The History of Chivalry


G. P. R. James (Editor)

BISAC: HIS037010

Today, the term “chivalry” has come to refer to small acts of kindness typically performed by a man toward a woman. But in the medieval period, chivalry was a complex code of behavior that governed virtually every aspect of life. In this comprehensive volume, historical writer G. P. R. James provides a detailed account of the development and practice of chivalry.



Table of Contents


CHAPTER I. A Definition, with Remarks and Evidence—An Inquiry into the Origin of Chivalry—Various Opinions on the Subject—Reasons for doubting the great Antiquity of Chivalry, properly so called—The State of Society which preceded it, and of that which gave it Birth—Its Origin and early Progress.

CHAPTER II. Of Chivalrous Customs—Education—Grades—Services on the Reception of a Knight—On Tournaments—Jousts—Combats at Outrance—Passages of Arms—The Round Table—Privileges of Knighthood—Duties of Knighthood.

CHAPTER III. The Progress of Chivalry in Europe—Exploits—That some great Enterprise was necessary to give Chivalry an extensive and permanent Effect—That Enterprise presented itself in the Crusades—Pilgrimage to Jerusalem—Haroun Al Raschid—Charlemagne—Cruelties of the Turks—Pilgrimages continued—Peter the Hermit—Council of Clermont.

CHAPTER IV. The Effects of the Council of Clermont—State of France—Motives of the People for embracing the Crusade—Benefits produced—The Enthusiasm general—Rapid Progress—The first Bodies of Crusaders begin their March—Gautier sans avoir—His Army—Their Disasters—Reach Constantinople—Peter the Hermit sets out with an immense Multitude—Storms Semlin—Defeated at Nissa—His Host dispersed—The Remains collected—Joins Gautier—Excesses of the Multitude—The Italians and Germans separate from the French—The Germans exterminated—The French cut to pieces—Conduct of Alexius.

CHAPTER V. The Chivalry of Europe takes the Field—The Leaders—Godfrey of Bouillon—Conducts his Army towards Constantinople—Hugh the Great—Leads his Army through Italy—Embarks for Durazzo—Taken Prisoner—Liberated—Robert, Duke of Normandy—Winters in Italy—Arrives at Constantinople—Robert, Count of Flanders—Joins the rest—Boemond of Tarentum—Tancred—Their March—Defeat the Greeks—Boemond does Homage—Tancred avoids it—The Count of Toulouse arrives—Refuses to do Homage—Robert of Normandy does Homage.

CHAPTER VI. Germ of After-misfortunes already springing up in the Crusade—Siege of Nice—First Engagement with the Turks—Siege continued—The Lake occupied—Surrender of Nice to the Emissaries of Alexius—Discontent—March towards Antioch—The Army divides into two Bodies—Battle of Dorylœum—Dreadful March through Phrygia—Adventures of Baldwin and Tancred—Arrival at Antioch—The City invested

CHAPTER VII. The Host of the Crusade invests Antioch—Description of that City—Difficulties and Errors of the Crusaders—Improvidence—Famine—Spies—Desertions—Embassy from the Calif of Egypt—Succours from the Genoese and Pisans—Battle—Feats of the Christian Knights—Boemond keeps up a Communication within the Town—The Town betrayed to the Christians—Massacres—Arrival of an Army from Persia—The Christians besieged in Antioch—Famine—Desertions—Visions—Renewed Enthusiasm—Diminished Forces of the Christians—Battle of Antioch—The Crusaders victorious—Spoils—Disputes with the Count of Toulouse—The Chiefs determine to repose at Antioch—Ambassadors sent to Alexius—Fate of their Embassy

CHAPTER VIII. Pestilence in Antioch—Death of the Bishop of Puy—The Chiefs separate—Siege of Marrah—Cannibalism—Disputes between the Count of Toulouse and Boemond—The Count marches towards Jerusalem—Siege of Archas—Godfrey of Bouillon marches—Siege of Ghibel—Treachery of Raimond—Fraud of the Holy Lance investigated—Ordeal of Fire—Decisive Conduct of the Crusaders towards the Deputies of Alexius, and the Calif of Egypt—Conduct of the Crusaders towards the Emir of Tripoli—First Sight of Jerusalem—Siege and Taking of the City—Fanatical Massacres

CHAPTER IX. Election of a King—Godfrey of Bouillon—Sketch of the History of Jerusalem—Death of the chief Crusaders—New Bodies of Crusaders set out from Europe—Their Destruction in Asia Minor—Armed Pilgrimages—The Northern Armaments—The Venetians—The Genoese and Pisans—Anecdotes of the Crusaders—Battle of the Children at Antioch—The Thafurs—Baldwin’s Humanity well repaid—Superstitions—Arms of the Crusaders—Of the Turks—Hospitallers—Templars

CHAPTER X. Consequences of the Loss of Edessa—The State of France unfavourable to a new Crusade—View of the Progress of Society—Causes and Character of the Second Crusade—St. Bernard—The Emperor of Germany takes the Cross, and sets out—Louis VII. follows—Conduct of the Germans in Greece—Their Destruction in Cappadocia—Treachery of Manuel Comnenus—Louis VII. arrives at Constantinople—Passes into Asia—Defeats the Turks on [Pg xv]the Meander—His Army cut to pieces—Proceeds by Sea to Antioch—Fate of his remaining Troops—Intrigues at Antioch—Louis goes on to Jerusalem—Siege of Damascus—Disgraceful Failure—Conrad returns to Europe—Conduct of Suger, Abbot of St. Denis—Termination of the Second Crusade

