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  1. Moenstah is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/05/2010 4:03pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
    Okay, then, let's go on with this:

    Then what about those warrior groups, say, the medieval Shinobi, that explicitely acted disregarding honor?

    Also, do we undertake a distinction between a group giving itself a martial law (vikings, pirates, several chivalric orders, every single organized army), or groups that had an explicit doctrine about honor, or honorable fighting?
    They are being reviled by society at large, and skillfully employed by 'authorities / warlords'.

    That is one thing that is soooo cute about all the 'warrior talk' that's so en vogue in the anglosaxon world. There is no uniform 'warrior' ethos, and if you narrow it down you get something like 'good at fighting, not tooooo treacherous, and sometimes not raping / killing non-combatants, but mostly we are'.
  2. Hiro Protagonist is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/05/2010 4:09pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moenstah View Post
    They are being reviled by society at large, and skillfully employed by 'authorities / warlords'.
    THIS shall be our definition?!

    Holy warrior code batman!!!

    So, basically, we agree that the possibility of anything that can be understood as a guideline for chivalric/knightly honor in the middle ages is completely void and can hence be disregarded?

    Just asking to be sure.
  3. Moenstah is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/05/2010 4:22pm


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    That's the damn problem, the fuckers some times did, sometimes did not follow it. Jean II le Bon or Richard Coeur de Lion were considered really knightly people. Although Richard in particular did a lot of nasty-not-so-chivalric stuff. Or the blind king John of Bohemia, who fell at the battle of Crécy was considered quite the knight.

    I've been driven to frustration with this whole topic during work on this thesis. The literary and critical approach to the sources considered are too prone to cultural BS. I am contemplating to tackle it more from a psychological point of view as a crazy Ph.D. project, nothing too serious or concrete as of yet. But still... Criminology and brain research has been fruitful the past two decades.
  4. Hiro Protagonist is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/05/2010 5:23pm

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    Yeah, there we get to the problem:

    Chivalry is largely the product of literature, in concrete of British Romanticism.

    Richard Lionheart's positive reputation largely thrives from his portrayal as the "Black Knight" in Walter Scott's "Ivanhoe", which was arguably the Harry Potter of its time. Seriously, it was the most-read book in the entire 19th century, and had an impact on society like probably only THE BIBLE had had before.

    Specifically in English literature, Scott set the standards for the portrayal of the portrayal of chivalric heroes, as other famous authors would copy him.

    Scott alone wrote over thirty novels that practically established the ideal of a socially conscious member of the lower aristocracy productively contributing to the solution of a social conflict through the display and the application of what were perceived as masculine values, like valor and honesty.

    To put these valors in a realistic environment was Scott's big merrit, as opposed to authors that had written before him. (For example, in a work I get English students read in class, "The Castle of Otranto", you also have idealized chivalric characters, but none of them is idealized explicitely for his knightly virtues.)

    This trope of the good knight (referring to Scott's Waverley, Ivanhoe, The Black Sluggard, and probably lesser characters like Sir Kenneth) was used over and over in 19th century literature, and influenced EVERYTHING, from art to historical science, and this all over Europe and in the young USA.

    The image we have of knights today is MAINLY thanks to Walter Scott, Tennyson (The Idylls of the King, The Foresters), Robert Louis Stevenson (The Black Arrow), Arthur Conan Doyle (The White Company, Sir Nigel - two actually great books), AND a man called Rafael Sabatini, who, based on all the 19th century literature, wrote light novels that would later become the main influence on the swashbuckling costume movies.

    (Sabatini himself was the author of the novels that were made into the moives "Captain Blood", "The Seahawk", "The Black Swan", and "Scaramouche".)

    And after that...

    PRINCE VALIANT. In all seriousness.



