Author(s): CHARLES PHILLIPS
The Christian church and the brotherhood of knights were the two main institutions of the Middle Ages, and just as the Church laid down laws and rules to govern the life of its followers, the code of chivalry instructed knights on how to behave on the battlefield, at court and in love. Throughout the medieval period, and indeed ever since, it is the chivalric code that epitomizes the glory of knighthood. This evocative book examines the historical brotherhood of knights, how they were governed by their feudal lord, and the ideal of the chivalric code. Knights themselves drew inspiration from the portrayals of knighthood in contemporary literature - in heroic chansons de geste, poems of courtly love and prose, and verse romances that told of knights' great deeds in war and love. Together, the chivalric code and the art of the time embodied a vision of how knights should and could behave. The greatest figures of this mythology of knighthood are described within these pages, from the knightly heroes of the Biblical and classical worlds, to the golden age of medieval chivalry, and the enduring tales of King Arthur and his knights of the round table. There is also a discussion of how the knights of history lived up to these ideals, and how many became legendary figures themselves, whether saintly or outlaw. Illustrated with over 200 beautiful colour paintings of knights in battle, at the tournament and from the pages of the medieval songs and works of literature that made them into heroes, this book brings to life the golden age of chivalry.