Full Plate 8: Spurs

Posted: Mar 18, 2022

In the New Dark Ages, even the concept of knighthood has been degraded to a title given to actors, professional game players, court jesters and musicians.

Like all things in this era of downgoing, something that was once noble is now only a commodity, an empty honorific that lacks the very thing that the word is based upon.

Honorific. “To confer or convey honor.”

We know that honor is only gained through acts of loyalty to the ideal, not through being a fashion model, or a race car driver.

The origins of European knighthood go back to the 9th century, when the feared cavalryman was a necessary protection to a village or city, but they had their roots in the Greek hoplite and the Roman eques.

The most popularized institutions were those holy orders established in the Middle Ages, when members of an order were sworn to specific rules, regulations and obligations depending on their particular brotherhood.

To become a knight in the medieval era meant a rigorous and sometimes brutal, multi-stage process, beginning usually in childhood, as a page.

The page would serve in the household of wherever he was assigned to go, and lived essentially like a peasant or servant, regardless of his family’s station. This meant working on the most menial seeming of tasks - in the kitchen, running errands and messages, cleaning the estate and so on.

It taught the important lesson of a life of service that the future knight would never leave behind.

In his early teens, the page would be promoted to the position of squire, from the French word “ecuyer” or “shield-bearer.”

Here his education on knighthood would truly begin as he apprenticed under a proper knight, often with several others of his station.

He would learn to hunt, be schooled in reading and writing, and of course, fighting.

The squire would serve the knight in actual battle, as well, although he was not yet considered “fight ready,” and would see first-hand the lifestyle he was aspiring to.

An individual could remain a squire for a long time, only attaining knighthood when he was considered to have “earned his spurs,” often by a specific act of bravery or value - in some cases men remained squires for long after they became fighting men themselves.

In these New Dark Ages, a man of worth should always be looking to win his spurs - to engage in acts of valor, bravery, courage, and value to his order, family, brotherhood, friends. 

Our war is not always literal, and nor was it for those men we look to for our own guidance. 

It is often a war against apathy and the malaise of the times in which we find ourselves. 

A war against meaninglessness and the false gods of these days - the idols set up to rank materialism, greed, pleasure for its own sake as the highest attainment. 

It is a war against ourselves, the eternal crusade, the Grand Campaign…the war against our own weaknesses, our own failings and shortcomings. 

We win our spurs through a constant and unrelenting battle waged against what we know to be heartless and false, and through a dedication to the quest for the Holy Grail. 

That quest is the one for a righteous life, and a righteous death, the days between which are filled with noble action, and the embodiment of our higher calling. 

Fix your eyes on this task, and wake with prayer that on this day, you will be given a new chance to win your spurs. 

Brothers, we will win this war.