Chivalry, the Chivalric Code and the Chivalric
English chivalrie, from Middle French chevalerie, from
chevalier knight -- more at CHEVALIER
1 : mounted men-at-arms
2 archaic a : martial valor b :
3 : gallant or distinguished gentlemen
4 : the
system, spirit, or customs of medieval knighthood
5 : the qualities
of the ideal knight : chivalrous conduct
The Decalogue -
Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry, known as the Decalogue, are
detailed below. These ten commandments are a recurring theme throughout
the long history of Knighthood with respect to the Church. Essentially,
these commandments were the Church's attempt to convince Knights to use
their might for right rather than for their own selfish ends.
From Chivalry by Leon Gautier
- Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt
observe all its directions.
- Thou shalt defend the Church.
- Thou shalt repect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself
the defender of them.
- Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
- Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy. Thou shalt make war
against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy.
- Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be
not contrary to the laws of God.
- Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged
- Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
- Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right
and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
The Knightly Virtues -
1. Prowess: To seek
excellence in all endeavors expected of a knight, martial and otherwise,
seeking strength to be used in the service of justice, rather than in
2. Justice: Seek
always the path of 'right', unencumbered by bias or personal interest.
Recognize that the sword of justice can be a terrible thing, so it must
be tempered by humanity and mercy. If the 'right' you see rings true
with others, and you seek it out without bending to the temptation for
expediency, then you will earn renown beyond measure.
3. Loyalty: Be known
for unwavering commitment to the people and ideals you choose to live
by. There are many places where compromise is expected; loyalty is not
4. Defense: The ideal
knight was sworn by oath to defend his liege lord and those who depended
upon him. Seek always to defend your nation, your family, and those to
whom you believe worthy of loyalty.
5. Courage: Being a
knight often means choosing the more difficult path, often the
personally expensive one. Be prepared to make personal sacrifices in
service of the precepts and people you value. At the same time, a knight
should seek wisdom to see that stupidity and courage are cousins.
Courage also means taking the side of truth in all matters, rather than
seeking the expedient lie. Seek the truth whenever possible, but
remember to temper justice with mercy, or the pure truth can bring
6. Faith: A knight must
have faith in his beliefs, for faith roots him and gives hope against
the despair that human failings create.
7. Humility: Value
first the contributions of others; do not boast of your own
accomplishments, let others do this for you. Tell the deeds of others
before your own, according them the renown rightfully earned through
virtuous deeds. In this way the office of knighthood is well done and
glorified, helping not only the gentle spoken of but also all who call
8. Largesse: Be
generous in so far as your resources allow; largesse used in this way
counters gluttony. It also makes the path of mercy easier to discern
when a difficult decision of justice is required.
9. Nobility: Seek
great stature of character by holding to the virtues and duties of a
knight, realizing that though the ideals cannot be reached, the quality
of striving towards them ennobles the spirit, growing the character from
dust towards the heavens. Nobility also has the tendency to influence
others, offering a compelling example of what can be done in the service
10. Franchise: Seek
to emulate everything spoken of as sincerely as possible, not for the
reason of personal gain but because it is right. Do not restrict your
exploration to a small world, but seek to infuse every aspect of your
life with these qualities. Should you succeed in even a tiny measure
then you will be well remembered for your quality and virtue.