Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is an informal, varying code of conduct developed between 1170 and 1220, but never decided on or summarized in a single document. It was associated with the medieval Christian institution of knighthood; knights' and gentlewomen's behaviours were governed by chivalrous social codes. The ideals of chivalry were popularized in medieval literature, especially the Matter of Britain and Matter of France, the former based on Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written in the 1130s, which introduced the legend of King Arthur. All of these were taken as historically accurate until the beginnings of modern scholarship in the 19th century.
The code of chivalry that developed in medieval Europe had its roots in earlier centuries. It arose in the Holy Roman Empire from the idealisation of the cavalryman—involving military bravery, individual training, and service to others—especially in Francia, among horse soldiers in Charlemagne's cavalry. The term "chivalry" derives from the Old French term chevalerie, which can be translated as "horse soldiery".[Note 1] Originally, the term referred only to horse-mounted men, from the French word for horse, cheval, but later it became associated with knightly ideals.
Over time, its meaning in Europe has been refined to emphasise more general social and moral virtues. The code of chivalry, as it stood by the Late Middle Ages, was a moral system which combined a warrior ethos, knightly piety, and courtly manners, all combining to establish a notion of honour and nobility.[Note 2]
In origin, the term chivalry means "horsemanship", formed in Old French, in the 11th century, from chevalier (horseman, knight), from Medieval Latin caballārius. The French word chevalier originally meant "a man of aristocratic standing, and probably of noble ancestry, who is capable, if called upon, of equipping himself with a war horse and the arms of heavy cavalryman and who has been through certain rituals that make him what he is". In English, the term appears from 1292 (note that cavalry is from the Italian form of the same word).[Note 3]
The meaning of the term evolved over time because in the Middle Ages the meaning of chevalier changed from the original concrete military meaning "status or fee associated with a military follower owning a war horse" or "a group of mounted knights" to the ideal of the Christian warrior ethos propagated in the romance genre, which was becoming popular during the 12th century, and the ideal of courtly love propagated in the contemporary Minnesang and related genres.
The ideas of chivalry are summarized in three medieval works: the anonymous poem Ordene de Chevalerie, which tells the story of how Hugh II of Tiberias was captured and released upon his agreement to show Saladin (1138–1193) the ritual of Christian knighthood; the Libre del ordre de cavayleria, written by Ramon Llull (1232–1315), from Majorca, whose subject is knighthood; and the Livre de Chevalerie of Geoffroi de Charny (1300–1356), which examines the qualities of knighthood, emphasizing prowess. None of the authors of these three texts knew the other two texts, and the three combine to depict a general concept of chivalry which is not precisely in harmony with any of them. To different degrees and with different details, they speak of chivalry as a way of life in which the military, the nobility, and religion combine.
The "code of chivalry" is thus a product of the Late Middle Ages, evolving after the end of the crusades partly from an idealization of the historical knights fighting in the Holy Land and from ideals of courtly love.
Gautier's Ten Commandments of chivalry, set out in the 19th century, hundreds of years after the time of medieval chivalry, are:
There is no reference to women, horses, quests, or travel. This list would serve a soldier, or even a clergyman.
This "code" was created by Léon Gautier, a literary scholar, in 1883. No medieval knight even came close to carrying out all of these "commandments" all of the time. Literary knights, being fictitious (but believed to be historical at the time), did better, but not every "commandment" was followed or even considered by every knight. Chivalry is to some extent a subjective term; every knight had to decide which "commandments" to obey.
Fans of chivalry have assumed since the late medieval period that there was a time in the past when chivalry was a living institution, when men acted chivalrically, when chivalry was alive and not dead, the imitation of which period would much improve the present. This is the mad mission of Don Quixote, protagonist of the most chivalric novel of all time and inspirer of the chivalry of Sir Walter Scott and of the U.S. South::205–223: to restore the age of chivalry, and thereby improve his country.:148 It is a version of the myth of the Golden Age.
