to the order, so that by the midth century the Templars owned properties scattered throughout western Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Holy Land. The Templars were not without enemies, however. They had long engaged in a bitter rivalry with the other great military order of Europe, the Hospitallers , and, by the late 13th century, proposals were being made to merge the two contentious orders into one. Philip accused the Templars of heresy and immorality; specific charges against them included idol worship of a bearded male head said to have great powers , worship of a cat, homosexuality , and numerous other errors of belief and practice.
The charges, now recognized to be without foundation, were calculated to stoke contemporary fears of heretics, witches, and demons and were similar to allegations Philip had used against Pope Boniface VIII. The reasons why Philip sought to destroy the Templars are unclear; he may have genuinely feared their power and been motivated by his own piety to destroy a heretical group, or he may have simply seen an opportunity to seize their immense wealth, being chronically short of money himself.
At any rate, Philip mercilessly pursued the order and had many of its members tortured to secure false confessions.