Rochefoucauld Grail sold at Sothersby 2012

Medieval Chivalry

Fair or not: The Middle Ages will in the minds of most drum up images of Medieval Chivalry. Now CUP have published a guide by Kaeuper, which is destined to be on the curriculum of most budding medievalists

Medieval Chivalry
By Richard Kaeuper, University of Rochester
Cambridge University Press 2016
ISBN: 9780521137959


Emerging in the medieval period, chivalry embodied ideals that elite warriors cherished and practices that formed their profession. In this major new overview, Richard Kaeuper examines how chivalry made sense of violence and war, making it tolerable for elite fighters rather than non-knightly or sub-knightly populations. He discusses how chivalry buttressed status and profession, shaped active piety, and fostered intense warrior attachments and heterosexual relationships. Though showing regional and chronological variations, chivalry at its core enshrined the practice of prowess in securing honor, with this process significantly blessed by religion. Both kingship and church authority sought to direct the great force of chivalry and, despite tensions, finally came to terms with rising knightly status and a burgeoning military role. Kaeuper engages with a wide range of evidence in his analysis, drawing on the chivalric literature, manuscript illumination, and sermon exempla and moral tales.


Medieval Chivalry CUP 2016 CoverPart I. An Approach to Chivalry: Was It Real and Practical?:
1. The reality of medieval chivalry
2. Models of medieval chivalry
Part II. Three Broad Chronological Phases:
3. Phase one: knighthood becoming chivalry
4. Phase two: knighthood and chivalry fuse
5. Phase three: chivalry beyond formal knighthood
Part III. The Privileged Practice of Violence:
6. Chivalry and war
7. Tournament
Part IV. Chivalry, Governing Institutions and Ideals:
8. Kings and knights
9. Chivalry in dialogue with religious ideals
Part V. The World of Chivalric Emotions:
10. Love and amity, men and women
11. Anger, wrath, fear, thirst for vengeance


Richard Keuper is professor at the University of Rochester. His research interests concentrate on Western Europe between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries and more specifically focus on both sides of the Channel. He maintains a special interest in English history, but focus has expanded across the Channel, with books on war justice, public Order, chivalry and religion in NW Europe in general. His previous publications include Holy Warriors (2009), Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe (1999), The Book of Chivalry of Geoffroi de Charny (with Elspeth Kennedy, 1996), and War, Justice and Public Order (1988).


Knights Fighting in the Rochefoucauld Grail, sold at Sotheby’s 2012. Source: Wikipedia


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