With the birth of modern historical and literary research, scholars have found that however far back in time "The Age of Chivalry" is searched for, it is always further in the past, even back to the Roman Empire. From Jean Charles Léonard de Sismondi:
We must not confound chivalry with the feudal system. The feudal system may be called the real life of the period of which we are treating, possessing its advantages and inconveniences, its virtues and its vices. Chivalry, on the contrary, is the ideal world, such as it existed in the imaginations of the romance writers. Its essential character is devotion to woman and to honour.:I, 76–77
The more closely we look into history, the more clearly shall we perceive that the system of chivalry is an invention almost entirely poetical. It is impossible to distinguish the countries in which it is said to have prevailed. It is always represented as distant from us both in time and place, and whilst the contemporary historians give us a clear, detailed, and complete account of the vices of the court and the great, of the ferocity or corruption of the nobles, and of the servility of the people, we are astonished to find the poets, after a long lapse of time, adorning the very same ages with the most splendid fictions of grace, virtue, and loyalty. The romance writers of the twelfth century placed the age of chivalry in the time of Charlemagne. The period when these writers existed, is the time pointed out by Francis I. At the present day [about 1810], we imagine we can still see chivalry flourishing in the persons of Du Guesclin and Bayard, under Charles V and Francis I. But when we come to examine either the one period or the other, although we find in each some heroic spirits, we are forced to confess that it is necessary to antedate the age of chivalry, at least three or four centuries before any period of authentic history.:I, 79
Historian of chivalry Richard W. Kaeuper, saw chivalry as a central focus in the study of the European middle ages that was too often presented as a civilizing and stabilizing influence in the turbulent middle ages. On the contrary, Kaueper argues “that in the problem of public order the knights themselves played an ambivalent, problematic role and that the guides to their conduct that chivalry provided were in themselves complex and problematic.” Many of the codes and ideals of chivalry were of course contradictory, however, when knights did live up to them, they did not lead to a more “ordered and peaceful society”. The tripartite conception of medieval European society (those who pray, those who fight, and those who work) along with other linked subcategories of monarchy and aristocracy, worked in congruence with knighthood to reform the institution in an effort “to secure public order in a society just coming into its mature formation.” Kaeuper makes clear that knighthood and the worldview of “those who fight” was pre-Christian in many ways and outside the purview of the church, at least initially. The church saw it as a duty to reform and guide knights in a way that weathered the disorderly, martial, and chauvinistic elements of chivalry. Royalty was a similar story, with knighthood at many points clashing with the sovereignty of the king over the conduct of warfare and personal disputes between knights and other knights (and even between knights and aristocracy). While the worldview of “those who work” (the burgeoning merchant class and bourgeoisie) was still in incubation, Kaeuper makes clear that the social and economic class that would end up defining modernity was fundamentally at odds with knights, and those with chivalrous valor saw the values of commerce as beneath them. Those who engaged in commerce and derived their value system from it could be confronted with violence by knights, if need be.
According to Crouch, many early writers on medieval chivalry cannot be trusted as historians, because they sometimes have "polemical purpose which colours their prose". As for Kenelm Henry Digby and Léon Gautier, chivalry was a means to transform their corrupt and secular worlds. Gautier also emphasized that chivalry originated from the Teutonic forests and brought up into civilization by the Catholic Church. Charles Mills used chivalry "to demonstrate that the Regency gentleman was the ethical heir of a great moral estate, and to provide an inventory of its treasure". Mills also stated that chivalry was a social, not a military phenomenon, with its key features: generosity, fidelity, liberality, and courtesy.
According to Crouch, prior to codified chivalry there was the uncodified code of noble conduct that focused on the preudomme. This uncodified code – referred to as the noble habitus – is a term for the environment of behavioural and material expectations generated by all societies and classes. As a modern idea, it was pioneered by the French philosopher/sociologists Pierre Bourdieu and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, even though a precedent exists for the concept as far back as the works of Aristotle. Crouch argues that the habitus on which "the superstructure of chivalry" was built and the preudomme was a part, had existed long before 1100, while the codified medieval noble conduct only began between 1170 and 1220.
The pre-chivalric noble habitus as discovered by Mills and Gautier are as follows:
The code of chivalry, as it was known during the late Medieval age, developed between 1170 and 1220.
