Chivalry: Reality and Ideal.
Gallagher, John J.
- The eminent medievalist Maurice Keen described chivalry as an evocative term, laden with romantic, knightly imagery, that was nevertheless difficult to precisely define. With the difficulty inherent in defining chivalry firmly in mind, “Chivalry: Reality and Ideal” seeks to determine whether or not chivalry, as a code of values for Western European warrior elites who lived between roughly 1100 and ... read more1500, had any impact on the conduct of actual historical knights.The chief problem with setting out to determine whether chivalry had any impact upon the conduct of actual historical knights is the fact that there is no universal definition of chivalric values. As such “Chivalry: Reality and Ideal” will define two sets of chivalric values by drawing upon primary sources. The first of these sets of values will be drawn from didactic treatises, works written during the Middle Ages that argue for a specific set of chivalric values. The second of these sets of values will be drawn from romantic literature which, through tales of fantastic knightly adventure, indirectly advocates for another set of chivalric values. Each of these two set of values will then be compared to the biographies of actual knights, namely, William the Marshal, Don Pero Nino, and Jorg von Ehingen. Through these comparisons, “Chivalry: Reality and Ideal” will arrive at a conclusion as to whether chivalry had any influence on the conduct of historical knights.read less