According to the British Medieval historian David Crouch, the historical debate on chivalry is an ancient one.What was being debated? The late medieval code of chivalry had arisen from the idealisation of the early medieval synthesis of Germanic and Roman martial traditions —involving military bravery, individual training, and service to others—especially in Francia, among horse soldiers in Charlemagne's cavalry. The term chivalry derives from the Old French term chevalerie, which can be translated to "horse soldiery".[Note 1] Gautier states that knighthood emerged from the Teutonic forests and was nurtured into civilization and chivalry by the Catholic Church.
Over time, its meaning has been refined to emphasise social and moral virtues more generally. And the Code of Chivalry, as it stood by the Late Middle Ages, was a moral system which combined a warrior ethos, knightly piety, and courtly manners, all conspiring to establish a notion of honour and nobility.[Note 2]
- 1 Terminology and definitions
- 2 Literary chivalry and historical reality
- 3 History
- 4 Criticism of chivalry
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Terminology and definitions
In origin, the term chivalry means "horsemanship", formed in Old French, in the 11th century, from chevalier (horseman, knight), from Medieval Latin caballārius. The French word chevalier originally means "a man of aristocratic standing, and probably of noble ancestry, who is capable, if called upon, of equipping himself with a war horse and the arms of heavy cavalryman and who has been through certain rituals that make him what he is". In English, the term appears from 1292 (note that cavalry is from the Italian form of the same word).[Note 3]
The meaning of the term evolved over time because the word chevalier was used differently in the Middle Ages, from the original concrete military meaning "status or fee associated with military follower owning a war horse" or "a group of mounted knights" to the ideal of the Christian warrior ethos propagated in the Romance genre, which was becoming popular during the 12th century, and the ideal of courtly love propagated in the contemporary Minnesang and related genres. Thus, chivalry has hierarchical meanings from simply a heavily armed horseman to a code of conduct.
The ideas of chivalry originated in three medieval works: the anonymous poem Ordene de Chevalerie, that tells the story of how Hugh of Tiberias was captured and released upon his agreement to show Saladin (1138-1193) the ritual of Christian knighthood, the Libre del ordre de cavayleria, written by Ramon Lull (1232-1315), whose subject is knighthood, and the Livre de Chevalerie of Geoffroi de Charny (1300-1356), which examines the qualities of knighthood, emphasizing prowess. Based on the three treatises, initially chivalry was defined as a way of life in which three essential aspects fused together: the military, the nobility, the religion.
The "code of chivalry" is thus a product of the Late Middle Ages, evolving after the end of the crusades partly from an idealisation of the historical knights fighting in the Holy Land, partly from ideals of courtly love.
Léon Gautier, in his La Chevalerie, published for the first time in 1883, bemoaned the "invasion of Breton romans" which replaced the pure military ethos of the crusades with Arthurian fiction and courtly adventures. Gautier tries to give a "popular summary" of what he proposes was the "ancient code of chivalry" of the 11th and 12th centuries derived from the military ethos of the crusades which would evolve into the late medieval notion of chivalry. Gautier's Ten Commandments of chivalry are:
- Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and thou shalt observe all its directions (Believe the Church's teachings and observe all the Church's directions).
- Thou shalt defend the Church (Defend the Church).
- Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them (Respect and defend all weaknesses).
- Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born (Love your country).
- Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
- Thou shalt make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy (Show no mercy to the infidel. Do not hesitate to make war with them).
- Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God (Perform all your feudal duties as long as they do not conflict with the laws of God).
- Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word (Never lie or go back on one's word).
- Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone (Be generous to everyone).
- Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil (Always and everywhere be right and good against evil and injustice).
Literary chivalry and historical reality
Fans of chivalry assume, and have assumed since the late medieval period, that there was a time in the past when chivalry was a living institution, when men acted chivalrically, when chivalry was alive and not dead, the imitation of which period would much improve the present. This is the mad mission of Don Quixote, protagonist of the most chivalric novel of all time and inspirer of the chivalry of Sir Walter Scott and of the U.S. South: to restore the age of chivalry, and thereby improve his country. It is a version of the myth of the Golden Age.
