chivalry


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Wikipedia.

chivalry

(shĭv`əlrē), system of ethical ideals that arose from feudalismfeudalism
, form of political and social organization typical of Western Europe from the dissolution of Charlemagne's empire to the rise of the absolute monarchies. The term feudalism is derived from the Latin feodum,
..... Click the link for more information.
 and had its highest development in the 12th and 13th cent.

Chivalric ethics originated chiefly in France and Spain and spread rapidly to the rest of the Continent and to England. They represented a fusion of Christian and military concepts of morality and still form the basis of gentlemanly conduct. Noble youths became pages in the castles of other nobles at the age of 7; at 14 they trained as squires in the service of knights, learning horsemanship and military techniques, and were themselves knighted, usually at 21.

The chief chivalric virtues were piety, honor, valor, courtesy, chastity, and loyalty. The knight's loyalty was due to the spiritual master, God; to the temporal master, the suzerain; and to the mistress of the heart, his sworn love. Love, in the chivalrous sense, was largely platonic; as a rule, only a virgin or another man's wife could be the chosen object of chivalrous love. With the cult of the Virgin Mary, the relegation of noblewomen to a pedestal reached its highest expression.

The ideal of militant knighthood was greatly enhanced by the CrusadesCrusades
, series of wars undertaken by European Christians between the 11th and 14th cent. to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims. First Crusade
Origins

In the 7th cent., Jerusalem was taken by the caliph Umar.
..... Click the link for more information.
. The monastic orders of knighthood, the Knights TemplarsKnights Templars
, in medieval history, members of the military and religious order of the Poor Knights of Christ, called the Knights of the Temple of Solomon from their house in Jerusalem.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and the Knights HospitalersKnights Hospitalers,
members of the military and religious Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, sometimes called the Knights of St. John and the Knights of Jerusalem. The symbol of the Order of St.
..... Click the link for more information.
, produced soldiers sworn to uphold the Christian ideal. Besides the battlefield, the tournamenttournament
or tourney,
in the Middle Ages, public contest between armed horsemen in simulation of real battle. In this military game, which flourished from the 12th to the 16th cent., combatants were frequently divided into opposing factions, each led by a champion.
..... Click the link for more information.
 was the chief arena in which the virtues of chivalry could be proved. The code of chivalrous conduct was worked out with great subtlety in the courts of love that flourished in France and in Flanders. There the most arduous questions of love and honor were argued before the noble ladies who presided (see courtly lovecourtly love,
philosophy of love and code of lovemaking that flourished in France and England during the Middle Ages. Although its origins are obscure, it probably derived from the works of Ovid, various Middle Eastern ideas popular at the time, and the songs of the troubadours.
..... Click the link for more information.
). The French military hero Pierre Terrail, seigneur de BayardBayard, Pierre Terrail, seigneur de
, c.1474–1524, French military hero, called le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche [the knight without fear or reproach].
..... Click the link for more information.
, was said to be the last embodiment of the ideals of chivalry.

In practice, chivalric conduct was never free from corruption, increasingly evident in the later Middle Ages. Courtly love often deteriorated into promiscuity and adultery and pious militance into barbarous warfare. Moreover, the chivalric duties were not owed to those outside the bounds of feudal obligation. The outward trappings of chivalry and knighthood declined in the 15th cent., by which time wars were fought for victory and individual valor was irrelevant. Artificial orders of chivalry, such as the Order of the Golden Fleece (1423), were created by rulers to promote loyalty; tournaments became ritualized, costly, and comparatively bloodless; the traditions of knighthood became obsolete.

