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The Rules of Chivalry. British Literature Fall 2013. The Knights Code of Chivalry was part of the culture of the Middle Ages and was understood by all.

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the rules of chivalry

The Rules of Chivalry

British Literature

Fall 2013

creation of chivalry

The Knights Code of Chivalry was part of the culture of the Middle Ages and was understood by all.

A Code of Chivalry was documented in 'The Song of Roland' in the Middle Ages Knights period of William the Conqueror who ruled England from 1066.

The 'Song of Roland' describes the 8th century Knights of the Dark Ages and the battles fought by the Emperor Charlemagne. The code has since been described as Charlemagne's Code of Chivalry.

Creation of Chivalry
behavior worthy of a knight
Behavior Worthy of a Knight

It was a moral system which went beyond rules of combat and introduced the concept of Chivalrous conduct - qualities idealized by knighthood, such as bravery, courtesy, honor, and gallantry toward women.

the vows of knighthood
The Vows of Knighthood

To honor God and his Church

To serve the Lord in valor and faith

To protect those that are weak and defenseless

the vows of knighthood1

To refrain from offending others

To live by honor and for glory

To avoid monetary reward

To fight for the welfare of all

To obey those in authority

The Vows of Knighthood
the vows of knighthood2
The Vows of Knighthood

To guard the honor of fellow Knights.

the vows of knighthood3

To keep the faith

To speak the truth at all times

To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun

The Vows of Knighthood
the vows of knighthood4

To respect the honor of women

Never to refuse a challenge from an equal

Never turn the back upon a foe

The Vows of Knighthood
the canterbury tales

Chaucer wrote about an unnamed knight in 1386, when he began work on what many scholars consider to be the first “novel” ever written.

The Canterbury Tales
the knight s tale

Chaucer lived and wrote at a time when there were still real knights in shining armor riding into battle and jousting in tournaments. Because of this, his concept of knighthood and chivalry is far more realistic than later authors who were looking back to the Middle Ages with a romantic sense of whimsy. How does a medieval author characterize knighthood? Chaucer’s contemporary description of this knight sheds light on the true spirit of chivalry.

The Knight’s Tale
the knight s tale1

There was a knight, a most distinguished man
Who from the day on which he first began
To ride abroad had followed chivalry,
Truth, honor, generousness and courtesy.
He had done nobly in his sovereign’s war
And ridden into battle, no man more,
As well in Christian as in heathen places,
And ever honored for his noble graces …
He was of sovereign value in all eyes.
And though so much distinguished, he was wise
And in his bearing modest as a maid
He never yet a boorish thing had said
In all his life to any, come what might;
He was a true, a perfect gentle-knight.
Speaking of his equipment, he possessed
Fine horses, but he was not gaily dressed.
He wore a fustian tunic stained and dark
With smudges where his armour had left mark;
Just home from service, he had joined our ranks
To do his pilgrimage and render thanks.

The Knight’s Tale