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These armorial bearings afterwards became hereditary and gave birth to the complicated science of heraldry.
These fees, like other feudal grants, became hereditary, and thus developed a noble class, for whom the knightly profession was the only career.
Before the blessing of the sword on the altar, many preliminaries were required of the aspirant, such as confession, a vigil of prayer, fasting, a symbolical bath, and investiture with a white robe, for the purpose of impressing on the candidate the purity of soul with which he was to enter upon such a noble career.
Kneeling, in the presence of the clergy, he pronounced the solemn vow of chivalry, at the same time often renewing the baptismal vow; the one chosen as godfather then struck him lightly on the neck with a sword (the dubbing) in the name of God and St. There are four distinct periods in the history of chivalry. the time when the Truce of God was in force, witnessed the long contest of the Church against the violence of the age, before she succeeded in curbing the savage spirit of the feudal warriors, who prior to this recognized no law but that of brute force.
Even prior to the Crusades, however, an anticipation of this attitude is found in the custom called the "Truce of God".
It was then that the clergy seized upon the opportunity offered by these truces to exact from the rough warriors of feudal times a religious vow to use their weapons chiefly for the protection of the weak and defenseless, especially women and orphans, and of churches.
No knight was thought to be properly equipped without at least three horses: These attendants, who were of low condition, were not to be confounded with the armed retainers, who formed the escort of a knight. There was a sharp distinction between the pennon, a flag pointed or forked at the extremity, used by a single chevalier or bachelor as a personal ensign, and the banner, square in form, used as the ensign of a band and reserved to the baron or baronet in command of a group of at least ten knights, called a constabulary.