Is chivalry dead? Urbandictionary.com defines chivalry as, “something that people always say is dead, but no one seems to know what died.” Is chivalry really dead though? According to Merriam-webster.com, chivalry is the system of values (such as loyalty and honor) that knights in the Middle Ages were expected to follow.
During the Middle Ages, men of all ages lived by a code of chivalry. The sacred law that was taught to children throughout their lives consisted of 10 codes, each as important as the other.
Truth: Truth is still a valuable code today. People who are truthful have an easier time making friends and keeping relationships strong. A knight was required to speak the truth, seek the truth before making judgments, and to value the truth.
Honor: Everyone today wants to be honorable. People honor beliefs and friends just like they did in medieval times. To be honorable is to keep promises, stay true to one’s self, and uphold one’s beliefs. An honorable knight would act with keen moral judgment to maintain high standards of conduct.
Justice: Every child has dreamed of being a superhero. A knight would defend the helpless and challenge evil wherever he saw it, constantly working for a just world.
Valor: One who has valor is one who fights for what is right. The chivalrous knight put his self-interest aside when faced with evil.
Prowess: Prowess is the discipline to train body, mind, and spirit. For a knight, training was very important to fight evil. Training is still very important today. Schooling is a comparable form of training, as is athletic or artistic training.
Loyalty: Loyalty is a great characteristic to have. A knight was loyal to his king or god or ruler. He risked his life to protect others. Today, loyalty is the basis of good relationships.
Largesse: Largesse is the characteristic of giving, as in giving material goods. One who practices largesse is willing to help friends and family.. A knight was merciful and fair in all dealings.
Courtesy: The code of chivalry that woman often say is dead is courtesy. A knight was always polite and mannerly, whether it be in dress, speech or carriage. The knight treated all as equals. They were kind to animals, and in war or competition, they followed the rules.
Noblesse: Knights studied and enhanced their knowledge of the world. They practiced their skill and used their natural gifts to generate goodness. Knights enriched their lives, and the lives around them.
Humility: Knights displayed all the qualities of chivalry but never flaunted their gifts. Chivalry was a heavy burden and to go about following the code was pretty tough; however to truly be chivalrous, the knight was required to live the code.
There is speculation as to whether chivalry is dead; however, it is alive and well. The codes of chivalry may not be as formal as they once were, but they are still observed, even among the young. It’s just that sometimes we need to be reminded about those good old fashioned manners.
Look around you. Soldiers display valor, prowess, and loyalty in the field; humanitarians work for justice, largesse, courtesy, and humility; scholars exhibit noblesse; and individuals at large value the demonstration of truthfulness and honor. Not many follow the codes of chivalry to the fullest, but everyday activities confirm that the codes still exist.