With the birth of modern historical and literary research, scholars have found that however far back you go looking for "The Age of Chivalry", like its sister courtly love it is always further in the past, until you run up against the Roman Empire. As Jean Charles Léonard de Sismondi put it:
We must not confound chivalry with the feudal system. The feudal system may be called the real life of the period of which we are treating, possessing its advantages and inconveniences, its virtues and its vices. Chivalry, on the contrary, is the ideal world, such as it existed in the imaginations of the Romance writers. Its essential character is devotion to woman and to honour.
The more closely we look into history, the more clearly shall we perceive that the system of chivalry is an invention almost entirely poetical. It is impossible to distinguish the countries in which it is said to have prevailed. It is always represented as distant from us both in time and place, and whilst the contemporary historians give us a clear, detailed, and complete account of the vices of the court and the great, of the ferocity or corruption of the nobles, and of the servility of the people, we are astonished to find the poets, after a long lapse of time, adorning the very same ages with the most splendid fictions of grace, virtue, and loyalty. The Romance writers of the twelfth century placed the age of chivalry in the time of Charlemagne. The period when these writers existed, is the time pointed out by Francis I. At the present day [about 1810], we imagine we can still see chivalry flourishing in the persons of Du Guesclin and Bayard, under Charles V and Francis I. But when we come to examine either the one period or the other, although we find in each some heroic spirits, we are forced to confess that it is necessary to antedate the age of chivalry, at least three or four centuries before any period of authentic history.
According to Crouch, many early writers on medieval chivalry cannot be trusted as historians, because they sometimes have "polemical purpose which colours their prose". As for Kenelm Henry Digby and Leon Gautier, chivalry was a means to transform their corrupt and secular worlds. Gautier also emphasized that chivalry originated from the Teutonic forests and brought up into civilization by the Catholic Church. Charles Mills used chivalry "to demonstrate that the Regency gentleman was the ethical heir of a great moral estate, and to provide an inventory of its treasure". Mills also stated that chivalry was a social, not a military phenomenon, with its key features: generosity, fidelity, liberality, and courtesy.
Chivalry before 1170: The Noble Habitus
According to Crouch, prior to codified chivalry there was the uncodified code of noble conduct that focused on the preudomme. This uncodified code - referred to as the noble habitus - is a term for the environment of behavioural and material expectations generated by all societies and classes. As a modern idea, it was pioneered by the French philosopher/sociologists Pierre Bourdieu and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, even though a precedent exists for the concept as far back as the works of Aristotle. Crouch argues that the habitus on which "the superstructure of chivalry" was built and the preudomme was a part, had been existed long before 1100, while the codified medieval noble conduct only began between 1170 and 1220.
The pre-chivalric noble habitus as discovered by Mills and Gautier are as follows:
- Loyalty: It is a practical utility in a warrior nobility. Richard Kaeuper associates loyalty with prowess. The importance of reputation for loyalty in noble conduct is demonstrated in William Marshal biography.
- Forbearance: knights' self-control towards other warriors and at the courts of their lords was a part of the early noble habitus as shown in the Conventum of Hugh de Lusignan in the 1020s. The nobility of mercy and forbearance was well established by the second half of the 12th century long before there was any code of chivalry.
- Hardihood: The quality of hardy aligns itself with forbearance and loyalty in being one of the military virtues of the preudomme. According to Philip de Navarra, a mature nobleman should have acquired hardiness as part of his moral virtues. Geoffrey de Charny also stressed on the masculine respectability of hardiness in the light of religious feeling of the contemptus mundi.
- Largesse or Liberality: generosity was part of a noble quantity. According to Alan of Lille, largesse was not just a simple matter of giving away what he had, but "Largitas in a man caused him to set no store on greed or gifts, and to have nothing but contempt for bribes."
- The davidic ethic: It is the strongest qualities of preudomme derived by clerics from Biblical tradition. Originally it was a set of expectations of good rulership articulated by the Frankish church which involved the rightful authority based on protection for the weak and helpless (in particular the Church), respect for widows and orphans, and opposition to the cruel and unjust. The core of Davidic ethic is benevolence of the strong toward the weak.
- Honor: honor was what was achieved by living up to the ideal of the preudomme and pursuing the qualities and behavior listed above. The loss of honor is an humiliation to a man's standing and is worse than death. Bertran de Born said: "For myself I prefer to hold a little piece of land in onor, than to hold a great empire with dishonor".
