Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry by Richard W. Kaeuper

By Richard W. Kaeuper

The medieval code of chivalry demanded that warrior elites show fierce braveness in conflict, show prowess with weaponry, and avenge any strike opposed to their honor. They have been additionally required to be religious Christians. How, then, may perhaps knights pledge fealty to the Prince of Peace, who enjoined the trustworthy to show the opposite cheek instead of search vengeance and who taught that the meek, instead of excellent opponents in tournaments, shall inherit the earth? by means of what common sense and language was once knighthood valorized?

In Holy Warriors, Richard Kaeuper argues that whereas a few clerics sanctified violence in protection of the Holy Church, others have been sorely via chivalric practices in way of life. As elite laity, knights had theological rules in their personal. Soundly pious but self sufficient, knights proclaimed the validity in their bloody occupation by way of selectively appropriating spiritual beliefs. Their ideology emphasised meritorious agony on crusade and in conflict while their violence enriched them and verified their dominance. In an international of divinely ordained social orders, theirs was once blessed, notwithstanding many delicate souls anxious concerning the final cost of rapine and destruction.

Kaeuper examines how those paradoxical chivalric beliefs have been unfold in an unlimited corpus of literature from exempla and chansons de geste to romance. via those works, either clerics and lay army elites claimed God's blessing for knighthood whereas heading off the contradictions inherent of their fusion of chivalry with a faith that appeared again to the Sermon at the Mount for its moral beginning.

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Yet after one FrancoGerman fight that took place on a Good Friday, he entered a church he had saved from destruction, fell dramatically upon his knees before the altar and prayed aloud in Joinville’s presence: Lord . . 129 The scene is real and immediate. We can almost hear the armor clank as the worried knight falls to his knees in anguished prayer; we certainly hear his own words. A fourteenth-century miracle story praising St. Martial gives similarly valuable evidence. In the campaigning of the Hundred Years War, an English squire went out plundering (pro depredando per patriam) with his men in the region of Limoges, but was unexpectedly thrown into the raging Dordogne River when his horse harness suddenly snapped.

As a reasonable baseline for our effort we might say that virtually all lay Christians in the Middle Ages trembled at the thought of death and what followed. ”57 Some clerics liked to insist that prospects were bleak. A set of religious tales written in the mid-fifteenth century specifies that of 30,000 who died on one day in the twelfth century, only St. ”62 Uncertainty and fear within knightly minds could be generated even when theologians, canonists, and confessors played the role of analytical scholar and helpful guide rather than sternly warning preacher.

As a reasonable baseline for our effort we might say that virtually all lay Christians in the Middle Ages trembled at the thought of death and what followed. ”57 Some clerics liked to insist that prospects were bleak. A set of religious tales written in the mid-fifteenth century specifies that of 30,000 who died on one day in the twelfth century, only St. ”62 Uncertainty and fear within knightly minds could be generated even when theologians, canonists, and confessors played the role of analytical scholar and helpful guide rather than sternly warning preacher.

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