These are the blogs that I posted in the form of a knight's diary, while doing a Middle Age web quest in social studies:


My Story

I was only sixteen when the Roman Empire collapsed. My father was sent away to protect Rome. He never returned. We use to live in a small city called Narbonne in southern Europe. Then, one day, the Visigoths came and raided our city. Everything was burned, everyone killed. My mother and I, however, managed to escape. For the next several years we wandered from village to village. Every single village was eventually burned down to the ground.
Every day my mother and I would pray to God that we would find a safe home where we could live the rest of our lives in peace. Our religion and faith in God was the only thing that all of us had in common, and it tied all of us together.
Then, one day, while walking through the forest to get water we were ambushed. All of a sudden a dozen arrows shot out from nowhere. None of them hit their targets. We began sprinting back towards the village.
A lone arrow was shot from high up in the trees. It raced towards me, cutting through the air.
I screamed in pain as it lodged deep in my side. I fell down. The world went black. The last thing I heard was the scream of a woman.


I awoke in a comfortable bed. I was in an unfamiliar place. I was in some sort of tent.
"Ahh, your awake. Good, good. You seem to be recovering."
I looked around. A beautiful young woman was standing next to me. She was examining my wound.
"Where am I?" I asked.
"You are on Lord Constantine and Lady Avoka's manor. We found you wounded in the forest."
"Where is my mother?"
"You were the only one we found."
I lay my head on the pillow. My mother was gone. She was probably dead by now. I tried not to cry. I would not let this woman see me so weak. But I just couldn't stop myself.

That evening I was invited to dine with the lord. He told me about himself. How he had been a rich, political leader during the time of the Roman Empire. But now even he was struggling to survive.
"So tell me, do you know how to fight. I am short on knights, and none of the peasants are good fighters."
"My father was a Roman soldier and he taught me how to fight."
"Well then let's test you. You will be tested in exactly one month."
I practiced fighting every day. Finally, it was the day before I would be tested. I was excited, but very nervous. I could barely sleep that night.
As soon as I woke up I was dragged away and dressed in armor. I could barely move. I dragged my feet across the dusty floor.
I was led to a small arena. All the seats were empty except a few, one with Lord Constantine. The next few hours were crazy. I was put up against all sorts of animals and people. I was timed on how fast I was. By the end of the day, I was exhausted.
That's when Lord Constantine came up to me.
"You are the finest knight I have ever seen. And by my powers, I hereby pronounce you a knight."
And so I became a knight. I became Sir Silvester.

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My coat of arms, click on image to make your own


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My Castle in southern France (CC)





Feudalism

Feudalism is a type of government that
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King John of Englad (CC)
on loyalty and trust. This was the primary government system during the Middle Ages. Kings would give land to the nobles, and the nobles would then have to protect the king using some of their soldiers. The nobles would then lend out land to knights, who had to protect the nobles. And the knights would then have peasants work their fields in return for protection.
Being a knight, I am technically part of the government. Seeing how this is true, I like the government. I get land from the government as well as peasants. And although I don't have much of a "voice" in the government, if I build up to become a powerful knight, I might one day be able to have an influence on my noble, who could in turn affect the king.
I don' think that the government is fair, but I can't really change anything, and being a knight is much better than being a peasant, so I am just fine with things the way they are. I do think that this system works, that is as long as nobody breaks any of their promises.
Overall, I think that the government is an important part of this society, even if not just, and that things should be left the way they are.











Daily Life

Being a knight, I follow a pretty similar schedule every day. First, at dawn, I would go to Mass. Then, I would eat breakfast afterwords. After this, I would have weapons practice. My daily routine also includes warfare strategy, as well as studying weapons and siege warfare. After weapons practice, I would have my midmorning prayers as well as a meal. As the Middle Ages progressed, life style became less barbaric and I was expected to have good manners and understand Chivalry. Seeing as how this is true, I might have spent some time in dance practice. In the afternoon I would practice my horsemanship, and might even accompany my lord to go hunting or hawking or just inspecting the estate. After this I would as evening prayer followed by supper. After supper their might have been some entertainment, and then the bedtime prayers. This would conclude my regular day. I would usually do this everyday of the week. Several times a year, though, I would got to tournaments and fairs, where I would joust. But this didn't happen very often.