Medieval secular literature was primarily concerned with knighthood and chivalry. Two masterpieces of this literature are the Chanson de Roland (c.1098; see RolandRoland
, the great French hero of the medieval Charlemagne cycle of chansons de geste, immortalized in the Chanson de Roland (11th or 12th cent.). Existence of an early Roland poem is indicated by the historian Wace's statement that Taillefer sang of Roland's deeds
..... Click the link for more information.
) and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (see Pearl, ThePearl, The,
one of four Middle English alliterative poems, all contained in a manuscript of c.1400, composed in the West Midland dialect, almost certainly by the same anonymous author, who flourished c.1370–1390.
..... Click the link for more information.
). Arthurian legendArthurian legend,
the mass of legend, popular in medieval lore, concerning King Arthur of Britain and his knights. Medieval Sources

The battle of Mt. Badon—in which, according to the Annales Cambriae (c.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and the chansons de gestechansons de geste
[Fr.,=songs of deeds], a group of epic poems of medieval France written from the 11th through the 13th cent. Varying in length from 1,000 to 20,000 lines, assonanced or (in the 13th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
 furnished bases for many later romances and epics. The work of Chrétien de TroyesChrétien de Troyes
or Chrestien de Troyes
, fl. 1170, French poet, author of the first great literary treatments of the Arthurian legend. His narrative romances, composed c.1170–c.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and the Roman de la RoseRoman de la Rose, Le
, French poem of 22,000 lines in eight-syllable couplets. It is in two parts. The first (4,058 lines) was written (c.1237) by Guillaume de Lorris and was left unfinished. It is an elaborate allegory on the psychology of love, often subtle and charming.
..... Click the link for more information.
 also had tremendous influence on European literature. The endless chivalrous and pastoral romances, still widely read in the 16th cent., were satirized by Cervantes in Don Quixote. In the 19th cent., however, the romantic movement brought about a revival of chivalrous ideals and literature.

For the lyric poetry of the age of chivalry, see troubadourstroubadours
, aristocratic poet-musicians of S France (Provence) who flourished from the end of the 11th cent. through the 13th cent. Many troubadours were noblemen and crusader knights; some were kings, e.g.
..... Click the link for more information.
; trouvèrestrouvères
, medieval poet-musicians of central and N France, fl. during the later 12th and the 13th cent. The trouvères imitated the troubadours of the south.
..... Click the link for more information.
; minnesingerminnesinger
, a medieval German knight, poet, and singer of Minne, or courtly love. Originally imitators of Provençal troubadours, minnesingers developed their own style in the 13th and 14th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
.

Bibliography

See B. E. Broughton, Dictionary of Medieval Knighthood and Chivalry (1986); M. Keen, Chivalry (1984); H. Chickering and T. H. Seiler, ed., The Study of Chivalry (1988).

