Saturday, October 01, 2005

CHIVALRY: a combination of qualities...

Chivalry is a COMBINATION OF QUALITIES that centre on justice, gallantry, courteousness, honour and a readiness to help the weak or distressed.

Originally from the Old French chevalerie (C13 /14 from Chevalier) it was of course those qualities expected of an ideal knight; today it is, in essence, ‘only’ politesse and applied to one’s behaviour toward women.

I believe that the most defining thing about all chivalrous acts, whether they be a cliché as in the cloak over a muddy puddle, or even ‘minor’ as a helping hand or accompanying a lady across the street, opening a door, giving a few pence to the person who hasn’t got quite enough to pay the shopkeeper etc, is that they come with no strings attached, that is to say no conditions or stipulations or even thoughts of possible future recoupment.

A Chevalier was a horseman, a mounted and heavily armed soldier serving a lord or sovereign; chevalier (knight) was a nonhereditary title but could be that of a low-ranking noble; the word chevalier is from Late Latin caballàrius from caballus horse and from these same roots come our English words cavalier, cavalry and cavalcade by way (C16) of the Old Provençal and from Italian cavaliere (horseman).

Definition: (Webster’s 1913) Taken from this very helpful and excellent site

Chiv"al*ry\, n. [F. chevalerie, fr. chevalier knight, OF., horseman. See {Chevalier}, and cf. {Cavalry}.]
1. A body or order of cavaliers or knights serving on horseback; illustrious warriors, collectively; cavalry. “His Memphian chivalry.” - Milton.

By his light Did all the chivalry of England move,
To do brave acts. - Shakespeare

2. The dignity or system of knighthood; the spirit, usages,
or manners of knighthood; the practice of knight-errantry.
- Dryden.

3. The qualifications or character of knights, as valour, dexterity in arms, courtesy, etc.

The glory of our Troy this day doth lie On his fair
worth and single chivalry. - Shakespeare.

4. (Eng. Law) A tenure of lands by knight's service; that is,
by the condition of a knight's performing service on
horseback, or of performing some noble or military service
to his lord.

5. Exploit. [Obs.] - Sir P. Sidney.

{Court of chivalry}, a court formerly held before the lord
high constable and earl marshal of England as judges,
having cognizance of contracts and other matters relating
to deeds of arms and war. – Blackstone


Gavin Corder said...

You're thrilled that Lena called you chivalrous! Go on admit it!

Just to be a copy cat I've put some of my own musings on chivalry on mine...

moomoo said...

Hey Span,

I just wanted to thank you for your concern about me.

You were indeed the centre of my Chivalry post, and I am very glad you recognised the acknowledgment.

I'm enjoying your blog immensely, by the way.

Katey (this is my real name! And Booyakasha is my best buddy!)

Span Ows said...

Lena! (Can't bring myself to call you Katey now!!! youngest is Katie [Katherine Karina])

Welcome to my blog...I thought Booyakasha was a wind-up!

Span Ows said...

P.S.....I wouldn't have 'recognised' any 'acknowledgement' if I had not been told what you said to Gavin.

when I first saw the thread I thought David had helped you out.