Gustav I of Sweden
Gustav I, born Gustav Eriksson of the Vasa noble family and known as Gustav Vasa, was King of Sweden from 1523 until his death in 1560 self-recognised Protector of the Realm from 1521, during the ongoing Swedish War of Liberation against King Christian II of Denmark and Sweden. Of low standing, Gustav rose to lead the rebel movement following the Stockholm Bloodbath, in which his father perished. Gustav's election as King on 6 June 1523 and his triumphant entry into Stockholm eleven days marked Sweden's final secession from the Kalmar Union; as king, Gustav proved an enigmatic administrator with a ruthless streak not inferior to his predecessor's, brutally suppressing subsequent uprisings. He worked to raise taxes and bring about a Reformation in Sweden, replacing the prerogatives of local landowners and clergy with centrally appointed governors and bishops, his 37-year rule, the longest of a mature Swedish king to that date saw a complete break with not only the Danish supremacy but the Roman Catholic Church, whose assets were nationalised, with the Lutheran Church of Sweden established under his personal control.
He became the first autocratic native Swedish sovereign and was a skilled bureaucrat and propagandist, with tales of his fictitious adventures during the liberation struggle still widespread to date. In 1544, he abolished Medieval Sweden's elective monarchy and replaced it with a hereditary monarchy under the House of Vasa and its successors, including the current House of Bernadotte. Due to a vibrant dynastic succession, three of his sons, Erik XIV, Johan III and Karl IX, all held the kingship at different points. Gustav I has subsequently been labelled the founder of modern Sweden, the "father of the nation". Gustav liked to compare himself to Moses, whom he believed to have liberated his people and established a sovereign state; as a person, Gustav was known for ruthless methods and a bad temper, but a fondness for music and had a certain sly wit and ability to outmaneuver and annihilate his opponents. He founded one of the now oldest orchestras of the Kungliga Hovkapellet. Royal housekeeping accounts from 1526 mention twelve musicians including wind players and a timpanist but no string players.
Today the Kungliga Hovkapellet is the orchestra of the Royal Swedish Opera. Gustav Eriksson, a son of Cecilia Månsdotter Eka and Erik Johansson Vasa, was born in 1496; the birth most took place in Rydboholm Castle, northeast of Stockholm, the manor house of the father, Erik. The newborn got his name, from Erik's grandfather Gustav Anundsson. Erik Johansson's parents were Johan Kristersson and Birgitta Gustafsdotter of the dynasties Vasa and Sture both dynasties of high nobility. Birgitta Gustafsdotter was regent of Sweden. Being a relative and ally of uncle Sten Sture, Erik inherited the regent's estates in Uppland and Södermanland when the latter died in 1503. Although a member of a family with considerable properties since childhood, Gustav Eriksson would be the holder of possessions of a much greater dimension. According to genealogical research, Birgitta Gustafsdotter and Sten Sture were descended from King Sverker II of Sweden, through King Sverker's granddaughter Benedikte Sunesdotter. One of King Gustav's great-grandmothers was a half-sister of King Charles VIII of Sweden.
Since the end of the 14th century, Sweden had been a part of the Kalmar Union with Denmark and Norway. The Danish dominance in this union led to uprisings in Sweden. During Gustav's childhood, parts of the Swedish nobility tried to make Sweden independent. Gustav and his father Erik supported the party of Sten Sture the Younger, regent of Sweden from 1512, its struggle against the Danish King Christian II. Following the battle of Brännkyrka in 1518, where Sten Sture's troops beat the Danish forces, it was decided that Sten Sture and King Christian would meet in Österhaninge for negotiations. To guarantee the safety of the king, the Swedish side sent six men as hostages to be kept by the Danes for as long as the negotiations lasted. However, Christian did not show up for the negotiations, violated the deal with the Swedish side and took the hostages aboard ships carrying them to Copenhagen; the six members of the kidnapped hostage were Hemming Gadh, Lars Siggesson, Jöran Siggesson, Olof Ryning, Bengt Nilsson – and Gustav Eriksson.
