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Critical Analysis of the Roles of the Knights and the Samurai in Their Respective Societies

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Knights and Samurai By Oliver Dudley-smith

• What were the roles of the knights and the samurai in their respective societies

The knights started serving the king in the 9th century playing a massive role in society the main role being fighting and defending their king at war and betraying the chivalry. But during the times of piece, they participated in the feudal system living in an estate and had peasants working on the land. They were honored highly in the social hierarchy.

Samurai were introduced to the Japanese culture in the 12th century. Samurai were high up on the social hierarchy and people respected and honored them. They were Japan’s elite warriors and consisted of 10% of the population of Japan. They were hired and worked for their daimyo by fighting during the war but during the Tokugawa shogunate period, there was peace for two hundred years so the samurai, so they did more admissive things such as help public gatherings and inspect taxes of the peasants.

• What did their training involve? How did this training compare?

Born into this role knights went through regimented training. To be a knight you had two stages. Firstly, they became a Page. A Page usually starting at age 6-8 was sent away from his parents to a lord who taught them the basics of sword fighting and riding as well as giving them jobs such as polishing his 36kg armour in a barrel of sand and caring for his horses. Then at 15 years, they became a Squire who was trained by one of the knights he went in battle with their master helping him back on his horse if he fell off and if they survived they became a knight and had a ceremony called the dubbing ceremony at age 20. Preparing for it by praying and fasting the whole night. kneeling and promising protection to the church and his lord while being taped on the shoulder (seen in source C).

Samurai were employed by their Daimyo (lords of japan), they were sole warriors, but during the Tokugawa shogunate, it was very peaceful unlike the crusades in medieval Europe. So, their administrative role became more important training in reading, writing, archery, horse riding, and sword fighting. checking peasant’s rice taxes and helping in ceremonial conduct and public service although they were banned from farming or trade and during practice,

During times of peace, samurai used wooden sticks for practice against each other and using dummies made of wood or straw. Whereas Knights would participate in tournaments to train for war the most popular being jousting which is seen in source D.

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• Outline the weaponry and military strategies of each; how did these compare?

War being the place where samurai and knight train their whole life for creating different types of castles armour and weapons as well as strategies to attack have developed over time both having similar and different tactics and strategies.

The Knights with their lords fought each other for land and power their armies consisting of knights on horseback infantry (foot soldiers) which include archers using longbows or crossbows and the elite horseback riders known as the Cavalry. Their armour in the 1400s seen in source A is a metal plated whole suite of armour weighing 25kg having joints to move their elbows and knees and a small spot in the helmet for their eyes as well as just needing a sword for battle no need for a shield when the armour acts as one. As well as their armour they had castles such as the structurally advanced Concentric castles having small arrow holes known as Murder Holes two walls a tall inner wall and a short outer wall allowing archers to fire arrows over other archers. Furthermore, when preparing a siege the lords usually bring items such as battering rams for knocking down walls, siege towers for a quick way to get their men over the walls, and the catapult launching flaming rock or just rock into the sides of towers.

Whereas the Samurai had a different approach taking strategic approaches surrounding their enemies using bowmen on horses and samurai (foot soldiers) to attack with swords known as a Nagata seen in source E designed to have a hard sharp outside but a mailable soft inside to absorb the impact. Their armour seen in source B consisted of material mostly for the purpose of stopping arrows having a mix of metal plates and leather their armour weighed 15-25kg roughly the same as samurai.

• Explain the codes they had to follow and what were the similarities and differences between them.

Chivalry or Bushido were samurai to show their loyalty and allegiance to their lord/daimyo and King/Shogun. They go as follows:

  • Knights Chivalry
  1. obey his lord.
  2. show bravery.
  3. respect women of noble birth.
  4. to honor the church.
  5. help people.
  6. honest and to fight fairly.
  • The Samurai Bushido
  1. .Justice
  2. .Courage
  3. .Mercy
  4. .Politeness
  5. .Honesty
  6. .Honour
  7. .Self-Control

The difference between the two is that Bushido dominated the samurai’s world and if he disobeyed the code he would have to commit seppuku(suicide) seen in source F they did this by stabbing themselves in the bow with a wakizashi the sword used to commit seppuku. whereas the knight’s chivalry showed the perfect knight, if you did not follow the code your shield will be broken, and your sword snapped over your head, but you were not killed. But they were both particularly important to the two cultures and was a big part in their lives.

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Critical Analysis of the Roles of the Knights and the Samurai in Their Respective Societies. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 21, 2023, from
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