The code of chivalry, as it was known at late Medieval age, developed between 1170 and 1220.
Origins in military ethos
Chivalry was developed in the north of France around the mid-12th century but adopted its structure in a European context. New social status, new military techniques, and new literary topics were adhered to a new character known as the knight and his ethos called chivalry. The chivalric ideals are based on those of the early medieval warrior class, and martial exercise and military virtue remains an integral part of chivalry until the end of the medieval period, as the reality on the battlefield changed with the development of Early Modern warfare increasingly restricted to the tournament ground and duelling culture. The joust remained the primary example of knightly display of martial skill throughout the Renaissance (the last Elizabethan Accession Day tilt was held in 1602).
The martial skills of the knight carried over to the practice of the hunt, and hunting expertise became an important aspect of courtly life in the later medieval period (see terms of venery). Related to chivalry was the practice of heraldry and its elaborate rules of displaying coats of arms as it emerged in the High Middle Ages.
Chivalry and Christianity
Christianity and church had a modifying influence on the classical concept of heroism and virtue, nowadays identified with the virtues of chivalry. The Peace and Truce of God in the 10th century was one such example, with limits placed on knights to protect and honour the weaker members of society and also help the church maintain peace. At the same time the church became more tolerant of war in the defense of faith, espousing theories of the just war; and liturgies were introduced which blessed a knight's sword, and a bath of chivalric purification. In the story of the Grail romances and Chevalier au Cygne, it was the confidence of the Christian knighthood that its way of life was to please God, and chivalry was an order of God. Thus, chivalry as a Christian vocation was a result of marriage between Teutonic heroic values with the militant tradition of Old Testament.
The first noted support for chivalric vocation, or the establishment of knightly class to ensure the sanctity and legitimacy of Christianity, was written in 930 by Odo, abbot of Cluny, in the Vita of St. Gerald of Aurillac, which argued that the sanctity of Christ and Christian doctrine can be demonstrated through the legitimate unsheathing of the "sword against the enemy". In the 11th century the concept of a "knight of Christ" (miles Christi) gained currency in France, Spain and Italy. These concepts of "religious chivalry" were further elaborated in the era of the Crusades, with the Crusades themselves often being seen as a chivalrous enterprise. Their ideas of chivalry were also further influenced by Saladin, who was viewed as a chivalrous knight by medieval Christian writers. The military orders of the crusades which developed in this period came to be seen as the earliest flowering of chivalry, although it remains unclear to what extent the notable knights of this period, Saladin, Godfrey of Bouillon, William Marshal or Bertrand du Guesclin, actually did set new standards of knightly behaviour, or to what extent they merely behaved according to existing models of conduct which came in retrospect to be interpreted along the lines of the "chivalry" ideal of the Late Middle Ages. Nevertheless, chivalry and crusades were not the same thing. While the crusading ideology had largely influenced the ethic of chivalry during its formative times, chivalry itself was related to a whole range of martial activities and aristocratic values which had no necessary linkage with crusading.
From the 12th century onward chivalry came to be understood as a moral, religious and social code of knightly conduct. The particulars of the code varied, but codes would emphasise the virtues of courage, honour, and service. Chivalry also came to refer to an idealisation of the life and manners of the knight at home in his castle and with his court.
Medieval courtly literature glorifies the valour, tactics and ideals of ancient Romans. For example, the ancient hand-book of warfare written by Vegetius called De Re Militari was translated into French in the 13th century as L'art de chevalerie by Jean de Meun. Later writers also drew from Vegetius such as Honore Bonet who wrote the 14th century L'arbes des batailles, which discussed the morals and laws of war. In the 15th century Christine de Pizan combined themes from Vegetius, Bonet and Frontinus in Livre des faits d'armes et de chevalerie.
In the later Middle Ages, wealthy merchants strove to adopt chivalric attitudes - the sons of the bourgeoisie were educated at aristocratic courts where they were trained in the manners of the knightly class. This was a democratisation of chivalry, leading to a new genre called the courtesy book, which were guides to the behaviour of "gentlemen". Thus, the post-medieval gentlemanly code of the value of a man's honor, respect for women, and a concern for those less fortunate, is directly derived from earlier ideals of chivalry and historical forces which created it.
