Chivalry, or the chivalric code, is the traditional code of conduct associated with the medieval institution of knighthood. It was originally conceived of as an aristocratic warrior code — the term derives from the French term for horseman — involving individual training and service to others. Over time its meaning has been refined to emphasize more ideals such as knightly virtues, honour and courtly love, and less the martial aspects of the tradition.

The Knight's Code of Chivalry was a moral system that stated all knights should protect others who can not protect themselves, such as widows, children, and elders. All knights needed to have the strength and skills to fight wars in the Middle Ages. Knights not only had to be strong but they were also extremely disciplined and were expected to use their power to protect the weak and defenceless. Knights vowed to be loyal, generous, and "noble bearing". Knights were required to tell the truth at all times and always respect the honour of women. Knights not only vowed to protect the weak but also vowed to guard the honour of all fellow knights. They always had to obey those who were placed in authority and were never allowed to refuse a challenge from an equal. Knights lived by honor and for glory. Knights were to fear God and maintain His Church. Knights always kept their faith and never turned their back on a foe. Knights despised pecuniary reward. They persevered to the end in any enterprise begun. The main vow from the knights was that they shall fight for the welfare of all.

Historian Johan Huizinga remarks in his book The Waning of the Middle Ages, "the source of the chivalrous idea, is pride aspiring to beauty, and formalized pride gives rise to a conception of honour, which is the pole of noble life."

The term chivalry is sometimes also used to refer to the medieval mounted men-at-arms with whom this code was associated.

Read more about Chivalry:  Etymology, Modern Debates

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Famous quotes containing the word chivalry:

    The odious and disgusting aristocracy of wealth is built upon the ruins of all that is good in chivalry or republicanism; and luxury is the forerunner of a barbarism scarcely capable of cure.
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

    I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever.
    Edmund Burke (1729–1797)