Enchanted Assemblages: An Academic Conversation; A Knight’s Own Book of Chivalry, Pg.1-3 (i)

“Well, think about it, chivalry wasn’t something that anyone could embody. A farmer, right, couldn’t just start acting like a knight and call himself a knight. Right?”

“Yeah, okay, I think I see your point. Like when Kaeuper says ‘Some would prefer chivalry to be a set of ideals all could still act without qualification. They may be surprised to find how tough a warrior code the chivalry of medieval times was and how much it valued sheer prowess’ (2). He meant that you had to be skilled as a warrior in addition to be a royal servant. You had to have specialist training, in other words.”

“Exactly. You hit the nail on the head. That’s what I mean when it is like a college degree; you have to enroll at a specific university, which is a lot like swearing a chivalrous oath to a king, while you train toward a concrete goal, something a lot like taking classes to eventually earn that degree.” Sora took a breath and then continued. “Sure, you don’t have to enroll in a university to gain knowledge, but if you want a degree, that piece of paper that says you graduated, then you have to enroll at a university. That was how it was for medieval knights– you had to train under a king and you had to take an oath. A normal ‘lay’ person, couldn’t be a knight no matter how they acted.”

“That makes a lot of sense. So it was less about behavior and more about how the behavior interacted within a larger framework of service, training, and devotion to an organization of knights.”

 

[Do you think Sora’s comparison of knighthood to a college degree is helpful? Why or why not? If you had to pick your own comparison to what we know so far about chivalry, then what would you pick as an example? Post a comment below.]

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