- As an ideal of conduct.
- Chivalry the same words as cavalry.
- The ideal of knighthood.
“Chivalry”, as an ideal of conduct; embodies the ideas courtesy, courage, magnanimity and honour. Chivalry of conduct is the sort of conduct that is expected from a true gentleman. As is put “The only chivalry worth having is that which is ever ready to pay deference to the old, protect the feeble, and serve woman kind, regardless of age, rank or colour”. It is a noble ideal of character and conduct, which all should bear in mind. I or every man should desire to be brave and yet merciful, courageous to all, even the lowest, and honourable and truthful in all things, scorning all mean dishonourable or cruel actions.
The word “chivalry” is really the same as “cavalry” for both come from a Latin word meaning a horse. Cavalry, of course means horse-soldiers, or mounted men. In the Middle Ages in Europe, the cavalry of the armies was composed of knights for the common people fought on foot. The whole company of the knights of a country was called its “chivalry”. For example, the Chivalry of France meant the whole body of French Knights.
From this, the word chivalry came to mean the character and conduct of an ideal knight. Fighting was the chief occupation of nobles and gentlemen if lie Middle Ages. So these grew up in that class the ideal of the perfect solider-the knight, and certain code of honour to regulate his conduct to become a knight was the honour which a man of noble family cherished most for as a rule no man could be made a knight unless he had shown some heroic deed in battle. On begin made a knight, he had to take certain solemn vows, to be loyal to his God and his king, to protect the weak and console the oppressed, to be faithful to one chosen lady, to honour all women, to shoe mercy to a fallen for, to be courteous to all, and to use his sword only in an honourable cause. The ideal knight was like the knight in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”, who “loved chivalry, truth and honour, freedom and courtesy; a very gentle, perfect knight”. Of course, there were many bad knights; but this was the ideal of true knighthood.