Military History Chivalry
by
Kathryn Hurlock
  • LAST REVIEWED: 01 December 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 June 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791279-0032

Introduction

Chivalry is a term that has many interpretations. The word itself, which first appeared in English in 1292, derives from the French chevalier or knight, specifically a mounted knight. It came to mean more than just knighthood, as chivalry was used to describe a way of fighting, a set of ideals in warfare and in love, and a whole system of society based around the idea of the noble warrior. A chivalric society arguably emerged in the 12th century with the rise of knighthood, and it really only applied to those who were part of militaristic elite; nobles, knights, and men who fought. Chivalric ideals also encompassed women. As the medieval period progressed, chivalric ideals were tackled in a range of written works—from biographies to comic tales and manuals of combat—as an attempt was made to define what chivalry was. The clash of ideals between warfare and violence, and the peace required by religious devotion, was resolved with the rise of the Crusades and debates over Just War. At the same time, the number of men assuming knighthood went into decline, perhaps due to the costs of becoming a knight and equipping yourself, and so knighthood and its attendant chivalric ideals became increasingly elite. The link between chivalry and high status was exemplified by the rise of chivalric orders, the elaboration of tournaments, and the promotion of heraldry as a sign of membership of this select group.

General Works

There are many general survey works on chivalry. The best introductory discussion of chivalry is still Keen 2005, which has been updated in several editions. This seminal work brought to an end the era when chivalry had been studied through a rather romanticized lens. Barber 2000 and Barber 2005 are good introductory texts for students and the nonspecialist. Kaeuper 1999 concentrates on the effect of chivalry on violence and social order in Europe. There are numerous general works on chivalry aimed at a popular readership that vary in approach and content, but Phillips 2011 identifies many of the key points and personalities in an engaging and popular style. Hallam 1987, though outdated in its bibliographical details, provides an engaging reference from the start of the 13th century to the middle of the 14th. It is a work that explains key aspects of chivalry and the historical events that place it in context.

  • Barber, Richard. The Knight and Chivalry. Rev. ed. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2000.

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    An intelligent introduction that discusses almost all aspects of chivalry in digestible chapters. Attractively illustrated. Ideal, along with Keen 2005, as an introduction for students.

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    • Barber, Richard. The Reign of Chivalry. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2005.

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      Lavishly illustrated; a good survey work that discusses medieval chivalry as well as its later influences. Good for students and the general reader.

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      • Hallam, Elizabeth, ed. Chronicles of the Age of Chivalry. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987.

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        Heavily illustrated large-scale work which is aimed at the general reader, this does provide background information. Comprises short articles. It is also full of extracts from primary sources that would be useful for undergraduates. Maps, glossary. Out of print, but widely and inexpensively available in secondhand condition.

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        • Kaeuper, Richard W. Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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          A detailed study by one of the leading scholars of chivalry, this work examines the contrast between how a knight was expected to behave and how he really did. Excellent use of documents, and a must for anyone studying the topic. Available electronically.

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          • Keen, Maurice. Chivalry. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005.

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            Argues that chivalry was changed from a secular ethos to a religious one by the Crusades, becoming increasingly ritualized and romanticized. Its regular reprinting and low price make it a good undergraduate text.

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            • Phillips, Charles. The Glorious Age of Chivalry: An Exploration of the Golden Age of Knighthood and How It Was Expressed in Art, Literature and Song, with 200 Fine Art Images. Leicester, UK: Southwater, 2011.

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              Aimed firmly at the popular reader, this work contains some excellent illustrations. Includes some good short biographies of famous knights and discussions on the reality of chivalry versus the idealized code.

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              Bibliographies and Guides

              Despite the vast range of books on knights, knighthood, chivalry, and warfare, there are comparatively few bibliographies, dictionaries, and reference guides on chivalry. This was something that the Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages tried to address by publishing Chickering and Seller 1988, a guide aimed at teachers of undergraduate history. Two dictionaries, Broughton 1986 and Broughton 1988, are thorough and lengthy, but have not been updated; instead, the gaps in current scholarship have to be plugged by reference to dictionaries on associated topics, such as warfare (Crosby 2000) or warfare and military technology (Rogers 2010 and DeVries 2008).

              • Broughton, Bradford B. Dictionary of Medieval Knighthood and Chivalry: Concepts and Terms. New York: Greenwood, 1986.

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                A comprehensive reference work of 640 pages, this focuses on the terms and concepts of English and French chivalry. Although a little out of date, this is a good reference tool for understanding terminology. Hard to get hold of.

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                • Broughton, Bradford B. Dictionary of Medieval Knighthood and Chivalry: People, Places and Events. New York: Greenwood, 1988.

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                  A companion to Broughton 1986, this is again an invaluable if outdated reference work.

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                  • Chickering, Howell D., and Thomas H. Seller, eds. The Study of Chivalry: Resources and Approaches. Kalamazoo: University of Michigan Press, 1988.

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                    Aims to provide a collection of resources for teaching chivalry at the undergraduate level, covering historiography (up to 1984), literature, and historical topics. Unfortunately out of print. Takes an interdisciplinary approach.

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                    • Crosby, Everett U. Medieval Warfare: A Bibliographical Guide. London: Routledge, 2000.

                      DOI: 10.4324/9780203905272Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      Lists works on warfare in thematic chapters. Expensive.

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                      • DeVries, Kelly. A Cumulative Bibliography of Medieval Military History and Technology: Update 2003–2006. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

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                        This expensive reference work is useful primarily for graduate students and scholars. Emphasis leans towards the later medieval period. Covers western Europe, eastern Europe, Russia, and more, though the depth of coverage varies. Also available as a CD-ROM.

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                        • Rogers, Clifford, ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology. 3 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

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                          This award-winning comprehensive three-volume set covers all aspects of warfare, including chivalry and its themes. Highly detailed and an excellent reference work. Expensive.

