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Knighthood, however, was not hereditary, though only the sons of a knight were eligible to its ranks.

In boyhood they were sent to the court of some noble, where they were trained in the use of horses and weapons, and were taught lessons of courtesy.

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In the military sense, chivalry was the heavy cavalry of the Middle Ages which constituted the chief and most effective warlike force.

The knight or The medieval army was poorly equipped for long-distance fighting, and bows and crossbows were still employed, although the Church endeavored to prohibit their use, at least between Christian armies, as contrary to humanity.

Even prior to the Crusades, however, an anticipation of this attitude is found in the custom called the "Truce of God".

It was then that the clergy seized upon the opportunity offered by these truces to exact from the rough warriors of feudal times a religious vow to use their weapons chiefly for the protection of the weak and defenseless, especially women and orphans, and of churches.

The secular brotherhood had, like the regular its rule imposing on its members fidelity to their; lords and to their word, fair play on the battlefield, and the observance of the maxims of honour and courtesy.

Medieval chivalry, moreover, opened a new chapter in the history of literature.This heroic spirit had also its notable representatives among the secular crusaders, as Godfrey of Bouillon, Tancred of Normandy, Richard Couer de Lion, and above all Louis IX of France, in whom knighthood was crowned by sanctity.Like the monastic, the knightly vow bound with common ties warriors of every nation and condition, and enrolled them in a vast brotherhood of manners, ideals, and aims.No knight was thought to be properly equipped without at least three horses: These attendants, who were of low condition, were not to be confounded with the armed retainers, who formed the escort of a knight. There was a sharp distinction between the pennon, a flag pointed or forked at the extremity, used by a single chevalier or bachelor as a personal ensign, and the banner, square in form, used as the ensign of a band and reserved to the baron or baronet in command of a group of at least ten knights, called a constabulary.From the thirteenth century the squires also went armed and mounted and, passing from one grade to the other, were raised finally to knighthood. Each flag or banner was emblazoned with the arms of its owner to distinguish one from another on the battlefield.In the ceremonial of conferring knighthood the Church shared, through the blessing of the sword, and by the virtue of this blessing chivalry assumed a religious character.

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