What were all of the medieval army ranks?
- Feudal lord – Commands entire army and usually serves as supreme commander.
- Field marshal – Primarily a commander of field armies, second only to the king or emperor.
- General – Commander of large military unit; equivalent to field marshal.
- General-in-chief – Commander in chief of an army, combining both administrative and military functions within the chain of command.
- Lieutenant general – Second highest rank after general which is given authority over slightly larger corps.
- Household troops – the retinue of a lord or king
- Knights – well-born military leaders who command other knights and men at arms
- Serjeants-armed soldiers who serve as retainers or personal bodyguards to lords and kings; squad commanders, constables; bailiffs, sheriffs deputy; gamekeepers, keepers of parks
- Archers – well-trained soldiers with expertise in shooting bows (or crossbows) from horseback or on foot
- Longbowmen – powerful skilled archers who use these weapons during times of siege warfare
- Sergeants – infantry captains, company commanders
- Squires – young noblemen
In my opinion, generally, the medieval army ranks were recognized through the use of colors. In most armies, you had at least one king, but there are also those seated on a throne and surrounded by color guards. The Guards were typically in green or red uniforms with gold trim. The knights or mounted Warriors would be military elites as they carried weapons on horseback and wore bright blue clothing that could withstand a long fight while still being effective for combat.
Finally, infantrymen who carried swords and shields usually came in yellow to represent their relevance to the sun god from which they drew their names—Sol Invictus (Saint Michael) in Rome, Saint George for England’s Dragon slayer and Saint Andrew for Scotland’s patron saint.
There were four medieval army ranks. They are as follows:
- Mercenaries for Hire
- Servants who would do the work of camp followers and servants
A knight is thought to have been typically better off than a mercenary for hire, because he was also bound by his oath of fealty to serve the lord. In other words, that form of service required an investment of time in training and experience before they even got out into battle; mercenaries just fought whoever physically came at them on the battlefield.
A soldier was a common enough soldier in any assortment of armies – but it’s not clear where they ranked with regards to knights versus mercs or servants.