As a freelancer, I sometimes wonder how I got to use a title that hearkened to the age of knights in shining armor, riding gantlets (and wearing gauntlets) and jousting.
Evidently the word "freelance" was coined by Walter Scott in his 1820 "Ivanhoe" to refer to mercenary soldiers unattached to a king. In some ways you could think of knight:freelance :: samurai:ronin at least in terms of a trained soldier either having or not having allegiance to a king.
Don Willmott writes:
"... as with most aspects of the Middle Ages, it only goes back to the nineteenth-century medieval revivalists. The earliest use of free lance (in early use, it was usually spelled as two words) meant 'a mercenary soldier of the Middle Ages', and goes back to the medieval novel Ivanhoe (1820), by Sir Walter Scott, who also effectively invented the concept of clan tartans and most other aspects of the Scottish Highlanders. This use pops up in various historical novels of the Victorian era.
The word was being used figuratively by the 1860s to mean 'a person (as a politician) who contends in various causes without being attached to a particular group'. The use of freelance referring to a writer arose by the 1880s, and the verb "to freelance" by around 1900."