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                          Primary Sources

                          There are many works written during the medieval period that give us an insight into chivalric life. Roland, a knight in the service of Charlemagne, was the subject of a verse epic translated into many European languages, the most readable modern version of which is Burgess 1990. Holden and Crouch 2003 is a scholarly multivolume edition of the verse biography of William Marshal, a man thought of as the epitome of chivalry. Geoffrey de Charny’s work is significant, portraying how a knight should behave; an affordable and accessible version is Kaeuper and Kennedy 2005. Gámez 2004 is about a 15th-century Spanish knight and describes knightly training and warfare. So too does the work of Jean Froissart (Froissart 1978), who recorded the events of the Hundred Years War and with them the day-to-day reality of knightly warfare. One of the most influential of the chivalric treatises is by Ramon Lull (Lull 2001), as it explains the idea of Western chivalry; it is from this work that the idea of a “code” of chivalry probably arose. Other works combined such explanation with a dose of humor, as with Liechtenstein 2004. Finally, it is worth looking at chivalric ideals before the supposed introduction of chivalry in the 11th century, and Scragg 1991 provides an interesting work on the Battle of Maldon which is ideal.

                          • Burgess, Glyn S. The Song of Roland. New York: Penguin Classics, 1990.

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                            A 12th-century chanson de geste celebrating the deeds of Roland, a model knight who fought against the Muslims. Helpful introduction and selections from the original Old French text useful for comparison. Good undergraduate text.

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                            • Charny, Geoffroi de. A Knight’s Own Book of Chivalry. Translated by Elspeth Kennedy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.

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                              This English translation gives substantial information on how a knight interpreted the ideal of chivalry at the time of the Hundred Years War. The introduction by Richard W. Kaeuper provides a good guide on how to read and understand Charny, and there is a list of sources and secondary works in the bibliography.

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                              • Froissart, Jean. Chronicles. Translated by Geoffrey Brereton. New York: Penguin, 1978.

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                                Froissart’s 14th-century work reflects his passion for chivalry and all things militaristic. Brereton’s translation is not complete, but this Penguin Classic is readily available and includes a good introduction to the writer and his work. Good undergraduate text.

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                                • Gámez, Gutierre Díaz de. The Unconquered Knight: A Chronicle of the Deeds of Don Pero Niño, Count of Buelna. Translated by Joan Evans. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2004.

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                                  English translation of a lively Spanish chivalric memoir. Very useful for contemporary understanding of the ideology of knighthood and chivalry. This edition originally published in 1928 (London: Routledge).

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                                  • Holden, Anthony J., and David Crouch, eds. History of William Marshal. 3 vols. Translated by S. Gregory. Anglo-Norman Text Society: Occasional Publications. London: Anglo-Norman Text Society, 2003.

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                                    Scholarly edition of this verse biography, with original text and translation. Excellent notes and introduction.

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                                    • Liechtenstein, Ulrich von. The Service of Ladies. Translated by J. W. Thomas. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2004.

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                                      A comedic 13th-century poem detailing Ulrich’s time on the tournament circuit. Very readable. Introduction by Kelly DeVries. This edition first published in 1969 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press).

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                                      • Lull, Ramon. Book of Knighthood and the Anonymous Ordene de Chevalerie. Translated by Brian R. Price. Highland Village, TX: Chivalry Bookshelf, 2001.

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                                        English translation of Lull’s work, which explains the “rules” of chivalry. It has religious overtones, as Lull was interested in Muslim conversion, and his work aimed to show perfect Christian behavior. The Ordene features a knight explaining aspects of chivalry to Saladin. No bibliography and limited introduction.

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                                        • Scragg, Donald, ed. The Battle of Maldon, AD 991. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.

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                                          Text and translation of the surviving fragment of an Anglo-Saxon poem, with a guide to the background of the battle, its events, and outcomes. Out of print, but an interesting work for comparison.

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                                          British Chivalry

                                          A wealth of literature exists on knighthood and chivalry, with a good deal of it coming from, and about, Britain. Coss 1993 is a classic study of English knighthood, aimed at a general readership, that shows how it became increasingly elite. More up to date is Saul 2011, a work that looks at the key themes of chivalry in an English context from the 11th century to the end of the Middle Ages. The date of the introduction of chivalry to England is a debate that can be found in many works, but Gillingham 1994 argues that it was brought to England in 1066, and this article is a good place to start on the debate. Chivalry in the rest of Britain has not been studied in as much depth, though Stevenson 2005 provides a detailed study of Scottish chivalry, emphasizing how royal patronage was central to the rise of a chivalric culture there. The best work which covers many aspects of chivalry in a British context is Crouch 1992, which includes Scotland and Wales in addition to England.

                                          • Coss, Peter. The Knight in Medieval England, 1000–1400. Stroud, UK: Sutton, 1993.

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                                            A well-illustrated, readable, and attractive introduction to the life and activities of a medieval knight that is good for scholarly research and a general readership. Out of print.

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                                            • Crouch, David. The Image of Aristocracy in Britain, 1000–1300. London: Routledge, 1992.

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                                              By a leading scholar in this field, this work looks at how the aristocracy of Britain emerged and evolved. Useful for contextualizing the rise of this group in society, their ideals, piety, pastimes, and insignia. Lengthy bibliography provides a sound guide to further reading. Excellent introduction explaining different ranks.

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                                              • Gillingham, John B. “1066 and the Introduction of Chivalry to England.” In Law and Government in Medieval England and Normandy: Essays in Honour of Sir James Holt. Edited by George Garnett and John Hudson, 31–55. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

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                                                Lucid article arguing that chivalry was introduced in 1066 to England. References very useful for understanding the primary texts associated with the debate. Reprinted in Gillingham’s The English in the Twelfth Century: Imperialism, National Identity, and Political Values (Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2000).

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                                                • Saul, Nigel. For Honour and Fame: Chivalry in England, 1066–1500. London: Bodley Head, 2011.

                                                  DOI: 10.4159/harvard.9780674063693Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  A wide-ranging account aimed at the general reader, with an engaging style and accompanying color illustrations. Although a study on England, the questions raised here are true for much of Europe. Detailed notes and good bibliography, particularly for students. Also published as Chivalry in Medieval England (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).

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                                                  • Stevenson, Katie. Chivalry and Knighthood in Scotland, 1424–1513. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2005.

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                                                    Includes an interesting discussion of the importance of the dubbing ceremony to create a bond between the king and his knights. Detailed and scholarly.

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                                                    European Chivalry

                                                    The classic French work on chivalry, Painter 1961, is one that identifies the key “types” of chivalry. Its faults are addressed somewhat in Bouchard 1998, a work intended as an introduction to the subject, with a definite slant towards emphasizing the realities of chivalry. It is useful for making research published in French and German accessible to an English-speaking reader. A broad discussion of chivalry in Germany, France, and Italy is covered by Scaglione 1992, a work that covers many aspects of chivalry through to the Renaissance and treats chivalry as part of courtly behavior. Other works are narrower in scope; Jackson 1994, for example, emphasizes the Arthurian and literary aspects of chivalry in 12th-century Germany.

