/shiv"euhl ree/, n., pl. chivalries for 6.1. the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms.2. the rules and customs of medieval knighthood.3. the medieval system or institution of knighthood.4. a group of knights.5. gallant warriors or gentlemen: fair ladies and noble chivalry.6. Archaic. a chivalrous act; gallant deed.
* * *Knightly class of feudal Europe, and especially the gallantry and honor expected of medieval knights.The ideal of courteous knightly conduct developed in the 12th–13th century. It arose out of feudal obligation (see feudalism) and stressed loyalty and obeisance by a knight to his God, his lord, and his lady, thus melding Christian and military virtues. Chivalry was greatly strengthened by the Crusades, a military endeavor on behalf of Christianity, which led to the founding of the earliest orders of chivalry, the Knights of Malta and the Templars. In addition to loyalty and honor, the chivalric virtues included valor, piety, courtesy, and chastity. Questions of love and honor were combined in the ethos of courtly love. The knight's lady was meant to be unobtainable, ensuring chastity; the feminine ideal thus became melded with the Virgin Mary. In the 14th–15th century, chivalry came to be associated increasingly with aristocratic display and public ceremony, particularly in jousting tournaments, rather than with service in the field.
* * *the knightly class of feudal times. The primary sense of the term in the European Middle Ages is “knights,” or “fully armed and mounted fighting men.” Thence the term came to mean the gallantry and honour expected of knights. Lastly, the word came to be used in its general sense of “courtesy.”In English law “chivalry” meant the tenure of land by knights' service. The court of chivalry instituted by Edward III, with the lord high constable and earl marshal of England as joint judges, had summary jurisdiction in all cases of offenses of knights and generally as to military matters.The concept of chivalry in the sense of “honourable and courteous conduct expected of a knight” was perhaps at its height in the 12th and 13th centuries and was strengthened by the Crusades, which led to the founding of the earliest orders of chivalry, the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (Hospitalers) and the Order of the Poor Knights of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (Templars), both originally devoted to the service of pilgrims to the Holy Land. In the 14th and 15th centuries the ideals of chivalry came to be associated increasingly with aristocratic display and public ceremony rather than service in the field.
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