Lancelot and and Guinevere Herbert James Draper cropped

Chivalry and the Medieval Past

This book offers an examination of the ways in which the fluid concept of “chivalry” has been used and appropriated after the middle ages.

Chivalry and the Medieval past CoverChivalry and the Medieval Past
Edited by Katie Stevenson, Barbara Gribling
Boydell Press 2016
ISBN: 9781843839231

One of the most difficult and complex ethical and cultural codes to define, chivalry has proved a flexible, ever-changing phenomenon, constantly adapted in the hands of medieval knights, Renaissance princes, early modern antiquarians, Enlightenment scholars, modern civic authorities, authors, historians and re-enactors. This book explores the rich variations in how the Middle Ages were conceptualised and historicised to illuminate the plurality of uses of the past. Using chivalry as a lens through which to examine concepts and uses of the medieval, it provides a critical assessment of the ways in which medieval chivalry became a shorthand to express contemporary ideals, powerfully demonstrating the ways in which history could be appropriated. The chapters combine attention to documentary evidence with what material culture can tell us, in particular using the built environment and the landscape as sources to understand how the medieval past was renegotiated. With contributions spanning diverse geographic regions and periods, it redraws current chronological boundaries by considering medievalism from the late Middle Ages to the present.

Katie Stevenson is Senior Lecturer in Late Mediaeval History and Director of the Institute of Scottish Historical Research at the University of St Andrews; Barbara Gribling is a Junior Research Fellow in the Department of History at Durham University.

Contributors: David Allan, Stefan Goebel, Barbara Gribling, Steven C. Hughes, Peter N. Lindfield, Antti Matikkala, Rosemary Mitchell, Paul Pickering, Katie Stevenson


  • Introduction: Chivalry and the Medieval Past – Katie Stevenson
  • ‘An Institution Quite Misunderstood’: Chivalry and Sentimentalism in the Late Scottish Enlightenment – David W Allan
  • Creating a ‘Medieval Past’ for the Swedish Orders of Knighthood – Antti Matikkala
  • ‘Hung Round with the Helmets, Breast-Plates, and Swords of our Ancestors’: Allusions to Chivalry in Eighteenth-Century Gothicism – Peter N. Lindfield
  • Knights on the Town? Commercial and Civic Chivalry in Victorian Manchester – Rosemary A Mitchell
  • ‘The Dark Side of Chivalry’: Victory, Violence and the Victorians – Barbara Gribling
  • Daze and Knights: Anachronism, Duelling and the Chivalric Ethic in Nineteenth-Century Italy – Steven C. Hughes
  • The German Crusade: The Battles of Tannenberg, 1410 and 1914 – Stefan Goebel
  • ‘Hark ye back to the age of valour’: Re-enacting Chivalry from the Eglinton Tournament to Kill Streak – Paul Pickering


Lancelot and Guinevere by Herbert James Draper (1863 -1920). private Collection. Source: Wikipedia