Gustav was held in Kalø Castle where he was treated well after promising he would not make attempts to escape. A reason for this gentle treatment was King Christian's hope to convince the six men to switch sides, turn against their leader Sten Sture; this strategy was successful regarding all men but Gustav. In 1519, Gustav Eriksson escaped from Kalø, he fled to the Hanseatic city of Lübeck. How he managed to escape is not certain, but according to a somewhat story, he disguised himself as a bullocky. For this, Gustav Eriksson got the nicknames "King Oxtail" and "Gustav Cow Butt", something he indeed disliked; when a swordsman drank to His Majesty "Gustav Cow Butt" in Kalmar in 1547, the swordsman was killed. While staying in Lübeck, Gustav could hear about developments in his native Sweden. While he was there, Christian II mobilised to attack Sweden in an effort to seize power from Sten Sture and his supporters. In 1
John III of Sweden
John III was King of Sweden from 1568 until his death. He was the son of his second wife Margaret Leijonhufvud, he was quite autonomously, the ruler of Finland, as Duke John from 1556 to 1563. In 1581 he assumed the title Grand Prince of Finland, he attained the Swedish throne after a rebellion against his half-brother Eric XIV. He is remembered for his attempts to close the gap between the newly established Lutheran Church of Sweden and the Catholic church, his first wife was Catherine Jagellonica of the Polish-Lithuanian ruling family, their son Sigismund ascended both the Polish-Lithuanian and Swedish thrones. He was the second son of Gustav Vasa, his mother was a Swedish noblewoman. As a Duke of Finland, he opposed his half-brother Eric XIV of Sweden and was imprisoned in 1563. After his release from prison because of his brother's insanity, John again joined the opposition, deposed Eric and made himself the king, his important ally was his maternal uncle Sten Leijonhufvud, who at deathbed was made Count of Raseborg.
Shortly after this John executed his brother's most trusted counsellor, Jöran Persson, whom he held responsible for his harsh treatment while in prison. John further initiated peace talks with Denmark and Lübeck to end the Scandinavian Seven Years' War, but rejected the resulting Treaties of Roskilde where his envoys had accepted far-reaching Danish demands. After two more years of fighting, this war was concluded without many Swedish concessions in the Treaty of Stettin. During the following years he fought Russia in the Livonian War, concluded by the Treaty of Plussa in 1583, a war that meant a Swedish reconquest of Narva; as a whole his foreign policy was affected by his connection to Poland of which country his son Sigismund III Vasa was made king in 1587. In domestic politics John showed clear Catholic sympathies, inspired by his Polish queen, a fact that created frictions to the Swedish clergy and nobility, he sought to enlist the help of the papacy in gaining release of his wife's family assets, which were frozen in Naples.
He allowed Jesuits to secretly staff the Royal Theological College in Stockholm. However, John himself was a learned follower of the mediating theologian George Cassander, he sought reconciliation between Rome and Wittenberg on the basis of the consensus of the first five centuries of Christianity. John approved the publication of the Lutheran Swedish Church Order of Archbishop Laurentius Petri in 1571 but got the church to approve an addendum to the church order in 1575, Nova ordinantia ecclesiastica that displayed a return to patristic sources; this set the stage for his promulgation of the Swedish-Latin Red Book, which reintroduced several Catholic customs and resulted in the Liturgical Struggle, not to end for twenty years. In 1575, he gave his permission for the remaining Catholic convents in Sweden to start receiving novices again. From time to time he was at odds theologically with his younger brother Duke Charles of Sudermannia, who had Calvinist sympathies, did not promote King John's Liturgy in his duchy.