Chivalry was developed in the north of France around the mid-12th century but adopted its structure in a European context. New social status, new military techniques, and new literary topics adhered to a new character known as the knight and his ethos called chivalry. A regulation in the chivalric codes includes taking an oath of loyalty to the overlord and perceiving the rules of warfare, which includes never striking a defenceless opponent in battle. The chivalric ideals are based on those of the early medieval warrior class, and martial exercise and military virtue remains an integral part of chivalry until the end of the medieval period, as the reality on the battlefield changed with the development of Early Modern warfare increasingly restricted to the tournament ground and duelling culture. The joust remained the primary example of knightly display of martial skill throughout the Renaissance (the last Elizabethan Accession Day tilt was held in 1602).
The martial skills of the knight carried over to the practice of the hunt, and hunting expertise became an important aspect of courtly life in the later medieval period (see terms of venery). Related to chivalry was the practice of heraldry and its elaborate rules of displaying coats of arms as it emerged in the High Middle Ages.
Christianity and church had a modifying influence on the classical concept of heroism and virtue, nowadays identified with the virtues of chivalry. The Peace and Truce of God in the 10th century was one such example, with limits placed on knights to protect and honour the weaker members of society and also help the church maintain peace. At the same time the church became more tolerant of war in the defence of faith, espousing theories of the just war; and liturgies were introduced which blessed a knight's sword, and a bath of chivalric purification. In the story of the Grail romances and Chevalier au Cygne, it was the confidence of the Christian knighthood that its way of life was to please God, and chivalry was an order of God. Thus, chivalry as a Christian vocation was a result of marriage between Teutonic heroic values with the militant tradition of Old Testament.
The first noted support for chivalric vocation, or the establishment of knightly class to ensure the sanctity and legitimacy of Christianity, was written in 930 by Odo, abbot of Cluny, in the Vita of St. Gerald of Aurillac, which argued that the sanctity of Christ and Christian doctrine can be demonstrated through the legitimate unsheathing of the "sword against the enemy". In the 11th century the concept of a "knight of Christ" (miles Christi) gained currency in France, Spain and Italy. These concepts of "religious chivalry" were further elaborated in the era of the Crusades, with the Crusades themselves often being seen as a chivalrous enterprise. Their ideas of chivalry were also further influenced by Saladin, who was viewed as a chivalrous knight by medieval Christian writers. The military orders of the crusades which developed in this period came to be seen as the earliest flowering of chivalry, although it remains unclear to what extent the notable knights of this period—such as Saladin, Godfrey of Bouillon, William Marshal or Bertrand du Guesclin—actually did set new standards of knightly behaviour, or to what extent they merely behaved according to existing models of conduct which came in retrospect to be interpreted along the lines of the "chivalry" ideal of the Late Middle Ages. Nevertheless, chivalry and crusades were not the same thing. While the crusading ideology had largely influenced the ethic of chivalry during its formative times, chivalry itself was related to a whole range of martial activities and aristocratic values which had no necessary linkage with crusading.
From the 12th century onward chivalry came to be understood as a moral, religious and social code of knightly conduct. The particulars of the code varied, but codes would emphasise the virtues of courage, honour, and service. Chivalry also came to refer to an idealisation of the life and manners of the knight at home in his castle and with his court.
Medieval Europe, particularly Spanish poets, were greatly influenced by Arabic literature. The literature of chivalry, bravery, figurative expression, and imagery made its way to Western literature through Arabic literature in Andalusia in particular. The famous Spanish author Vicente Blasco says: "Europe did not know chivalry, or its adopted literature or sense of honour before the arrival of Arabs in Andalusia and the wide presence of their knights and heroes in the countries of the south."
The Andalusian Ibn Hazm and his famous book Tawq al-Hamamah (The Ring of the Dove) had a great impact on poets in Spain and southern France after the Islamic community blended with the Christian community. The Arabic language was the language of the country and the language of the high-class people. In many Christian Spanish provinces, Christian and Muslim poets used to meet at the court of the governor. One such an example is what used to take place at the court of Sanko which comprised 13 Arab poets, 12 Christian poets, and a Jewish poet. A manuscript dating back to the era of Alfonso X, the king of Castile, was found and it contained a portrait that represented the meeting of two moving poets, one Arab and one European, singing together on lute. Even more, the European poets at the time were good at composing Arabic poetry. For this reason, Henry Maro says: "The Arab impact on the civilization of the Roman peoples did not stop at fine arts only, but extended to music and poetry as well."
