Knights were part of the ruling class in Europe during the Middle Ages and Medieval times. Granted land and tiles by the kings and queens of their country, in turn, they were also required to help defend the realm if called to do so. They weren't the only people who fought in their respective armies but were easily recognized by their suits of armor and battle steeds. The droves of peasants who were soldiers in medieval armies would have likewise used chain mail and plated armor but they simply could not afford such extreme luxuries. A full suit of armor back in those feudal days would have cost as much as a brand new Cadillac or Porsche in present times. Landless serfs couldn't dream of ever having enough money to even spend on the cheapest helm much less a full suit of armor.
Knights, though, invested in them because it was a matter of life and death. In being regarded as commanders on the battlefield, they were expected to charge into the front lines of enemy forces and in those terrifying situations, armor was nothing less than a necessity. If they didn't go to battle, it still looked pretty smart during jousts and made for a fantastic heirloom. In fact, suits of armor that have been inherited by several European families are still carefully maintained and put on proud display. Although the vast majority of people weren't so fortunate to have inherited a suit of armor, Medieval home decor such as the realistic Knight of the Round Table or the exquisite King's Guard Statue might even look better than the real thing.
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