Chivalry In The Middle Ages

920 Words4 Pages
When a knight of the Middle Ages is mentioned, one will usually think of ‘’the knight in shining armour’’ and associate it with chivalry. Notwithstanding, what actually was the idea of chivalry? What influence did it have in the Medieval Period? This report is to discuss the ideology of chivalry in the Middle Ages and its influence on various aspects. The report will mainly focus on the influence on society, military, literature and religion.

First and foremost, there are two key definitions to be clarified. The word ‘’knight’’ itself is from Old English ‘’cniht’’ (boy or servant) . A knight is, originally, a person who served his lord as a mounted and heavily armed soldier and, later, a gentleman invested by a king or other lord with the
…show more content…
It is known as the noble habitus which is a term for the environment of behavioural and material expectations generated by all societies and classes . According to David Crouch in his ‘’The Birth of Nobility: Constructing Aristocracy in England and France 900–1300’’, the habitus on which ‘’the superstructure of chivalry’’ was built. The pre-chivalric noble habitus included loyalty, forbearance, hardihood, largesse or liberality, the davidic ethic and honour . It had existed long before 1100 whilst the codified medieval noble conduct only began between 1170 and 1220 . The idelogies of chivalry developed initially in France and then spread through the rest of Europe. In the 11th century, the Frankish nobility had passed on the pride, war-likeness, contempt of peaceful pursuits, impatience with restraint and extreme individualism to their offsprings. Arrogance, hatred of restraint and love of battle were bred into the very bone of the 11th century French aristocrats. The strategic and economic circumstances then favoured these personal qualities to an extent that they had a complete monopoly of the military profession . The knights, hereafter, were in a dominate position of 11th century France.

The chivalric code is the qualities and attributes a knight ought to possess . Léon Gautier, in his ‘’La Chevalerie’’, stated the Ten Commandments of chivalry which essentially
…show more content…
Prowess means the ability to fight well on horseback, a critically important quality in this society of warrior retainers. The measure of a chivalrous knight was his ability to fight and his willingness to subordinate his own will and interests to those of his sworn lord. The highest compliment that could be paid to a knight was to call him ‘’preux’’, a man of proved prowess . Chivalric values also reflect the needs of a courtly society. The court life reborn in the 12th century, which meant that the knight had to know how to conduct himself in the drawing room. A ‘’gentle man’’ now came to mean a courtly man, one who knows how to behave politely as befits a
Open Document