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Knight – The Medieval Warrior’s (Unofficial) Manual by Michael Prestwich

Writing.ie | Non Fiction

By Berni Dwan

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A stunningly beautiful little book that gives you the how, what, where, which, what of becoming a fully-fledged knight, so pay close attention and study carefully. It’s one of those little hard backs that you just want to hug. I picked it up in Foyles bookshop in London, one of my favourite places in the whole world.

If you belonged to the ruling classes and you were male it was more than likely that you would become a knight, and as such, suitable childhood pastimes were recommended, or not, as the case might be. Geoffroi de Charney had some insightful views on the subject, views I am not totally in disagreement with. De Charney was opposed to boys playing ball games. But then comes the bit I do disagree with; he regarded ball games as suitable only for girls and women.
For the lads though, tennis was an exception in the ball department. The most desirable pastime of all though was hunting because it provided excellent training for war.

But the tennis thing makes complete sense to me. Tennis matches are bouts of solo combat. You are entirely alone, drawing on everything you have been taught and using those skills as cleverly and effectively as you can. This is so unlike being on, say, a football team, where you are running with the pack.

Perhaps today’s tennis players would have been medieval knights while team players would have been their hunting prey?

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