The golden age of Chivalry began with the Crusades to rescue the holy places of Palestine from Moslem domination and to defend the pilgrims on route to the Holy Land.
Léon Gautier in his book Chivalry (La Chevalerie, first published in 1883) summarized the “ancient code of chivalry” of the Middle Ages into what he called the “Ten Commandments of Chivalry.”1
The Ten Commandments of Chivalry
- Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and 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.
- Léon Gautier, Chivalry, trans. Henry Frith (New York: Crescent Books, 1989), p. 26.