Publisher: Tumblar House
CHIVALRY has fascinated Western civilization for over a millennium, from way back when Knighthood was in flower, all the way to present day. Today, this fascination is as prevalent as it ever was, manifesting itself in works such as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. But what IS Chivalry? Is it proper manners (the lack of which, especially toward ladies, is sometimes spoken of as “Chivalry being dead”)? Is it kindness? Steadfastness? It is all of those things, and much more. Leon Gautier, the author of this magnificent book, describes it thusly: “Chivalry is the Christian form of the military profession: the knight is the Christian soldier.” In a word, it is militant Christianity. But this is neither a religion confined to Sunday worship, nor a profession restricted to barracks; nor yet are the religion and the profession at all separate from each other. It is the armed defense of the unarmed Truth. In his work, Gautier leaves no stone unturned, covering every aspect of the knight: his birth, education, marriage, everyday life, battle, and death. He also dedicates several chapters to the code of chivalry, which serves as the ten commandments of knighthood. Let Gautier take you back to a time when Christians had to defend all that they hold dear: their families, their property, their country, and their Faith. Foreword by Charles A. Coulombe.
Early in the book we see chivalry described as "the armed force in the service of the unarmed Truth" and that alone is the best description I have ever heard of it. The book is older and sometimes challenges the reader (in a good way) to go looking up some of the references to older literature but it winds up being a fun trip through some literature I didn't even know existed. It's rather plain-spoken for an older text as well and doesn't hide it's defense of the faith. Gautier seems to be just as knightly with his pen as those medieval knights were with their swords.
The characterization of the everyday life of the knight was fascinating, with how they lived, what their responsibilities were, what their interests were. At a distance, the lifestyle appears very quaint and appealing. In addition to that, I really liked the stories of the real life knights and their heroic deeds. These knights aren't household names but they should be, with Godfrey de Bouillon right at the top of the list.
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