The influence of Arabic literature on European writers is proven by what Reinhart Dozy quoted on his book Spanish Islam: History of Moslems in Spain, of the Spanish writer AlGharo, who deeply regretted the neglect of Latin and Greek and the acceptance of the language of the Muslims, he said, "The intelligent and eloquent people are bewitched by the sound of Arabic and they look down on Latin. They have started to write in the language of those who defeated them."
A contemporary of his, who was more influenced by nationalistic feelings, expressed his bitterness when he said:
My Christian brothers admire the poetry and chivalry stories of the Arabs, and they study the books written by the philosophies and scholars of the Muslims. They do not do that in order to refute them, but rather to learn the eloquent Arabic style. Where today – apart from the clergy – and those who read the religious commentaries on the Old and New Testaments? Where are those who read the Gospels and the words of the Prophets? Alas, the new generation of intelligent Christians do not know any literature and language well apart from Arabic literature and the Arabic language. They avidly read the books of the Arabs and amass huge libraries of these books at great expense; they look upon these Arabic treasures with great pride, at the time when they refrain from reading Christian books on the basis that they are not worth paying attention to. How unfortunate it is that the Christians have forgotten their language, and nowadays you cannot find among them one in a thousand who could write a letter to a friend in his own language. But with regard to the language of the Arabs, how many there are who express themselves fluently in it with the most eloquent style, and they write poetry of the Arabs themselves in its eloquence and correct usage.
Medieval courtly literature glorifies the valour, tactics and ideals of both Moors and ancient Romans. For example, the ancient hand-book of warfare written by Vegetius called De Re Militari was translated into French in the 13th century as L'art de chevalerie by Jean de Meun. Later writers also drew from Vegetius such as Honore Bonet who wrote the 14th century L'arbes des batailles, which discussed the morals and laws of war. In the 15th century Christine de Pizan combined themes from Vegetius, Bonet and Frontinus in Livre des faits d'armes et de chevalerie.
In the later Middle Ages, wealthy merchants strove to adopt chivalric attitudes - the sons of the bourgeoisie were educated at aristocratic courts where they were trained in the manners of the knightly class. This was a democratisation of chivalry, leading to a new genre called the courtesy book, which were guides to the behaviour of "gentlemen". Thus, the post-medieval gentlemanly code of the value of a man's honour, respect for women, and a concern for those less fortunate, is directly derived from earlier ideals of chivalry and historical forces which created it.
The medieval development of chivalry, with the concept of the honour of a lady and the ensuing knightly devotion to it, not only derived from the thinking about the Virgin Mary, but also contributed to it. The medieval veneration of the Virgin Mary was contrasted by the fact that ordinary women, especially those outside aristocratic circles, were looked down upon. Although women were at times viewed as the source of evil, it was Mary who as mediator to God was a source of refuge for man. The development of medieval Mariology and the changing attitudes towards women paralleled each other and can best be understood in a common context.
When examining medieval literature, chivalry can be classified into three basic but overlapping areas:
These three areas obviously overlap quite frequently in chivalry, and are often indistinguishable.
Different weight given to different areas produced different strands of chivalry:
Chivalry underwent a revival and elaboration of chivalric ceremonial and rules of etiquette in the 14th century that was examined by Johan Huizinga, in The Waning of the Middle Ages, in which he dedicates a full chapter to "The idea of chivalry". In contrasting the literary standards of chivalry with the actual warfare of the age, the historian finds the imitation of an ideal past illusory; in an aristocratic culture such as Burgundy and France at the close of the Middle Ages, "to be representative of true culture means to produce by conduct, by customs, by manners, by costume, by deportment, the illusion of a heroic being, full of dignity and honour, of wisdom, and, at all events, of courtesy. ...The dream of past perfection ennobles life and its forms, fills them with beauty and fashions them anew as forms of art".
