Medieval Code Of Chivalry Provided A Guide In Uncertain Times

Imagine living in a time when full-scale Crusades and small, territorial battles were as commonplace as convenient stores and ATM locations are today.

With battles great and small waging constantly and the threat of attack from marauders, brigands, Vikings and even next door neighbors was real, the need for a medieval code of chivalry became very apparent.

The desire to begin taming a wild populace through the creation of a medieval code of chivalry came from the church. In the 11th century a bit of stability came back to the western world. This was the perfect time for the introduction of a medieval code a chivalry – a code of ethics or behavior that if held to its highest standards would create a world of gentlemanly knights and warriors. The church capitalized on the power it had behind it – God – to enable the widespread adopt of a medieval code of chivalry.

During the 11th century, the church began laying the grounds for a medieval code of chivalry by first creating programs such as the Peace of God and the Truce of God. These set the stage of a medieval code of chivalry by forbidding knights from attacking women, priests, peasants and merchants. The Truce of God itself laid out a further piece of the medieval code of chivalry by outlawing battle on Sundays and other holy days. These adopts along with the medieval code of chivalry combined to lay the groundwork for more modern rules of war where all attempts are made to spare civilian lives and certain behavior is expected on and off the field from combatants.

The medieval code of chivalry basically laid out a set of standards for knights and warriors to follow in regard to personal behavior. No longer was it acceptable to wage war without regard to civilian life and personal decorum. Full-scale attacks on villagers and behavior the church felt was barbaric was outlawed within the medieval code of chivalry.

The further adoption of a medieval code of chivalry on a grand scale came with the crusades. These “holy wars” were heavily influenced by the church and religion. The rise of military religious orders such as the Templars, the Teutonic Knights and the Hospitalers furthered the creation of a medieval code of chivalry as members of these religious orders were heavily bound by personal vows and the desire to capture the Holy Lands for Christians. With the success of these orders, their own medieval code of chivalry became heavily intertwined with religious ideologue.

The medieval code of chivalry, once fully accepted, became the rules of behavior for the “civilized” in a world often seen as anything but. The rules of war, love and overall behavior were outlined in this personal code of conduct. The use of a medieval code of chivalry to dictate behavior continued for many centuries and its influence can be scene in the time of “courtly love” and even today in the rules of conduct and fair play that dictate even modern wars among nations.