Chivalry was re-purposed by women, for women.

Reader ‘Reality’ Doug writes (emphasis mine):

Dalrock, very educational. Your thesis may be no less irrefutable than Alex Jones’ certain theory, but your ‘evidence’ from the lips of a woman who earns a living as a college professor…you should know better. You did not address the potential for female spin to sell ‘chivalry’ as (re)defined by Team Woman. It’s not like I will come up with my own expert opinion on C.S. Lewis or Thomas Malory, but I must be suspicious of the sex so fair and so artful at rewriting the history of men not just past but present and even future.

Reality Doug has hit on the core of the issue.  Women did redefine chivalry for Team Woman. But this didn’t happen in modern times. It happened in the 1100s! The chivalry we love wasn’t corrupted, it is the corruption. The women who redefined chivalry to serve team woman were not professors at Oxford, but Eleanor of Aquitaine and her daughter Marie de Champagne.

If your chivalry comes from the Arthurian universe that includes Sir Lancelot, then your chivalry is fully corrupted with the ideology of courtly love, leading back to Chrétien de Troyes’ Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart circa 1177.  As Infogalactic explains (emphasis mine):

The story is an Arthurian legend, and one of the first to feature Lancelot as a prominent character. The narrative tells about the abduction of Queen Guinevere, and is the first text to feature the love affair between Lancelot and Guinevere. While little is known about the life of Chrétien de Troyes, it can be said that his writings impacted the Arthurian canon, establishing Lancelot’s subsequent prominence in English literature. Chrétien was the first writer to deal with the Arthurian themes of the lineage of Lancelot, his relationship to Guinevere, and the idea of courtly love.

Courtly love was coined by the medievalist Gaston Paris in 1883 to help understand the relationship between Lancelot and Guinevere in Lancelot, The Knight of the Cart. Alexander J. Denomy describes courtly love as, “…a type of sensual love and what distinguishes it from other forms of sexual love, from mere passion… is its purpose or motive, its formal object, namely, the lover’s progress and growth in natural goodness, merit, and worth”(44).[3] In the Knight of the Cart, Lancelot has become entranced by Guinevere and in more ways than [4] one, is ruled by her. As the queen, Guinevere maintains power over the kingdom as well as Lancelot. When Meleagant questions their love and her adultery to the king, Lancelot challenges Meleagant to a battle to protect Guinevere’s honor. Lancelot has no shame in showing his affair with the queen, “Lancelot’s love explodes into romance without any beginning revealed or end foretold, fully formed and symbolized by the extraordinary fullness of his heart” (Lacy). This introduction of the love affair between Guinevere and Lancelot appears in many other stories after this poem was written.

Chrétien de Troyes included the theme of (as we now call it) courtly love at the specific direction of Marie de Champagne:

It is believed that in the production of The Knight of the Cart, Chrétien was provided with source material (or matiere), as well as a san, or a derivation of the material. The matiere in this case would refer to the story of Lancelot, and the san would be his affair with Guinevere. Marie de Champagne was well known for her interest in affairs of courtly love, and is believed to have suggested the inclusion of this theme into the story. For this reason, it is said that Chrétien could not finish the story himself because he did not support the adulterous themes.

Chrétien makes this clear in the very beginning of the tale.  The very act of writing the story was an act of chivalry as we know the term (of the courtly love variety):

Since my lady of Champagne wishes me to undertake to write a romance, I shall very gladly do so, being so devoted to her service as to do anything in the world for her, without any intention of flattery. But if one were to introduce any flattery upon such an occasion, he might say, and I would subscribe to it, that this lady surpasses all others who are alive, just as the south wind which blows in May or April is more lovely than any other wind. But upon my word, I am not one to wish to flatter my lady. I will simply say: “The Countess is worth as many queens as a gem is worth of pearls and sards.” Nay I shall make no comparison, and yet it is true in spite of me; I will say, however, that her command has more to do with this work than any thought or pains that I may expend upon it. Here Chretien begins his book about the Knight of the Cart. The material and the treatment of it are given and furnished to him by the Countess, and he is simply trying to carry out her concern and intention. Here he begins the story.

Again, chivalry was corrupted, but the corruption happened much sooner than the defenders of Arthurian chivalry are willing to admit.  Arthurian legends predate Lancelot and the Cart, but the Arthurian universe as we know it was redefined way back in the 1100s by powerful noblewomen who wanted to transform chivalry into a glorification of romantic love and subservience to women.

This entry was posted in Chivalry, Courtly Love, Denial, Feminist Territory Marking, Sir Lancelot, Sir Thomas Malory, Wife worship. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Chivalry was re-purposed by women, for women.

  1. Pingback: Chivalry was re-purposed by women, for women. | @the_arv

  2. Sharkly says:

    Women did redefine chivalry for Team Woman. But this didn’t happen in modern times. It happened in the 1100s! … but the Arthurian universe as we know it was redefined way back in the 1100s by powerful noblewomen who wanted to transform chivalry into a glorification of romantic love and subservience to women.

    900 years later, I’m wondering if this didn’t actually start sooner.

