I just wanted to do a post on Chivalry as I've noticed a lot of confusion about it's origins lately and many men attempting to distort historic Chivalry to give themselves much undeserved credit today.
First of all Chivalry was NEVER about women or how men treated us, that was an afterthought that was tacked on to it in an effort to paint Chivalry as much more then it was long after the fact; while at the same time allowing western men the pat on the back (that they love so much) for being such all-around great fellows.
In fact, the origins of Chivalry are rooted in one of men's favorite pursuits namely war and how men are supposed to conduct it honorable and treat each OTHER during it's commission...It has always been closer to the Geneva Convention and battlefield morality including the treatment of prisoners of war; as opposed to a code of conduct relative to the treatment of women and/or children...
Eventually Chivalry appears to have evolved to include the wives and children of the higher social orders within it's environs; but by no means was it ever what men try to paint it as today, which is some sort of code of courtesy and just or kind treatment by All MEN applicable to ALL WOMEN...
This is just ridiculous...and actually from reading some of the material below it mostly seemed to function vis-a-vis noble women as treating them chivalrously when men were interested in getting laid...Very similar to the 'code of chivalrous conduct' as practiced at any modern singles bar you walk in today...Men being on their best behavior in the earlier part of the evening, spending extra money on drinks, dinner, etc., in the hopes of attracting the attention of a pretty woman so that she'll agree to spend the later part of the evening in his bed...
I guess that branch of Chivalry could be called Chivalry Lite...
Actually to be perfectly honest from my interpretation of the material below, it appeared that men could be considered chivalrous and STILL rape and murder women as well as kill children...that was no bar to being considered historically chivalrous ...
Anyway, we could just ignore men's' constant attempt to distort historic Chivalry (and to falsely make it about their kindly behavior towards women and children then and now) as being just another example of the meaningless "circle jerks" they endlessly engage in, but I think it's important to address this particular distortion of history...
Now, you might ask why?
Well because for one reason men are now indignant it appears and organizing long running cyber grip sessions (which they call mens rights groups) that spend most of their time complaining that women are being treated with too much chivalry now and that it puts men at a disadvantage. For instance, now men have to spend a couple of hundred dollars going out on a date in order to get sex outside of marriage.
Is this fair they say?
Additionally now women have obtained the same inalienable rights as men. Well whose's dumb idea was that, they keep asking? After all following the logic of Chivalry, all women needed to exist would be given to us through the Chivalry of men...AS IT WAS IN OUR PAST...so what do women need rights for now, after all this time...
I mean I optimism get the impression that it's almost as if men feel insulted that women would even demand rights...
That's correct...women should just be willing to depend upon the just and kindly actions of individual men as opposed to having inalienable rights like they have. After all, according to men, it was such a better world when women HAD to depend upon their fathers and husbands to decide everything for them and since MOST men, according to the Chivalry myth, were protective of the weaker sex, what in the hell did woman need to go and get rights for...it just complicated things.
It might appear to the casual observer that perhaps men have overstated historic chivalrous benefit to women and that's why women wanted rights just as men have; After all men didn't just sit back and wait for the rights of men to be handed to them by a benevolent king or other ruler, did they?
So why should women...
I find it interesting that men have NO problem vastly exaggerating the benefits of chivalry for women, yet appear quite blind to the benefits men obtained through feminism...
I mean let's face it women being allowed into the workforce has taken a tremendous financial support burden off of men, a tremendous one; and women being allowed to freely engage in sex with whatever man takes their fancy has allowed men to delay marriage indefinitely (or never marry at all) yet STILL fulfill their sexual urges with no societal repercussions whatsoever against them (until the recent imposition of excessive child support demands in the event men got careless and one of their partner became pregnant) but even this was ONLY imposed after two decades of men's' flagrant abuse of the new sexual freedom feminism allowed MEN...
Thus men brought that aspect of it upon themselves.
Still a reasonably careful and responsible man today has unlimited freedom to do pretty much whatever he wants, as long as he takes proper precautions and for THAT he has feminism to thank...for the gains women won under feminism frequently pass down to men for their benefit as well...
Let men think about that the next time they enjoy casual sex with some woman they have no intention of marrying, might never even know her proper name...they can thank a feminist for that.
Now before we go on to the article I will give a brief recap of what Chivalry is NOT...for those who might be a little slow on the uptake.
Chivalry is NOT spending money on dinner and drinks when you go on a date. Many men do that to get laid.