                                                    • Bouchard, Constance Brittain. Strong of Body, Brave and Noble: Chivalry & Society in Medieval France. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998.

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                                                      A book suitable for scholar and student which provides a very readable account of the realities of the relationships among nobles, knights, and chivalry. Illustrations and lengthy bibliography to guide further reading.

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                                                      • Jackson, W. H. Chivalry in Twelfth-Century Germany: The Works of Hartmann von Aue. Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 1994.

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                                                        A specialized book, with extensive bibliography of German works.

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                                                        • Painter, Sidney. French Chivalry: Chivalric Ideas and Practices in Mediaeval France. Ithaca, NY: Great Seal, 1961.

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                                                          A classic though dated work which shows that the ideals of knighthood were usually not adhered to.

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                                                          • Scaglione, Aldo. Knights at Court: Courtliness, Chivalry and Courtesy from Ottonian Germany to the Italian Renaissance. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.

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                                                            A highly detailed study by an Italianist scholar. Black-and-white illustrations.

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                                                            Chivalric Heroes

                                                            Many English studies of chivalry have been conducted through the study of individuals, notably Richard I in Gillingham 1994 and Saul 2005 (which provides useful comparisons with Richard II and Richard III), and William Marshal by Crouch 2002 (by an author who has published widely on nobility and chivalry) and Duby 1986. To complement these studies of 12th- and early-13th-century ideals of chivalry, Wilkins 2010 shows how a 15th-century knight, Sir Edward Woodville, married the existing traditions of chivalry with the changes that were sweeping across Europe. Works on Continental chivalric heroes are not as numerous, but René of Anjou is shown in Kekewich 2008 to have been a ruler who promoted chivalric ideals at court, via tournaments, written works, and the foundation of a knightly order, in much the same way as Edward III of England had done a century before (see Edward III and Chivalry). The French knight Bayard is another popular chivalric figure of the late medieval period that has been written about extensively. The few English-language works are very outdated, so the best introduction is still the French-language Jacquart 1987. Chivalric ideals were also recognized in the knight’s traditional enemies in medieval Europe, and nowhere more so was this such a contrast than in the image of Saladin, the Muslim leader and enemy of the Crusaders who is discussed in Tolan 1996.

                                                            • Crouch, David. William Marshal: Knighthood, War and Chivalry, 1147–1219. London: Longman, 2002.

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                                                              This biography is an entertaining read in addition to being scholarly, informative, and the most comprehensive of the modern biographies of the Marshal. Popular with students and affordable, it has useful maps, genealogy, and illustrations.

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                                                              • Duby, Georges. William Marshal: The Flower of Chivalry. New York: Pantheon, 1986.

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                                                                A short biography, informal in style and lacking references. Brief biography.

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                                                                • Gillingham, John. Richard Coeur de Lion: Kingship, Chivalry, and War in the Twelfth Century. London: Hambledon, 1994.

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                                                                  A collection of Gillingham’s articles which look at various aspects of chivalry and royal life.

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                                                                  • Jacquart, Jean. Bayard. Paris: Fayard, 1987.

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                                                                    A study in French of Pierre Terrail, Lord of Bayard, a model French knight considered the epitome of chivalry.

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                                                                    • Kekewich, Margaret L. The Good King: René of Anjou and Fifteenth Century. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

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                                                                      A scholarly biography, with a good chapter discussing Rene’s court. Includes information on the chivalric Order of the Crescent.

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                                                                      • Saul, Nigel. The Three Richards: Richard I, Richard II and Richard III. London: Hambledon Continuum, 2005.

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                                                                        A very readable biography that would appeal to undergraduates and the nonspecialist, but which also provides useful conclusions for the more advanced researcher. Chapter 6, on “Chivalry, Kingship and Warfare,” is particularly useful.

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                                                                        • Tolan, John Victor. “Mirror of Chivalry: Salâh al-Dîn in the Medieval European Imagination.” Cairo Papers in Social Science 19 (1996): 7–38.

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                                                                          Discusses the evolution of Saladin’s reputation in the West.

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                                                                          • Wilkins, Christopher. The Last Knight Errant: Sir Edward Woodville and the Age of Chivalry. London: I. B. Tauris, 2010.

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                                                                            An excellent biography suggesting how the changes of the 15th century affected the late medieval chivalric ideal. Useful for looking at involvement in Continental warfare.

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                                                                            Edward III and Chivalry

                                                                            Edward III of England is often seen as the king who really promoted the ideals of chivalry in England through his foundation of the Order of the Garter and enthusiasm for Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The best biography of Edward III is Ormrod 2012, while Mortimer 2008 is a more accessible study. Vale 1982 explains how this rise of chivalric ideals under the court of Edward III was influenced by the Low Countries and Northern France. The Round Table the king planned at Windsor in imitation of King Arthur’s own is lost, but the historical and archaeological evidence for its brief existence is discussed in detail in Munby, et al. 2008. While most of these works refer to Edward III’s chivalric qualities, Barber 2003 shunned this approach and provides an interesting counterbalance. When Edward III’s military and physical strength waned, his son and heir, Edward the Black Prince, took his place in military matters and as an example of a chivalric knight. He did not, however, always adhere to these ideals, details of which are thoroughly discussed in Green 2007.

                                                                            • Barber, Richard. Edward, Prince of Wales and Aquitaine: A Biography of the Black Prince. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2003.

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                                                                              An accessible and readable biography for the general reader, which can be read as an introduction before Green 2007. New edition.

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                                                                              • Green, David. Edward the Black Prince: Power in Medieval Europe. Harlow, UK: Pearson, 2007.

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                                                                                Biography that gives a lot of information on aristocratic life at the end of the 14th century. Includes a long chapter devoted to “Chivalry and Nobility.”

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                                                                                • Mortimer, Ian. The Perfect King: The Life of Edward III, Father of the English Nation. London: Vintage, 2008.

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                                                                                  A well-researched and inexpensive popular biography with a chapter devoted to chivalry. Easy to get hold of. Aimed at the general reader.

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                                                                                  • Munby, Julian, Richard Barber, and Richard Brown, eds. Edward III’s Round Table at Windsor: The House of the Round Table and the Windsor Festival of 1344. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2008.

