Flashcards in 101 Lecture 11 March 5 Deck (33):
Hodge-podge of changes this week.
Chivalry, knighthood, monarchy
Well-ordered society: oaths, courts of law
THE CHIVALRIC CODE
1.1 A warrior code
• core elements of knightly code apply across the ages to warriors
• Romans, Franks, Vikings, Samurai etc
• honour and glory
• military skill, prowess and courage
A moral code
• BUT chivalry is also (supposedly) a moral code: knights are meant to be:
• pious etc.
• BUT these are very fluid concepts and there is no simple statement of this code
• eg story of Lancelot and Guinevere ~ loyalty v. love;
Where does this moral dimension come from?
• literary culture of chivalry: C12 and C13, French courts produce epics and romances about Arthur and Roland, Charlemagne, Alexander, Trojan wars
• authors were clerics:
• Parisian education and training in Stoic philosophy and classical Roman virtues
• applied to their vision of chivalry and knighthood
• stimulate debate amongst audience?
• self-justification of class in their supposedly higher moral purpose?
• good stories that simply encourage bravery before battle?
• what did knights themselves think? Very few sources …
• Develop in the C11-C12 from earlier mock wars and martial training
• Criticisms of tournaments
• Church opposition due to violence
• Secular authorities feared public order & covert resistance
• Measures to increase safety
• Bated weapons and tilt / barrier,
• BUT number of fatal injuries & the famous soldiers of the era were also stars of tournaments
• + introduce notion of rules of war >> provide basis for public authority and attempt to control the conduct of soldiers
• Meanwhile the merchants were becoming wealthier and more powerful.
Between 1070 and 1130, the middle-class inhabitants of many towns rebelled to gain independence from the feudal system and to hold some independent political power.
The monarchs tended to ally with the middle class, and used members of the middle class as advisors, accountants, lawyers, and the like. They grew in prestige and were often advanced to the nobility by their royal masters.
• Generally speaking, a money economy coupled with inflation impoverishes those who depend upon a fixed income, such as rents.
The income produced by the land was insufficient to support the entire feudal aristocracy, and the class split into an upper nobility -- magnates -- and a lower nobility.
In the year 1100, England could have put 5,000 armored knights in the field, so they say, and in 1400, there were only about 400 noble families left. Forty of these families were magnates, and the others were trying to reach that status of wealth and influence.
The rise of strong monarchies in England, France, Aragon, Castile, and strong counts and dukes in other areas, such as Burgundy, was also a factor in the transformation of the feudal aristocracy.
The central governments wanted to unify their states by eliminating independent powers such as the Church and aristocracy, intervening between the monarch and subject.
The monarchies centralized their power by weakening the manorial courts controlled by the local aristocracy. In England, for example, this was accomplished through a series of important developments.
a) Local laws and customs were collected and regularized as a series of principles known as English Common Law. This became the law enforced in royal courts and supplanted the local customs enforced by the feudal nobles.
b) Royal officials and judges, such as the sheriffs, justices of the peace, traveling justices were established or strengthened to administer and enforce law at the local level.
c) A series of courts of appeal were established so that a person could always appeal a decision from a local court all the way up to the Crown.
There was a limited amount of land belonging to the noble families, and the monarchs were able to use their right of wardship to exercise some control over these properties.
When a noble died leaving a widow, an heiress, or minor heirs, the kings became the guardian of the widow and/or children and took the income of the property until it was passed on to heir or heiress.
As guardian of the widow or inheriting daughter(s), the king could arrange for their remarriage. Since this was the greatest chance for an impoverished knight to acquire an estate, many such aristocrats followed the court and did whatever they could to gain the king's favor and perhaps the hand and land of an heiress.
1. Court Life
the vassals had to adapt to court life, to capture the favor of the king, in essence, to become court favorites, to have a chance of marrying an heiress, gaining an estate, and perhaps rising into the class of magnates.
This meant that hunting, the nobles' favorite sport, was turned into an art form by the addition of elaborate terminology, rules, and ceremonial ways of basic things.
Women were also more important in the court than outside it, and the courtier had to be able to charm these women by being able to tell stories, sing songs, play games, and flirt.
All of these activities developed their own language and elaborate rules of behavior. A courtier was often the product of constant training and education between the ages of seven and sixteen.
The tournament served a number of purposes. They were gala events held to entertain the members of the court and they were pageants to impress the commoners. Most people are impressed with the tournaments shown in motion pictures and assume that this is all they were. For the participants, they were often much more.
The participants were often poor knights who were just trying to get ahead. There were banquets and social gatherings before and after the actual jousting, and the knights had an opportunity to meet the magnates and court officials and perhaps gain a patron who would provide him with money and influence at court. In any event, they got several free meals.
The tournament itself was very much of a gamble. The winner in a joust won the horse and armor of the man he had defeated and could sell them for enough to support himself until the next tournament. If the poor knight lost, he lost his horse and armor.
If he didn't have a patron, he could no longer participate in tournaments and had lost his chance of advancing through that means. Many losers ended up as mercenary soldiers, and some killed themselves. Tournaments were not exactly fun and games for the participants, who were hoping to catch the eye of some lord or lady. Patronage was a road to success, and they hoped to find a patron..
3. The Emergence of Chivalry
All of these influences combined in an elaborate and artificial code of behavior known as chivalry. This code governed almost every aspect of aristocratic life -- hunting, hawking, jousting, playing games, telling stories, singing songs, making love, social ceremony, terms of address, and virtually everything else. Learning this code was the labor of a lifetime, and the children of the aristocracy began to do so at the age of five.
4. THE RESULT
The feudal aristocracy in the year 1100 had been a fighting order of land-owners, defending local territories and maintaining law and order within them. Their position and prestige depended upon their accomplishments, and their ranks were open to anyone of sufficient ability.
By 1250, the feudal aristocracy had ceased to exist and had been replaced by an hereditary nobility who performed little service to society at large and claimed their privileges and status by right of birth.