Medieval Chivalry


In medieval Europe, a code of ethics known as chivalry developed which included rules and expectations that the nobility would, at all times, behave in a certain manner. Chivalry was, in addition, a religious, moral and social code which helped distinguish the higher classes from those below them and which provided a means by which knights could earn themselves a favourable reputation so that they might progress in their careers and personal relations. Evolving from the late 11th century CE onwards, essential chivalric qualities to be displayed included courage, military prowess, honour, loyalty, justice, good manners, and generosity - especially to those less fortunate than oneself. By the 14th century CE the notion of chivalry had become more romantic and idealised, largely thanks to a plethora of literature on the subject and so the code persisted right through the medieval period with occasional revivals thereafter.

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