    Genesis 3:17 ¶ Also to Adam he said, Because thou hast obeyed the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, (whereof I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it) cursed is the earth for thy sake: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.

  3. Lexet Blog says:

    Or also, there is chivalry, and then there is women’s opinion /alternate reality, as to what chivalry is. As they dominate the media, women’s perception of reality has distorted chivalry and drowned out any other possible interpretation of what it is.

  4. earl says:

    Lancelot has become entranced by Guinevere and in more ways than one, is ruled by her.

    Which if you take this into marriage is the death knell.

    As the queen, Guinevere maintains power over the kingdom as well as Lancelot.

    Which is why when it came to ancient Israel…(and yes I’ll go kingdom of Heaven here too)…that’s the reason why the king is the son of the queen. It’s not like often the pagan areas the king was the husband to the queen. The dynamic between mother-son hasn’t changed when it comes to the kingdom.

  5. Novaseeker says:

    Or also, there is chivalry, and then there is women’s opinion /alternate reality, as to what chivalry is. As they dominate the media, women’s perception of reality has distorted chivalry and drowned out any other possible interpretation of what it is.

    It’s become de facto what chivalry means in our culture. When someone describes a man as chivalrous in 21st century America, is that person talking about characteristics of feudal military culture, or is he talking about how the man treats women? You know full well what the answer is, the rest is just quibbling.

  6. Anonymous Reader says:

    Yep. Eleanor of Aquitane.

    At this point i urge men to go and view the movie “The Lion in Winter” about Eleanor and her kingly husband. It’s a 60’s movie but watched with The Glasses on, Eleanor’s behavior is obvious.

    Those moderns who try to appeal to the “martial aspect” of Chivalry shouldn’t be pointing to Arthur at all. Rather they should be looking further back, pre-Crusades, to Beowulf (700 AD) or the Song of Roland (770 AD). One thing about both stories / poems / sagas, girls are not the focus nor even paid much attention to. Although I guess Beowulf’s mother might count…as an unwanted visitor to the mead hall, for example.

    A former Marine of my acquaintance is fond of Beowulf, and of the film adaptation 13th warrior, even with the really painfully clunky dialog in parts. Women in that movie come in various forms. None of them are KickAssGrrrls. None are objects of adoration.

    Men have more important things to do than please women or wait on their whims.

    Romance? Chivalry? Time for a little AV Club presentation…

    In the moment of the gravest extreme:

    Role of women:
    “Do not let them be taken..”

    Role of men:
    “Lo, there, do I see my father…”

  7. earl says:

    ….there is women’s opinion /alternate reality, as to what chivalry is.

    True.

    However when you replace that word ‘chivalry’ with things like ‘due process, ‘justice’ and truth…well we are beginning to see just how bad taking the women’s opinion and alternate reality is. That’s why ‘fake news’ works so well in pointing out that it is actually fake.

  8. Anonymous Reader says:

    Although I guess Beowulf’s Grendel’s mother might count…as an unwanted visitor to the mead hall, for example.

    Fixed that particular blunder.

  9. You aren’t wrong, but in the interest of accuracy I should note that there is a lot of debate about whether or not “The Knight of the Cart” is supposed to be a satire.

  10. A Portuguese Man says:

    @Anonymous Reader

    They needn’t look that far back.

    These two are from my neck of the woods. I’d say the second one embodies almost perfectly what the true uncorrupted ideal of chivalry is.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Cid
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuno_%C3%81lvares_Pereira

  11. This, incidentally, is why T.H. White’s “The Ill-Made Knight” is so brilliant. It is essentially the Tragedy of the Gamma Male.

    Poor delta Arthur is cucked but unwilling to do what is necessary and sentence his disloyal wife and friend to death. This leads to the ultimate downfall of Camelot.

  12. But there is hope for America, as some husbands regain their manhood:

    “Woman Graciously Submits To Husband By Allowing Him To Pick Which Episode Of ‘Gilmore Girls’ To Watch”

    https://babylonbee.com/news/woman-graciously-submits-to-husband-by-allowing-him-to-pick-which-episode-of-gilmore-girls-to-watch

  13. Damn Crackers says:

    Screw Lancelot. He’d get his ass kicked by Roland any day.

  14. Nitpicker says:

    I suspect it all started almost innocently… The poor bored wives of the nobles back then wanted to have a little bit of their fantasy in the fiction they listened to, you know, fifty shades of gray, just the other way around, the way it goes in fifty, they probably were getting the real deal, no need to fantasize.
    I imagine the very start of the courtly love phenomenon something like:
    Baron hurrying to go hunting, looking forward to the pretty dairy maid in the third village gets stopped by his court poet who, distressed, whispers in his ear:
    “Sir, mylady asked me to change Arthur´s stories…”
    “So what?”
    “Well, it´s, you know, somewhat inappropriate changes…”
    “Devil takes inappropriate if it shuts her up.” Canters away.

    And here we are stuck with Le Chevalier de la charette…

  15. Pingback: Chivalry was re-purposed by women, for women. | Reaction Times

  16. I can’t help but be reminded of a certain scene from ‘Les Roi Maudits’ where the Queen almost humiliated

  17. I can’t help but be reminded of a certain scene from ‘Les Roi Maudits’ (the Accursed Kings) where during a serious tournament, the queen almost humiliates an important nobleman by disqualifying him from a tournament. In the middle of intense combat, where men are dying and having their armor taken as ransom, the whole thing can be stopped by a woman at any time.

