The Cursor Mundi had turned religious history into something not very different from a romance of chivalry, and in the stories of Handlyng Synne the influence of the fabliaux is not far to seek.
But his halfnaked, ill-armed ploughboys were at last overmatched by the mailclad chivalry of the nobles.
The neo-chivalry of the 14th century, in which a fantastic love of adventure had displaced the finer and more ideal motives of the old chivalry, looked towards the Vistula and Marienburg.
In 1485 Henry, earl of Richmond, disembarked here on his return from France, and was welcomed on landing by Sir Rhys ap Thomas and much of the chivalry of Wales.
As such a novum salutis genus, the Crusades connect themselves with the history of the penitentiary system; as the foreign policy of the Church they belong to that clerical purification and direction of feudal society and its instincts, which appears in the institution of "God's Truce" and in chivalry itself.
The Crusades are the offensive side of chivalry: chivalry is their parent - as it is also their child.
Gawain (Welwain, Welsh Gwalchmai), Arthur's nephew, who in medieval romance remains the type of knightly courage and chivalry, until his character is degraded in order to exalt that of Lancelot.
He won a reputation as a bold knight in the fields of chivalry and in the crusades, and he inaugurated a new policy for his house by devoting more attention to his Italian possessions than to those on the French side of the Alps and in Switzerland.
Other virtues were all his own, his extreme gentleness, his love for children, his flawless honesty, his invariable kindliness, his chivalry to women and the weak.
The Court of Chivalry was a court instituted by Edward III., of which the lord high constable and earl marshal of England were joint judges.
The process of inauguration was commenced in the evening by the placing of the candidate under the care of two "esquires of honour grave and well seen in courtship and nurture and also in the feats of chivalry," who were to be " governors in all things relating to him."
Though on her first landing Matilda only escaped capture through the misplaced chivalry of her opponent, she soon turned the tables upon him with the help of the Church and the barons of the west.
Particularly under the grand master Winrich of Kniprode (1351-1382) it was the school of northern chivalry, engaged in unceasing struggle to defend and extend Christianity against the heathen Lithuanian.
To the brilliant court of Marienburg, not only a school of chivalry, but under Winrich's predecessor Luther of Brunswick, a literary centre,(fn3) men came from all over Europe to win their spurs.
As chivalry directed the layman to defend what was right, so the preaching of the Crusades directed him to attack what was wrong - the possession by "infidels" of the Sepulchre of Christ.
She was already the home of the Cluniac movement, the centre from which radiated the truce of God, the chosen place of chivalry; she could supply a host of feudal nobles, somewhat loosely tied to their place in society, and ready to break loose for a great enterprise; she had suffered from battle and murder, pestilence and famine, from which any escape was welcome.
The Balkan hill-peoples of Illyrian or Thracian stock, the hill-peoples of Asia Minor and Iran, the chivalry of Media and Bactria, the mounted bowmen of the Caspian steppes, the camel-riders of the Arabian desert, could all be turned to account.
The subject, taken from the age of Hungarian chivalry, is artistically worked out from medieval legends, and gives an excellent description of the times of St Ladislaus of Hungary.
The chronicle of Villehardouin is justly held to be the very best presentation we possess of the spirit of chivalry - not the designedly exalted and poetized chivalry of the romances, not the self-conscious and deliberate chivalry of the 14th century, but the unsophisticated mode of thinking and acting which brought about the crusades, stimulated the vast literary development of the 12th and 13th centuries, and sent knights-errant, principally though not wholly of French blood, to establish principalities and kingdoms throughout Europe and the nearer East.
In the 11 th and 12th centuries the chivalry of Spain and southern France took up the struggle with the Moors as a holy war.
The miserable collapse of the Polish chivalry during the Bukovinian campaign of 1497 had convinced every one that the ruszenie pospolite was useless for serious military purposes, and that Poland, in order to hold her own, must in future follow the example of the West, and wage her warfare with trained mercenaries.
Moreover, the two hands and a castle, which form the arms of Antwerp, will not be dismissed as providing no proof by any one acquainted with the scrupulous care that heralds displayed in the golden age of chivalry before assigning or recognizing the armorial bearings of any claimant.
In spite of the silence of our records, Dr Stubbs thinks that kings so well acquainted with foreign usages as Ethelred, Canute and Edward the Confessor could hardly have failed to introduce into England the institution of chivalry then springing up in every country of Europe; and he is supported in this opinion by the circumstance that it is nowhere mentioned as a Norman innovation.
It was then that the analogy was first detected between the order of knighthood and the order of priesthood, and that an actual union of monachism and chivalry was effected by the establishment of the religious orders of which the Knights Templars and the Knights Hospitallers were the most eminent examples.
From a very early stage in the development of chivalry, however, we meet with the singular institution of brotherhood in arms; and from it the ultimate origin if not of the religious fraternities at any rate of the military companionships is usually derived.
Even Gautier, while he contends that chivalry did much to refine morality, is compelled to admit the prevailing immorality to which medieval romances testify, and the extraordinary free behaviour of the unmarried ladies.
A series of fresh depositions were sent in against her, and in June 1679 it was decided that she must stand her trial; but she was protected by the king, who in this instance showed unusual chivalry and earned her gratitude.
In 1448 Hunyadi, now governor of Hungary, collected the largest army yet mustered by the Hungarians against the Turks, but he was defeated on the famous field of Kossovo and with difficulty escaped, while most of the chivalry of Hungary fell.
However this may be, remnants of their primitive superhuman qualities cling to the Celtic heroes long after they have been transfigured, under the influence of Christianity and chivalry, into the heroes of the medieval Arthurian romance, types - for the most part - of the knightly virtues as these were conceived by the middle ages; while shadowy memories of early myths live on, strangely disguised, in certain of the episodes repeated uncritically by the medieval poets.
" But," as Hallam says, " he who fought on horseback and had been invested with peculiar arms in a solemn manner wanted nothing more to render him a knight; " and so he concludes, in view of the verbal identity of " chevalier " and " caballarius," that " we may refer chivalry in a general sense to the age of Charlemagne."
No doubt these romances, taken alone, might give as unfair an idea as modern French novels give of Parisian morals, but we have abundant other evidence for placing the moral standard of the age of chivalry definitely below that of educated society in the present day.