The Chivalric Code Of Medieval Knights

1352 words - 6 pages

Today when people hear, “chivalry,” the modern idea connected with the word is romance. Many would picture a man holding a door open for a woman, or think of the phrase, “Chivalry is dead!” In reality, chivalry was a more so of a code of conduct, and the concept of it only being tied to romance is actually a very small part of it. This conduct was a mix between where the individual’s social status was, how knights dealt with treaties, and the glory, freedom, and respect that came with it. Two French rulers began this around the late eighth and early ninth century. This helped inspire their troops and get them thinking positively with such a dull atmosphere. Many history analysts saw this “as a code of moral behavior of upper-class men that showed ‘their romantic ideas of justice; their passion for adventures; their eagerness to run succor of the distressed and the pride they took in redressing wrongs and removing grievances’” yet this is not the most important part of chivalry (Phillips 5). This is where the new interpretation fits into modern chivalry, the concept where you show your love and devotion through small meaningful gestures to a lover.
Before diving into what chivalry is about, it is necessary to understand about the time surrounding its prime existence. This Middle Ages lasted roughly about 1,000 years long. War and religion strongly influenced the way life was carried out and how rulers lived. It is believed that the idea of knighthood originated with a famous emperor from France named Charlemagne. He made two authoritative commands, the most popular is, “Charlemagne’s Code of Chivalry.” This began what modeled the way knights would live their lives for many years to come. These “virtues are seen time and again in medieval legends, folklore, and literary works” (Knights 1). Life in the castle was not always ideal either, it was unsanitary and very gloomy. In a way, it was very depressing times, the walls towered over the houses.
The first and most important part of chivalry is not the romantic side, but the side dealing with how knights acted in and out of war. With the push of new territories establishing themselves, and becoming more developed with their setup of the social classes, the concept of chivalry arose. In the aspect of status, chivalry was highly desired, and made attainable, which gave inspiration to have a new type of power. This could be held in all different types of titles, from knights to other royal offices, this could show how their nobility ranked, ultimately under the ruler or dictator. “The new order gradually developed its own ethos, reflected in the ideal of chivalry, the knight’s code of conduct” (History of Europe 211). Since a majority of the people had this dream of honor and being looked up to with respect, it pushed many of the lower social status classes to be more ambitious. Due to the fact that glory was, and still is, connected to the word chivalry, there were unnecessary crusades and raids....

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