Ten Commandments of Chivalry

Chivalry in early medieval times was a simple set of rules or ideals that governed medieval warriors ‘knights

However as the medieval period progressed these rules became much more extensive, more rigid, and regulated.

As the medieval period progressed and times changed so did the rules of chivalry

Code of Chivalry document

The Code of Chivalry for Knights in medieval times

In the 13th century chivalry had become a mixture of military rules, religious duties and courtly love and virtues of “faith, hope, charity, justice, strength, moderation and loyalty!

Chivalry changed again during the period of the crusades where it became more focused towards ‘religion’ ‘divine beings’ spirituality and Gods.

Chivalry kept progressing and during the latter parts of the medieval period became more closely matched to how people today think about knights and chivalry of the middle ages.

Gautier’s Ten Commandments of chivalry as set out in the 19th century

  1. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and thou shalt observe all its directions.
  2. Thou shalt defend the Church.
  3. Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
  4. Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
  5. Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
  6. Thou shalt make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy.
  7. Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
  8. Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
  9. Thou shalt be generous, and give largesses to everyone.
  10. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.

Courtly Love often took place in a Garden Setting

A medieval squire talks sweetly following the rules of courtly love

End of Chivalry

All good things come to an end and this was the case for chivalry and the medieval knight.

As Chivalry was often open to change and the views of people within different locations both locally and nationally it came to mean different things in different locations.

In the Late 15th century ‘Sir Thomas Malory’ describes well how different groups created there own ‘chivalric ideology’.

knights were further divided by conflicts such as ‘the Wars of the Roses’.

It seems that during early Tudor rule in England, knights attitudes towards ‘Chivalry began to wane and whilst some knights still honored chivalry principles other chose to ignore it.

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