I personally think that I have a pretty good life, at least compared to peasants. I am happy with my life and as the Middle Ages progress, I am becoming more and more used to my daily life.




Religion
The Holy Cross (CC)
The Holy Cross (CC)

Religion is a large part of my life, as a knight. As I said earlier, I must pray three times a day. When I was born, I was baptized. This is also when I was given my name, Silvester, and became a part of the Christian Church. And when I die, I will have my Last Rites, so that I may go to Heaven in the afterlife. Because I am wealthy enough to, I have my own personal priests at my side. The priests are always arguing with my wizard, Merlin. Together, the wizard and priests make up my chief advisors
Holy Mary (CC)
Holy Mary (CC)

My religious daily life was pretty much the same most days. I would wake up at dawn and go to mass. At midmorning, I would have my second prayers. And finally, at night, I would have my bedtime prayers. This concludes the religious part of my daily life.
But my life isn't the same every day. Some days are different, special. Like the time I went on my first pilgrimage.
I went to a cathedral by the name of Notre Dame. The most grand of all cathedrals that have ever been built. And I have been their, to show my loyalty to God.
My servants saddled me up at dawn. After being saddled up, me and my squire went off on our way. We rode for hours, finally stopping at noon for a small break, when we also prayed. Then we rode on for a couple more hours. We stopped at night, and had dinner with bedtime prayers. My squire took off my armor and set up my bed.
The next day, I had to get up early in the morning, before sunrise, so that my squire could dress me once more. At dawn, we prayed, had breakfast, and rode off. Finally, in the afternoon, we made it to Notre Dame
The cathedral towered high above us, touching the Heavens themselves. A more magnificent structure there was not. I walked into the cathedral. I walked down the middle, the beautiful stained glass up ahead. Candles lit up the beautiful decorations all around the cathedral.
For the next three days, I stayed in that cathedral. Never in my life had I felt so close to God himself.
As I rode away from the cathedral I saw all of the flying buttresses supporting the cathedral. That was the last I ever saw of the Notre Dame
And that was my pilgrimage to the Notre Dame.




War

The Castle Attack (CC)
The Castle Attack (CC)
I was woken up at dawn by my squire. He told me that the king had ordered all of his knights to report to his castle. I packed up my things, suited up, and me and my squire were off. We left at mid morning and reached there by evening. The king had ordered a meeting with all of his top officials and knights.

