“So at Christmas in this court I lay down a challenge: / If a person here present, within these premises, / Is big or bold or red-blooded enough / To strike me one stroke and be struck in return, / I shall give him a gift of this gigantic cleaver / and the axe shall be his to handle how he likes. / I'll kneel, bare my neck and take the first knock. / So who has the gall? The gumption? The guts? / Who’ll spring from his seat and snatch this weapon? / I offer the axe — who’ll have it as his own? / I’ll afford one free hit from which I won't flinch, / and promised that 12 months will pass in peace, / then claim / the duty I deserve in one year and one day. / Does no one have the nerve to wager in this way?” [more inside]
"That’s all chivalry is: basic guidelines for how not to be a sack of shit. And as long as a sack of shit is not a good thing to be, chivalry will never die." Myths Retold (previously) clears up a few errors about chivalry. It's a handy guide to privilege, human decency, history, and Arthurian legend ("It turns out you’re not even allowed to see the grail if you thought about a boob once"). [more inside]
Geoffroi de Charny (c. 1300 – 19 September 1356) was a French knight and author of at least three works on chivalry. One of his works, Questions for the Joust, Tournaments and War consists of a series of open-ended questions regarding the law of tournaments and the proper conduct of war. The complete set of questions has been translated into English and made available online. [more inside]
"The average monthly income in Ethiopia is about $300-$400, less after taxes. She is running to take $4,000 home. You do the math. All I am going to take home are some sore legs, a cheesy medal, and a fierce hangover from partying with my brothers. I got nothing to lose so I let it all hang out. We don’t speak the same language, but running is universal, like music."
Just how heavy and cumbersome was medieval armor? Who wore it? What did it look like? To find out, watch How to Mount a Horse in Armor and Other Chivalric Problems, an entertaining, informative, and deliciously snarky presentation by Dirk H. Breiding, assistant curator of the Department of Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. [more inside]
"I would advise you when You do fight Not to act like Tygers and Bears as these Virginians do - Biting one anothers Lips and Noses off, and gowging one another - that is, thrusting out one anothers Eyes, and kicking one another on the Cods, to the Great damage of many a Poor Woman." Thus, Charles Woodmason, an itinerant Anglican minister born of English gentry stock, described the brutal form of combat he found in the Virginia backcountry shortly before the American Revolution. Although historians are more likely to study people thinking, governing, worshiping, or working, how men fight -- who participates, who observes, which rules are followed, what is at stake, what tactics are allowed - reveals much about past cultures and societies."Gouge and Bite, Pull Hair and Scratch" The Social Significance of Fighting in the Southern Backcountry [more inside]
FYI: Chivalry is now a game about knights in low gravity, screaming and screaming and screaming. [more inside]
"God save me!" quoth the priest, with a loud voice, "is Tirante the White there? Give me him here, neighbour; for I make account I have found in him a treasure of delight, and a mine of entertainment. Here we have Don Kyrieleison of Montalvan, a valorous knight, and his brother Thomas of Montalvan, and the knight Fonseca, and the combat in which the valiant Tirante fought with the mastiff, and the smart conceits of the damsel Plazerdemivida, with the amours and artifices of the widow Reposada; and madam the empress in love with her squire Hypolito. Verily, gossip, in its way, it is the best book in the world..."-Don Quixote de la Mancha, Part I, Chapter 6 [more inside]
"Women and children, first," is a familiar cultural refrain, with its popular roots in the gallant sacrifice made by the male contingent aboard the doomed Titanic. Their sacrifice has inspired poetry, sculpture, male social clubs, and, of course, cinema. Yet, this sacrifice of near-mythic scale was in some respects a myth, with survival statistics skewing well in favor of men of higher social and economic class than children (and, to a lesser extent, women) of lower status.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away--there lived men who dressed in suits of glittering steel... their purpose: to roam the lands in search of good deeds to be done in order to earn their salvation. The journey, although perilous, would be one of virtue and piety. Having to face down monstrous creatures and beastly men, they would sometimes take the help of other beasts in carrying out their conquests. (Of course, there were still others who may have been a bit misguided, but the myth endures, if not accurately portrayed.)
Art thou a knight-errant questing for the favor of thy lady? The Knighthood, Chivalry and Tournaments Resource Library is ready to be thy squire. Heav'n forbid that thou couldst be lax in thy study of the Codes of Chivalry and Rules of Romantic Love. Do not eschew thy escutcheon, impress damsels fair with thy knowledge of heraldry. Lastly, learn thy vocabulary.
"I think it's a great honour for Scotland," he said. Well he sorta served in Her Majesty's Secret Service. He just wasn't very secret about it. He did once say he thought it was alright under certain conditions to "smack a woman" though. I'm not sure if that's a part of the Chivalric Code. I don't know. What do you think?