Famous Knights in History: A Look at Their Lives and Legends

  1. Sir Lancelot of the Round Table
  2. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  3. William Marshal
  4. El Cid
  5. Sir Thomas More
  6. Joan of Arc
  7. Saladin

Knights have always held a special place in history and legend, inspiring tales of valor and chivalry. From the medieval period to the present day, these knights have captured the imagination of people around the world. In this article, we will explore some of the most famous knights in history, their lives, and the legends that surround them.

Sir Lancelot of the Round Table

One of the most well-known knights in history is Sir Lancelot of the Round Table. He was a trusted knight of King Arthur and was said to be one of the most skilled warriors of his time. Despite his valor in battle, Lancelot’s legacy is often overshadowed by the affair he had with King Arthur’s wife, Queen Guinevere.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Another famous knight from Arthurian legend is Sir Gawain, who is best known for his encounter with the Green Knight. In this tale, Sir Gawain accepts a challenge from the Green Knight to strike him with an axe, under the condition that the Green Knight can return the blow a year later. The story explores themes of honor and courage, as Sir Gawain must face his fear and honor his commitment.

William Marshal

In the 12th century, William Marshal rose to prominence during the reign of Henry II and Henry III. Renowned for his martial prowess, Marshal served as a loyal knight under multiple English kings, including the lion-hearted Richard II. His exploits in battle, diplomatic finesse, and unwavering commitment to his lords earned him a place among the greatest knights of his time.

Crossing borders to France, the tale of French knight Charles VII unfolds. As a central figure during the 15th century, Charles VII faced immense challenges, including the French invasion led by Henry IV. However, with the support of Jean II Le Maingre, known as Boucicaut, Charles VII managed to rally his forces and solidify his reign.

William Wallace

The Scottish Borders witnessed the heroism of William Wallace, a Scottish knight who valiantly fought for his country’s independence in the face of English rule. Wallace’s bravery inspired fellow Scottish knights to join the resistance, eventually leading to the reign of the renowned Scottish king, Robert the Bruce.

In the 13th century, the Spanish knight Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, famously known as El Cid, emerged as a legendary figure. He deftly navigated the complex political landscape, fighting for both Christian and Muslim rulers in the Iberian Peninsula. El Cid’s unwavering honor and military prowess made him a revered hero.

El Cid

In Spain, the legendary knight El Cid is celebrated as a national hero. He lived during the 11th century and fought for both Christian and Muslim rulers. Despite his enemies, El Cid was admired for his bravery and honor, and his story has been immortalized in literature and film.

Sir Thomas More

Sir Thomas More was a prominent figure during the reign of King Henry VIII, serving as Lord Chancellor of England. More is known for his staunch Catholicism and his opposition to the Protestant Reformation. He is also remembered for his famous work, “Utopia,” which explored the concept of an ideal society.

Joan of Arc

One of the most fascinating knights in history is Joan of Arc, who rose from obscurity to lead the French army to victory during the Hundred Years’ War. She claimed to have received divine guidance and was eventually captured by the English and burned at the stake. Despite her tragic end, Joan of Arc is remembered as a symbol of French nationalism and courage.


Saladin was a Muslim warrior and leader who gained fame during the Crusades. He is remembered for his military skill and chivalry, as he showed mercy to his enemies and treated prisoners of war with respect. Saladin is also known for recapturing Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187.

The Legacy of Knights in Medieval Culture

The 14th century saw the rise of King Edward III, a pivotal figure in English medieval history. Known for his military campaigns, including the Hundred Years’ War against France, Edward III’s reign witnessed intense battles between English and French armies, shaping the course of European history.


The Knights of the Round Table, a legendary fellowship in Arthurian lore, comprised renowned figures such as Sir Gawain, Sir Percival, and Sir Galahad. They embarked on quests to uphold chivalric virtues, including the search for the Holy Grail. The noble order of the Knights Templar also captured the imagination with their dedication to the Christian cause and their role in protecting pilgrims during the medieval era.


Who were the Knights of the Round Table?

The Knights of the Round Table were the legendary companions of King Arthur. They represented the pinnacle of chivalry and participated in quests and adventures to uphold honor and justice.

What were the major battles fought by medieval knights?

Medieval knights participated in significant battles such as the Battle of Hastings, the Battle of Agincourt, and the Battle of Crécy. These conflicts shaped the political landscape of medieval Europe.

What role did knights play in medieval society?

Knights served as warriors, protectors, and military leaders during the medieval period. They swore oaths of loyalty to their lords, defended their territories, and embodied the code of chivalry.

Were there any famous female knights in medieval times?

While the concept of female knights was uncommon, there were notable exceptions. Joan of Arc, a French heroine, led the French army to victory during the Hundred Years’ War. Her valor and leadership have made her an enduring symbol of courage.

What was the decline of knights in medieval Europe?

The decline of knights can be attributed to various factors, including changes in warfare, the rise of firearms, and the transition to centralized professional armies. The medieval concept of chivalry gradually gave way to new military strategies and evolving social structures.