Chivalric Code of War

Exploding another myth about the middle ages.  BTW, the above video is part of a series that deflates many myths concerning medieval life.

And here is an article, printed in the New York Times during the World War I–that horrible ordeal–advocating the Knightly Code. It has a surprising and mortifying ending.

How uncompromising was the sentiment for the maintenance of honorable methods of combat may be seen from the decree of Pope Innocent III, prohibiting the use, against Christian enemies, of the arbalest or crossbow, and of machines of the hurling projectiles of the type of the ballista.

Gone are those days. Instead we have:

The Knightly Code considered it a disgrace to win a battle in a dishonorable way. Winning was not just a matter of being victorious, but of fighting honorably as well. Better to die with one’s honor, than to conquer in a shameful way.

For this reason at our encampments, the boys compete, but are judged, not only on their performance but on their sportsmanship as well.

8 thoughts on “Chivalric Code of War

  1. The days of waging war “honorably” are replaced with the push-button war. Society today doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to suffer a conflict such as WWI or WWII. Today, casualties are counted in the dozens rather than the thousands per day of yesterday’s wars. We’ve lost around 4000 soldiers in the 5 years of the current Iraq engagement (I’m not sure that Congress ever declared war on Iraq, nor did they abrogate their responsibility to the President as they typically do), which is less than those lost in the first hour or two of the Normandy Invasion of WWII. As Osama Bin Laden once said, America doesn’t have the stomach to stick it out in a fight.

    Honor and Chivalry are not taught in today’s schools. Those who homeschool and wish to impart such noble ideals to their children-as is their natural and logical right-are scorned and ridiculed or threatened with legal action for child abuse. All quite vomitous.

  2. We live in a time of extremes: pacifism or brutality. Men need to fight, and civility requires them to do so. Without a code of honor we get only macho men or girly boys.

  3. It’s not just pacifism or brutality, it’s pacifism and brutality. You can drag your girlfriend to the abortuary with impunity – but don’t you dare offend anyone by speaking forbidden words. It’s honorable to pull the plug on grandma to “end her suffering” (when what we really mean is “end our suffering”,) but detestable to treat a dog like a dog.

    America is hyper-sensitive to contrived sensibilities but dead to reality. We’re not only afraid to suffer, we’ve been conditioned to avoid it at all costs. Suffering is the greatest evil that Americans face – which is why a “Code of Honor” won’t fit into our present culture. Our code of wealth, acquiescence and ease is far too precious to be disturbed by such medieval babble.

  4. Steve,

    That was very well said!

    We are a people who demand to remain comfortable at all costs … comfortable financially, physically and spiritually. We don’t want anyone … not our Church, parents, spouses or even our children to require TOO much of us. Sacrifice is something that only fools mess around with. If you have half a brain, you’ll figure out some way to weasel your way out of the pain. If you’ve actually CHOSEN to sacrifice on behalf of another person or a Church, well then you just mustn’t be all that smart otherwise CLEARLY you’d have chosen a different path. This is why people cannot understand why some remain married for so many years even though there are clear hardships, why parents sacrifice good careers with lots of potential material gain in order to raise a family properly or why priests would sacrifice having a wife and family in order to obey a call from God. This goes against all that society teaches right now. It truly is an uphill battle … a war, really. A war we fight within ourselves as we must tune out the noise that society screams in our faces … a war we must train our children to first recognize and then be willing to fight as well!

    I keep waiting for the day when people realize that this selfish lifestyle (that’s what it REALLY is … that’s what brews the pacifism and brutality) … I keep waiting for people to realize that it indeed has not brought them the happiness for which they had hoped but instead misery for which they were trying to avoid. I keep waiting for people to realize that it’s when you’ve sacrificed it all (and I for one have NOT sacrificed it all so I dare not be smug here) but when you’ve sacrificed it all, you’re truly free from it all! People need to read Charles Dickens again … Tale of Two Cities. Great book … “It’s a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done … “. I remember reading this as a freshman in highschool and already realizing that there were things greater than wordly glory in which to strive. What happened to these lessons today?

    Hmmm … I wonder if my kids have read this book yet. I think I feel a summer reading list coming over me. (They will love me for it… some day, I hope!)

  5. Jennifer’s “… a war we must train our children to first recognize and then be willing to fight as well! ”

    and Fr’s “We may need a bloodbath…”

    Months ago I read at “Fr Z’s” of a post that put it this way.

    “You have five minutes, they’re coming for the Catholics. What do you take? Are you ready?”

    Now he may have been thinking in terms of bug-out bags properly equiped with Rosary, Holy Water, MRE’s, and extra 9mm clips. I would look at the question in light of the first video and the rules of engagement we see in the 21st Century, i.e. civilians, the women and children, are not exempt in this age of “brutality & pacifism.”

    Getting off to work in the morning, catching up on the laundry, sitting in meetings all day, making sure the kids are off to bed early enough day in and day out can lull us like sheep.


  6. Jerry,

    You should market those bug-out bags. I have plans for a Knights of Lepanto Armoury, basically a knights paraphernalia and related items sort of online store. You should include a dagger too. Just a nice touch, I think.

    Chesterton kept a dagger under his pillow for the protection of his wife. Just in case.

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