" In Days Of Old When Knights.... ". image encompasses old ( old ) concept of knighthood complete with non-Christian foes at one's feet and fair maiden rescued, medieval oath of honor upheld. Chivalry. You couldn't be one and carry off that fair maiden ( fainting or no ) unless you happened to be born into a certain social class, however.
Some topics are tougher to poke around in than others. BOY is this one- what and who in blazes were meant by ' chivalry ' and ' the chivalry ', frequently in caps? AND why is it important? It's not snark, it's awfully confusing.
Members here will have their own take and please be nice. ' Chivalry ' wasn't just an active term, it was a noun- as in the chivalry. a group of people.
How on earth a code apparently centered on honor and kinda-sorta adhered to by clanking, helmeted, gauntleted members of the peerage through centuries of medieval, European rule made it ( sans armor ) to American shores and all the way into our ' civil ' war is still something that defeats me.And honest, been digging hard. There are books galore, some 200 years old some more recent that still fail to connect the dots with any degree of satisfaction. Since the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th centuries there's a lot to draw on..
" The history of chivalry is not merely the history of a noble caste, though the usages and honours belonged to none but gentlemen born, and those enjoyed who them disdained to admit their inferiors to any share in them. Chivalry also held up an example to men of low degree, and raised the courage, softened the manners and relaxed the morals of the common people. The standard of honour, honesty, decency, and sobriety, which is conformed to by the ruling classes, is to some extent a standard set for those below them in rank."
You can tell by how ' honour ' is spelled, this book is in public access.
" The whole duty of a gentleman was included in the idea of chivalry ; and his Hfe from his early childhood was regulated by it. The principle of service to God, his lord, and his lady underlay everything The word 'miilitare ' which, in low Latin, meant ' feudal service,' explains to the knight the spirit which is to guide all his actions. He can never escape, nor can he wish to escape, from the rule of service imposed upon him alike by religion, military duty, and love; "
' The making of a Knight '- I have a feeling some of this hung in there, in a few secret societies later. My great grandfather's Masonic Knights ceremonial sword has awfully baffling etching on the blade.
Some of what made it's way to our shores begins to dawn on you- one book makes the sweeping claim ' chivalry ' transplanted itself whole as it were straight from England to The New World, that the idea spawned by Feudalism took root here, as in directly which means a genuine democracy may have been a difficult concept at inception. But we did it anyway.
Remember Buster Kilrain, whose grave will be forever sought? Buster's character was created for this exact reason in my opinion- " It's the Chivalry I'm after ". I've always taken that to mean not that a kind of ruling class sprang up as a result of wealth in the South but that the whole thing was never really erased, which would it be here in America, an aristocracy still operating under feudal systems or were we indeed equal members of a democracy?
Some of the more absurd notions mankind has had a tough time shaking off stem from the idea some men are more equal than others. Tough time shaking off? When it was thought actually divine- as in God said so- that someone be crowned king, it's inevitable we'd go down a few dead-end paths. France's first king, for instance- I mean, really? OK, it was 1190 but we hung on to the idea for quite awhile. Angels at the post coronation buffet? Must have been a buffet after all the crowning.
From 1855- just a snip by an era travel writer. He's waxing lyrical at Cape Fear, on that history, " where high toned honor and chivalrous courage... ". " ..cynosure of refinement.." It's tied in with ' generous wealth '.
Duels were fought over one's honor, although that was certainly not exclusive to one portion of the country, ' The Chivalry ' still referred to and with a straight face in newspapers- in all states, we're all familiar with cavaliers, plumed hats and delicate damsels ( the latter largely mythical but it must have made someone feel better ). Post war, Knights vanish behind secret society codes and brotherhoods but during the war this single, uber romanticized concept which seems to have been also part of a social structure was very much alive- if not well.
I can't use portions of books not in public access or various web sites. Some state ' chivarly ' really was a direct transplant, some, that the concept was re-adopted. I DO realize there's a tendency to romanticize the whole ' cavalier ' imagery, the thing is, what I'm seeing is that what's referred to as The Chivalry seems to have been what passed for a kind of aristocracy. Not that money-privilege-'class' wasn't rampant elsewhere 150 years ago, ( please do not side track the thread, we all know it was ) this whole chivalry thing was peculiar to the southern states.
One era ( meaning 150 years ago ) author hilariously condemns the idea of ' chivalry ' then goes on to explain its 15th century downfall. Those pesky peasants kept getting better at warfare, insisted on buying horses and riding to war with those born of er,' finer stock ' and ruined the whole thing. With democracy. Author doesn't sound happy about the democracy part.
Not convinced it was all transplanted but just can't find an argument either way. From 15th century feudal Europe to the first settlements here there's a heck of a gap.