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Chivalry in Medieval England

Chivalry in Medieval England

Nigel Saul

ISBN 9780674063686

Publication date: 10/15/2011

Popular views of medieval chivalry—knights in shining armor, fair ladies, banners fluttering from battlements—were inherited from the nineteenth-century Romantics. This is the first book to explore chivalry’s place within a wider history of medieval England, from the Norman Conquest to the aftermath of Henry VII’s triumph at Bosworth in the Wars of the Roses.

Saul invites us to view the world of castles and cathedrals, tournaments and round tables, with fresh eyes. Chivalry in Medieval England charts the introduction of chivalry by the Normans, the rise of the knightly class as a social elite, the fusion of chivalry with kingship in the fourteenth century, and the influence of chivalry on literature, religion, and architecture. Richard the Lionheart and the Crusades, the Black Death and the Battle of Crecy, the Magna Carta and the cult of King Arthur—all emerge from the mists of time and legend in this vivid, authoritative account.

Praise

  • Nigel Saul takes a relatively benign view of medieval noblemen. He rejects the once-fashionable notion that war was all about money and land, and that chivalry was just tinsel. And, although he sees a steep decline in standards in the last medieval century, he thinks that chivalric values did have a real influence in civilizing the conduct of war. Whether one agrees with this or not, his is a view that commands respect. He is a historian with a rare gift for seeing the human lives behind the rather formulaic and impersonal sources of medieval history, and he has written widely about aristocratic culture...Saul can make the most unpromising material speak to us with a directness that can surprise even those who are already familiar with it. This is a rich book that does ample justice to its complex theme.

    —Jonathan Sumption, Sunday Times

Author

  • Nigel Saul is Professor of Medieval History, University of London.

Book Details

  • 440 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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