"Welcome my loyal servants. You may be wondering why I have ordered you to come here. Recently, my guards have caught a spy from our neighboring kingdom. After putting the spy through rat torture-" a few despicable men snickered here, "we have found out that they are planning an attack on us within the next three days. Now we must prepare ourselves for war."
The next two days, I was ordering around soldiers and preparing for battle. The weapons were sharpened, the Greek fire prepared, and the water was boiled. Finally, they came.
It was mid morning when they arrived. My squire quickly dressed me in armor, and we went to the king. He ordered each of the knights to a different part of the castle. I was on the northern wing, the side that would be attacked first. I was in charge of the archers.
I saw the enemies marching forward. The trebuchets loomed in the distance. Our men stood tense.
As the soldiers marched closer to us, the king and his advisers rode out to meet the enemy king. After a half an hour or so, they rode back. The red flag was raised, meaning we were still going to fight.
The attacking generals rode in front of their men. All of a sudden, they turned and charged. I saw one of my men flinch.
"Hold steady, men!" I yelled.
"Hold," I screamed as they got closer. One of my men accidentally lost an arrow.
"FFFIIIRRRREEEEEE!!!!" The arrows blackened out the sky. The oncoming men fell by the hundreds.
To counter, the enemies unleashed a deadly array of fiery stone. The stones pounded our walls, but they held fast.
"FFFIIIRRRREEEEE!!!!" I yelled once more. The next series of arrows was unleashed.
The enemies had now begun to climb up their ladders.
"GRAB YOUR WEAPONS!". All the men took out their swords and spears. As the men came up, we chopped them down. Some of the ladders were covered in Greek fire. We pushed down the remaining ladders after that.
Next came the siege towers. My men were pegged down from behind protective walls. Finally, we were able to take them out.
I look at the trebuchets. One of them fired. I watched the stone sail through the air. It hit a large hole where an arrow slit had been before. I watched in horror as the wall crumpled.
The oncoming soldiers cheered, sensing victory was near. Then I had a brilliant idea.
I led my remaining men to one of the tunnels.
I yelled, "Protect the king!"
My men and I ran into the tunnel. We took a secret passage that led to a tower. The enemies thought that the king was there, and had kept going down the tunnel.
I listened to their screams as they were burned by the Greek fire thrown down by the men up top. They were trapped in a fake passage. Then my men and I came out and finished them off.
After the battle was finished, I was personally thanked by the king. Then I went back to my nice manor, and rested.




The CrusadesI rode into the king's palace. I was immediately greeted by two servants, who washed and dressed me. Next, I was led to the king's quarters, where he had called a meeting of all of his knights and nobles.
"My loyal servants, I fear that another war is upon us. Our new pope, Pope Gregory VIII, has begun a new crusade, and has asked for our allegiance. Seeing as how we are all children of God, we have no choice, but to join the Third Crusade."
All of the knights and nobles jumped up and started shouting at the same time. An uproar went.
"Silence!" yelled the king. "Being my loyal subjects, you all have no choice but to join me on this crusade."
That quieted all the squabbling men.
"What if we refuse to go," one man yelled.
"Then your head shall be chopped off, and you will set an example to any others who dare disobey me."

I rode back to my manor as fast as I could. I had a week to gather all my forces, and meet the rest of the army at the capital. For the next week, I gathered my armies. Every man strong enough was put in the army. Only the women and children were left.
We rode down to the shore, where we boarded the ships and sailed off. There were rumors that King Richard, a good and well respected king, was leading the crusades. This raised the morale of some, but by the end of the voyage, morale was rock bottom.
The voyage was treacherous. Men were dying, throwing themselves overboard, starving, and killing each other. At one point, we even had to drink the blood of our horses, who were dying every day. By the time we reached the Holy Lands, almost half of the men were dead.
There we joined with the rest of our forces.
For the next several weeks, we slowly forced our way towards Jerusalem. After capturing the city of Acre, King Richard decided to go south to the city of Jaffa.

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The Cross and the Crescent (CC)

The scouts sprinted as fast as they could. I saw them run by, heading straight for the king's tent. Within five minutes, the alarm was sounded, meaning we were about to do battle. We all rushed to get suited. Nobody knew what was happening, and some were panicking. I saw one praying, and another just staring at the cross around his neck.
After getting suited, I ran over to the king's tent. I rushed in.
"What's going on?" I asked.
"Saladin is just over the horizon. We must prepare for battle."
As I walked out, I saw a knight in shining armor not 50 meters away. Immediately, I knew that was King Richard. He had a group of twenty other knights guarding him. King Richard was supposedly a ferocious warrior, and a brilliant military leader. This was the first time I had actually seen him. He seemed to cast off some sort of aura. All of a sudden I was filled with strength and courage.