The medieval development of chivalry, with the concept of the honour of a lady and the ensuing knightly devotion to it, not only derived from the thinking about the Virgin Mary, but also contributed to it. The medieval veneration of the Virgin Mary was contrasted by the fact that ordinary women, especially those outside aristocratic circles, were looked down upon. Although women were at times viewed as the source of evil, it was Mary who as mediator to God was a source of refuge for man. The development of medieval Mariology and the changing attitudes towards women paralleled each other and can best be understood in a common context.
When examining medieval literature, chivalry can be classified into three basic but overlapping areas:
- Duties to countrymen and fellow Christians: this contains virtues such as mercy, courage, valour, fairness, protection of the weak and the poor, and in the servant-hood of the knight to his lord. This also brings with it the idea of being willing to give one’s life for another’s; whether he would be giving his life for a poor man or his lord.
- Duties to God: this would contain being faithful to God, protecting the innocent, being faithful to the church, being the champion of good against evil, being generous and obeying God above the feudal lord.
- Duties to women: this is probably the most familiar aspect of chivalry. This would contain what is often called courtly love, the idea that the knight is to serve a lady, and after her all other ladies. Most especially in this category is a general gentleness and graciousness to all women.
These three areas obviously overlap quite frequently in chivalry, and are often indistinguishable.
Different weight given to different areas produced different strands of chivalry:
- warrior chivalry, in which a knight's chief duty is to his lord, as exemplified by Sir Gawain in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle
- religious chivalry, in which a knight's chief duty is to protect the innocent and serve God, as exemplified by Sir Galahad or Sir Percival in the Grail legends.
- courtly love chivalry, in which a knight's chief duty is to his own lady, and after her, all ladies, as exemplified by Sir Lancelot in his love for Queen Guinevere or Sir Tristan in his love for Iseult
Late Middle Ages
Chivalry underwent a revival and elaboration of chivalric ceremonial and rules of etiquette in the 14th century that was examined by Johan Huizinga, in The Waning of the Middle Ages, in which he dedicates a full chapter to "The idea of chivalry". In contrasting the literary standards of chivalry with the actual warfare of the age, the historian finds the imitation of an ideal past illusory; in an aristocratic culture such as Burgundy and France at the close of the Middle Ages, "to be representative of true culture means to produce by conduct, by customs, by manners, by costume, by deportment, the illusion of a heroic being, full of dignity and honour, of wisdom, and, at all events, of courtesy. ...The dream of past perfection ennobles life and its forms, fills them with beauty and fashions them anew as forms of art".
The end of chivalry
Chivalry was dynamic and it transformed and adjusted in response to local situation and this is what probably led to its demise. There were many chivalric groups in England as imagined by Sir Thomas Malory when he wrote Le Morte Darthur in the late 15th century, perhaps each group created each chivalric ideology. And Malory's perspective reflects the condition of 15th-century chivalry. When Le Morte Darthur was printed, William Caxton urged knights to read the romance with an expectation that reading about chivalry could unite a community of knights already divided by the Wars of the Roses.
During the early Tudor rule in England, the code of chivalry was still alive. Some knights still fought for honor and for the good, to protect women and the poor while some others ignored the ethos. There were fewer knights engaged in active warfare because battlefields during this century were generally the area of professional infantrymen, with less opportunity for knights to show chivalry. It was the beginning of the demise of the knight. The rank of knight never faded, but it was Queen Elizabeth I who ended the tradition that any knight could create another and made it exclusively the preserve of the monarch. Christopher Wilkins contends that Sir Edward Woodville, who rode from battle to battle across Europe and died in 1488 in Brittany, was the last knight errant who witnessed the fall of the Age of Chivalry and the rise of modern European warfare. When the Middle Ages were over, the code of chivalry was gone.
Modern manifestations and revivals
Chivalry! – why, maiden, she is the nurse of pure and high affection – the stay of the oppressed, the redresser of grievances, the curb of the power of the tyrant – Nobility were but an empty name without her, and liberty finds the best protection in her lance and her sword. —Walter Scott, Ivanhoe (1820)
The chivalric ideal persisted into the early modern and modern period. The custom of foundation of chivalric orders by Europe's monarchs and high nobility peaked in the late medieval period, but it persisted during the Renaissance and well into the Baroque and early modern period, with e.g. the Tuscan Order of Saint Stephen (1561), the French Order of Saint Louis (1693) or the British Order of St. Patrick (1783), and numerous dynastic orders of knighthood remain active in countries that retain a tradition of monarchy.