John III was an eager patron of architecture. In January 1569, John was recognized as king by the same riksdag that forced Eric XIV off the throne, but this recognition was not without influence from John. The nobilities' power and rights were extended and their responsibilities lessened. John was still concerned about his position as king as long; the fear of a possible liberation of the locked up king worried him to the point that in 1571 he ordered the guards to, in any suspicion of liberation attempt, murder the captured king. It is possible this is how his life ended in 1577. John III was reported like his father in propaganda, with repeated claims to have "liberated Sweden" from the "bloodhound" Christian II, as well as rescuing the population from the "tyrant" Eric XIV. John married his first wife, Catherine Jagellonica of Poland, house of Jagiello, in Vilnius on 4 October 1562. In Sweden, she is known as Katarina Jagellonica, she was the sister of king Sigismund II Augustus of Poland. Their children were: Isabella Sigismund, King of Sweden, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Finland and Lithuania Anna He married his second wife Gunilla Bielke on 21 February 1584.
The young duke married his first cousin Maria Elisabet, daughter of Charles IX of Sweden With his mistress Karin Hansdotter he had at least four illegitimate children: Sofia Gyllenhielm, who married Pontus De la Gardie Augustus Gyllenhielm Julius Gyllenhielm Lucretia Gyllenhielm John cared for Karin and their children after he married Catherine Jagellonica, in 1562. He got Karin a husband who would care for her and the children: in 1561, she married nobleman Klas Andersson, a friend and servant of John, they had a daughter named Brita. He continued supporting Karin and his illegitimate children as king, from 1568. In 1572 Karin married again, as her first husband was executed for treason by Eric XIV in 1563, to a Lars Henrikson, whom John ennobled in 1576 to care for his issue with Karin; the same year, he made his daughter Sofia a lady in the castle, as a servant to his sist
The Renaissance is a period in European history, covering the span between the 14th and 17th centuries and marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity. The traditional view focuses more on the early modern aspects of the Renaissance and argues that it was a break from the past, but many historians today focus more on its medieval aspects and argue that it was an extension of the middle ages; the intellectual basis of the Renaissance was its version of humanism, derived from the concept of Roman Humanitas and the rediscovery of classical Greek philosophy, such as that of Protagoras, who said that "Man is the measure of all things." This new thinking became manifest in art, politics and literature. Early examples were the development of perspective in oil painting and the recycled knowledge of how to make concrete. Although the invention of metal movable type sped the dissemination of ideas from the 15th century, the changes of the Renaissance were not uniformly experienced across Europe: the first traces appear in Italy as early as the late 13th century, in particular with the writings of Dante and the paintings of Giotto.
As a cultural movement, the Renaissance encompassed innovative flowering of Latin and vernacular literatures, beginning with the 14th-century resurgence of learning based on classical sources, which contemporaries credited to Petrarch. In politics, the Renaissance contributed to the development of the customs and conventions of diplomacy, in science to an increased reliance on observation and inductive reasoning. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term "Renaissance man"; the Renaissance began in the 14th century in Italy. Various theories have been proposed to account for its origins and characteristics, focusing on a variety of factors including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at the time: its political structure, the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici, the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks.
Other major centres were northern Italian city-states such as Venice, Milan and Rome during the Renaissance Papacy. The Renaissance has a long and complex historiography, and, in line with general scepticism of discrete periodizations, there has been much debate among historians reacting to the 19th-century glorification of the "Renaissance" and individual culture heroes as "Renaissance men", questioning the usefulness of Renaissance as a term and as a historical delineation; the art historian Erwin Panofsky observed of this resistance to the concept of "Renaissance": It is no accident that the factuality of the Italian Renaissance has been most vigorously questioned by those who are not obliged to take a professional interest in the aesthetic aspects of civilization – historians of economic and social developments and religious situations, most natural science – but only exceptionally by students of literature and hardly by historians of Art. Some observers have called into question whether the Renaissance was a cultural "advance" from the Middle Ages, instead seeing it as a period of pessimism and nostalgia for classical antiquity, while social and economic historians of the longue durée, have instead focused on the continuity between the two eras, which are linked, as Panofsky observed, "by a thousand ties".
