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Chivalry


Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is a code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood which developed between 1170 and 1220. The ideals of chivalry were popularized in medieval literature, especially the Matter of Britain and Matter of France, the former based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae which introduced the legend of King Arthur, written in the 1130s.

The code of chivalry that developed in medieval Europe had its roots in earlier centuries. It arose in the Holy Roman Empire from the idealisation of the cavalryman—involving military bravery, individual training, and service to others—especially in Francia, among horse soldiers in Charlemagne's cavalry. The term derives from the Old French term chevalerie, which can be translated to "horse soldiery".Gautier states that knighthood emerged from the Moors as well as the Teutonic forests and was nurtured into civilization and chivalry by the Catholic Church.

Over time, its meaning in Europe has been refined to emphasise social and moral virtues more generally. The Code of Chivalry, as it stood by the Late Middle Ages, was a moral system which combined a warrior ethos, knightly piety, and courtly manners, all conspiring to establish a notion of honour and nobility.



  • Alexander, Michael. (2007) Medievalism: The Middle Ages in Modern England, Yale University Press. Alexander rejects the idea that medievalism, a pervasive cultural movement in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was confined to the Victorian period and argues against the suspicion that it was by its nature escapist.
  • Davis, Alex (2004). Chivalry and Romance in the English Renaissance. Woodcock, Matthew. 
  • Barber, Richard (1980). "The Reign of Chivalry".
  • Bouchard, Constance Brittain (1998). Strong of Body, Brave and Noble: Chivalry and Society in Medieval France. Cornell University Press, 1998.
  • Charny, Geoffroi de, died 1356 (2005). A Knight's Own Book of Chivalry (The Middle Ages Series). Translated by Eslpeth Kennedy. Edited and with a historical introduction by Richard W. Kaeuper. University of Pennsylvania Press. Celebrated treatise on knighthood by Geoffroi de Charny (1304?-56), considered by his contemporaries the quintessential knight of his age. He was killed during the Hundred Years War at the Battle of Poitiers.
  • Gautier, Léon, (1895) (1883, 3rd ed. 1895| La Chevalerie)
  • Girouard, Mark (1981). The Return to Camelot: Chivalry and the English Gentleman. Yale University Press.
  • Haines, Charles Reginald. (1889). Christianity and Islam in Spain, A.D. 756-1031. London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co. Project Guttnberg online book.
  • Prestage, Edgar (1928). "Chivalry: A Series of Studies to Illustrate Its Historical Significance and Civilizing Influence".
  • Kaeuper, Richard W. (1999). Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe. Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Kaeuper, Richard W. (2009) Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry (The Middle Ages Series). University of Pennsylvania Press. Foremost scholar of chivalry argues that knights proclaimed the validity of their bloody profession by selectively appropriating religious ideals.
  • Keen, Maurice (1984). Chivalry. Yale University Press. / (2005 reprint).
  • Mills, Charles (2004). "The History of Chivalry or knighthood and its Times" Volume I-II.
  • Read, Charles Anderson (2007). The Cabinet Of Irish Literature; Selections From The Works Of The Chief Poets, Orators, And Prose Writers Of Ireland - Vol IV (Paperback).
  • Saul, Nigel. (2011) Chivalry in Medieval England. Harvard University Press. Explores chivalry's role in English history from the Norman Conquest to Henry VII's victory at Bosworth in the War of the Roses.
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