Anglo Norman Chivalry: Only A Good Bedtime Story Greg Mason Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Thibodeaux Argument: • The image of the chivalrous Norman knight seen in literature did not exist in England during the AngloNorman period (11-12 Century CE). The Norman Knight of Reality or Literature? Chivalry Protection for the Nobility! • Instead chivalry was a practice created to benefit and protect the aristocracy. Common Image of Knighthood Left: Portion of Bayeaux Tapestry, Right: Illustration inspired by Chrétien's DE Troyes’s story of Erec and Enide Conclusions: Religion and Chivalry • While the literature provides a good bed time story, it does not provide an accurate perception of the character of AngloNorman Knights. •The gender roles among Normans do not allow knights to practice chivalry, because a boy established his manhood through violence. Norman Knight Praying Before Battle. •Anglo-Norman chroniclers- While bias in their writings, provides the best documented evidence of misdeeds among Norman knights. The chroniclers disapproval of the misdeeds of knights suggests that the Church and the Norman nobility may have viewed chivalry differently. Definition of Knighthood: • A warrior of great skill and honor who fights on horseback in the name of his lord. Definition of Chivalry: •The use of mercenaries suggests that Norman rulers did not have enough loyal knights. • An honor or moral code “practiced” by knights. •Chivalry did not protect common people from knights. • There is truth to the idea that chivalry was brought to England to protect Norman rulers from their enemies. Ordericus Vitalis •Large number of revolts among Norman nobles undermine the rule of Norman Kings. Actions against the king has always been considered unchivalrous. Evidence: •1. Gender roles of the Norman society made it impossible for men to become knights if they practiced chivalry as the knights of the early courtly romances. Violence and conquest play a large role in masculinity. •2. Testimony from Anglo-Norman chroniclers that is focused on the misdeeds of the Norman kings and their knights, differs from stories focused on honorable knights. •3. Evidence from chroniclers has suggested that chivalry while a real honor code (Church’s image of chivalry) was used by the nobility to protect royal blood lines. Hence, chivalry was introduced to England to consolidate power. “Chivalry was essentially an aristocratic business.” Vitalis, Ordericus. The Ecclesiastical History of England And Normandy, vol. 1, Thomas Forester., ed and trans. New York: AMS Press, 1968. Vitalis, Ordericus. The Ecclesiastical History of England And Normandy, vol. 2, Thomas Forester., ed and trans. New York: AMS Press, 1968. Vitalis, Ordericus. The Ecclesiastical History of England And Normandy, vol. 3, Thomas Forester., ed and trans. New York: AMS Press, 1968. Vitalis, Ordericus. The Ecclesiastical History of England And Normandy, vol. 4, Thomas Forester., ed and trans. New York: AMS Press, 1968. •4. Use of mercenaries in times of war. A chivalrous society would not need to use this practice. Yet all of the Norman Kings employed knights from different kingdoms as mercenaries. Abundance of loyal knights in literature. (Historical debate) Karras, Ruth Mazo. From Boys to Men: Formations of Masculinity in Late Medieval Europe. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. •5. Evidence suggests that chivalry was far more important in the church then among the nobles. Ordericus Vitalis and other church writers from the period took steps to discredit knights who portrayed an image they saw as unchivalrous. Gillingham, John.The English in the Twelfth Century: Imperialism, National Identity And Political Values. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 2000. •6. The Church attempts to make knights pay for misdeeds. Allows Norman kings and knights pay penance for acts the Church considers unchivalrous. Acknowledgements: •7. Epic poems were treasured by knights but only rarely did these knights try to live up to these knights of literature. Knights used violence to establish their status. “The Morality of epic differed from that of history; it accepted brutality and was full of sheer joy of combat.” (Marjorie Chibnall) Map Of Anglo-Norman Empire 1066-1216 Bibliography: Keen, Maurice. Chivalry. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984. Morillo, Stephen. Warfare under the Anglo-Norman Kings 1066-1135. Rochester: The Boydell Press, 1994. Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Thibodeaux- For her guidance and advice in completing my research. The UWW History Department- For granting me an office to work on my research while on campus. Jeff McKinnon and the UWW Undergraduate Research Program- For funding my research.