Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies

Knights & Chivalry

Explores the formation of a distinctive aristocratic or chivalric culture between c. 1000 and c. 1300. The term 'chivalry' (chevalier) had at least three different meanings: the skills associated with fighting on horseback with heavy armor; the social group or 'class' associated with fighting in this way; and the so-called 'codes' of behavior associated with this group. These 'codes' of chivalry were influenced by a variety of interest groups including churchmen, women, and members of the military aristocracy itself (which was by no means uniform). Indeed it is in part the argument of this course that there was no single 'code' of chivalry but rather a variety of competing ideals. Much of this course will be devoted to understanding how and why these ideals arose, and the extent to which they had an impact on daily life. Thus we will be examining both the 'tangible' lives of the knights and nobles as well as their ideals and most critically the complex interrelationships between the two.
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