The word Renaissance meaning "Rebirth", first appeared in English in the 1830s. The word occurs in Jules Michelet's 1855 work, Histoire de France; the word Renaissance has been extended to other historical and cultural movements, such as the Carolingian Renaissance and the Renaissance of the 12th century. The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period. Beginning in Italy, spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence was felt in literature, art, politics, science and other aspects of intellectual inquiry. Renaissance scholars employed the humanist method in study, searched for realism and human emotion in art. Renaissance humanists such as Poggio Bracciolini sought out in Europe's monastic libraries the Latin literary and oratorical texts of Antiquity, while the Fall of Constantinople generated a wave of émigré Greek scholars bringing precious manuscripts in ancient Greek, many of which had fallen into obscurity in the West.
It is in their new focus on literary and historical texts that Renaissance scholars differed so markedly from the medieval scholars of the Renaissance of the 12th century, who had focused on studying Greek and Arabic works of natural sciences and mathematics, rather than on such cultural texts. In the revival of neo-Platonism Renaissance humanists did not reject Christianity. However, a subtle shift took place in the way that intellectuals approached religion, reflected in many other areas of cultural life. In addition, many Greek Christian works, including the Greek New Testament, were brought back from Byzantium to Western Europe and engaged Western scholars for the first time since late antiquity; this new engagement with Greek Christian works, the return to the original Greek of the Ne
Armor of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
The Armor of Emperor Ferdinand I is a suit of plate armor created by the Nuremberg armorer Kunz Lochner in 1549 for the future Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor. One of several suits of armor made for the Emperor Ferdinand during the wars of Reformation and conflict with the Ottomans, the etched but functional armor is thought by scholars to symbolize and document the role of the Habsburg Catholic monarchs as warriors on Europe's literal and ideological battlefields; the armor is dominated by etched symbolism of the Madonna and Child as Woman of the Apocalypse atop a crescent moon on the breastplate, echoing the design on an armor of his brother Charles V at the Royal Armoury of Madrid. On the backplate, a fire-steel, a Burgundian emblem originated by Philip the Good, sits at a saltire of crossed branches under Saints Peter and Paul in architectural settings. In function, it is a working piece of field armor intended for military use, rather than parade armor, the etching technique allowed elaboration and complexity in its design, without diminishing the defensive capabilities of the piece.
Ferdinand's then-status as King of the Romans is symbolized by a crowned doubled-headed Reichsadler eagle on the toe caps of the sabatons covering his feet. The armor is stamped with the "N" mark for Nuremberg and the city's half-eagle coat of arms, has the date "1549" included three times in the etched decoration; these and the fantastical figures, arranged in triple bands imitative of a Spanish doublet, the scrollwork filled with tritons and other creatures, suggest Lochner as the armorer. The armor was acquired by the German collector Franz, Count of Erbach-Erbach in the 19th century and was thought to be that of Albert V, Duke of Bavaria, kept by Franz and his heirs at Erbach Castle, is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the identification with Ferdinand I was first made by the director of the armory at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, on the basis of the wearer's slight build and short height, straight back, slim waist and long arms, the similarity to his other documented armors, the Reichsadler eagle on the sabatons.
When the identification was made with Albert V, it had been assumed it was made for him as a young man, as he gained weight in life. Albert was a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece, the imperial insignia could be seen as representing his marriage to Ferdinand's daughter. Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor Parade Armour of Henry II of France Plate armor Propaganda during the Reformation
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous urban area in the Nordic countries. The city stretches across fourteen islands. Just outside the city and along the coast is the island chain of the Stockholm archipelago; the area has been settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC, was founded as a city in 1252 by Swedish statesman Birger Jarl. It is the capital of Stockholm County. Stockholm is the cultural, media and economic centre of Sweden; the Stockholm region alone accounts for over a third of the country's GDP, is among the top 10 regions in Europe by GDP per capita. It is an important global city, the main centre for corporate headquarters in the Nordic region; the city is home to some of Europe's top ranking universities, such as the Stockholm School of Economics, Karolinska Institute and Royal Institute of Technology. It hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies and banquet at the Stockholm Concert Hall and Stockholm City Hall. One of the city's most prized museums, the Vasa Museum, is the most visited non-art museum in Scandinavia.