    But before I go too far with this, the point is, the idea of chivalry we have is completely based on the ideas 19th century writers had; starting with Scott, and then culminating in the "crown of chivalry", the tales about King Arthur, in which the idealization was fabricated, for example, by giving the Round Table a fixed code of conduct. (Like Tennyson and I believe Swinburne did.)
  5. JKDChick is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/06/2010 2:14am

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lu Tze View Post
    Hot wiring Boudicca's chariot?
    The Celts were about the only warrior culture that considered women to have their own honor-price and be full members of the tribe. We also almost beat the Romans at their own game (and would have if people had just listened to Caratacus) and eventually made them build a wall to keep us out.

    There's a bit of evidence that some Philipino tribes felt the same way about their women, cause hey, if we have to send a fucking fighting party out with them every time they go for water -- geez, we got better things to do here!

    And of course the Spartans trained their girls to fight because only warrior women made warrior babies.
    Monkey Ninjas! Attack!
  6. Moenstah is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/06/2010 5:16am


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    Well you missed the Amazons, but heck, they are half mythical so...
  7. Hiro Protagonist is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/06/2010 5:21am

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    Offside question: Was Jean d'Arc considered a "knight" by her contemporaries?

    BTW, could we use "knight" for the military profession, and "cavallier" for the social rank with the implied code d'honneur from now on?

    Would maybe make the discussion easier. :)

    Boudica, for example would qualify for me as a knight and a noblewoman, but not as a cavallier-ess. :)
  8. Moenstah is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/06/2010 5:25am


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    Actually, Martin van Creveld wrote recently some nice/nasty things about the role of women in warfare, I believe it was in his The Culture of War. Not as combatants, but as exhorters, admirers, facilitators.
  9. Moenstah is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/06/2010 5:53am


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    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
    Offside question: Was Jean d'Arc considered a "knight" by her contemporaries?
    No, she was mere peasant girl, at that time, nobility was required to be considered a knight. She was a mascotte, dressed up in armour, that's it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
    BTW, could we use "knight" for the military profession, and "cavallier" for the social rank with the implied code d'honneur from now on? (...)
    No you cannot tidy things up, it's more diffuse. What you propose looks attractive, but it's a mere play of words and suggests a separation that did not exist.

    I will sketch it in short

    First there are knights, who are nothing but armoured (no, that's not a complete suit of armour!) and mounted. Some free, some not, etc. It is a class separate from the nobility.

    Fast forward, 11th century onwards: the coming of the troubadeurs, 'adoration' of women, diverse attempts of the Church to pacify the messy society, under influence of the Gregorian Reform and Cluny and local bishops. The Church tries to teach knights they should leave the noncombatants alone, not fight on certain days, in later times even protect the weak (roflmao). Shortly after that century, the knightly culture starts to be adopted by the (higher) nobility. And then, knighthood gradually develops into the lowest circle of the nobility and gets less accessible for people from humble descent.

    When the role of the knight on the battlefield starts to diminish, and no, not solely because of gunpowder, tournaments also change their character, and become something of a jousting 'showing your hummer off' contests, as well as an exhibition of noble descent, wealth etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pilgrim View Post
    Boudica, for example would qualify for me as a knight and a noblewoman, but not as a cavallier-ess. :)
    If you read my explication above, you see what's wrong with it. Secondly you could rewrite your words also like this:

    Boudica, for example would qualify for me as a samurai and a noblewoman, but not as a bushi-ess. :)
    History is aplenty with women getting belligerent...



    For anyone interested into medieval culture: women, knights, clergy etc. I highly recommend:

    Terry Jones' Medieval Lifes DVD-set. It's funny, it's factually good, it's catching
  10. Hiro Protagonist is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/06/2010 6:05am

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    Thanks for the Jean d'Arc clarification - I always wondered if she held actual military rank.

    Knights & Kavalliers: Maybe we can work out a definition that works better? - Because with all the distinctions between warriors (LOL)/knights/noble knights/whatever, I am getting kind of lost.
    Last edited by Hiro Protagonist; 8/06/2010 6:08am at .

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