Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Look at this picture. What do you see? Not as in the metal, nor the armor, but beyond that. Do you seen the blood of thousands of warriors who died in defense of their cause? The valor of shining knights marching to their doom? The hearts of romantics who cast off all hope of acquiring a mate after rejected by their first true love?

Few people see this, and it is to be expected. After what the legacy of the paladins has degenerated to in modern life, the sacred office of paladinhood is not as respected nor feared as it was in times long past. A suit of armor such as the gothic full plate mail pictured here would force most peasants and lower gentry onto their knees in a show of respect to its bearer. Not today, however. A nod in recognition of great deeds once done is all that a great warrior gets from scholars today. They sacrificed their lives for a great cause, and they are due their respect. This page is a tribute to the legacy of the paladin. In this section, I hope to teach, enlighten, and maybe bestow upon you a semblance of recognition of those who gave their lives for this most noble cause.

The Paladin - Where did it come from?
       After the conquest of England in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, the ruler of England, William
       the Conqueror, brought about the monarchial system in order to expand his empire while
       simultaneously maintaining full command without peer. In order to do this, he brought with him a
       number of French peasants known as the cniht. The cniht were crude in mannerism and
       appearance, but were given respect to their ornate and powerful armors, and excellent skill with
       horsemanship, an ability held in regard. At the advent of the feudal system, the need for skilled
       soldiers to protect the sovereign lands that the king leased to his lords grew, the cniht were
       considered ideal for this position and were granted estates, properties, farmland, and peasant
       labor as pay. This elevated the status of the knights to upper-class gentry.

       The knights' social status reached its peak when, in the 11th century, the church gave its official
       sanction to the knights and declared that the order of knighthood was a sacred office, and made
       the ordainment of new knights into a holy ritual. This, done out of a need to promote order in a
       time of despair and chaos, bestowed upon the knights new responsibilities, formally defined in
       the code of chivalry: a set of principles based on religious ideals. While still the lowest of the
       upper classes, the knight now epitomized the highest standards of moral behavior and was
       admired by peasants and royalty alike.

The Paladin - What is it?
       The Paladin originated far prior to the advent of the knight, though this may seem
       contradictory. In the 8th century AD, the militant-ruler Charlemagne created the Twelve
       Paladins of Charlemagne, a group of twelve powerful soldiers who commanded Charlemagne's
       troops and protected him from bodily harm. The most famous, a paladin named Roland, was
       immortalized in the Song of Roland, a poem depicting his epic death while holding off enemy
       forces to allow Charlemagne more time to retaliate.

       However, the knightly orders that held themselves to what we now call the Chivalric Code
       began during the Crusades, in the 11th century AD. The first order of Paladins were formed
       when knights stormed into Italy en route to the Holy Land. Having already fought battles with
       indigenous peoples, a small number of warriors and pilgrims stayed behind to have their
       wounds tended by a monk named Gerard. Gerard had formed hospitals and shrines in order to
       tend these men, and in thanks for Gerard's healing, they formed the Knights Hospitaler,
       comprised of monks and knights who healed their wounded as well as fought. Another
       Paladinic order was formed when a group of 8 badly wounded warriors took refuge in the
       castle of King Baldwin I, ruler of Jerusalem. Having stationed them in the Jewish Temple, they
       formed a knightly order known as the Knights Templar.

       Being the most famous and powerful, the Knights Templar are looked upon as the first
       Paladinic order, as we envision it in our minds. They fought for duty and deity, maintaining their
       devotion without coercion or expectation of reward, idealizing righteousness in their behavior.
       Through their endeavors, the 20,000 Knights Templar gained substantial amounts of money
       from their sponsors. However, in 1307, King Philip the Fair accused the Knights Templar of
       heresy and tortured many of their high officials, forcing them to confess to false crimes. Using
       this as a evidence, Philip disbanded the Knights Templar and seized their wealth to add to his
       personal coffers.

The Code of Chivalry
       Though almost completely without practical application today, the Code of Chivalry (along with
       its counterparts around the world) was the single source that defined the expected daily
       behavior of knights.

The Rules of Courtly Love
       Via the revival of chivalry in the mid-Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, the rules of
       courtly love were created in order to bring chivalry into everyday life as well as the battlefield.
       Courtly love is the bond that forms between two people outside of marriage, where the bond of
       love is based on emotion, and not the bonds of duty and obligation that marriage bestows.

Paladins in the past
       Personally venerating the office of paladinhood, I have decided to compile a list of all of the
       paladins that were and are, both in reality and in fiction. Of course, this list is by no means
       complete, so if you notice any inconsistencies or would like to add a name, please email me.


Why is he/she a paladin?

King Arthur Though too involved in keeping the peace in Camelot (leading to the scheduled execution of his wife), Arthur was chosen by Merlin (who wielded divine power) to wield Excalibur, and in that right could be considered a paladin, though there is still some doubt.
Sir Lancelot I know, he committed adultery with Guinevere, but it was in the name of true love, and courtly love is one of the most sacred things of all. He did vow to protect King Arthur, and held to that vow until he left with Guinevere.
Sir Galahad Vowed to protect King Arthur, was unparalleled in combat, and retrieved the Holy Grail in order to please his Church. What needs to be said?
Roland One of the 12 Peers of Charlemagne, Roland is already mentioned earlier on. Read his song if you need a reason as to why he's on this list.
Ivanhoe Fought against insurmountable odds in order to free his true love, among other things.
Jeanne d'Arc Fought for Church and country in order to liberate that which she held to dear. Though there is no actual reference of her following the rules of chivalry, she did end up giving her life to strengthen her cause; an act that cannot go unnoticed.
Richard I An ardent Christian, Richard I led a crusade to reclaim the Holy Land from the Ottoman Turks. He shows them no mercy and does not hesitate to send in the Knights Templar and the Knights Hospitaler when faced by the enemy. He showed great care to his troops in the siege of Jerusalem and proved himself righteous.
Saladin A powerful fighter and a zealous follower of Islam, Saladin tried to merge all of the cultures that he encountered into a great empire. He brought good to his people and showed great devotion to his cause. He answered only to Allah and his conscience, thus making him an ideal candidate for paladinhood.