At the same time, with the change of courtly ideas during the Baroque period, the ideals of chivalry began to be seen as dated, or "medieval". Don Quixote, published in 1605, parodied the medieval chivalric novel or romance by ridiculing the stubborn adherence to the chivalric code in the face of the then-modern world as anachronistic, giving rise to the term Quixotism. Conversely, Romanticism refers to the attempt to revive such "medieval" ideals or aesthetics in the late 18th and early 19th century.
The behavioural code of military officers down to the Napoleonic era, the American Civil War (especially as idealised in the "Lost Cause" movement) and to some extent even to World War I was still strongly modelled on the historical ideals, resulting in a pronounced duelling culture, which in some parts of Europe also held sway over the civilian life of the upper classes. With the decline of the Ottoman Empire, however, the military threat from the "infidel" disappeared; the Wars of Religion in Europe spanned much of the early modern period and consisted of infighting between factions of various Christian denominations, this process of confessionalization ultimately giving rise to a new military ethos based in nationalism rather than "defending the faith against the infidel".
From the Early Modern period, the term gallantry (from galant, the Baroque ideal of refined elegance) rather than chivalry became used for the proper behaviour of upper class men towards upper class women. In the 19th century, there were attempts to revive chivalry for the purposes of the gentleman of that time. Kenelm Henry Digby wrote his The Broad-Stone of Honour for this purpose, offering the definition: 'Chivalry is only a name for that general spirit or state of mind which disposes men to heroic actions, and keeps them conversant with all that is beautiful and sublime in the intellectual and moral world'.
The pronouncedly masculine virtues of chivalry came under attack on the parts of the upper-class suffragettes campaigning for gender equality in the early 20th century,[Note 4] and with the decline of the military ideals of duelling culture and of European aristocracies in general following the catastrophe of World War I, the ideals of chivalry became widely seen as outmoded by the mid-20th century. As a material reflection of this process, the dress sword lost its position as an indispensable part of a gentleman's wardrobe, a development described as an "archaeological terminus" by Ewart Oakeshott, as it concluded the long period during which the sword had been a visible attribute of the free man, beginning as early as three millennia ago with the Bronze Age sword.
During the 20th century, the chivalrous ideal of protecting women came to be seen as a trope of melodrama ("damsel in distress"). The term chivalry retains a certain currency in sociology, in reference to the general tendency of men, and of society in general, to lend more attention offering protection from harm to women than to men, or in noting gender gaps in life expectancy, health, etc., also expressed in media bias giving significantly more attention to female than to male victims (see also missing white woman syndrome).[Note 5]
According to William Manchester, General Douglas MacArthur was a chivalric warrior who fought a war with the intention to conquer the enemy, completely eliminating their ability to strike back, then treated them with the understanding and kindness due their honor and courage. One prominent model of his chivalrous conduct was in World War II and his treatment of the Japanese at the end of the war. MacArthur's model provides a way to win a war with as few casualties as possible and how to get the respect of the former enemy after the occupation of their homeland. On May 12, 1962, MacArthur gave a famous speech in front of the cadets of United States Military Academy at West Point by referring to a great moral code, the code of conduct and chivalry, when emphasizing duty, honor, and country.
Criticism of chivalry
Miguel de Cervantes, in Part I of Don Quixote (1605), attacks chivalric literature as historically inaccurate and therefore harmful (see history of the novel), though he was quite in agreement with many so-called chivalric principles and guides to behavior. He toyed with but never was never able to write a chivalric romance that was historically truthful.
- Chivalric romance
- High Court of Chivalry
- Nine Worthies
- Pas d'Armes
- Spanish chivalry
- The Book of the Courtier
- The term for "horseman" (chevalier, from Late Latin caballarius) doubling as a term for the upper social classes parallels the usage long-standing usage of Classical Antiquity, see equites, hippeus.
