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Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe | Oxford Scholarship Online
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Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe

Richard Kaeuper


Medieval Europe was a rapidly developing society with a problem of violent disorder. This study reveals that chivalry was just as much a part of this problem as it was its solution. Chivalry praised heroic violence by knights, and fused such displays of prowess with honour, piety, high status, and attractiveness to women. Though the vast body of chivalric literature praised chivalry as necessary to civilization, most texts also worried over knightly violence, criticized the ideals and practices of chivalry, and often proposed reforms. The knights themselves joined the debate, absorbing some re ... More

Keywords: medieval Europe, violent disorder, chivalry, heroic violence, knights, displays of prowess, honour, piety, attractiveness to women, chivalric literature

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2001 Print ISBN-13: 9780199244584
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199244584.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Richard Kaeuper, author
University of Rochester, New York State