The Stockholm metro, opened in 1950, is well known for the decor of its stations. Sweden's national football arena is located north of the city centre, in Solna. Ericsson Globe, the national indoor arena, is in the southern part of the city; the city was the host of the 1912 Summer Olympics, hosted the equestrian portion of the 1956 Summer Olympics otherwise held in Melbourne, Australia. Stockholm is the seat of the Swedish government and most of its agencies, including the highest courts in the judiciary, the official residencies of the Swedish monarch and the Prime Minister; the government has its seat in the Rosenbad building, the Riksdag is seated in the Parliament House, the Prime Minister's residence is adjacent at Sager House. Stockholm Palace is the official residence and principal workplace of the Swedish monarch, while Drottningholm Palace, a World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Stockholm, serves as the Royal Family's private residence. After the Ice Age, around 8,000 BC, there were many people living in what is today the Stockholm area, but as temperatures dropped, inhabitants moved south.
Thousands of years as the ground thawed, the climate became tolerable and the lands became fertile, people began to migrate back to the North. At the intersection of the Baltic Sea and lake Mälaren is an archipelago site where the Old Town of Stockholm was first built from about 1000 CE by Vikings, they had a positive trade impact on the area because of the trade routes they created. Stockholm's location appears in Norse sagas as Agnafit, in Heimskringla in connection with the legendary king Agne; the earliest written mention of the name Stockholm dates from 1252, by which time the mines in Bergslagen made it an important site in the iron trade. The first part of the name means log in Swedish, although it may be connected to an old German word meaning fortification; the second part of the name means islet, is thought to refer to the islet Helgeandsholmen in central Stockholm. According to Eric Chronicles the city is said to have been founded by Birger Jarl to protect Sweden from sea invasions made by Karelians after the pillage of Sigtuna on Lake Mälaren in the summer of 1187.
Stockholm's core, the present Old Town was built on the central island next to Helgeandsholmen from the mid-13th century onward. The city rose to prominence as a result of the Baltic trade of the Hanseatic League. Stockholm developed strong economic and cultural linkages with Lübeck, Gdańsk, Visby and Riga during this time. Between 1296 and 1478 Stockholm's City Council was made up of 24 members, half of whom were selected from the town's German-speaking burghers; the strategic and economic importance of the city made Stockholm an important factor in relations between the Danish Kings of the Kalmar Union and the national independence movement in the 15th century. The Danish King Christian II was able to enter the city in 1520. On 8 November 1520 a massacre of opposition figures called the Stockholm Bloodbath took place and set off further uprisings that led to the breakup of the Kalmar Union. With the accession of Gustav Vasa in 1523 and the establishment of a royal power, the population of Stockholm began to grow, reaching 10,000 by 1600.
The 17th century saw Sweden grow into a major European power, reflected in the development of the city of Stockholm. From 1610 to 1680 the population multiplied sixfold. In 1634, Stockholm became the official capital of the Swedish empire. Trading rules were created that gave Stockholm an essential monopoly over trade between foreign merchants and other Swedish and Scandinavian territories. In 1697, Tre Kronor was replaced by Stockholm Palace. In 1710, a plague killed about 20,000 of the population. After the end of the Great Northern War the city stagnated. Population growth halted and economic growth slowed; the city was in shock after having lost its place as the capital of a Great power. However, Stockholm maintained its role as the political centre of Sweden and continued to develop culturally under Gustav III. By the second half of the 19th century, Stockholm had regained its leading economic role. New industries emerged and Stockholm was transformed into an important trade and service centre as well as a key gateway point within Sweden.
