The legend of King Arthur revolves around the Knights Code of Chivalry. Although there was not an official Code of Chivalry, there were a multitude of well-known ideals that all knights were to represent. It was a system of morals that introduced certain qualities idealized outside of battle – qualities such as bravery, courtesy,
Chivalry was considered to be the code of behavior expected of a knight. It was the conduct, ideas, and ideals of the knightly class of the Middle Ages. It became standardized and referred to as chivalry, a term derived from the French word chevalier, meaning knight. The code urged the knight to be brave, courageous, honorable, true to his word, and loyal to his feudal overlord, and to defend his Church. A knight was truthful, honest, capable, educated, physically fit, noble, sincere, and subservient to the king. A serious violation of these vows could result in a knight being classed as an undignified knight, which was the ultimate insult because of all the hard work that was put into becoming a knight. It made it seem as if all of work
The knightly code of chivalry value honesty, honor, valor, and loyalty; however, each era adapt and manipulate the code. The dark ages of King Arthur adopted the code along with the conduct aligned with the Christian religion. Knightly chivalry is means to fear God serve, pledge your loyalty to their lord, live honorable, tell the truth, respect women, never refuse a challenge, eschew unfairness, meanness, and deceit, protect the weak and defenseless, and it goes on (Alchin). The reality of true knightly hood is impossible. You cannot successfully abide by them all without breaking one. The duty of the knight is a task of utter perfection. The knight has a responsibility to protect all, but it is depicted time after time in all forms of media of those who value riches and power. Sir Gawain of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is about a knight of King Arthur usually fabled in many stories of the times.
In the Medieval Period, knights dedicated their lives to following the code of chivalry. In Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, a number of characters performed chivalrous acts to achieve the status of an ideal knight. Their characteristics of respect for women and courtesy for all, helpfulness to the weak, honor, and skill in battle made the characters King Arthur, King Pellinore, and Sir Gryfflette examples of a what knights strove to be like in Medieval society. Because of the examples ofchivalry, Le Morte d’Arthur showed what a knight desired to be, so he could improve theworld in which he lived.
Knights are one of the most mistaken figures of the medieval era due to fairytales and over exaggerated fiction novels. When medieval knights roamed the earth, it was known that they were only human and, like humans, had faults. These knights did not always live up to the standards designated by society. However, in The Canterbury Tales, the knight is revealed as a character that would now be considered a knight in shining armor, a perfect role model in how he acts and what he does. Modern day people see them as chivalrous figures instead of their actual role as mounted cavalry soldiers. As time passes, the idea of what a knight is changes from a simple cavalry soldier to a specific type of behavior.
At first knights and soldiers in the armies were of little social status. “Many knights in fact possessed little more than peasants” (Spielvogel 244). War was looked as kind of a barbaric act in the beginning and many knights could be found fighting each other. While some of this was tolerated, as they were seen as “defenders of society”, the Catholic Church decided that there should be some ground rules. At the start of the eleventh century, the church urged knights to take an oath to protect churches, and to not harm noncombatants. These rules allowed for battles to follow a civil path and to be carried out in a noble way.
The historian Richard Kaeuper notes that prowess being crucial to honor may have contributed as much to the ‘problem of violence as it provided a solution’. Therefore, this appears to convey why the concept of chivalry began to be associated with violence and warfare as knights, in the pursuit of honor, became reliant on violence and battle to prove their aptitude. This idea is supported by a medieval knight Sir John Chandos, who stated that men brought up for martial calling ‘cannot live without war and do not know how to’. Maurice Keen argues that ‘chivalry was quintessentially bellicose’ as it presented those who fought has having a ‘pinnacle of honor’. As a result, the use of force by knights as a way of denoting their gallantry led to the belief that violence was intrinsic to the notion of chivalry.
The code for knights was called Chivalry. “In the ceremony for becoming a knight, you would solemnly promise to do no good deed, be loyal to the King, to give mercy for those who ask it, always be courteous and be helpful to ladies, fight in no wrongful quarrel for worldly gain, upon pain of death or forfeiture of knighthood and in King Arthur’s favour” (Doc.E.). There was also a code for samurai called Bushido. The code contained rules like “discharging loyal service to his master, deepening his fidelity(loyalty) in associations with friends, and devoting himself to duty above all.” People who transgress against these moral principles shall be punished. They did not have mercy like the knights did. These are the similarities and many differences of the codes for knights and
In the time period between 1066 and 1485, better known as the medieval age, a set of standards and how people are placed into order of importance in society is known as feudalism. In this caste system there are four groups; Kings, Barons, Vassals, and Serfs. The main individual of focus comes from the vassals, better known as the knight. Knights from this time period start out around 7 years old and are taught a code of chivalry (code of conduct) and the basics of knight hood. The knight in the Wife of Bath’s tale forcibly violates a young madden and punished with execution by decapitation. He is saved by the queen but is sent on a twelve month and a day quest. The knight in the Wife of Bath’s Tale doesn’t display chivalry by his actions
The chivalric code is a code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood. Boys who were to become knights grew up around values that include comportment, courtesy, cleanliness, and religion. At a later year in a boy’s development, he would study under a knight to learn riding and all the skills of war, as well as hunting, hawking, and other sports that were encouraged by the knightly code of honor. As the knights developed, there came a time for the knight in training to swear to the knightly code. The knightly code asked to protect the weak, defenseless, and helpless, and fight for the general welfare of all people. This code was rarely lived up to, but it remained the standard for chivalry and proper
During the Middle Ages, concepts like courtly love and chivalry were being recognized as a moral code for knights to live their lives by. Sir Gawain and
At this point in history the men who fought the wars were lead by their leaders with a code of chivalry. Chivalry can be explained as “the Anglo-Saxon code on steroids.” (McGee) Which is, explained further, a moral system for a good way to conduct fighting. The knights in Arthurian time went even further with that code to say that it was a way to conduct oneself not only in battle, but at all times. Knights, by being chivalrous, were kind to all people, fought well and true, kept faith and believed in the Christian God, and fought for their kings. Chivalry can be found across the Arthurian texts, The Song of Roland is one of the texts that has multiple examples of chivalry.
During the Middle Ages, people across the lands thought of knighthood to be a holy calling which the noble knights of the land are bound by. The code of chivalry is the set of standards that controlled the knights’ behavior. When in war, the knights are to be tremendously brave in battle, loyal to his lord, and willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. At home, a knight is to defend the weak and to serve God at all times. A knight is also to be gracious and kind toward noble ladies. In truth, these knights did not always follow these standards. Many of them broke rules, became robbers, and turned to organized crime because they hungered for wealth and power. These knights also ransacked villages. Although
King Arthur’s court at Camelot has rule that the knights should live by and it is the chivalrous code. Chivalry is defined as the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms. To put the definition in better terms is that the more manly you are in battle, the more you have to treat your lady or wife as a princess. The fighting spirit, bravery and courtesy are important to a man’s character and cowardice is looked down upon as a severe defect.
Looted churches and wrecked buildings marked the path of the Vandals in the early Middle Ages. The Vandals were a “barbarian” Germanic tribe who battled the Huns and the Goths and invaded Rome. Though they were no more destructive than how other invaders conducted themselves in the time, the name “Vandal” still carries a negative connotation and is used to describe a person who recklessly destroys property. Hence, the term vandalism.