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"THE ages, we call barbarous, present us with many a subject of curious speculation. What, for instance, is more remarkable than the Gothic Chivalry? or than the spirit of Romance, which took its rise from that singular institution? Nothing in human nature, my dear friend, is without its reasons. The modes and fashions of different times may appear, at first sight, fantastic and unaccountable. But they, who look nearly into them, discover some latent cause of their production."--Letters on Chivalry and Romance (1762) by Richard Hurd

“If I do not complain of the pain," says Don Quixote, after the disastrous chance of the windmills, “it is because a knight-errant must never complain of his wounds, though his bowels were dropping out through them."--The History of Chivalry (1826) by Charles Mills

"The works of Menestrier and Colombiere sleep in the dust of a few ancient libraries; and there are only two other books whose express and entire object is a delineation of the Institutions of chivalry [...] Mémoires sur l'ancienne chevalerie (1759) [and] Ritterzeit und Ritterwesen (1823)."--The History of Chivalry (1826) by Charles Mills

"The memory of these devastations, for Abderame did not spare the country or the people, was long preserved by tradition; and the invasion of France by the Moors or Mahometans affords the ground-work of those fables which have been so wildly disfigured in the romances of chivalry and so elegantly adorned by the Italian muse."--The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-89) by Edward Gibbon

"There is no doubt that a hero must be brave and kind; therefore, in a story he must have occasion to exercise his chivalry, and the most picturesque way of doing so is in the service of the heroine. Hence it is necessary that there should be a damsel in distress."--Short Studies in Character (1894) by Sophie Bryant

"THE Word romantic has been lately introduced in Germany to designate that kind of poetry which is derived from the songs of the Troubadours; that which owes its birth to the union of chivalry and Christianity."--On Germany (1813) by Madame de Staël

Don Quixote (c. 1868) by Honoré Daumier
Don Quixote (c. 1868) by Honoré Daumier
Allegory of Chastity (1475) by Hans Memling
Allegory of Chastity (1475) by Hans Memling

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Chivalry is a term related to the medieval institution of knighthood which has an aristocratic military origin of individual training and service to others. It is usually associated with ideals of knightly virtues, honor and courtly love: "the source of the chivalrous idea," remarked Johan Huizinga, who devoted several chapters of The Waning of the Middle Ages to chivalry and its effects on the medieval character, "is pride aspiring to beauty, and formalized pride gives rise to a conception of honour, which is the pole of noble life."

Terminology and definitions

The term "chivalry" derives from the Old French term chevalerie, which can be translated as "horse soldiery". Originally, the term referred only to horse-mounted men, from the French word for horse, cheval, but later it became associated with knightly ideals.

The "code of chivalry" is a product of the Late Middle Ages, evolving after the end of the crusades partly from an idealization of the historical knights fighting in the Holy Land and from ideals of courtly love.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Chivalry" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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