Chivalry is NOT seeing a pretty girl stranded on the roadside and pulling over to help her change her tire. Again, a whole lot of men do that for other reasons that have NOTHING to do with Chivalry.
Chivalry is NOT holding a door open for someone. Many people do this for others, it doesn't mean you've just done some special favor for a woman and now she owes you something for it.
Chivalry is NOT about usually being the one to pay for vacations or other special events...The bottom line is that most men make more money so generally if you want someone to accompany you somewhere and they don't have the funds, you pay for them or they just don't come. Go by your damn self if you have so many issues spending money on other people...If I want somebody's company at dinner and I know they don't have enough money to pay their share, I'll invite them and pay for them myself if I want their company bad enough...If I don't, then I'll just go alone...It's that simple...nothing to do with chivalry...
There are a million and one other similar situations that women find themselves in that are falsely painted as Chivalry when they aren't, but I'm not going to cover everyone of them now since I think my main point is pretty clear.
In essence, chivalry is NOT doing nice things for others in order to get advantage for yourself...
Anyway, on to the article.
Chivalry was a peculiarity of the practice of war in medieval Europe. It can be likened to the Code of Bushido produced in very similar feudal Japanese society. The feudal knight was supposed to be devout, honest, selfless, just, brave, honorable, obedient, kind, charitable, generous, and kind to women. Sort of a heavily armed Boy Scout . His life was to some extent governed by complex rituals and rules, and he belonged to a quasi-religious international brotherhood.
There were numerous examples of truly chivalrous conduct during the Hundred Years' War. Thus, the Black Prince accorded Jean II of France all the deference due him as a king, even though Jean was a prisoner of war. And Jean, having been released from captivity in England to help negotiate his ransom, voluntarily returned when one of his sons, who had been standing surety for his return, escaped from England.
These were deeds celebrated throughout Europe. There was, however, another side to chivalry. Many French --and several English-- defeats in the war can be traced to a bit too much concern for knightly honor, such as Crecy and Agincourt.
And, of course, chivalry extended only to certain classes of society. The code did not restrain a person of rank in his dealings with the lower orders.
Operations in which an army treated the local inhabitants with any degree of respect were rare. Henry V was kind to the French commoners as a matter of policy, not chivalry. Henry wanted to win the loyalty of the French people and he was often successful at it. But he was in many ways unusual.
More often the march of an army through an area --whether friendly or not-- was marked by looting, arson, rape, torture, murder, and all the other usual atrocities, while hunger and disease brought up the rear. Thus, the Black Prince (Henry Vs great uncle) caused thousands of women and children to be put to the sword during the sack of Limoges.
And perhaps 12,000 commoners starved to death between the lines during Henry V's siege of Rouen in 1418-1419, the garrison having driven all the "useless mouths" in the town outside the walls, while the besiegers refused to let them pass their lines of investment.
Much of what has passed down to us regarding chivalry has to do with that aspect of it involving noble men pursuing other mens wives. The "rules" for this game are roughly as follows;
1 Worship of the chosen lady
2 Declaration of passionate devotion
3 Virtuous rejection by the lady
4 Renewed wooing with oaths of eternal fealty
5 Moans of approaching death from unsatisfied desire
6 Heroic deeds of valor which win the lady's heart
7 Consummation of the secret love
8 Endless adventures and subterfuges
9 Tragic denouement
Item 6 was often played out at tournaments , where the lady in question could watch her lover roar through the lists and make his mark jousting. Item 7 often took place the evening after the brave kinght won the tournament. Item 8 involved trying to keep the lady's husband in the dark and item 9 was the result of the husband discovering he was a cuckold.
Like the Code Bushndo, the Code of Chivalry seems to have been honored mostly in the breach.
Orders of Chivalry
During the 14th century, it became quite fashionable for kings and magnates to establish "Orders of Chivalry." Some of these still survive in England. These were not merely high honors. The members of the order were normally expected to stand with the master in battle, as did Sir Thomas Erpingham, chief of the archers at Agincourt.
-Order of the Garter (1348) founded by King Edward III of England.
The ribbon around the shield signifies the status of Order of the Garter. The words Honi soit qui mal y pense mean "Ashamed be he who thinks ill of it."
-Order of the Star (1351), King John II of France founded it in response to Edward's creation of the Garter.
-The Breton Order of Ermine (1382), founded by Duke Jean IV.
-The Golden Apple (1394), Knights of Auvergne and Bourbonnais.
-The Orleanist Porcupine (1396)
-The Golden Shield (1414), The Duke of Bourbon.
-The Dragon (c.1414), The Count of Foix.