The population grew during this time through immigration. At the end
A hallmark is an official mark or series of marks struck on items made of metal to certify the content of noble metals—such as platinum, silver and in some nations, palladium. In a more general sense, the term hallmark can be used to refer to any distinguishing characteristic. Hallmarks were applied by a trusted party: the'guardians of the craft' or more by an assay office. Hallmarks are a guarantee of certain purity or fineness of the metal, as determined by official metal testing. Hallmarks are confused with "trademarks" or "maker's marks". A hallmark is not the mark of a manufacturer to distinguish his products from other manufacturers' products:, the function of trademarks or makers' marks. To be a true hallmark, it must be the guarantee of an independent body or authority that the contents are as marked. Thus, a stamp of'925' by itself is not speaking, a hallmark, but is rather an unattested fineness mark. Many nations require, as a prerequisite to official hallmarking, that the maker or sponsor itself marks upon the item a responsibility mark and a claim of fineness.
Responsibility marks are required in the US if metal fineness is claimed though there is no official hallmarking scheme there. In nations with an official hallmarking scheme, the hallmark is only applied after the item has been assayed to determine that its purity conforms not only to the standards set down by the law but with the maker's claims as to metal content. In some nations, such as the UK, the hallmark is made up of several elements, including: a mark denoting the type of metal, the maker/sponsor's mark and the year of the marking. In England, the year of marking commences on May 19, the Feast Day of Saint Dunstan, patron saint of gold- and silversmiths. In other nations, such as Poland, the hallmark is a single mark indicating metal and fineness, augmented by a responsibility mark. Within a group of nations which are signatories to an international convention known as the Vienna Convention on the Control of the Fineness and the Hallmarking of Precious Metal Objects, optional yet official, marks may be struck by the assay office.
These can ease import obligations between the signatory states. Signatory countries each have a single representative hallmark which would be struck next to the Convention mark which represents the metal and fineness; the control or inspection of precious metals was an ancient concept of examination and marking, by means of inspection stamps. The use of hallmarks, at first on silver, has a long history dating back to the 4th century AD — there is evidence of silver bars marked under authority of the Emperor Augustinian around AD 350 — and represents the oldest known form of consumer protection. A series or system of five marks has been found on Byzantine silver dating from this period, though their interpretation is still not resolved. From the Late Middle Ages, hallmarking was administered by local governments through authorized assayers; these assayers examined precious metal objects, under the auspices of the state, before the object could be offered for public sale. By the age of the Craft Guilds, the authorized examiner's mark was the "master's mark", which consisted of his initials and/or the coat of arms of the goldsmith or silversmith.
At one time, there was no distinction between silversmiths and goldsmiths, who were all referred to as orfèvres, the French word for goldsmith. The Master Craftsman was responsible for the quality of the work that left his atelier or workshop, regardless of who made the item. Hence the responsibility mark is still known today in French as le poinçon de maître "the maker's punch". In this period, fineness was more or less standardized in the major European nations at 20 karats for gold and 12 to 13 lots for silver, but the standards could only be enforced, owing to the lack of precise analytical tools and techniques. Hallmarking is Europe's earliest form of consumer protection. Modern hallmarking in Europe appears first in France, with the Goldsmiths Statute of 1260 promulgated under Etienne Boileau, Provost of Paris, for King Louis IX. A standard for silver was thus established. In 1275, King Philip III prescribed, by royal decree, the mark for use on silver works, along with specific punches for each community's smiths.
In 1313, his successor, Philippe IV "the Fair" expanded the use of hallmarks to gold works. In 1300 King Edward I of England enacted a statute requiring that all silver articles must meet the sterling silver standard and must be assayed in this regard by'guardians of the craft' who would mark the item with a leopard's head. In 1327 King Edward III of England granted a charter to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, marking the beginning of the Company's formal existence; this entity was headquartered in London at Goldsmiths' Hall, from whence the English term "hallmark" is derived. In 1424, the French cardinal Jean de Brogny, after consulting a council of eight Master Goldsmiths from Geneva, enacted a regulation on the purity and hallmarking of silver objects for application in Geneva. Although gold was used for articles, the regulation was silent on standards and hallmarking for gold. In Switzerland today, only precious metal watch cases must be hallmarked; the hallmarking of other items including silverware and jewelry is optional.