    The king stops this from happening, and it’s clear that noblewomen weren’t supposed to abuse this power. But by the 13th century, the military concept of chivalry was thoroughly perverted by courtly love. I don’t know if this was a result of unchristian beliefs about love, or if it was a necessary innovation to give chivalry a place in civil society. But it’s strange to see both the military and the courtly values expressed in the same place at the same time.

    Chivalry was definitely corrupted, not simply displaced by something else going by the same name. There are differences over time, but the two systems were one and the same thing.

  18. Anonymous Reader says:

    A Portuguese Man
    They needn’t look that far back.

    The Cid is still not as well known outside of the, erm, “Iberian derived world[1]” as the other two I mentioned. This is an error in my opinion.

    Apropos of that, last year I was surprised when I learned that Portugal was freed from the Moorish occupation many years before Spain. That fact clarified some history that I learned all the way back in grade school, such as da Gama’s voyages.

    [1] I don’t have a clear word to describe “Spain and Portugal plus all the places around the planet influenced directly and indirectly by those nations”. There’s nothing equivalent to “Anglosphere” that I can think of. For example, a Mexican national who was a co-worker once urged me to learn proper Spanish “Just so you can really read The Quijote!”, and his Chilean associate agreed with that. Have not quite gotten around to it, yet…

  19. The Question says:

    “Women did redefine chivalry for Team Woman. But this didn’t happen in modern times. It happened in the 1100s!”

    The problem is the word “chivalry” continues to be used by some modern writers to describe a code of male conduct that has nothing to do with courtly love. A recent history book of major battles that I have describes Henry V as breaking “all rules of chivalry” by having French prisoners executed during the Battle of Agincourt. Another book “The Decline and Fall of the British Empire” describes the “chivalrous” behavior of Australian soldiers during the Gallipoli campaign in World War I due to their loyalty to their “mates.”

    The word “chivalry” is now like the word “consent” – the actual definition all depends on who is speaking and their intent.

    A military historian who speaks of chivalry will mean something akin to the Song of Roland. A 50 year old churchian has in mind a man opening doors for women and deferring to their wishes.

    I’m not saying that courtly love isn’t considered a part of chivalry, as evident by the orders of chivalry, but it’s not the sole aspect of it.

    Either way, the two concepts need to be separated by using different words to avoid misunderstanding. The challenge is that “chivalry” is old, well known and has strong connotations.

  20. Anonymous Reader says:

    The word “chivalry” is now like the word “consent” – the actual definition all depends on who is speaking and their intent.

    “Who, Whom?”

    Either way, the two concepts need to be separated by using different words to avoid misunderstanding.

    For many, “misunderstanding” in this case is a feature.

  21. Warthog says:

    “Courtly love” looks like “adultery” to me. Courtly love was merely a scheme to justify adultery by rich and powerful married women.

  22. Spike says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong here, but there was a moral of the story. Lancelot’s affair with Guinevere caused a rift between Arthur and Lancelot, causing the Round Table to be weakened so that Mordred (Mordred being a product of Arthur’s infidelity with his sister Morgana) could assume power?
    Isn’t the moral of the story that unrestrained passions cause destruction?
    How is it that only the passionate, romantic side of the story is told without the tragic end morality tale?

  23. Red Pill Latecomer says:

    Yes, Lancelot’s affair did weaken the Round Table. But Mordred failed to assume power. He raised an army against Arthur. But he and Arthur killed each other in battle, ending both Arthur’s Camelot and Mordred’s aspirations.

  24. Russ from L.I. says:

    I’m happy to say, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian, that none of this Frankish crap was around when western Europe was Orthodox. Tolkien said the worst thing that ever happened to English literature was the Norman invasion. So where did all those Anglo-Saxon warriors that were able to escape with their hides run off to?: The Rus Empire & The Eastern Roman Empire. Funny, but they had no problem in the East with female “emperors,” yet they never abandoned the biblical model of gender relations like the West did. Man, those Anglo-Saxon war-masks were so badass! Guess going full-on scholastic theologically the Western guys had to balance things out by courting the ladies’ favor some other way….
    Meanwhile, we still have married priests, Russians are still masculine men who kicked Muslim ass when they tried funny stuff like Cologne over there, and Chivalry’s not part of Orthodox heritage. Booyah.

  25. BillyS says:

    Humans are humans all over the world Russ. Watch throwing stones or you will likely destroy your own house along the way.

  26. Pingback: How to woo a peasant woman. | Dalrock

  27. Spike says:

    ”Chivalry hasn’t been corrupted. It IS the corruption”
    In short, we’ve been immersed in, versed in, seeded with and indoctrinated with the corruption since we were born. It’s in every aspect of our culture.
    Great.
    It isn’t every day you open a blog and find out you’re living on Planet Mills and Boon. I’m angry, but not at this blog. I’m angry at my culture.

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