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The Chivalric Code. Origins of the Chivalric Code. In literature, King Arthur outlines the proper behavior of his knights when they are seated at the Round Table. He proclaims these the Chivalric Code.

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origins of the chivalric code
Origins of the Chivalric Code
  • In literature, King Arthur outlines the proper behavior of his knights when they are seated at the Round Table. He proclaims these the Chivalric Code.
  • The Code of Chivalry dictates that the knights follow the will of the king. Given that this is the era of the Rightful King, we can see why these guidelines were so easily adopted and adhered to.
ten commandments of the code of chivalry
Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry

From Chivalry by Leon Gautier

  • Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions.
  • Thou shalt defend the Church.
  • Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
ten commandments of the code of chivalry1
Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry
  • Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
  • Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
  • Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy.
ten commandments of the code of chivalry2
Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry
  • Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
  • Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
ten commandments of the code of chivalry3
Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry
  • Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
  • Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
  • In 1168, Eleanor of Aquitaine left the court of her husband Henry II and took up residence in her ancestral lands of Poitou and ruled as a duchess.
  • With a deft hand and a discerning eye, she turned a district that had been on the outskirts of events for forty years into the center of economic and social life.

Eleanor of Aquitaine

  • As a result of this sudden burst of activity, Eleanor's court in the city of Poitiers drew vassals paying homage, squires training to be knights, young ladies acquiring their education, and visiting future kings and queens related by blood or marriage to the duchess.
  • Because she was a woman of renowned beauty, charm and style as well as extraordinary wit and iron will, the poets, chroniclers, musicians, philosophers, artists, who always flocked around her also congregated at Poitiers. It was out of royalty and romance that the movement of courtly love emerged.
the stages of courtly love
The Stages of Courtly Love
  • Attraction to the lady, usually via eyes/glance
  • Worship of the lady from afar
  • Declaration of passionate devotion
  • Virtuous rejection by the lady
  • Renewed wooing with oaths of virtue and eternal fealty
  • Moans of approaching death from unsatisfied desire (and other physical manifestations of lovesickness)
  • Heroic deeds of valor which win the lady's heart
  • Consummation of the secret love
  • Endless adventures and subterfuges avoiding detection
the twelve rules of love from the art of courtly love by andreas capellanus
The Twelve Rules of Love from The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus

1. Thou shalt avoid avarice like the deadly pestilence and shalt embrace its opposite.

2. Thou shalt keep thyself chaste for the sake of her whom thou lovest.

3. Thou shalt not knowingly strive to break up a correct love affair that someone else is engaged in.

4. Thou shalt not choose for thy love anyone whom a natural sense of shame forbids thee to marry.

5. Be mindful completely to avoid falsehood.

rules continued
Rules continued

6. Thou shalt not have many who know of thy love affair.

7. Being obedient in all things to the commands of ladies, thou shalt ever strive to ally thyself to the service of Love.

8. In giving and receiving love's solaces let modesty be ever present.

9. Thou shalt speak no evil.

10. Thou shalt not be a revealer of love affairs.

11. Thou shalt be in all things polite and courteous.

12. In practicing the solaces of love thou shalt not exceed the desires of thy lover.

the literary convention of courtly love
The Literary Convention of Courtly Love 
  • In France and England, courtly love became a central theme of lyric and epic poetry. 
  • The literary convention of courtly love appears in works of most of the major authors of the Middle Ages, including Geoffrey Chaucer (Canterbury Tales).  
  • Courtly love conventions are found in the medieval genres of lyric, the allegory and the Romance (such as “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”) 

The Literary Convention of Courtly Love cont.

  • In the 12th century, literature written in French was referred to as "romance" to differentiate it from "real" literature, which was written in Latin.  
  • - Eventually, the term "romance" began to refer not to any literature written in French, but to the specific sort of literature that was popular among the French-speaking court audiences of France and Anglo-Norman England: stories of the chivalric adventures of knights and their ladies. 
  • - There have been debates about whether courtly love was a social reality or simply a literary fiction. Regardless, it was a widespread and significant notion.