In 1355, individual maker marks were introduced in France. This concept was mi
A knight is a man granted an honorary title of knighthood by a monarch, bishop or other political or religious leader for service to the monarch or a Christian church in a military capacity. In Europe, knighthood was 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. A knight was a vassal who served as an elite fighter, a bodyguard or a mercenary for a lord, with payment in the form of land holdings; the lords trusted the knights. Knighthood in the Middle Ages was linked with horsemanship 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 and related terms. The special prestige accorded to mounted warriors in Christendom finds a parallel in the furusiyya in the Muslim world, the Greek hippeis and Roman eques of classical antiquity.
In the late medieval period, new methods of warfare began to render classical knights in armour obsolete, but the titles remained in many nations. The ideals of chivalry were popularized in medieval literature the literary cycles known as the Matter of France, relating to the legendary companions of Charlemagne and his men-at-arms, the paladins, the Matter of Britain, relating to the legend of King Arthur and his Round Table. Today, a number of orders of knighthood continue to exist in Christian Churches, as well as in several Christian countries and their former territories, such as the Roman Catholic Order of the Holy Sepulchre and Order of Malta, the Protestant Order of Saint John, as well as the English Order of the Garter, the Swedish Royal Order of the Seraphim, the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav; each of these orders has its own criteria for eligibility, but knighthood is granted by a head of state, monarch, or prelate to selected persons to recognise some meritorious achievement, as in the British honours system for service to the Church or country.
The modern female equivalent in the United Kingdom is Dame. The word knight, from Old English cniht, is a cognate of the German word Knecht; this meaning, of unknown origin, is common among West Germanic languages. Middle High German had the phrase guoter kneht, which meant knight; the meaning of cniht changed over time from its original meaning of "boy" to "household retainer". Ælfric's homily of St. Swithun describes a mounted retainer as a cniht. While cnihtas might have fought alongside their lords, their role as household servants features more prominently in the Anglo-Saxon texts. In several Anglo-Saxon wills cnihtas are left either money or lands. In his will, King Æthelstan leaves his cniht, eight hides of land. A rādcniht, "riding-servant", was a servant on horseback. A narrowing of the generic meaning "servant" to "military follower of a king or other superior" is visible by 1100; the specific military sense of a knight as a mounted warrior in the heavy cavalry emerges only in the Hundred Years' War.
The verb "to knight" appears around 1300. An Equestrian was a member of the second highest social class in the Roman Republic and early Roman Empire; this class is translated as "knight". In the Roman Empire, the classical Latin word for horse, was replaced in common parlance by the vulgar Latin caballus, sometimes thought to derive from Gaulish caballos. From caballus arose terms in the various Romance languages cognate with the English cavalier: Italian cavaliere, Spanish caballero, French chevalier, Portuguese cavaleiro, Romanian cavaler; the Germanic languages have terms cognate with the English rider: German Ritter, Dutch and Scandinavian ridder. These words are derived from Germanic rīdan, "to ride", in turn derived from the Proto-Indo-European root reidh-. In ancient Rome there was a knightly class Ordo Equestris; some portions of the armies of Germanic peoples who occupied Europe from the 3rd century AD onward had been mounted, some armies, such as those of the Ostrogoths, were cavalry.
However, it was the Franks who fielded armies composed of large masses of infantry, with an infantry elite, the comitatus, which rode to battle on horseback rather than marching on foot. When the armies of the Frankish ruler Charles Martel defeated the Umayyad Arab invasion at the Battle of Tours in 732, the Frankish forces were still infantry armies, with elites riding to battle but dismounting to fight. In the Early Medieval period any well-equipped horseman could be described as a knight, or miles in Latin; the first knights appeared during the reign of Charlemagne in the 8th century. As the Carolingian Age progressed, the Franks were on the attack, larger numbers of warriors took to their horses to ride with the Emperor in his wide-ranging campaigns of conquest. At about this time the Franks remained on horseback to fight on the battlefield as true cavalry rather than mounted in