Chivalry was dynamic and it transformed and adjusted in response to local situation and this is what probably led to its demise. There were many chivalric groups in England as imagined by Sir Thomas Malory when he wrote Le Morte d'Arthur in the late 15th century, perhaps each group created each chivalric ideology. And Malory's perspective reflects the condition of 15th-century chivalry. When Le Morte Darthur was printed, William Caxton urged knights to read the romance with an expectation that reading about chivalry could unite a community of knights already divided by the Wars of the Roses.
During the early Tudor rule in England, some knights still fought for honour and for the good, to protect women and the poor while some others ignored the ethos. There were fewer knights engaged in active warfare because battlefields during this century were generally the area of professional infantrymen, with less opportunity for knights to show chivalry. It was the beginning of the demise of the knight. The rank of knight never faded, but it was Queen Elizabeth I who ended the tradition that any knight could create another and made it exclusively the preserve of the monarch. Christopher Wilkins contends that Sir Edward Woodville, who rode from battle to battle across Europe and died in 1488 in Brittany, was the last knight errant who witnessed the fall of the Age of Chivalry and the rise of modern European warfare. When the Middle Ages were over, the code of chivalry was gone.
Chivalry! – why, maiden, she is the nurse of pure and high affection – the stay of the oppressed, the redresser of grievances, the curb of the power of the tyrant – Nobility were but an empty name without her, and liberty finds the best protection in her lance and her sword. —Walter Scott, Ivanhoe (1820)
Bombers of abortion clinics in the United States "called themselves knights, their emblem was a mask they had printed on T-shirts bearing the motto 'Protectors of the Code', and their mission was to defend the ideals of chivalry".
This Order is an institution of Chivalry, Humanity, Justice, and Patriotism; embodying in its genius and principles all that is chivalric in conduct, noble in sentiment, generous in manhood, and patriotic in purpose. ---The Constitution of the Ku Klux Klan
The chivalric ideal persisted into the early modern and modern period. The custom of foundation of chivalric orders by Europe's monarchs and high nobility peaked in the late medieval period, but it persisted during the Renaissance and well into the Baroque and early modern period, with e.g. the Tuscan Order of Saint Stephen (1561), the French Order of Saint Louis (1693) or the Anglo-Irish Order of St. Patrick (1783), and numerous dynastic orders of knighthood remain active in countries that retain a tradition of monarchy.
At the same time, with the change of courtly ideas during the Baroque period, the ideals of chivalry began to be seen as dated, or "medieval". Don Quixote, published in 1605-15, burlesqued the medieval chivalric novel or romance by ridiculing the stubborn adherence to the chivalric code in the face of the then-modern world as anachronistic, giving rise to the term Quixotism. Conversely, Romanticism refers to the attempt to revive such "medieval" ideals or aesthetics in the late 18th and early 19th century.
The behavioural code of military officers down to the Napoleonic era, the American Civil War (especially as idealised in the "Lost Cause" movement) and to some extent even to World War I was still strongly modelled on the historical ideals, resulting in a pronounced duelling culture, which in some parts of Europe also held sway over the civilian life of the upper classes. With the decline of the Ottoman Empire, however, the military threat from the "infidel" disappeared; the European wars of religion spanned much of the early modern period and consisted of infighting between factions of various Christian denominations, this process of confessionalization ultimately giving rise to a new military ethos based in nationalism rather than "defending the faith against the infidel".
From the early modern period, the term gallantry (from galant, the Baroque ideal of refined elegance) rather than chivalry became used for the proper behaviour and acting of upper class men towards upper class women. In the 19th century, there were attempts to revive chivalry for the purposes of the gentleman of that time. Kenelm Henry Digby wrote his The Broad-Stone of Honour for this purpose, offering the definition: 'Chivalry is only a name for that general spirit or state of mind which disposes men to heroic actions, and keeps them conversant with all that is beautiful and sublime in the intellectual and moral world'.
