Friday, 30 January 2015

Bestowing a Knighthood

                                   The Accolade

The image we can see deals with medieval knighthood. We all know of it, a brave knight kneels before his monarch who then touches each of his shoulders with a sword and states "Arise Sir......!" Sadly, this term is not actually used, only in movies anyway. 

It is not really known how or when this ceremony originated or even how it was performed, some historians suggest that it may have been in the form of an embrace or a slight touch to the cheek. Incidentally it has been said that William the Conqueror, on knighting his son Henry, used a heavy blow! An older term for this ceremony is dubbing and was not necessarily performed by the monarch it could be performed by another knight or sometimes by a medieval lady. A double edged sword was used which served to remind the knight that justice and loyalty were two sides of the knight's power.

This painting, by Edmund Blair Leighton, an English artist who was often inspired by the medieval period, is a fine of example of the dubbing ceremony and is entitled The Accolade, meaning is of course the bestowal of a knighthood. No doubt Leighton was inspired by medieval chivalric values such as, courtesy, honor and gallantry toward women all of which can be seen in his work. It has also been suggested that he was inspired by the work Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, the heroic story of the last English family and their fight against the invading Normans.

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