-The Prisoner's Chain (1415), The Duke of Bourbon.
-Order of the Golden Fleece (1430), founded by Philip the Good of Burgundy, "From the great love we bear to the noble order of chivalry, whose honour and prosperity are our only concern... and for the furtherance of virtue and good manners." The Dukes of Burgundy placed at the Order's disposal the resources of their enormous wealth. In their view, the order was to serve not only as a symbol of their power; it could also be used to tie together the scattered dominions of the Burgundian state.
The lamb at the bottom represents membership in the Order of the Golden Fleece. This order technically still exists within the gift of the King of Spain (who inherits it through a very complex series of marriages in the early 16th Century), but it has not been awarded in some time.
-The Crescent (1448), Rene of Anjou.
-The Green Shield of the White Lady (?), The 2nd Marshal of Bouccicaut.
Information courtesy of the following website:
Now in the interest of clarifying for men what Chivalry IS, as I already listed for you what it is NOT, I will list two modern-day examples of Chivalry. Obviously since MOST men today are not involved in warfare anymore as we have a professional army that carries out national defense for us; many of you have become confused as to Chivalry's origins and meaning.
First example: How the United States responded to the defeat of Germany and Japan AFTER WWII, that was Chivalry.
Actually that was Chivalry's finest hour if we are being honest about it.
Whereas the Soviet Union in East Germany and Europe ran amok raping and pillaging on a grand scale and subjecting Eastern Europe to almost 50 years of stealing their resources to be shipped back home to Mother Russia (at fixed prices) and terror (which was the traditional way you treated your enemies) ; we, the United States enabled Germany (as well as Japan) to rebuild their economies as well as strengthen their governmental structures to ensure their society's stability. Actually we allowed their societies to thrive.
Many said afterwards that the United States benefitted from both of our former enemies being stabilizied and that's true...But guess what, there are PLENTY of ways to 'stabilize' people and the barrel of gun can stabilize people too, as we saw in Eastern Europe. The Soviet Union didn't have a LOT of trouble from any of the East Block nations ( especially after they saw what happened with Hungary) using their methods of stabilization either.
Anyway, long story short, both of these ferocious enemies of the United States were eventually allowed to achieved the exact same economic success that the United States did and EVEN TO SURPASS THE United States in many areas such as electronics, cars, etc.,
This, in spite of the knowledge, that if they had won the war I can assure you that the United States would NOT have been allowed the same leeway.
I can assure you of that.
Thus the above example is an example of Chivalry...
Second example of Chivalry: Treatment of prisoners taken in war on terrorism.
We have a moment here to once again either individually or collectively display Chivalry. Actually the situation that exists right now with the prisoners taken in the war on terror could be a BETTER example of Chivalry then WWII, as the prisoners taken in the war on terror are not covered by any other code such as the Geneva Convention.
Thus it is entirely in our hands how they are treated.
History is replete with examples of people taken as prisoners eventually becoming leaders of governments or movements that returned to haunt their former captors.
Attilla the Hun was held as an adolescent captive in a Roman household.
Elizabeth I was imprisoned numerous times, close to death during everyone of them. After she finally became Queen, I wouldn't have wanted to be a member of a family that mistreated her in their household during the numerous house arrests she was subject to.
Gandhi was arrested in South Africa and then by the British in India numerous times.
Martin Luther King was also placed in prison in the US on a number of occasions. Concerning Martin Luther King the biggest embarrassment MOST of the Southern states (and people within them) exhibit today is HOW THEY TREATED KING during the civil rights era.
I only hope that we are not going to be looking back 50 or so years from now and being embarrassed about how we are treating our prisoners of war in Gitmo now.
Remember one thing acts of Chivalry are generally individual acts, not government mandated ones. Which means that basically each and every individual soldier, doctor or others who come in contact with a prisoner of war has the opportunity to act with Chivalry without having to get permission from anyone. It's up to each person's individual code of honor how they act. Does this mean go and put yourself or others in danger trying to be Chivalrious. No. Yet it does mean that each individual should conduct themselves honorably during each and every encounter with a prisoner of war.
Just look at it this way. If you run into a former prisoner of war 20 years from now walking in the Rose Garden with a President of the US, are you going to have to duck behind a tree embarrassed about your conduct towards him when he was at your mercy OR will you be able to stand up and let him see your face, maybe walk over and say hello...
So that's it, the wrap up on Chivalry...nothing to do with women in their role as mothers, nevertheless relevant to mothers today, since after all, every one of those prisoners of war has a mother.