- Johan Huizinga remarks in his book The Waning of the Middle Ages, "the source of the chivalrous idea, is pride aspiring to beauty, and formalised pride gives rise to a conception of honour, which is the pole of noble life".
- loaned via Middle French into English around 1540.
- "The idea that men were to act and live deferentially on behalf of women and children, though an ancient principle, was already under attack by 1911 from militant suffragettes intent on leveling the political playing field by removing from the public mindset the notion that women were a 'weaker sex' in need of saving."
- For example, criminologist Richard Felson writes "An attack on a woman is a more serious transgression than an attack on a man because it violates a special norm protecting women from harm. This norm – chivalry – discourages would-be attackers and encourages third parties to protect women."
- Crouch (2005), p. 7
- Gautier (1891), p. 2
- Flori (1998)
- Anonymous (1994), pp. 346–351
- Crouch (2005), p. 12
- Huizinga (1924), p. 28
- Hoad (1993), p. 74
- Keen (2005), p. 1
- Hoad (1993), p. 67
- Keen (2005), p. 7
- Keen (2005), p. 9
- Keen (2005), p. 15
- Keen (2005), p. 17
- Gautier (1891), p. 26
- Daniel Eisenberg, A Study of Don Quixote, Newark, Delaware, Juan de la Cuesta, 1987, ISBN 0936388315, pp. 205-223: "The Influence of Don Quixote on the Romantic Movement".
- To come
- Historical View of the Literatures of the South of Europe, trans. Thomas Roscoe, 4th edition, London, 1885-88, Vol. I, pp. 76-77.
- Sismondi, Vol. I, p. 79.
- Crouch (2005), p. 8
- Crouch (2005), pp. 10–11
- Crouch (2005), p. 52
- Crouch (2005), p. 53
- Crouch (2005), p. 56
- Crouch (2005), p. 63
- Crouch (2005), p. 65
- Crouch (2005), p. 67
- Crouch (2005), pp. 69–70
- Crouch (2005), pp. 71–72
- Crouch (2005), p. 78
- Crouch (2005), p. 79
- Crouch (2005), p. 80
- Keen (2005), p. 42
- Sweeney (1983)
- Corrêa de Oliveira (1993), p. 10
- Keen (2005), p. 56
- Keen (2005), p. 62
- "The Life of St. Gerald, by Odo". Penn State Press. 1954. p. 371.
- Chivalry, Brittanica Encyclopedia
- Keen (2005), pp. 44–45
- Bromiley (1994), p. 272
- Tucker (1987), p. 168
- Huizinga (1924), p. "Pessimism and the ideal of the sublime life": 30
- Hodges (2005), p. 5
- Hodges (2005), p. 7
- Hodges (2005), p. 11
- Gravett (2008), p. 260
- Gravett (2008), p. 267
- Wilkins (2010), p. 168
- The Birkenhead Drill by Doug Phillips
- Oakeshott (1980), p. 255
- Felson (2002)
- Manchester (1978)
- "American Rhetoric: General Douglas MacArthur -- Sylvanus Thayer Award Address (Duty, Honor, Country)". americanrhetoric.com.
- Daniel Eisenberg, A Study of "Don Quixote", Newark, Delaware, Juan de la Cuesta,1987, ISBN 0936388315, pp. 41-77, revised Spanish translation in Biblioteca Virtual Cervantes.
- Avalon to Camelot, vol. 2, No. 2 (1986 ), p. 2., reproduced at https://web.archive.org/web/20150701211101/http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/deisenbe/JHPcolumn/jhp103.pdf.
- Anonymous (1994). The World Book Encyclopedia. World Book. ISBN 0-7166-0094-3.
- Bromiley, Geoffrey W. (1994). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: K–P. ISBN 0-8028-3783-2.
- Corrêa de Oliveira, Plinio (1993). Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII. ISBN 0-8191-9310-0.
- Crouch, David (2005). The Birth of Nobility: Constructing Aristocracy in England and France 900–1300. Harlow, UK: Pearson. ISBN 0-582-36981-9.
- Felson, Richard B. (2002). "Violence and gender reexamined". Law and public policy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. pp. 67–82.
- Flori, Jean (1998). La Chevalerie. J. P. Gisserot. ISBN 2877473457.