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                                                                                    Readable and affordable work with helpful chapters on specific aspects of this topic; chapter 7, on the chivalric background to the Round Table, is worth looking at. Useful appendices list sources and the archaeological report of the dig at Windsor. Inexpensive.

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                                                                                    • Ormrod, William. Edward III. Yale English Monarchs Series. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                      A thorough and wide-ranging biography, with discussions of all the main themes related to chivalry. Extensive bibliography.

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                                                                                      • Vale, Juliet. Edward III and Chivalry: Chivalric Society and Its Context, 1270–1350. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 1982.

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                                                                                        A brief but detailed study of chivalry under Edward III. Aimed at the specialist, as the frequent French and Latin quotations render it problematic for those unfamiliar with these languages. Includes maps, genealogies, lists of tournaments, and many other useful appendices, as well as an extensive bibliography.

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                                                                                        King Arthur and Chivalry

                                                                                        King Arthur, the mythical 6th-century ruler of Britain, was held up as an idealized model of chivalric kingship in medieval England and many of the other countries of Europe. There are a plethora of works on Arthur, ranging from the fantastical to the critical: a good guide to these, and the sources on which theories surrounding King Arthur are based, can be found on the Camelot Project website, overseen by the University of Rochester. A brief introduction to the key themes of Arthurian legend can be found in Berthelot 1997. In England, Arthur and his qualities were something particularly associated with Edward I (r. 1272–1307), who harnessed legends about the king for propaganda purposes in his wars with Scotland and Wales. There are many works which discuss this usage, among them numerous biographies and volumes on Edward’s wars; but the best introduction to the theme is still probably Loomis 1953. In France, Arthur was also a popular figure, thanks in large part to the work of Chrétien de Troyes, a 12th-century poet whose Arthurian romances (Chrétien de Troyes 2004) represent French views of the ideal of chivalry and highlight that Arthur was a French rather than English hero. Arthur continued to provide a model for chivalric behavior throughout the Middle Ages; nowhere more so was this celebrated than in Thomas Malory’s Morte D’Arthur, a good text of which is Shepherd 2003. The theme of chivalry is central to this romance work. It is explored in detail by Barber 1996, who argues that justice, valor, and courtesy were central to Malory’s vision of Arthurian chivalry.

                                                                                        • Barber, Richard W. “Chivalry and the Morte Darthur.” In A Companion to Malory. Edited by Elizabeth Archibald and Anthony Stockwell Garfield Edwards, 19–35. Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 1996.

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                                                                                          Worth reading in conjunction with the Norton edition of Malory, as the discussions accompanying the text do not concentrate on chivalry. Other articles in this volume are useful for contextualizing the work.

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                                                                                          • Berthelot, Anne. King Arthur: Chivalry and Legend. London: Thames & Hudson, 1997.

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                                                                                            A short and simplified introduction with copious color illustrations, aimed at the general reader. Original texts and further information and the back of the book point to further reading. In print and inexpensive.

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                                                                                            • The Camelot Project at the University of Rochester: Arthurian Texts, Images, Bibliographies and Basic Information.

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                                                                                              A useful starting point for finding information, particularly for students. A search function allows “chivalry” to be identified easily, though some links are out of date.

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                                                                                              • Chrétien de Troyes. Arthurian Romances. Rev. ed. Edited and translated by by William Kibler and Carleton Carroll. London: Penguin, 2004.

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                                                                                                A good text for undergraduate study, with lively translation of Chrétien’s poems. With introduction to the work, glossary of terms, and bibliographic style. Affordable paperback.

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                                                                                                • Loomis, Roger Sherman. “Edward I, Arthurian Enthusiast.” Speculum 28 (1953): 114–127.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/2847184Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  A little dated, and missing the input of recent scholarship, this article still provides a good overview of the topic. Also reprinted in Loomis’ Studies in Medieval Literature (1970) and Bibliographical Bulletin of the International Arthurian Society 3 (1951). Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                  • Shepherd, Stephen H. A., ed. Le Morte Darthur. Norton Critical Editions. New York: W. W. Norton, 2003.

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                                                                                                    There are many editions of Malory’s work, but this is well referenced and gives a great deal of background information. Produced with undergraduate use in mind, this is an inexpensive and readily available classroom text.

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                                                                                                    War and Chivalry

                                                                                                    Given the militarized nature of chivalry, there is some debate about the centrality of warfare to the chivalric ideal and the role of chivalry in the practice of warfare. The collection of essays in Keen 1999 covers a wide geographical and chronological spread, but the detailed index allows for cherry-picking about chivalry. Another valuable source is the Journal of Medieval Military History, with numerous articles covering all aspects of warfare. Some of these articles, as well as others relevant to chivalry and warfare, can be found on the De Re Militari website. Much of the debate around warfare and chivalry centers on the chivalric ideal versus brutal reality. The idealized view presented by chivalric literature is something that has been challenged by Strickland 1996, who emphasized the idea of honor and its influence on the idea of a “code,” explained the laws of war, and looked at the realities of warfare and its more unchivalric aspects. McGlynn 2008 and Harari 2009 challenge the myth of chivalry and honorable combat; Harari shows that assassination, treason, and sabotage were often used as effective methods of combat and that these were far from the idealized view of chivalric warfare, while McGlynn has detailed the brutal realities of warfare. Vale 1981 discusses the realities of war at the end of the medieval era and debates the idea that chivalric ideals were on the wane.

                                                                                                    • De Re Militari.

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                                                                                                      The website of the Society for the Study of Medieval Military History. Collection of primary sources, digitized articles, reviews, and other materials on all aspects of military history up to the 17th century. The website is searchable, with links to external sites of interest.

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                                                                                                      • Harari, Yuval Noah. Special Operations in the Age of Chivalry, 1100–1550. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell & Brewer, 2009.

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                                                                                                        A work aimed at scholars and the general reader and divided into two parts accordingly.

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                                                                                                        • Journal of Medieval Military History. 2002–

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                                                                                                          The annual publication of De Re Militari, the articles in this journal cover a broad range of subjects relating to medieval warfare. The only journal dedicated to this field.

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                                                                                                          • Keen, Maurice, ed. Medieval Warfare: A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                            An accessible and readable collection aimed at the student and more general reader, this provides good background to aspects of warfare from the Vikings to the end of the Middle Ages. Guide for further reading, useful chronology and illustrations.

