Knights PTSD – We glamorize medieval knights in books and heroic movies, but many of them suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, according to historians. Most of the time they were sleep-deprived and exhausted as they often slept outdoors on hard ground.
In addition, the knights were malnourished most of the time. They would often have to deal with killing other men or die themselves. It was a brutal lifestyle because during the medieval times, life was hard and physical.
Danish researcher, Thomas Heeboll-Holm, a medieval historian at the University of Copenhagen says, just like a modern day soldier, a knight had to deal with despair, fear, a feeling of powerlessness and they suffered from PTDS.
“When soldiers go to war in modern times, psychologists now recognize that the stresses they encounter can lower their psychological resistance until they finally succumb to anxiety disorders. Since medieval knights faced as many and possibly more hardships than modern soldiers do, he wondered if he might be able to find references to signs of trauma in warriors who fought during the Middle Ages.”
Reading between the lies of some old 14th century texts by a French knight, he found that a number of examples that would suggest at least the potential for trauma in medieval knights.
Heeboll-Holm came across a text written by a French knight named Geoffroi de Charny:
“In this profession one has to endure heat, hunger and hard work, to sleep little and often to keep watch. And to be exhausted and to sleep uncomfortably on the ground only to be abruptly awakened. And you will be powerless to change the situation.”
In fact, the text also mentioned that there were no signs of instability indicated or mentioned by the knight, but each one repeatedly expressed concerns about the mental health of their own colleagues.
There are various writings that can support the knights PTSD theory. It was something a person never spoke of during those times because it was a sign of weakness.