3 December 2014
Chivalric Code The term “Chivalry” was derived from several different languages. The French term
“chevalier,” the Spanish term “caballero,” and the Italian term “cavaliere,” all meaning “warrior on horseback” came together to form “chivalry.” The definition of chivalry can be expressed as a term related to medieval institution of knighthood. This refers to the codes of Chivalry which include courtly love, honor, bravery, courteousness, and honesty. Chivalry was the honor code of the knight. One of the most important parts of Chivalry was to display respect and courageous behavior towards women. People who lived in the Medieval times thought that the Code of Chivalry was an important aspect of society. The Code of Chivalry was admired by all. Knights were expected to have strength and sharp skills to stand on the front line in combat during the violent era of the Middle Ages. Also, a knight was expected to temper this aggressive side with a chivalrous side to his nature. The Code of Chivalry was a moral system that surpassed the rules of combat and instead initiated the idea of Chivalrous conduct. The first appearance of Chivalry in the Middle Ages was seen in military activities against non-Christian states. Europe desperately sought to control more land during the Middle Ages. The first known chivalric movements were comparable in nature to the monastic orders of the time. Both of these movements sanctified members through fights against supposed “infidels,” while protecting religious pilgrims. Both movements also required taking a vow and the logging of activities.
Today, the most commonly form of chivalry that is recognized in the Middle Ages is chivalry towards women. Chivalry was the honor code of the knight and great importance was placed on courtesy towards women leading to the concept of a “knight in shining armor.” In modern times the terms chivalry and chivalrous are used to describe courteous behavior, especially that of men towards women. Chivalry towards women included honoring one woman before all others. Also, it included courteousness and tenderness towards all women as a whole. This was known as “courtly love chivalry.” Chivalry towards women was derived from worship of the Virgin Mary. The Medieval worship of Mary contrasted greatly with the attitudes in Medieval society about women in general. For the most part, women were oppressed and viewed as much lesser than men. Women were viewed particularly worthless if they were from outside of noble families. Although, Virgin Mary was seen as a mediator God, some women were viewed as a source of destruction.
There was an area of chivalry that deals with a knight’s noble traits such as valor, honor, and protecting the poor. This was often referred to as “warrior chivalry.” According to the knights, warrior chivalry was the most meaningful type of chivalry there was. Knights were required to put others’ lives before their own. Although it was called warrior chivalry, more than half of the codes of chivalry related to acts of chivalry instead of acts of combat. Other attributes of warrior chivalry included being faithful to God, being faithful to the church, always being a proponent of good against evil, and putting the worship of God above all others.
The Code of Chivalry was intertwined with Courtly Love which was practiced during the
Medieval era. Representatives of the royal courts across Europe were the ones who practiced Courtly Love. Knights and ladies were permitted to show their affection for one another regardless of their marital status due to the combination of the romance and rules of Courtly Love and the Code of Chivalry. During a Medieval tournament, it was completely sufficient for a married woman to give a token to any knight of her choice to be worn. Although there were rules that went along with Courtly Love, sometimes the ones who started their