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Comparison of The Knights of Medieval Europe and Samurai of Shogunate Japan

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Comparison of The Knights of Medieval Europe and Samurai of Shogunate Japan Essay

The Knights of Medieval Europe and Samurai of Shogunate Japan shared a number of similar characteristics such as a strict code of behaviour which emphasised honour and loyalty, and both were mounted warriors that relied heavily on their swords. However, the Samurai also had the obligation to commit ritual suicide if they dishonoured their daimyo and the knights had metal armour made of iron or steel to protect them from archers and long swords, but the samurai wore a much lighter and more flexible armour.

The difference between longsword and katana is that longsword is a sword of a kind used in mediaeval Europe for slashing and thrusting it is well suited to two-handed use in combat, but some can also be used in one hand while katana is a type of Japanese longsword, having a single edge and slight curve. The term longsword is ambiguous and refers to the bastard sword.

From the 14th century knights wore metal armour made of iron or steel plates which covered their whole body but it was very heavy and it was difficult for them to move on. The samurai also wore full body armour, but it was made of different to the metal armour the knights wore the samurais armour was a combination of leather and metal. It was held together by silk cords and was much lighter and more flexible than that of the knights.

Both Samurai and Knights had a code of conduct, in which they had certain rules they must follow as a warrior. They both had to make promises of loyalty and honesty to their lords. The code of conduct for samurai was called ‘Bushido’, and the code of conduct for knights was referred to as ‘Chivalry”.

Bushido was the code of conduct for Japan’s warrior classes from perhaps as early as the eighth century through modern times. The principles of bushido: emphasised honour, courage, skill in the martial arts, and loyalty to a warrior’s master above all else. The Code of Chivalry was a moral system which went beyond rules of combat and introduced the concept of Chivalrous conduct qualities idealised by the Medieval knights such as bravery, courtesy, honour and great gallantry toward women. The Codes of chivalry also incorporated the notion of courtly love.

There were several types of knights who fought in an army during wartime or performed guard duty in a castle. The largest group was composed of household knights, those who permanently served a specific lord and rode with him in war. Then there were those who were obliged to serve a lord as a knight as a form of feudal service. Young noble males would have been trained in weaponry from the age of around 10, and they would have become squires from age 14 and then were formally dubbed knights at 21. The skills they learned where how to ride a horse and stay steady while carrying a lance and how to fight using wooden swords and shields. The samurai trained with there swords and a bow and a weapon called a naginata which is a spear like weapon. While training samurai would also use wooden weapons to practice. The samurai would use wooden weapons to fight each other and they would use metal weapons on dummies made of wood or straw, they could also practice their techniques on prisoners or slaves.


The knights both have a strict code of conduct they both where strict to their code and loyal to their code. The armour and weapons where a bit different as the knights sword was straight and the samurais sword was bent, the knights armour was very heavy and protective but the samurais armour was light and protective it was light so they could move around more easy and the knights armour was heavy but it didn’t matter to much because they where on horses most of the time. 

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Comparison Of The Knights Of Medieval Europe And Samurai Of Shogunate Japan. (2021, October 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 28, 2023, from
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