The accolade (also known as dubbing or adoubement) (Latin: benedictio militis) was the central act in the rite of passage ceremonies conferring knighthood in the Middle Ages. From about 1852, the term accolade was used much more generally to mean "praise" or "award" or "honor." The accolade is a ceremony to confer knighthood. It may take many forms, including the tapping of the flat side of a sword on the shoulders of a candidate or an embrace about the neck. In the first example, the "knight-elect" kneels in front of the monarch on a knighting-stool. First, the monarch lays the side of the swords blade onto the accolades right shoulder. The monarch then raises the sword gently just up over the apprentices head and places it on his left shoulder. The new knight then stands up, and the king or queen presents him with the insignia of his new order. Contrary to popular belief, the phrase "Arise, Sir ..." is not used. There is some disagreement among historians on the actual ceremony and in what time period certain methods could have been used. It could have been an embrace or a slight blow on the neck or cheek. Gregory of Tours wrote that the early kings of France, in conferring the gilt shoulder-belt, kissed the knights on the left cheek. In knighting his son Henry, with the ceremony of the accolade, history records that William the Conqueror used the blow.
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