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A digital painting done with Lautrec AOP in DAP, of a group of Scottish Knights.
Information derived mainly from Wikipedia and original photograph used with the kind permission of photographer Colin Broug.
The Iranian Sarmatians were probably the originator of the armoured knights of medieval Europe.
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian peoples, in classical antiquity, of about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD.
Until the 8th century AD knights consisted of elite infantry who rode to battle on horseback and then dismounted but, at this time they became a mounted fighting force in their own right and this continued up to the 14th century.
Knighthood as known in Europe was characterized by the combination of two elements, feudalism and service as a mounted warrior. Both arose under the reign of the Frankish emperor Charlemagne, from which the knighthood of the Middle Ages can be seen to have had its foundation.
Charlemagne elevated these mounted warriors to the noble class when he awarded them land, in exchange for their fighting skills, so that they became landowners.
The award of knighthood continues to this day in several countries but is now granted for exceptional services to the country, rather than the ability to fight with a lance on horseback.