The pronouncedly masculine virtues of chivalry came under attack on the parts of the upper-class suffragettes campaigning for gender equality in the early 20th century,[Note 4] and with the decline of the military ideals of duelling culture and of European aristocracies in general following the catastrophe of World War I, the ideals of chivalry became widely seen as outmoded by the mid-20th century. As a material reflection of this process, the dress sword lost its position as an indispensable part of a gentleman's wardrobe, a development described as an "archaeological terminus" by Ewart Oakeshott, as it concluded the long period during which the sword had been a visible attribute of the free man, beginning as early as three millennia ago with the Bronze Age sword.
During the 20th century, the chivalrous ideal of protecting women came to be seen as a trope of melodrama ("damsel in distress"). The term chivalry retains a certain currency in sociology, in reference to the general tendency of men, and of society in general, to lend more attention offering protection from harm to women than to men, or in noting gender gaps in life expectancy, health, etc., also expressed in media bias giving significantly more attention to female than to male victims (see also missing white woman syndrome).[Note 5]
Formed in 1907, the world's first Scout camp, the Brownsea Island Scout camp, began as a boys' camping event on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, southern England, organised by British Army Lieutenant-General Robert Baden-Powell to test his ideas for the book Scouting for Boys. Boy scouts from different social backgrounds in the UK participated from 1 to 8 August 1907 in activities around camping, observation, woodcraft, chivalry, lifesaving and patriotism.
According to William Manchester, General Douglas MacArthur was a chivalric warrior who fought a war with the intention to conquer the enemy, completely eliminating their ability to strike back, then treated them with the understanding and kindness due their honour and courage. One prominent model of his chivalrous conduct was in World War II and his treatment of the Japanese at the end of the war. MacArthur's model provides a way to win a war with as few casualties as possible and how to get the respect of the former enemy after the occupation of their homeland. On May 12, 1962, MacArthur gave a famous speech in front of the cadets of United States Military Academy at West Point by referring to a great moral code, the code of conduct and chivalry, when emphasizing duty, honour, and country.
Miguel de Cervantes, in Part I of Don Quixote (1605), attacks chivalric literature as historically inaccurate and therefore harmful (see history of the novel), though he was quite in agreement with many so-called chivalric principles and guides to behavior. He toyed with but was never able to write a chivalric romance that was historically truthful.
The accolade (also known as dubbing or adoubement) (Latin: benedictio militis) was the central act in the rite of passage ceremonies conferring knighthood in the Middle Ages. From about 1852, the term accolade was used much more generally to mean "praise" or "award" or "honor."Cavalleria rusticana
Cavalleria rusticana (pronounced [kavalleˈriːa rustiˈkaːna]; Italian for "rustic chivalry") is an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni to an Italian libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci, adapted from an 1880 short story of the same name and subsequent play by Giovanni Verga. Considered one of the classic verismo operas, it premiered on 17 May 1890 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. Since 1893, it has often been performed in a so-called Cav/Pag double-bill with Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo.Chivalry of a Failed Knight
Chivalry of a Failed Knight (Japanese: 落第騎士の英雄譚 (キャバルリィ), Hepburn: Rakudai Kishi no Kyabarurii, lit. The Heroic Tales of the Failure Knight) is a Japanese light novel series written by Riku Misora and illustrated by Won. The story is set in a fantasy world where the titular failed knight Ikki Kurogane meets Stella Vermillion who is considered a genius. The two make up for each other's weaknesses and form a relationship while training to become great knights. The first volume was released on July 15, 2013. An anime adaptation aired in late 2015.
The series has been well-received. The light novels are one of the top selling series in Japan, with 1.5 million copies in print by February 2017.Crest (heraldry)
A crest is a component of a heraldic display, consisting of the device borne on top of the helm. Originating in the decorative sculptures worn by knights in tournaments and, to a lesser extent, battles, crests became solely pictorial after the 16th century (the era referred to by heraldists as that of "paper heraldry").
