A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a monarch or other political leader for service to the monarch or country, especially in a military capacity. Historically, in Europe, knighthood has been conferred upon mounted warriors. During the High Middle Ages, knighthood was considered a class of lower nobility. By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior. Since the Early Modern period, the title of knight is purely honorific, usually bestowed by a monarch, as in the British honours system, often for non-military service to the country.

Historically, the ideals of chivalry were popularized in medieval literature, especially the Matter of Britain and Matter of France, the former based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae ("History of the Kings of Britain"), written in the 1130s. Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur ("The Death of Arthur"), written in 1485, was important in defining the ideal of chivalry which is essential to the modern concept of the knight as an elite warrior sworn to uphold the values of faith, loyalty, courage, and honour. During the Renaissance, the genre of chivalric romance became popular in literature, growing ever more idealistic and eventually giving rise to a new form of realism in literature popularised by Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote. This novel explored the ideals of knighthood and their incongruity with the reality of Cervantes' world. In the late medieval period, new methods of warfare began to render classical knights in armour obsolete, but the titles remained in many nations.

Some orders of knighthood, such as the Knights Templar, have become the subject of legend; others have disappeared into obscurity. Today, a number of orders of knighthood continue to exist in several countries, such as the English Order of the Garter, the Swedish Royal Order of the Seraphim, and the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. Each of these orders has its own criteria for eligibility, but knighthood is generally granted by a head of state to selected persons to recognise some meritorious achievement.

Knighthood in the Middle Ages was closely linked with horsemanship (and especially the joust) from its origins in the 12th century until its final flowering as a fashion among the high nobility in the Duchy of Burgundy in the 15th century. This linkage is reflected in the etymology of chivalry, cavalier and related terms (see Etymology section below). The special prestige given to mounted warriors finds a parallel in the furusiyya in the Muslim world, and the Greek hippeus and the Roman eques of Classical Antiquity.

Read more about Knight:  Etymology, Origins of Medieval Knighthood, Chivalric Code, Medieval and Renaissance Literature, Heraldry and Other Attributes

Other articles related to "knight":

Knight, Wisconsin - Demographics
... There were 122 households out of which 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.6% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older ...
Knight's Point
... Knight's Point is on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island ... from Wellington that the area had already been named Knight's Point ... The officials inquired who "Knight" was and were informed that he was the surveyor’s dog ...
Knight Marischal
... The office of Knight Marischal was first created for the Scottish coronation of Charles I in 1633, at Scone ... Unlike the separate office of Marischal, the office of Knight Marischal is not heritable, and has continued to be filled up to the death of the 11th Duke of Hamilton in 1863 ... At the time of the Jacobite rising of 1715, the Knight Marischal was a Keith, and with his kinsman George, the 10th Earl Marischal, was in rebellion ...
Faerie Knight
... The Faerie Knight was, in the Matter of Britain, a bastard son of Tom a'Lincoln and Caelia, the Faerie Queen ... Therefore, the Faerie Knight was, like Melehan, Melou and the Black Knight, Arthur's grandson ... Being half-faerie, the Faerie Knight inherited some of his mother's magical talents ...
Domination (chess)
... White blundered with 38.Kh2? allowing 38...Qd3 - this dominates the knight despite having six squares available to it, its capture cannot be avoided ... leaving a drawn position (sacrificing it for a knight would be no good, since it is possible to force mate with bishop and knight), but in this case it turns out that the rook is ... allow it to be captured or immediately lost to a knight fork (1...Re7 2.Nd5+ 1...Re3 2.Nd5+ 1...Rd4 2.Ne6+ 1...Rb4 2.Nd5+) apart from one 1...Re5 ...

Famous quotes containing the word knight:

    The Knight of the Doleful Countenance.
    Miguel De Cervantes (1547–1616)

    Nae living man I’ll love again,
    Since that my lovely knight is slain.
    Wi ae lock of his yellow hair
    I’ll chain my heart for evermair.
    —Unknown. The Lament of the Border Widow (l. 25–28)

    The knight slew the dragon,
    The lady was gay,
    They rode on together,
    Away, away.
    —Unknown. This Is the Key (l. 38–41)