June 24, 2006

Horse 575 - On Chivalry

Chivalry is derived from the French word cheval, and from the Latin, caballus, and was to be considered from three points - the military, the social, and the religious. It is best known as the belief and practices of the knights of medieval times. It is a code of ethics or conduct upheld by the knights and influenced by Christianity.

Chivalry meant that a knight was loyal, courteous, protective, honorable and gentle. They sought love and glory - for his king and his lady first. Some more traits were courage, being humble, obedient and chaste. They lived to serve their king and country and to defend the crown. They were to show self control, respect to authority and to women, protect the innocent or those weaker or unarmed, they were never to attack an unarmed foe, attack from behind, or use a weapon on an opponent that was not equal to the attack.

They were to administer justice, avoid cheating and lying - and torture, and were expected to avenge the wronged. They would never abandon a friend or noble cause or betray them. They were to exhibit manners, avoid deception, keep one's word of honor and die with valor.
When it came to chivalrous love, they were to avoid avarice, and keep themselves chaste for the one they loved. They were not to break up another's love affair, and they were to keep their own love affair to themselves. They were expected to be polite, courteous, modest, avoid falsehoods and speak no evil. And my favorite, they were to be obedient in all things to the commands of ladies.

Chivalry supposedly died out after the Crusades, but we do see it carried over to the 19th century man in his rules of being a gentleman. Actually, though chivalry originated in medieval times, none were more chivalrous than the men of the 19th century. In the late 1800's, the city/upper class man indeed practiced chivalry and even gave it a new meaning. None would disagree that late Victorian society is when the British Empire was at its most florid. It is from here that the rules of engagement of war, business and courtship were codified.

In our world where everyone is merely looking for number one, a spot of chivalry may be in order. Society would work more smoothly... or is that too much to ask for?

1 comment:

Jules said...

sounds like someone's carrying a flame, how cute
little Rollo's gone set his heart free
i'm jealous of who it's found