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                                                                                                            • McGlynn, Sean. By Sword and Fire: Cruelty and Atrocity in Medieval Warfare. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2008.

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                                                                                                              A readable account of medieval warfare intended for the general reader, but with enough detail to satisfy students and researchers. Affordable and readily available.

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                                                                                                              • Strickland, Matthew. War and Chivalry: The Conduct and Perception of War in England and Normandy, 1066–1217. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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                                                                                                                An important study that looks at the ideals of chivalry and offers a good explanation of the “laws of war.” Argues that there was no earlier “golden age” of chivalric warfare and therefore that it could not wane; best read in conjunction with Vale 1981. Excellent reference to sources.

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                                                                                                                • Vale, Malcolm. War and Chivalry: Warfare and Aristocratic Culture in England, France and Burgundy at the End of the Middle Ages. London: Gerald Duckworth, 1981.

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                                                                                                                  This work challenges the idea that chivalric ideals in warfare were on the wane at the end of the Middle Ages. The chapters on “The Techniques of War” and “The Changing Face of War and Chivalry” are particularly interesting. Useful appendices, tables, and interdisciplinary bibliography.

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                                                                                                                  Arms, Armor, and Techniques

                                                                                                                  The equipment needed and the ways in which they were to be used by medieval knights has been the subject of both contemporary and modern study. Talhoffer 2000 is one of the most famous of the medieval fighting manuals, while Hull 2008 gives a wider overview of fighting techniques in Germany by examining a wide range of sources. Mondschein 2011 provides a less detailed look at another contemporary guide. Modern guides to the medieval arts of war are numerous, but Clements 1998 is one of the most comprehensive on sword fighting, while Bennett, et al. 2010 is more wide-ranging. Influences on arms and armor are discussed in several of the articles in Nicolle 2008, while Prestwich 2009 argues that changing military techniques were a threat to traditional chivalric ways of fighting.

                                                                                                                  • Bennett, Matthew, Jim Bradury, Kelly DeVries, Iain Dickie, and Phyllis G. Jestice. Fighting Techniques of the Medieval World: AD 500—AD 1500: Equipment, Combat, Skills and Tactics. London: Amber, 2010.

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                                                                                                                    A well-illustrated guide to military techniques, including naval warfare, archery, mercenaries, and key equipment and battles. Affordable text which provides a good starting point for further research.

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                                                                                                                    • Clements, John. Medieval Swordsmanship: Illustrated Methods and Techniques. Boulder, CO: Paladin, 1998.

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                                                                                                                      A mixture of scholarly information and a practical guide to fighting with swords. Well illustrated.

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                                                                                                                      • Hull, Jeffrey. Knightly Dueling: The Fighting Arts of German Chivalry. Boulder, CO: Paladin, 2008.

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                                                                                                                        Overview of forms of chivalric fighting in Germany. Transcriptions of German texts and some English translations. Good read in conjunction with Talhoffer 2000.

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                                                                                                                        • Mondschein, Ken. The Knightly Art of Battle. Los Angeles: Getty, 2011.

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                                                                                                                          Richly illustrated and affordable guide aimed at the general reader. Includes extracts from the 14th-century Fior de battaglia in the Getty Museum collection.

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                                                                                                                          • Nicolle, David, ed. A Companion to Medieval Arms and Armour. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2008.

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                                                                                                                            Covers a thousand years of mostly European arms and armor, but with information from the Byzantine and Islamic worlds. Discusses changes and developments.

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                                                                                                                            • Prestwich, Michael C. “The Challenge to Chivalry: Longbow and Pike, 1275–1475.” In The Medieval World at War. Edited by Matthew Bennett, 160–181. London: Thames & Hudson, 2009.

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                                                                                                                              Article from an essay collection covering warfare across the medieval world, which shows how changing military techniques affected the ideals of chivalric warfare.

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                                                                                                                              • Talhoffer, Hans. Medieval Combat: A Fifteenth Century Illustrated Manual of Swordfighting and Close-Quarter Combat. Edited and translated by Mark Rector. London: Greenhill, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                Numerous detailed illustrations and brief accompanying text give a guide to 15th-century fencing techniques.

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                                                                                                                                Chivalry and Religion

                                                                                                                                Religion was a central part of medieval life, yet its key beliefs and requirements did not always fit harmoniously with the ideals of chivalry. There was a problem of how to reconcile beliefs that saw warfare as sinful with those that celebrated noble warfare as an absolute ideal. Contemporary views of this struggle can be seen in many of the sources in Reichberg, et al. 2006. Bacharach 2003 traced the history of religion and warfare and showed that far from being opposing ideals, religion was a key element of the conduct of war. How knights set about reconciling the two conflicting demands is investigated in Kaeuper 2009, which demonstrates that knights adapted religious ideals to justify their actions. Published the following year, Radulsecu 2010 considered how Christian the ideal of chivalry was (see also Crusade and Chivalry).

                                                                                                                                • Bacharach, David. Religion and the Conduct of War, c. 300–c. 1215. Rochester, NY: Boydell, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                  Good introductory study to aid the understanding of the relationship between lay warfare and Christian piety. Covers a wide European spread. Suggests new areas for future research in this area.

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                                                                                                                                  • Kaeuper, Richard W. Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                    A scholarly work aimed more at the specialist, this is a well-documented work which allows for further investigation via the references. The style makes it accessible to specialist and the more general reader.

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                                                                                                                                    • Radulsecu, Raluca Luria. “How Christian Is Chivalry?” In Christianity and Romance in Medieval England. Edited by Rosalind Field, Phillipa Hardman, and Michelle Sweeney, 69–83. Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                      An article that provides an interesting discussion of this debate; would be useful for undergraduate teaching. Published in Volume 3 of the “Christianity and Culture: Issues in Teaching/Research” series. Available as an e-book.

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                                                                                                                                      • Reichberg, Gregory M., Henrik Syse, and Endre Begsy, eds. The Ethics of War: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                        Collection of primary sources in translation, with individual introductions that make it valuable as an undergraduate teaching text and for initial research.

