Chivalry was the code of conduct by which a knight was supposed to abide.
Be loyal to his feudal lord, obey God, and be nice to the ladies.
Some took it seriously, others didn’t. It tended to break down especially towards the later Middle Ages.
The Middle Ages wasn’t a time of fairy tale castles and noble, honorable knights. It was a nasty time of political intrigue, bloody wars, and brutish men exercising their limited power in order to gain more power. Just like any other time.
The point of a knight is that he was a mounted soldier
And he was a professional soldier . We’re long past the days of the citizen soldier.
The knight was also heavily armed and armored.
This was due to an effective saddle and, more importantly, the stirrup.
We mentioned before how the stirrup strangely didn’t exist in Europe (I know, it seems like an obvious item). Without it, you couldn’t be too heavy or use weapons like lances, that would risk knocking you off your horse.
With stirrups, you could support yourself in the saddle, stand up, turn around, etc.
The chainmail would be long and a piece would sometimes cover the head.
This is mostly replaced by plate armor, but was still worn by some lesser soldiers. Was also often worn underneath the plate armor for extra protection, especially where there were gaps at the armor’s joints.
The plate armor was very good against slashing and cutting weapons. This spurred the development of different weapons, specifically smashing weapons that would disorient the soldier and special thrusting swords designed to exploit the armor’s weaknesses.
The halberd could also be swung with extreme force and could easily cleave armor and helmets.
Didn’t take a lot of skill to use either.
Note the hooks on some of them. That’s so that even if you missed with the spike or blade, you could hook the knight’s armor and drag him off his mount. You might also snag the horse or his reins and again neutralize the mounted knight’s advantage.
Fired small projectiles called bolts that were shorter but heavier than arrows.
Could have a draw weight of up to 350 pounds. Because of this, there were specialized methods for pulling back the string. Some used cranks and gears. The simplest method involved you putting your foot in that loop at the end, hooking the string with a special tool on your belt and then pulling your body up.