A normal heraldic achievement consists of the shield, above which is set the helm, on which sits the crest, its base encircled by a circlet of twisted cloth known as a torse. The use of the crest and torse independently from the rest of the achievement, a practice which became common in the era of paper heraldry, has led the term "crest" to be frequently but erroneously used to refer to the arms displayed on the shield, or to the achievement as a whole.Dame
Dame is an honorific title and the feminine form of address for the honour of damehood in many Christian chivalric orders, as well as the British honours system and those of several other Commonwealth countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, with the masculine form of address being Sir. It is the female equivalent for knighthood, which is traditionally granted to males.A woman appointed to the grades of Dame Commander or Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Saint John, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Most Honourable Order of the Bath, the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, the Royal Victorian Order, or the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire becomes a dame. Since there is no female equivalent to a Knight Bachelor, women are always appointed to an order of chivalry. Women who are appointed to the Most Noble Order of the Garter or the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle are given the title of Lady rather than Dame.Fount of honour
The fount of honour (Latin: fons honorum) refers to a person, who, by virtue of his or her official position, has the exclusive right of conferring legitimate titles of nobility and orders of chivalry on other persons.High Court of Chivalry
Her Majesty's High Court of Chivalry is a civil court in English and Welsh law with jurisdiction over matters of heraldry. The court has been in existence since the fourteenth century; however, it rarely sits. The sole judge is now the hereditary Earl Marshal of England, the Duke of Norfolk, though if not a professional lawyer, he normally appoints a professional lawyer as his lieutenant or surrogate.In Scotland, these types of cases are heard in the Court of the Lord Lyon, which is a standing civil and criminal court, with its own judge - the Lord Lyon King of Arms and its own procurator fiscal (public prosecutor) under the Scottish legal system.Knight
A knight is a man granted an honorary title of knighthood by a monarch, bishop or other political or religious leader for service to the monarch or a Christian church, especially in a military capacity. Historically, in all Europe, knighthood was conferred upon mounted warriors. During the High Middle Ages, knighthood was considered a class of lower nobility. By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior. Often, a knight was a vassal who served as an elite fighter, a bodyguard or a mercenary for a lord, with payment in the form of land holdings. The lords trusted the knights, who were skilled in battle on horseback.
Knighthood in the Middle Ages was closely linked with horsemanship (and especially the joust) from its origins in the 12th century until its final flowering as a fashion among the high nobility in the Duchy of Burgundy in the 15th century. This linkage is reflected in the etymology of chivalry, cavalier and related terms. The special prestige accorded to mounted warriors in Christendom finds a parallel in the furusiyya in the Muslim world, and the Greek hippeus (ἱππεύς) and Roman eques of classical antiquity.In the late medieval period, new methods of warfare began to render classical knights in armour obsolete, but the titles remained in many nations. Today, a number of orders of knighthood continue to exist in Christian Churches, as well as in several historically Christian countries and their former territories, such as the Roman Catholic Order of the Holy Sepulchre and Order of Malta, the Protestant Order of Saint John, as well as the English Order of the Garter, the Swedish Royal Order of the Seraphim, and the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. Each of these orders has its own criteria for eligibility, but knighthood is generally granted by a head of state, monarch, or prelate to selected persons to recognise some meritorious achievement, as in the British honours system, often for service to the Church or country. The modern female equivalent in the United Kingdom is Dame.
The ideals of chivalry were popularized in medieval literature, particularly the literary cycles known as the Matter of France, relating to the legendary companions of Charlemagne and his men-at-arms, the paladins, and the Matter of Britain, relating to the legend of King Arthur and his Round Table.Knight-errant
A knight-errant (or knight errant, without the hyphen) is a figure of medieval chivalric romance literature. The adjective errant (meaning "wandering, roving") indicates how the knight-errant would wander the land in search of adventures to prove his chivalric virtues, either in knightly duels (pas d'armes) or in some other pursuit of courtly love.Knight Bachelor
The dignity of Knight Bachelor is the basic and lowest rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised orders of chivalry; it is a part of the British honours system. Knights Bachelor are the most ancient sort of British knight (the rank existed during the 13th century reign of King Henry III), but Knights Bachelor rank below knights of chivalric orders.