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                                                                                                                                        Crusade and Chivalry

                                                                                                                                        Religion was a key aspect of chivalry (see Chivalry and Religion). The period of the rise of chivalry coincided with an era of great church reform which had an impact on much of medieval society, but the one aspect of religious change that arguably had the greatest impact on the ethos of chivalry was crusading: holy warfare against enemies of the church as sanctioned by the papacy, in return for which participants received spiritual rewards. Crusading appeared to offer the solution to that conflict between the desire to engage in warfare and the demands of the church, allowing knights to engage in a holy war. The development of this theory is considered by Cowdrey 2003, who suggests that by the end of the first century of crusading, morality and warfare were becoming increasingly associated. The idea that Crusaders might be engaging in a sinful activity—at least in the eyes of the church—is dispelled by Bull 1993, as the author demonstrates the ways in which local religious institutions often financially supported Crusaders in the Limousin and Gascony. The conflict between warfare and religion was something which posed a problem for the crusading Teutonic knight who fought in northeast Europe; the chronicles which they wrote to try to justify their role are discussed in detail by Fischer 1991. Saul 2011 offers a more general survey of crusading and chivalry in England. The target of the Crusades changed after the fall of Acre in 1291, as the rise of the Turks gave Christians a new enemy. Trim 2004 discusses the reasons for the decline in chivalric values in the later medieval period and argues that the concept of crusading endured despite the loss of the Holy Land in chivalric literature and in the aims of the church, and that the problem of fulfilling this chivalric ideal was answered by changing the focus of crusading. This shift is looked at in greater detail by Housely 2002. Flori 1998 considers many of these debates and discusses some others, such as Christian chivalry versus Muslim cavalry fighting and the French idea of chivalry.

                                                                                                                                        • Bull, Marcus Graham. Knightly Piety and the Lay Response to the First Crusade: The Limousin and Gascony, c. 970—c. 1130. Oxford: Clarendon, 1993.

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                                                                                                                                          A scholarly text drawing on a wealth of sources which is useful for understanding the motivations behind Crusade participation.

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                                                                                                                                          • Cowdrey, H. E. J. “Christianity and the Morality of Warfare during the First Century of Crusading.” In The Experience of Crusading. Vol.1, Western Approaches. Edited by Marcus Bull and Norman Housley, 175–192. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                            An article which explains how the theory of Just War began to influence the Crusades. The inclusion of Latin text makes this one for the specialist reader.

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                                                                                                                                            • Fischer, Mary. Die Himels Rote: The Idea of Christian Chivalry in the Chronicles of the Teutonic Order. Göppingen, Germany: Kummerle, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                              A scholarly work arguing that chronicles written by members of the Teutonic Order have been ignored in discussions of Crusade ideology.

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                                                                                                                                              • Flori, Jean. Croisade et chevalerie: XIe–XIIe siècles. Brussels: De Boeck University Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                A French text covering several aspects of chivalry, with a real emphasis on crusading texts. Brings earlier versions of his articles up to date with more modern scholarship.

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                                                                                                                                                • Housely, Norman. Religious Warfare in Europe, 1400–1536. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                  Explores the various ways in which war was waged in the name of religion.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Saul, Nigel. For Honour and Fame: Chivalry in England, 1066–1500. London: Bodley Head, 2011.

                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.4159/harvard.9780674063693Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                    Readable account of chivalry in England that includes a chapter on chivalry and crusading.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Trim, David J. B. “‘Knights of Christ’? Chivalric Culture in England, c. 1400–c. 1550.” In Cross, Crown and Community: Religion, Government and Culture in Early Modern England. Edited by David J. B. Trim and Peter J. Balderstone, 77–112. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                      A very readable article, with the benefit of a useful editor’s introduction. Detailed notes to guide further reading.

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                                                                                                                                                      Chivalric Orders

                                                                                                                                                      Membership in a chivalric order—an exclusive fellowship of knights—was the preserve of the most elite knights. Loosely based on the military orders of the Crusades, such as the Templars and Hospitallers, chivalric orders became particularly popular in the 14th and 15th centuries. For the most part, these new orders were only very loosely based on their predecessors, but Urban 1994 argues that the Teutonic Order did, in fact, set the standards of chivalry in the Baltic. A survey of the orders founded from 1325 onwards can be found in Boulton 1987, whose comprehensive work provides a scholarly reference tool. In 1348, Edward III founded the Order of the Garter, the most important order of chivalry in England, the origins and role of which are studied in detail by Collins 2000. The enduring nature of the Order means that it remains a topic of popular interest, and the best of these books aimed at a general readership is Begent and Chesshyre 1999. The most prestigious European order was the Order of the Golden Fleece, founded in Bruges by the Duke of Burgundy in 1430. There are several works published on the order in German, but Boulton 2006 is a good introductory article. Nearly every kingdom in Europe established its own chivalric order, Scotland being one of those that did not, despite later claims, something discussed in detail in Stevenson 2004.

                                                                                                                                                      • Begent, Peter, and Hubert Chesshyre. The Most Noble Order of the Garter: 650 Years. London: Spink & Son, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                        Heavily illustrated general history of the Order to the present day, with more emphasis on the period after 1520.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Boulton, D’Arcy Jonathan Dacre. The Knights of the Crown: The Monarchical Orders of Knighthood in Later Medieval Europe, 1325–1520. New York: St. Martin’s, 1987.

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                                                                                                                                                          Comprehensive work that devotes a chapter to each of the main orders, with several appendices and illustrations of insignia.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Boulton, D’Arcy Jonathan Dacre. “The Order of the Golden Fleece and the Creation of Burgundian National Identity.” In The Ideology of Burgundy: The Promotion of National Consciousness, 1364–1565. Edited by D’Arcy Jonathan Dacre Boulton and Jan R. Veenstra, 21–97. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                            A good detailed discussion of the order, aimed at the specialist but providing a useful introduction.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Collins, Hugh E. The Order of the Garter, 1348–1461: Chivalry and Politics in Late Medieval England. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                              The first full-length, detailed study of this Order, and one which is the most scholarly on this topic.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Stevenson, Katie. “The Unicorn, St Andrew and the Thistle: Was There an Order of Chivalry in Late Medieval Scotland?” Scottish Historical Review 83 (2004): 3–22.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.3366/shr.2004.83.1.3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                Article by the leading historian on Scottish chivalry which examines the evidence for the origins of a medieval Order in Scotland. Clearly argued. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Urban, William L. “The Teutonic Knights and Baltic Chivalry.” The Historian 56 (1994): 519–530.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6563.1994.tb01324.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  An interesting article which explains the origins and development of the Teutonic Knights in the Baltic and their influence on chivalric attitudes there. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Chivalry and Display

