Tracing Chivalry Through Knighthood Essay Research Paper

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Tracing Chivalry Through Knighthood Essay, Research Paper Tracing Chivalry Through Knighthood Throughout my semester of studies on knighthood, I have noticed two major swings in its goal. At first the knight existed only as a vassal, a mounted warrior for fighting. Then as the first crusade came around in 1095 it turned the knights attentions to their new quest in Jerusalem. As many joined the ranks of such sects as the knights of the temple, their job became increasingly religious and their status became one of the church. The second transformation comes with the appearance of court life. As the knights became more entangled in the ways of court life, the code of morals known as chivalry becomes more refined and available to fewer people. At the same time, with the

appearance of the knight in the court came a more elite and aristocratic type of knight. This being said, the chivalry of the 12th and 13th centuries can be explained as a culmination of the elitist ideals of knighthood along with the social pressures of the courts and the times. To best be able to describe the evolution of the 13th century knight we must first understand its roots, its origins. The origins of knighthood has always been the feudalistic society of the 8th century. The Frankish Kingdom at this time was one of peasants. The few rich land owners became magnets for young men looking to make something of themselves, and in the spirit of feudalism bands of men formed together to form forces to be reckoned with. Feudalism is a form of society were a person?s loyalty is

not towards the abstract notion of ?state,? but to a lord to which they have chosen to be indebted. This lord- vassal relationship is the basis to the idea of loyalty which is the foundation of all knighthood. The social status of the knight at this point in history is quite low, they are the paid labor, the hired muscle. The lord must now equip his new knight with all that is needed to fight, a sword, a shield, armor, a horse, a helmet, as well as food rations. The usual cost of this was about 45 cows.(web page, http://student.maxwell.syr.edu/anderson/equip.htm) But this is all was going to change. Knights would be drawn away from their meager household duties towards the east in God?s crusade of 1095-1099. The feudal society had become to rough and tumble for many, especially

those associated with the church. These indebted vassals were fighting and rampaging though the countryside at will. These sentiments were much of the motivation for what came to be known as the peace and truce of God. The peace of God was a papal decree that protected certain individuals from violence at all times. These people were the clergymen, as well as all women. The truce of God put strict limits of when fighting could occur between anyone at all. Declared at the diocese of Cologne in 1083, this was the church?s first step towards trying to bring some order to the chaos that was feudalism. Through the first crusade, the church was able to give fighting a war a religious aura. Those who fought and died went to heaven, and those who killed were merely doing the work of

Christ. This concept was very appealing to the knights of the time, and many joined the crusade. For joining something so holy, the church starts to give knights the status of clergymen, and the knight as a social class begins to mold itself into something better then it ever has been before. The Templars are the direct result of this; they are a hybrid monk and warrior, and therefore have the social status of the clergy. As the greatest knight of the 11th century, William Marshal, in fact, so impressed with the knights of the Temple, became one in his last years(Duby, 14-15). The Templars are very pious and strict, ?They detest chess and dice; they abhor hunting and take no place in the silly chase of birds. They detest and abominate actors, magicians, storytellers, immodest