There is no female counterpart to Knight Bachelor. The lowest knightly honour that can be conferred upon a woman is Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE), which is one rank higher than Knight Bachelor (being the female equivalent of KBE or Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, which is the next male knightly rank above Knight Bachelor). Also, foreigners are not created Knights Bachelor; instead they are generally made honorary KBEs.Order (distinction)
An order is a visible honour awarded by a sovereign state, monarch, dynastic royal house or organisation to a person, typically in recognition of individual merit, that often comes with distinctive insignia such as collars, medals, badges, and sashes worn by recipients.
Modern honour systems of state orders and dynastic orders emerged from the culture of orders of chivalry of the Middle Ages, which in turn emerged from the Catholic religious orders.Order of chivalry
A chivalric order, order of chivalry, order of knighthood or equestrian order is an order, confraternity or society of knights typically founded during or in inspiration of the original Catholic military orders of the Crusades (circa 1099–1291), paired with medieval concepts of ideals of chivalry.
During the 15th century, orders of chivalry, or dynastic orders of knighthood, began to be created in a more courtly fashion that could be created ad hoc. These orders would often retain the notion of being a society or association of individuals, however, some of them were ultimately purely honorific, consisting of nothing but the badge. In fact, the badges themselves often came to be known informally as orders. These institutions in turn gave rise to the modern-day orders of merit of states.Order of the Dannebrog
The Order of the Dannebrog (Danish: Dannebrogordenen) is a Danish order of chivalry instituted in 1671 by Christian V. Until 1808, membership in the order was limited to fifty members of noble or royal rank who formed a single class known as White Knights to distinguish them from the Blue Knights who were members of the Order of the Elephant. In 1808, the Order was reformed and divided into four classes.
The Grand Commander class is reserved to persons of princely origin. It is only awarded to royalty with close family ties with the Danish Royal House. The statute of the Order was amended in 1951 by a Royal Ordinance so that both men and women could be members of the Order.
Today, the Order of the Dannebrog is a means of honouring and rewarding the faithful servants of the modern Danish state for meritorious civil or military service, for a particular contribution to the arts, sciences or business life or for those working for Danish interests.Order of the Elephant
The Order of the Elephant (Danish: Elefantordenen) is a Danish order of chivalry and is Denmark's highest-ranked honour. It has origins in the 15th century, but has officially existed since 1693, and since the establishment of constitutional monarchy in 1849, is now almost exclusively used to honour royalty and heads of state.Orders, decorations, and medals of Italy
The Italian honours system is a means to reward achievements or service to the Italian Republic, formerly the Kingdom of Italy including the Italian Social Republic.Orders, decorations, and medals of the Holy See
The orders, decorations, and medals of the Holy See include titles, chivalric orders, distinctions and medals honoured by the Holy See, with the Pope as the fount of honour, for deeds and merits of their recipients to the benefit of the Holy See, the Catholic Church, or their respective communities, societies, nations and the world at large.
Some of these honours are defunct or currently dormant, while some are still actively conferred.SS British Chivalry
SS British Chivalry was a British oil tanker sunk by a Japanese submarine in the Indian Ocean in 1944.SS Inkosi (1937)
Inkosi was a 6,618 GRT refrigerated cargo liner which was built by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd, Newcastle upon Tyne for the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT). She was hired by the Royal Navy in 1940 for use as an ocean boarding vessel, but was sunk in an air raid before she could be used for this purpose. The ship was salvaged, converted to a cargo ship and passed to the Ministry of War Transport (MoWT), who renamed her Empire Chivalry. In 1946 she was sold and renamed Planter. She served until 1958, when she was scrapped.Sir
Sir is a formal English honorific address for men, derived from Sire in the High Middle Ages. Traditionally, as governed by law and custom, Sir is used for men titled knights i.e. of orders of chivalry, and later also to baronets, and other offices. As the female equivalent for knighthood is damehood, the suo jure female equivalent term is typically Dame. The wife of a knight or baronet tends to be addressed Lady, although a few exceptions and interchanges of these uses exist.
Since the Late Modern era, "Sir" has been increasingly used also as a respectful way to address any commoners of a superior social status or military rank. Equivalent terms of address for women are Madam (shortened "Ma'am"), in addition to social honorifics such as Mr, Mrs and Miss.