The decline of the concept of chivalry

The Code of Chivalry was the code of conduct followed by the knights during the medieval period. It was developed between the 11th and 12th century. However, according to David Crouch, a British Medieval historian, the Code of Chivalry was dated back the ancient times. Code of Chivalry Definition The late medieval code of chivalry however, arose from the idealisation brought by the synthesis of Germanic and Roman medieval martial traditions that often involved military bravery, training, and service to others.

The decline of the concept of chivalry

The code of chivalry was a The decline of the concept of chivalry defined code of conduct governing the lives of the horse soldiers, the armored knights, of the early middle ages through the Renaissance.

While this code was different, often radically so, in different times and places, its origins as a code of conduct for warriors ensured that a few principles were nearly universal. Nearly all forms of chivalry included: First, you would see the martial virtues, since the primary use of a band of mounted warriors is war.

If they run away in battle what earthly good are they? So the encouragement of warlike virtues would be the first development, as old as warrior societies all over the world. The second problem with a warrior society is that if not held in check they tend to run amok.

This is why in the mid-to-late middle ages we begin to see the rise of a moral code of service towards women, the poor and the Church.

Finally, as the battlefields of Europe changed and the role of the individual armored warrior became less important than the massed, faceless, anonymous professional e. With the decline of the primacy of the armored knight on the battlefield, the social roles of the knightly class changed drastically, and the shape of chivalry changed right along with it.

Since warfare was no longer their primary occupation, the martial aspects of chivalry declined in importance. The idea of martial prowess remained in a vestigial state, in the form of sports such as fencing, boxing or riding. Later these sports were displaced with more modern sports such as cricket, rugby and football.

An idea of the importance of fighting skill and physical fitness to the formation of the complete gentleman also informed the physical culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the popularity of systems of self defense.

A second major social change from the Medieval period was the total fracturing of the European religious identity that came about as a result of the Protestant reformation. No longer even nominally unified under a single religion, Christendom disintegrated, and as national boundaries were redrawn and solidified, nationalism gradually rose.

The armored knight was, at least in theory, loyal primarily to the Church and to his local Lord. Now a religious allegiance that transcended national borders began to be seen as a threat. Religion and State slowly began to take on separate identities, and claimed for themselves separate allegiances.

In this cultural milieu, loyalty to religion declined in importance as a mark of the true gentleman. Instead, a strong social code of conduct involving concepts of fair play, honesty and justice, and a complex set of social manners, began to arise as the primary moral component of chivalry.

Chivalry had been secularized.

The decline of the concept of chivalry

Education, increasingly humanistic and rationalistic, soon became the distinguishing mark of the gentleman. He also clearly distinguishes this education, desirable as it may be, as a secular rather than as a religious virtue.

Being a gentleman is not the same as being a saint, and being a saint is more important. With the twentieth century the concept of chivalry became all but lost. The real death of chivalry came about as education shifted away from the liberal arts and towards vocation specific training.

The building of a liberal mind was no longer seen as a goal of primary importance. Instead, an education is now looked at as a meal ticket.

Warfare is now exclusively the realm of trained professionals who do it for a living, or of massed draftees or volunteers whose only job is to follow orders. Religion and daily life have been almost completely separated in daily life.

Education is now ordered around consuming and producing products to keep the economy going. Emily Post is the only person alive who seems to know what the etiquette of today consists of, so the only thing left of chivalry in popular thought is a vague, poorly defined set of manners.

The decline of the concept of chivalry

These are mostly drawn from Hollywood and romance novels, and have exclusively to do with men treating women with courtesy. Since the moral and philosophic underpinnings of these courteous behaviors were lost, they easily fell prey to the rise of feminism, with its insistence on an exact, mathematical equality between the genders and its consequent denial of all gender differences.

This may be considered the death blow of chivalry, but at this point that harmless vestige of a once vibrant and powerful way of life seems hardly worth destroying or saving."Courtly love" was a concept that emerged in connection with the concept of chivalry.

This concept explained how knights should act toward women. The medieval development of chivalry, with the concept of the honour of a lady and the ensuing knightly devotion to it, not only derived from the thinking about the Virgin Mary, but also contributed to it.

Moreover, as chivalry became more stylized, women were increasingly restricted in their behavior because any deviation from the chivalric ideal of the passive, beautiful female was gradually more unacceptable.

The higher the pedestal, it seems, the harder the fall. "Courtly love" was a concept that emerged in connection with the concept of chivalry. This concept explained how knights should act toward women. How did the concept of chivalry influence medieval life? Under the influence of catholic church, chivalry was the idea of civilized behavior which gradually evolved.

A knight was to defend the church and defenseless people, not captivate people in dungeons, and treat aristocrat women with tenderness and respect. chivalry, analysis of its methods, and the story of its rise and fall.

Chivalry was not an official institution that came into existence by the decree of a sovereign.

Knights and the Traditions of Chivalry |