Take a trip back in the 700s in the Middle Ages, you’ll discover the first knights fighting for Charlemagne, or King of the Franks as they once called it. On top of each horse you’ll find more than just a solider ready to protect the king at all costs..
There’s also fifty plus pounds of plated armor along with its hefty price tag.
It’s a good reason why only wealthy nobles that could afford to become a knight the in first place.
However, aside from scoring loot from ransacked towns and lands from Charlemagne, there is a much deeper aspect to knighthood. Aside, from the knights who actually paid off the king with “shield money” in order to avoid fighting of course.
I’m talking about the standard of professional ethics, Chivalry. Knights were more than just brave in battle, they were loyal, devoted, honorable, and firm believers in gentle politeness and courtly manners. Respect garnished wasn’t entirely from nobility alone, a man’s actions as while serving as a knight truly defined his true power.
Now, without going into too much detail, I’d like to tell you about the order of the knights. Perhaps, you’ve heard of them, these are the three most popular below.
The Knights Templar: Famously acclaimed fighters during the Crusades dating back to the 1100s. Aside from being established on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, there are two important things to know. The first, their signature white mantles bared red crosses. And the second; during the Battle of Montgisard, they defeated 26,000 Muslim soldiers with only 500 Knights of the Templar. Now, aside from never retreating in combat, these knights also charged first with fearless.
The Knights Hospitaller: Founded a tad earlier than the military order above, they also fought during the Crusades, though were established in 1023. While protecting the Holy Land they wore black with a white cross. Bravery, aside they were charitable and of good will fighting to defend the weak and poor pilgrims.
The Teutonic Knights: These German knights were once from the Hospitaller military order, yet still wore the same garments of clothing. A short while after the Crusades they began to take over Prussia, and their power was near unstoppable until they met their end by the Polish in the 1410 Battle of Tannenberg.
Of course, there are more orders like the one founded by King Edward III of England, which remains one of the highest orders in the U.K. for knighthood.
With that said, I’d like to share with you a collection of masculine and honorable ideas with these top 80 best knight tattoo designs for men. You’ll find everything from knights riding on horseback fighting off dragons to cool plated armor on the shoulders and arms.
As you look at these tattoo styles, just keep in mind all the meanings behind the knight, and you’ll surely appreciate the art just a little bit more.
This is an excellent color design that captures the intimidating visage of a knight, with sword drawn, ready to battle. The artist’s application of color is consistent and well saturated creating a sense of depth in this tattoo that gives the impression the warrior is about to walk out of the picture. The use of oranges and yellows at the bottom of the image and on either side of the knight gives the impression of a scorched battlefield and at the same time increases contrast and lets the darker tones in the knight’s garb stand out. The light tones used to create highlights in the armor and sword completes this interesting ode to these noble warriors.
This is an incredible, full-back piece that uses black and gray ink to create an intricate scene that could be straight from the Canterbury Tales. The level of detail in this piece is impressive; from the creatures lurking in the background to the different layers of the knight’s armor, the meticulous nature of the artist’s work is on full display in this tattoo. Also impressive in this piece is the technique used. The fine line hatching that is utilized here is painstaking, and the size and scope of this design make the consistency in the application even more extraordinary. The overall effect achieved gives the tattoo the impression of being a hand-etched lithograph which perfectly fits the medieval subject matter.
Here is another design that uses black and gray ink to depict an intricate medieval scene. In this piece, the artist uses a more traditional shading technique to capture this battle scene, complete with a castle tower, shields, swords and even a trebuchet siege weapon. The gradation of tones in this piece is great, using subtle variations to create the different design elements and negative space for highlights. A loose feel in the design is an interesting choice and gives this piece the impression of a charcoal drawing, which is completed with the black and gray shading. On the chest is a larger knight that utilizes the same style and completes this interesting tattoo.
This is an interesting design that takes an illustrative approach that is reminiscent of pop art and comic books. The colors here are expertly applied, fully saturated and perfectly capturing the smooth texture in the armor as well as the varied tones of the shadows and highlights in the knight’s face. Also impressive in this piece is the precise and consistent fine line work in the helmet’s plume as well as in the knight’s beard and mustache. The piece is framed by jagged orange shapes that evoke scenes from golden era comic books and are completed with drop shadows that add depth to this piece and give it the impression of jumping up, off the skin.
These complementary black and gray pieces are great examples of how the knight’s iconic equipment can make for excellent tattoos. First off, the placement is excellent: the two pieces are perfectly centered, and since the sword is longer than the shield, the artist chose to have their tips line up on the wrist which helps balance the different sized tattoos. The stipple shading in this piece is also impressive thanks to the excellent variation in tones—from almost fully saturated black, all the way to negative space highlights—that the artist is able to achieve with this meticulous and time-consuming technique. These pieces are clean and expertly applied, demonstrating that sometimes simple is best when it comes to tattoos.
Knight Tattoo FAQ’s
What does a knight tattoo mean?
In the Middle Ages, a knight was a warrior, most adept on horseback, that served a king or lord and was often paid for their services in land or gold. As time progressed, however, these hired guns became associated with the traits of honor, chivalry and courtly behavior that we relate them within modern times.
Most knight tattoos are representations of these noble traits and the wearer’s willingness to defend them. Knights are also excellent subjects for tattoos thanks to some of the iconic equipment they used, notably shields and armor, which translate well into tattoos. Armor and shields are common elements in these designs and can serve as symbolic protection from the hardships faced in life. The incorporation of swords can make these tattoos more aggressive and highlight different personality traits and aspects of the life of the wearer. Whatever the symbolism behind a knight tattoo, there is no denying that these ancient warriors make for eye-catching designs.