A knight is a person granted an honorary cavalry title by a monarch, a bishop or other political leader for service to the monarch or to a Christian church, especially in a military capacity. Historically, in Europe, the cavalry was conferred on the assembled warriors. During the High Middle Ages, the cavalry was considered a sort of lower nobility. At the end of the Middle Ages, the Rank had been associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courteous Christian warrior. Often, a gentleman was a vassal who served as an elite fighter, a bodyguard or a mercenary for a lord, with payment in the form of possession of the land. The Gentlemen trusted the Knights, who were skillful in the battle on horseback.
The Cavalry in the Middle Ages was intimately linked to riding (and especially the joust) from its origins in the 12th century to its final flowering as a fashion among the high nobility in the Duchy of Burgundy in the 15th century. This link is reflected in the etymology of chivalry, the rider and related terms (see the etymology section below). The special prestige accorded to the Warriors gathered in Christianity finds parallelism in Furusiyya in the Muslim world, and the Greek Hippeus (Ἱππεύς) and the Roman eques of classical antiquity.
In the late medieval period, the new methods of warfare began to make classical knights in outdated armor, but the titles remained in many nations. Today, a series of cavalry orders continue to exist in Christian churches, as well as in several historically Christian countries and their ancient territories, such as the Roman Catholic Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the Protestant Order of St. John, as well as the English order of League, the Swedish Royal Order of Seraphim and the Norwegian Royal Order of St. Olav. Each of these orders has its own eligibility criteria, but the cavalry is generally granted by a head of state, Monarch or presided over to selected individuals to recognize some meritorious achievement, as in the British honor system, Often for church or country service. The modern female equivalent in the UK is Dame.
Historically, the ideals of chivalry have been popularized in medieval literature, particularly the literary cycles known as the question of France, about the legendary companions of Charlemagne, and the question of Britain, about the legend of the King Arthur.