CHAPTER XI. Progress of Society—The Rise of Poetry in modern Europe—Troubadours—Trouveres—Various Poetical Compositions—Effect of Poetry upon Chivalry—Effect of the Crusades on Society—State of Palestine after the Second Crusade—Cession of Edessa to the Emperor Manuel Comnenus—Edessa completely subjected by the Turks—Ascalon taken by the Christians—State of Egypt under the last Califs of the Fatimite Race—The Latins and the Atabecks both design the Conquest of Egypt—Struggles for that Country—Rise of Saladin—Disputes among the Latins concerning the Succession of the Crown—Guy of Lusignan crowned—Saladin invades Palestine—Battle of Tiberias—Fall of Jerusalem—Conquest of all Palestine—Some Inquiry into the Causes of the Latin Overthrow

CHAPTER XII. The News of the Fate of Palestine reaches Europe—The Archbishop of Tyre comes to seek for Aid—Assistance granted by William the Good, of Sicily—Death of Urban, from Grief at the Loss of Jerusalem—Gregory VIII. promotes a Crusade—Expedition of Frederic, Emperor of Germany—His Successes—His Death—State of Europe—Crusade promoted by the Troubadours—Philip Augustus and Henry II. take the Cross—Laws enacted—Saladin’s Tenth—War renewed—Death of Henry II.—Accession of Richard Cœur de Lion—The Crusade—Philip’s March—Richard’s March—Affairs of Sicily—Quarrels between the Monarchs—Philip goes to Acre—Richard subdues Cyprus—Arrives at Acre—Siege and Taking of Acre—Fresh Disputes—Philip Augustus returns to Europe—Richard marches on—Battle of Azotus—Heroism of Richard—Unsteady Councils—The Enterprise abandoned

CHAPTER XIII. Death of Saladin—Disunion among his Successors—Celestine III. preaches a new Crusade—Henry of Germany takes the Cross—Abandons his Purpose—Crusaders proceed without him—Saif Eddin takes the Field, and captures Jaffa—The Crusaders are reinforced—Defeat Saif Eddin—Lay Siege to Thoron—Seized with Panic, and retreat—Disperse—Death of Henry of Champagne, King of Jerusalem—His Widow marries Almeric, King of Cyprus—Truce—Death of Almeric; and Isabella Mary, Heiress of Jerusalem, wedded to John of Brienne—Affairs of Europe—Innocent III. and Foulque, of Neuilly, promote a Crusade—The Barons of France take the Cross—Proceed to Venice—Their Difficulties—Turn to the Siege of Zara—A Change of Purpose—Proceed to Constantinople—Siege and Taking of that City—Subsequent Proceedings—A Revolution in Constantinople, Alexius deposed [Pg xvi]by Murzuphlis—Second Siege and Capture of the Greek Capital—Flight of Murzuphlis—Plunder and Outrage—Baldwin, Count of Flanders, elected Emperor

CHAPTER XIV. Divisions among the Moslems—Among the Christians—Crusade of Children—Innocent III. declares he will lead a new Crusade to Syria—The King of Hungary takes the Cross—Arrives in Syria—Successes of the Pilgrims—Abandon the Siege of Mount Thabor—The King of Hungary returns to Europe—The Duke of Austria continues the War—Siege of Damietta—Reinforcements arrive under a Legate—Famine in Damietta—The Moslems offer to yield Palestine—The Legate’s Pride—He refuses—Taking of Damietta—The Army advances towards Cairo—Overflowing of the Nile—The Army ruined—The Legate sues for Peace—Generous Conduct of the Sultaun—Marriage of the Heiress of Jerusalem with Frederic, Emperor of Germany—His Disputes with the Pope—His Treaties with the Saracens—He recovers Jerusalem—He quits the Holy Land—Disputes in Palestine—The Templars defeated and slaughtered—Gregory IX.—Crusade of the King of Navarre ineffectual—Crusade of Richard, Earl of Cornwall—Jerusalem recovered—The Corasmins—Their Barbarity—They take Jerusalem—Defeat the Christians with terrible Slaughter—Are exterminated by the Syrians—Crusade of St. Louis—His Character—Arrives in the Holy Land—Takes Damietta—Battle of Massoura—Pestilence in the Army—The King taken—Ransomed—Returns to Europe—Second Crusade of St. Louis—Takes Carthage—His Death—Crusade of Prince Edward—He defeats the Saracens—Wounded by an Assassin—Returns to Europe—Successes of the Turks—Last Siege and Fall of Acre—Palestine lost

CHAPTER XV. Fate of the Orders of the Temple and St. John—The Templars abandon all Hopes of recovering Jerusalem—Mingle in European Politics—Offend Philip the Fair—Are persecuted—Charges against them—The Order destroyed—The Knights of St. John pursue the Purpose of defending Christendom—Settle in Rhodes—Siege of Rhodes—Gallant Defence—The Island taken—The Knights remove to Malta—Siege of Malta—La Valette—Defence of St. Elmo—Gallantry of the Garrison—The whole Turkish Army attempt to storm the Castle—The Attack repelled—Arrival of Succour—The Siege raised—Conclusion

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