                                                                                                                                                                  In a world where visual material was understood by a wider swathe of the population than written works, images of knighthood and chivalry were particularly important. Conspicuous consumption and displays of wealth were a mark of status, and developing heraldic images, commissioning arms, armor, effigies, and other artworks with a chivalric theme emphasized the chivalric qualities of their patrons. The range of works produced in this period with a chivalric theme was sizeable, as Alexander and Binski 1987 demonstrated. There are more focused studies; the importance of tomb effigies as a means of knightly expression, for example, is the focus of Dressler 2004, which considers the design of knightly effigies in order to suggest masculinity and chivalry. Jones 2010 explains how heraldic display (and that of arms and armor) on the battlefield was part of warfare and chivalric culture. The display of heraldry and other images associated with knightly society is the subject of the articles in Coss and Keen 2002, while Woodcock and Robinson 1990 explains heraldry to those unfamiliar with its complexities.

                                                                                                                                                                  • Alexander, Jonathan, and Paul Binski. Age of Chivalry: Art in Plantagenet England, 1200–1400. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Lavishly illustrated exhibition catalogue of color illustrations, covering jewelry, arms, sculpture, seals, and more. An excellent visual reference.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Coss, Peter, and Maurice Keen, eds. Heraldry, Pageantry, and Social Display in Medieval England. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                      A collection of twelve essays explaining how visual display was an important aspect of chivalric culture.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Dressler, Rachel. Of Armor and Men in Medieval England: The Chivalric Rhetoric of Three English Knights’ Effigies. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Heavily illustrated analysis of a selection of tombs, which suggests approaches to this topic. Not universal in its coverage, so other works on effigies should be consulted.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Jones, Robert W. Bloodied Banners: Martial Display on the Medieval Battlefield. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Discusses the evolution of martial display and the role of arms, armor, and heraldry on the battlefield.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Woodcock, Thomas, and John Martin Robinson. The Oxford Guide to Heraldry. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Well-illustrated and accessible guide. Traces the history of heraldry in addition to explaining its language. Primarily covering Britain, but with a good selection of examples from across Europe. Useful glossary of heraldic terms. Out of print.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Chivalric Pastimes

                                                                                                                                                                            Although warfare was arguably the defining activity of the chivalrous knight, there were also a range of pastimes he engaged with which were seen as chivalrous. Hunting, a preserve of the nobility, was a dangerous pursuit in which many nobles were killed, but it was incredibly popular. It was the subject of several medieval hunting treatises, many of which were written by kings and nobles (and mostly in French), a list of which can be found on the Arlima website. There are several works that survey this topic, such as Cummins 2001, and Almond 2011, which challenges the idea that this was purely a noble, masculine pursuit. The popularity of hunting as an activity for the chivalric elite made it a popular choice for the decorative arts, and visual sources provide a useful guide to the processes of hunting. Four 15th-century hunting tapestries are lavishly reproduced in Woolley 2002. Falconry was another popular pursuit, discussed in detail in an English context in Oggins 2004. Keen 1995 also analyzes the three noble pursuits of jousting, hunting, and hawking.

                                                                                                                                                                            • Almond, Richard. Medieval Hunting. Stroud, UK: History Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Highlights the importance of hunting to medieval society. Good as an undergraduate text, as it is inexpensive, in print, and engagingly written.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Arlima: Archives de Littérature du Moyen Âge.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Guide, in French, to the hunting treatises produced in various European languages, including English with links to texts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Cummins, John. The Hound and the Hawk: The Art of Medieval Hunting. London: Phoenix, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Illustrated guide, with coverage of all the main “targets” of the hunt, the methods of hawking, and the symbolism of hunting. Appendices of primary texts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Keen, Maurice. “Nobles’ Leisure: Jousting, Hawking and Hunting.” In Il tempo libero, economia e società (loisirs, leisure, tiempo libre, Freizeit) secc. XIII–XVIII: Atti della “ventiseisima settimana di studi,” 18–23 Aprile 1994. Edited by Simonetta Cavaciocchi, 307–322. Florence: Le Monnier, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Short readable article offering a survey of this topic, which is suitable for introducing undergraduates to chivalric pastimes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Oggins, Robin. The Kings and Their Hawks: Falconry in Medieval England. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      This work is the first wide-ranging study of falconry in medieval England. The best single work on this topic, suitable for general reader and specialist.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Woolley, Linda. Medieval Life and Leisure in the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Illustrated work produced by the Victoria and Albert Museum, the images in which show just how varied hunting was, with swans, bears, and deer among the targets shown. Fold-out full-color images.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Tournaments

                                                                                                                                                                                        Tournaments were competitive events at which knights could hone their skills, demonstrate their prowess to their peers, and, for those who were financially struggling, potentially gain wealth through the seizure of an opponent’s horse and armor. Crouch 2005 provides a comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to this topic that builds on the work in Barber and Barker 1989, which itself covers a wide geographical spread. A more specific discussion of tournaments in England is found in Barker 1986. Muhlberger 2004 offers a useful discussion of the references to tournaments (and other forms of martial entertainment) as seen in chronicles. Bumke 2000 also gives a nice concise overview and discusses the prohibition of tournaments from 1130 onwards. Tournaments were not universally popular and were banned by the papacy and, at various times, by kings, notably in England, who feared that nobles would meet together at tournaments to plot rebellion. This prohibition made northern France an attractive alternative for tournaments, a location which became problematic during the Hundred Years War, something explored in detail in Van den Neste 1996.

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Barber, Richard, and Juliet Barker. Tournaments: Jousts, Chivalry, and Pageants in the Middle Ages. New York: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1989.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          An accessible work that is a good introduction for students and scholars alike. Well illustrated and, unlike some of these works of chivalry, contains a good level of information on Spain.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Barker, Juliet R. V. The Tournament in England, 1100–1400. Woodbridge, UK: Boydell, 1986.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Scholarly study that explains the importance of tournaments as central in chivalric culture and shows their political, military, and social implications in thematic chapters. Some illustrations. Out of print.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Bumke, Joachim. Courtly Culture: Literature and Society in the High Middle Ages. Translated by Thomas Dunlap. Woodstock, NY: Overlook, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              This work provides a lively overview of courtly culture, including a section on tournaments. As part of a wider work, this puts tournaments into context with wider European culture. Originally published as Höfische Kultur: Literatur und Gesellschaft im hohen Mittelalter in 1986 (Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag).

