The 10 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

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

Courtly love in medieval times

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

The crusades

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.

Dubbing Ceremony

Gautier’s 10 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 are 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

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 in different regions and countries it came to mean different things in different places.

Medieval Squire Picture

In the Late 15th century ‘Sir Thomas Malory’ describes well how different groups created their 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 others chose to ignore it.