Chivalry

Amadis of Gaul
personification of chivalric ideals: valor, purity, fidelity. [Span. Lit.: Benét, 27]
Arthur, King
king of England; head of the Round Table. [Br. Lit.: Le Morte d’Arthur]
Bevis
chivalrous medieval knight, righting wrongs in Europe. [Br. Lit.: Bevis of Hampton]
Book of the Courtier
Castiglione’s discussion of the manners of the perfect courtier (1528). [Ital. Lit.: EB, II: 622]
Calidore, Sir
personification of courtesy and chivalrous actions. [Br. Lit.: Faerie Queene]
Camelot
capital of King Arthur’s realm, evokes the romance of knightly activity. [Br. Legend: Collier’s IV, 224]
Cid, El
Spanish military leader who becomes a national hero through chivalrous exploits. [Span. Lit.: Song of the Cid]
Courtenay, Miles
dashing and chivalrous Irishman. [Br. Lit.: King Noanett, Walsh Modern, 108]
Coverley, Sir Roger de
ideal, early 18th-century squire. [Br. Lit.: “Spectator” in Wheeler, 85]
D’Artagnan
Dumas’s ever-popular chivalrous character. [Fr. Lit.: The Three Musketeers]
Dantes, Edmond
chivalrous adventurer. [Fr. Lit.: Count of Monte-Cristo]
Edward III, King
when a countess dropped her garter, he put it on to reproach the sniggering courtiers, and instituted the Order of the Garter. [Br. Legend: Benét, 383]
Eglamour, Sir
“a knight well-spoken, neat, and fine.” [Br. Lit.: Two Gentlemen of Verona]
Galahad, Sir
gallant, chivalrous knight of the Round Table. [Br. Lit.: Le Morte d’Arthur]
Gareth
knight who, though Lynette scorns him as only a kitchen hand, successfully accomplishes rescuing her sister. [Br. Poetry: Tennyson Idylls of the King]
Gawain, Sir King
Arthur’s nephew; model of knightly perfection and chivalry. [Br. Lit.: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]
Ivanhoe
the epitome of chivalric novels. [Br. Lit.: Ivanhoe]
Knights Templars
protected pilgrims to the Holy Land and fought the Saracens. [Medieval Hist.: NCE, 1490]
Knights of the Round Table
chivalrous knights in King Arthur’s reign. [Br. Lit.: Le Morte d’Arthur]
Lancelot, Sir
knight in King Arthur’s realm; model of chivalry. [Br. Lit.: Le Morte d’Arthur]
Morte d’Arthur, Le
monumental work of chivalric romance. [Br. Lit.: Le Morte d’Arthur]
Orlando
gallant and steadfast hero of medieval romance. [Ital. Lit.: Orlando Furioso; Orlando Inammorato; Morgante Maggiore]
Quixote, Don
knight-errant ready to rescue distressed damsels. [Span. Lit.: Don Quixote]
Raleigh, Sir Walter
drops his cloak over a puddle to save Queen Elizabeth from wetting her feet. [Br. Lit.: Scott Kenilworth in Magill I, 469]
Richard the Lion-Hearted
(1159–1199) king known for his gallantry and prowess. [Br. Hist.: EB, 15: 827]
Roland
paragon of chivalry; unyielding warrior in Charlemagne legends. [Fr. Lit.: Song of Roland]
sweet william
symbolizes chivalry. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 181]
Valiant, Prince
comic strip character epitomizes chivalry. [Comics: Horn, 565]

chivalry

1. the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, esp courage, honour, justice, and a readiness to help the weak
2. the medieval system and principles of knighthood
References in periodicals archive ?
The first part of the book introduces chivalry but does so while simultaneously narrating English political and social history, showing why once-suspect kings, such as the Lionheart and Edward III, deserve their medieval fame as creators and maintainers of the dominant model of medieval kingship.
Of course, we know that the benefits of chivalry to women are only short term.
uk, said men's standards have slipped so far over recent years that any offer of chivalry from a gentleman knocks a woman off their guard and is viewed with outright suspicion.
This essay argues that these national stakes of chivalry are negotiated in the realm of the Gothic romance in a particularly fluid and dynamic manner.
Gary Paul, pictured, 50, an audiologist from Bath, has been a member of the Company of Chivalry since it was set up in 1989 and tomorrow and Monday, will be talking visitors through the history and uses of the siege engines.
The broader implications of this investigation are discussed, including how the themes of chivalry were articulated in literature, the socio-political benefits of chivalry, the dialogue on chivalry between monarch and nobility, and how Castilian and European society and culture developed with these foundations.
Chivas, established in 1801, are taking action against Glencairn Scotch Whisky and director Raymond Davidson, who sell the Chivalry Special Reserve Scotch Whisky brand.
It is easy for the reader to get distracted in the discussion regarding the term and the notions of chivalry and chivalric virtues.
Y como diria "Montesquieu: la galanteria nacio cuando la fantasia creo hombres extraordinarios que al ver la virtud unida a la belleza no dudaban en complacerla en los actos ordinarios de la vida", parafraseado por el dandy Olivier Bassil" Chivalry is back in Cannes.
BRITONS are abandoning their world-famous manners as chivalry becomes a dying art, say researchers.
MEN are struggling when it comes to modern chivalry, according to a report today.
Author Jose Toledo is an analyst and expert on Classical Antiquity and the Medieval Age and here focuses on the human factors of Medieval knights and their lives, from historical figures and biographical reviews to general daily life and times in the Age of Chivalry.