The European Chivalry: the Ideals and Practices

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The European Chivalry: The Ideals and Practices

Andrew Daniels

Strayer University


This paper focuses on the ideals and practices of chivalry, specifically in the Middle Ages. During this time, a list of Ten Commandments pertaining to chivalry existed. Knights were expected to uphold a certain code that impacted their country, church, king, and fellow man. This paper will elaborate on those individual commandments and explore what each mandate meant for a knight, and it will show how those obligations affected various aspects of their lives. Also, the paper will touch on chivalry in relation to a knight’s demeanor toward a woman, and the rules that were to be followed when engaging in courtly love. Lastly, one will see how some of these ideas have carried into modern day, though they have been altered throughout time.

The European Chivalry: The Ideals and Practices

Picture King Arthur, a knight in shining armor, waging war against his former knight Launcelot to prove his love for Guenever. Most people envision such scenes when they hear the word “chivalry.” While dragon-slaying knights and tales of rescuing damsels in distress have contributed to our notion of chivalry, many more unifying aspects make up what it means to be chivalrous. I will be delving into the true meaning behind the principles and what it means to be a knight devoted to the ideals of chivalry. Knights first evolved in the eighth century under the direction of the French ruler Charlemagne; it was from this time that the idea of chivalry arose. Though the Code of Chivalry was never formally written, it was understood by all as a way of culture and moral conduct. During the Middle Ages, knights upheld the ideals and practices delineated in The Code of Chivalry. These values ranged from dedication to the church, to defending the weak and defending your country, and holding yourself to a higher standard by being faithful to your word and respecting others....
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