KNIGHTS IN SHINING ARMOR
I think that many little girls, particularly if they read a lot, sometimes dream of knights in armor and damsels in distress and daring deeds and jousts and tilting and all that goes with that period. Imagine my surprise when, in my genealogical search, I came across knights in our family tree. They are way back in ancient times, from 1120 to 1395, but there they are, even if it is too far back to hear the clank of their armor.
Here is a little history lesson courtesy of mrdowling.com.
In AD476, warriors attacked the city of Rome and ended more than 800 years of glory for the “eternal city.” Historians mark the fall of Rome as the end of ancient history. The next one thousand years were called the Middle Ages. The Latin term for Middle Ages is "medieval." The beginning of the Middle Ages is often called the "Dark Ages" because the great civilizations of Greece and Rome had fallen. Life in Europe during the Middle Ages was very hard. Very few people could read or write and nobody expected conditions to improve. The only hope for most people during the Middle Ages was their strong belief in Christianity, and the hope that life in heaven would be better than life on earth.
I was very fortunate to stumble across the research done by a gentleman who lives in Washington but originally came from the Netherlands. He was researching his wife’s family and I discovered that our families intersect at one point. His scholarship is excellent and he has so many notes and documentation. Actually, there is only one generation that is not supported by either the Mormon website or his research and that is in between 1395 and 1440.
I discovered that these Swiss Burghers were solid citizens. They were mayors and councilmen and devout churchmen. They may have had a clergyman mixed in there somewhere. At least one or two of them were fairly well educated in a time when that was not too common. There are papers signed and/or written by them. They were well to do and married titled women. One of the men is even referred to as “Lord.”
I think most of those men and the men in our family married well. And most of the women married well too, at least I did. I am eager to start researching the families of these women too.
What difference does this make to me? Not much in terms of money or position. I don’t know on what basis these men became knights. Is it because they had contributed money to the ruler of their particular area? Is it because of their position in the community? Is it because they were willing to fight for the Lord of the Manor? They can be an example to me. I can be an upright and contributing member of society, I can contribute money and time and I can stand up for my Lord. I can, most of all, have the same hope that they did. Faith in Christ gave them hope and me too. I believe that faith in Christ is the only hope for every age. It is not only that life in heaven will be better but that life here on earth can become a foretaste of what is to come.
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