Knights may be long gone, but some of their values remain
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
Chivalry is a term that is run into the ground. Oftentimes in recent years the term has been used solely to say that it’s dead. But is it really dead? I find that death is a rather exaggerated expression. Chivalry and its values aren’t dead, they’ve merely evolved.
According to Leon’s Gautier’s Ten Commandments of Chivalry, which was written in 1883, chivalry is defined as follows:
- Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and thou shalt observe all its directions.
- Thou shalt defend the Church.
- Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
- Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
- Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
- Thou shalt make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy.
- Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
- Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
- Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
- Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
While 1-7 seem a bit off from the modern view of chivalry, 8, 9, and 10, are all pretty solid standards. No one likes a liar, and breaking promises is never a good thing. Someone that breaks their promises or someone that lies is just not someone anyone would really want to be friends with. Someone that keeps their promises and doesn’t lie is an extraordinarily nice individual.
The point about being generous also rings true in modern times and is still something we follow. Generous individuals are a rarity in today’s society, but whenever there is one, they are generally known as being great people. The other point highlighted in Commandment nine talks about giving gifts. The act of giving gifts has followed us through the ages, however it has also been scaled down. For example, when a friend comes into town, you might take them out for dinner as a gift. Or when you meet with family after a long period of not seeing them, there is generally an exchange of gifts.
Commandment 10 is worded a bit oddly. But if we were to translate it, it would say that you should always strive to defend the weak and oppressed from those who would take advantage of them. As we’ve seen in politics recently, those who fight for equality and against injustice are generally champions of the people, and well liked.
So as you see, chivalry really isn’t dead. Some aspects of it still exist in our world today! It’s just changed and evolved over time, as humanity does.