- Gautier, Léon (1891). Chivalry. translated by Henry Frith.
- Gravett, Christopher (2008). Knight: Noble Warrior of England 1200–1600. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
- Hoad, T. F. Hoad (1993). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Oxford University Press.
- Hodges, Kenneth (2005). Forging Chivalric Communities in Malory's Le Morte Darthur. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
- Huizinga, Johan (1924) . The Autumn of the Middle Ages.
- Keen, Maurice Keen (2005). Chivalry. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
- Manchester, William R. (1978). American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964. Boston & Toronto: Little, Brown and Company.
- Oakeshott, R. E. (1980). European Weapons and Armour: from the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution.
- Sweeney, James Ross (1983). "Chivalry". Dictionary of the Middle Ages III. pp. [page needed].
- Tucker, Ruth (1987). Daughters of the Church. ISBN 0-310-45741-6.
- Wilkins, Christopher (2010). The Last Knight Errant: Sir Edward Woodville and the Age of Chivalry. London & New York: I. B. Tauris.
- Alexander, Michael. (2007) Medievalism: The Middle Ages in Modern England, Yale University Press. Alexander rejects the idea that medievalism, a pervasive cultural movement in the in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was confined to the Victorian period and argues against the suspicion that it was by its nature escapist.
- Davis, Alex (2004). Chivalry and Romance in the English Renaissance. Woodcock, Matthew.
- Barber, Richard (1980). "The Reign of Chivalry".
- Bouchard, Constance Brittain (1998). Strong of Body, Brave and Noble: Chivalry and Society in Medieval France. Cornell University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8014-8548-7
- Charny, Geoffroi de, died 1356 (2005). A Knight's Own Book of Chivalry (The Middle Ages Series). Translated by Eslpeth Kennedy. Edited and with a historical introduction by Richard W. Kaeuper. University of Pennsylvania Press. Celebrated treatise on knighthood by Geoffroi de Charny (1304?-56), considered by his contemporaries the quintessential knight of his age. He was killed during the Hundred Years War at the Battle of Poitiers.
- Gautier, Léon, (1895) (1883, 3rd ed. 1895| La Chevalerie)
- Girouard, Mark (1981). The Return to Camelot: Chivalry and the English Gentleman. Yale University Press.
- Haines, Charles Reginald. (1889). Christianity and Islam in Spain, A.D. 756-1031. London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co. Project Guttnberg online book.
- Prestage, Edgar (1928). "Chivalry: A Series of Studies to Illustrate Its Historical Significance and Civilizing Influence".
- Kaeuper, Richard W. (1999). Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe. Oxford University Press, 1999.
- Kaeuper, Richard W. (2009) Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry (The Middle Ages Series). University of Pennsylvania Press. Foremost scholar of chivalry argues that knights proclaimed the validity of their bloody profession by selectively appropriating religious ideals.
- Keen, Maurice (1984). Chivalry. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-03150-5 / ISBN 0-300-10767-6 (2005 reprint).
- Mills, Charles (2004). "The History of Chivalry or knighthood and its Times" Volume I-II.
- Read, Charles Anderson (2007). The Cabinet Of Irish Literature; Selections From The Works Of The Chief Poets, Orators, And Prose Writers Of Ireland - Vol IV (Paperback).
- Saul, Nigel. (2011) Chivalry in Medieval England. Harvard University Press. Explores chivalry's role in English history from the Norman Conquest to Henry VII's victory at Bosworth in the War of the Roses.
- Laura Ashe (University of Oxford), Miri Rubin (University of London), and Matthew Strickland (University of Glasgow), interviewed by Melvin Bragg, "Chivalry", In Our Time, BBC Radio 4 (February 13, 2014). Includes bibliography for further reading. Downloadable podcast available.
- "Chivalry", Old Catholic Encyclopedia, 1914.
- "Chivalry", Encyclopædia Britannica, full-article, newest edition.
- "Chivalry during the Reign of Edward III", from Shadow Realms.
- "Medieval Chivalry".
- "Spatial Dichotomy in the Medieval Chivalry Romance ( City / forest ) Elbakidze, M.V.".
- The Art of Chivalry : European arms and armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art : an exhibition, Issued in connection with a 1982 exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art