I looked out across the large field. Not 150 meters away stood the Muslim armies, my hated enemies. Behind, hidden behing the walls of Arsuf were all of the archers, waiting to shoot us down.
I saw King Richard ride out to greet Saladin. After five or so minutes, they each rode back to their armies. I tried to steady my heartbeat. I took a deep breath. My horse neighed softly underneath me. I tried to calm it down.
The flag was raised, the signal given, and all the knights began slowly walking towards the enemies. The rest of the men walked behind us for protection.
"Hold your formation! Steady, steady," someone yelled.
We began to gallop, slowly getting faster and faster.
"CHARGE!!!"
We sprinted towards the enemy. They loosed their arrows and raised their spears. A few men fell, but most were unharmed. We slammed into the enemy. I was jolted out of my seat, and thrown into the enemy. One of the men had stabbed my horse.
I was so enraged that I took out my sword and began picking off everyone around me. I took them all out, the men that had killed my horse. I was in such a rage.
I ran over to my horse, who neighed softly at the site of me. A long spear pierced its breast.
I barely dodged the sword. I kicked the legs out from under the enemy, and then finished him off.
It was a long and hard battle, but because King Richard was able to maintain our formation, we were able to defeat Saladin. The final blow was struck by the Hospitallers, who took the right flank, while the Templars took the left.


We continued to battle toward Jerusalem, but alas, we failed to capture it. King Richard and Saladin signed a treaty that would allow Christian pilgrims to enter the city, but it would stay under Muslim rule.
The voyage home was possibly more treacherous then the one going to the Holy Lands.
But I was still happy, because I was finally going home.




Magna CartaIt has been almost a year since the Magna Carta was signed. I still remember that day. I was chosen by my noble to guard him on his journey to Runnymede, where King John would finally sign the Magna Carta.

Runnymede was not too far away, and the trip seemed very short. Once we reached the field, we greeted the other nobles who were brave enough to come.
After that, I was sent away to set up the king's tent, along with the other knights. Then I set up my noble's tent. By then it was nightfall. I decided not to set up my own tent, and to just sleep outside.
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King John signing the Magna Carta (CC)

I woke to the sound of trumpets. I hurriedly combed my hair and got up. Their was no need to suit up since I had never taken my suit off. We all lined up in front of his Majesty's tent, and bowed. He walked through, and into the tent. The king alone had brought a bit over twenty knights. All the nobles went into the tent, along with a few of the king's knights, while the rest of us made a large circle around the tent.
I was very uncomfortable in my large suit. A couple fleas tried to pester me, but I paid no attention to them, since they couldn't actually touch a man completely covered in metal.
I thought of the Magna Carta. I didn't know much about it. I knew that it was a compilation of rights and laws that even the king had to follow. It was supposed to limit the king's power, and give it back to us. I was fine with that, since I didn't like the king at all. He had raised taxes, as well as taken many of my fellow knights' property. He had grown too powerful, and it was time for a change
I've heard that if he signs this document, then he will no longer be able to take others' property. He won't even be able to arrest someone without ample evidence that the jury agrees with. I believe that this was going to make life much better for me. It will change society for the better, and it will make life more fair. No longer does the king have all the power. We also have power now.

My train of thought was interrupted by the sound of a flapping tent. The nobles all walked out, one by one. They all seemed very pleased with themselves. Last, the king walked out with a grim look on his face. He was followed by his set of knights.
We all went to our respective tents. I began to pack up the tent. On the way back home, my noble told me that the king had finally agreed, and had put his official seal on the nine copies of the Magna Carta. It had been a successful day.




The EndThe Mongols and the Black Death
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A depiction of two men with the Black Death (CC)

Feudalism has fallen apart. The Black Death, brought over by the invading Mongols, has spread throughout Europe, causing the survivors to flee. No longer do people live in manors, but instead cities are beginning to form.
And with this new formation of cities, central government is beginning to come back. After the collapse of the manor, I too moved to a city, where I now serve the king as one of his many guards. My former lord is now one of his chief advisers.
Me and the rest of the peasants on the land are beginning a new life. It is a new era, and the Middle Ages have come to an end.
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Mongolian horse archers (CC)












Created by Bagatur and Simon May 2, 2011