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The Chivalric Turn

The Chivalric Turn explores the shift at the end of the 12thcentury when the pursuit of knightly excellence and social eminence gave rise to a new code of conduct: chivalry

The Chivalric Turn: Conduct and Hegemony in Europe before 1300
By David Crouch
Series: Oxford Studies in Medieval European History
Oxford University Press 2019


the chivalric turn coverThe Chivalric Turn examines the medieval obsession with defining and practising superior conduct, and the social consequences that followed from it. Historians since the seventeenth century have tended to understand medieval conduct through the eyes of the writers of the Enlightenment, viewing superior conduct as ‘knightly’ behaviour, and categorising it as chivalry.

Using, for the first time, the full range of the considerable twelfth- and thirteenth-century literature on conduct in the European vernaculars and in Latin, The Chivalric Turn describes and defines what superior lay conduct was in European society before chivalry, and maps how and why chivalry emerged and redefined superior conduct in the last generation of the twelfth century. The emergence of chivalry was only one part of a major social change, because it changed how people understood the concept of nobility, which had consequences for the medieval understanding of gender, social class, violence, and the limits of law.


  1. Conduct, Habitus, and Practice
  2. Field of Study
  3. The Origins of Cortesia
  4. The Preudomme
  5. The Preudefemme
  6. Villeins, Villains, and Vilonie
  7. The Courtly Habitus
  8. The Insurgent Woman
  9. The Table
  10. The Enemy
  11. The Conspiracy of Deference
  12. The Disruptive Knight
  13. The Noble Knight
  14. The Chivalric Virus


David Crouch is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Hull.


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