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Crouch, David. Tournament. London: Hambledon, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                An overview of tournaments in England and France, their backgrounds, and the practicalities of tournaments. Inexpensive and suitable as an undergraduate text or for the general reader.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Muhlberger, Steven. Deeds of Arms: Formal Combats in the Late Fourteenth Century. Highland Village, TX: Chivalry Bookshelf, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Analyzes chronicle accounts of formal combats of jousts, trials by combat, and other challenges to place such events in their political, military, and cultural contexts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Van den Neste, Évelyne. Tournois, joutes, pas d’armesdan les villes de Flandre à la fin du Moyen Age (1300–1486). Paris: École des Chartes, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Using civic records from Flanders as her most important evidence, Van den Neste reveals the vast amount of jousting activity that took place in northern France in this period. The book focuses on the organizational effort behind the competitions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chivalry and Literature

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The theme of chivalry was a popular one in the literature of nobles and knights in the Middle Ages. It was a recurring theme in many works, as explained by Bumke 2000 and, as argued by several of the works in Beson and Leyerle 1980, often reflected reality. The coauthors of Kaeuper and Bohna 2009 explain how the lay elite used literature, among other things, when framing their views of chivalry. Some tales stand out in particular (see Chaucer and Chivalry). The legend of Guy of Warwick is interesting, as King 2007 argues that it rejected “earthly chivalry” and showed Guy misunderstanding it as a concept, highlighting the ambivalent nature of chivalry even to contemporaries. In Clein 1987, the tale of Gawain and the Green Knight and its relationship to chivalry is neatly analyzed, and it is shown how a 14th-century audience might have viewed chivalry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Beson, Larry Dean, and John Leyerle, eds. Chivalric Literature: Essays on Relations between Literature and Life in the Later Middle Ages. Kalamazoo: Western Michigan University, 1980.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      Essay collection prompted by a seminar on chivalric literature at Harvard University. Twelve articles cover many aspects of chivalric literature, providing a good spread of discussion on real and fictional chivalric matter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Bumke, Joachim. Courtly Culture: Literature and Society in the High Middle Ages. Translated by Thomas Dunlap. New York: Overlook Duckworth, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Detailed yet readable analysis of all aspects of noble life, including a partial chapter on “The Chivalrous Knight.” Good for understanding the broader context of courtly life and its expression in the sources, and of the state of German scholarship on this topic. Originally published in German as Höfische Kultur: Literatur und Gesellschaft im hohen Mittelalter.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Clein, Wendy. Concepts of Chivalry in Gawain and the Green Knight. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, 1987.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Provides a helpful discussion of the text, and a brief analysis of 14th-century chivalry in general.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Kaeuper, Richard W., and Montgomery Bohna. “War and Chivalry.” In A Companion to Medieval English Literature and Culture, c. 1350–c. 1500. Edited by Peter Brown, 273–291. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631219736.2007.00021.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Aimed at stimulating thought and discussion in undergraduate students. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • King, Andrew. “Guy of Warwick and the Faerie Queene, Book II: Chivalry through the Ages.” In Guy of Warwick: Icon and Ancestor. Edited by Alison Wiggins and Rosalind Field, 169–184. Cambridge, UK: D. S. Brewer, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              A detailed discussion that assumes some knowledge of the text, but a useful one for showing contemporary thoughts on chivalry and their influences. Includes extracts from primary texts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chaucer and Chivalry

                                                                                                                                                                                                              The late-14th-century works of Geoffrey Chaucer have been the focus of considerable study in relation to chivalry. Keen 1983 comments on “The Knight’s Tale” (see Benson 2008) and, putting it into context with the warfaring and crusading activities of men like the Scropes and Lovells, concludes that the knight’s story provided a praiseworthy model for these men. This is in direct contrast to Jones 1994, who argued that the knight was a satirical and ironic model who did not represent the chivalric ideal, a viewpoint that has not been well received by some Chaucerian scholars. It has also been challenged by Lester 1982, who argues that confusion over the understanding of tourneys and tournaments mars Jones’s thesis. It is a debate that has been looked at again by Rigby 2008.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Benson, Larry Dean, ed. The Riverside Chaucer. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                The definitive collection of Chaucer’s works, with an excellent introduction to the man and his writing. Contains “The Knight’s Tale” with explanatory notes.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Jones, Terry. Chaucer’s Knight: The Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary. 2d ed. London: Methuen, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  First published in 1980, this newer edition includes a new forward. Jones argues here that Chaucer’s portrait of the knight is ironic and not idealized.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Keen, Maurice. “Chaucer’s Knight, the English Aristocracy and the Crusade.” In English Court Culture in the Later Middle Ages. Edited by V. J. Scattergood and J. W. Sherborne, 45–61. London: Duckworth, 1983.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Keen disagrees here with the arguments of Jones 1994, suggesting that Chaucer’s knight was a model and that contemporaries would have seen him as such.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lester, G. A. “Chaucer’s Knight and the Medieval Tournament.” Neophilologus 66 (1982): 460–468.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1007/BF01998991Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A brief and detailed article that should be read in conjunction with Jones 1994 and Keen 1983. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Rigby, Stephen H. Wisdom and Chivalry: Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale and Medieval Political Theory. Medieval and Renaissance Authors and Texts 4. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Places “The Knight’s Tale” in a broader context. Detailed and scholarly, good for more depth of understanding. Extensive bibliography.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Women and Chivalry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Women had a place in the chivalric world. It was often as the focus of a romantic tale, but noble ladies could often fulfill some of the same roles as noble men. Coss 1999 offers an excellent investigation of this role. Johns 2003 is a study on aristocratic women, showing the influence they could exercise. There are several works which provide examples of women from the Middle Ages fulfilling roles associated with chivalric behavior. Christine de Pisan commented on chivalry (Christine de Pisan 1999), which provides an interesting comparison with male views (see Primary Sources). Hay 2008 gives an account of the military career of Matilda de Canossa, one woman who led men on the battlefield. Maier 2004 gives a brief analysis of how women were involved in crusading, and McLaughlin 1990 shows how perceptions of female involvement in warfare differed from reality. There has been a growth of interest in women and their relationship with warfare, many of which are listed on the ORB website.

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