Knighthood, the condition, honor, and rank of a knight, also the service due from a knight, and the tenure of land by such service. In a secondary sense, the word is employed to denote the class of knights-the aggregate body of any particular knightly association; the institution itself, and the spirit of the institution. In these remoter meanings it becomes identical with Chivalry,
and it is in this point of view that it will principally be considered here. The term is one of various significance, and is, therefore, apt for ambiguities; it is one whose applications were of gradual development, and which is, accordingly, of diverse historical import. Its explanation is thus necessarily intricate and multifarious, and care is requisite to avoid confounding different things, or different phases of the same thing, under the single common name. Neglect of this precaution has occasioned much of the extravagance and complexity which-are noticeable in speculations on this subject.
A knight under the feudal system-miles in the Latinity of feudal jurisprudence-was one holding land by military service (servilium militare), with horse, and shield, and lance, and armor cap-a-pie (Blackstone, Commentaries, ii, 62-3). Knighthood in this application corresponds closely with the French designation chevalerie, and its consideration is inextricably intertwined with that of chivalry.
The characteristics of knighthood have undergone many modifications in the lapse of long centuries. The lord mayor of London is knighted for the presentation of an address to the sovereign, and Michael Faraday is deservedly made an officer of the Legion of Honor for chemical and other scientific discoveries; but in the main conception and strict usage of the term knighthood, liege service in war is implied.
"A knight ther was, and that a worthy man, That from the tyme that he ferst bigan To ryden out, he lovede chyvalrye, Trouthe and honour, fredorm and curtesye. Ful worthi was he in his lordes werre, And therto had he riden, noman ferre, As wel in Cristendom as in hethenesse, And ever honoured for his worthinesse." The character of knighthood, however, as distinguished from the mere tenure of land by knight-service, was entirely personal, and hence it is conferred and attaches only for life, and is not descendible by inheritance. It cannot be assumed by one's own act, but must be bestowed by another of knightly or of superior rank. The knight's estate was held by knight- service, or chivalry, and the heir at full age was entitled and could be compelled to receive knighthood. Compulsory writs for the latter purpose were frequently issued from the proper courts. But, until the dignity was conferred, the aspirant was no knight. Many entitled to claim the dignity declined to do so, though holding land by knightly tenure, because unable to bear the expenses incident to the rank. Hence arose the old adage: "Bon
escuyer vault mieulx que pauvre chevalier." But the reality or the obligation of personal military service was always entailed by knighthood.
I. Origin of Knighthood or Chivalry. — Under the impulse of the same uncritical spirit which referred the descent of the Britons to Brutus and wanderers from Troy, the origin of knighthood has been traced back to the judges of Israel or to the heroes of the Iliad. More modest inquirers have been content to go no further back than to Constantine's supposed "Order of the Golden Angel" (313), or to the equally imaginary Ethiopian "Order of St. Anthony," and the anchorites of the African deserts. Others, more modest still, ascend only to " King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table," or to Charles Martel and the "Order of the Gennet," or to "Charlemagne and his Paladins." In all such genealogies there is much fantasy, confusion, and retrospective legend. The incidents of war must in all ages present some general resemblances. There must always have been leaders and followers, brothers in arms, and associations of warriors-" vixerefortes ante Agamemnona." Such tendencies in human nature as prompted these military unions might furnish the impulse to subsequent institutions, but to ascribe the origin of the institutions themselves to the first recorded manifestation of these tendencies is to renounce all historical discrimination. When the origin of knighthood is investigated, what is desired is the discovery of the existence of a definite institution, with precise and distinctive characteristics, animated by a peculiar spirit, which gave its coloring to society for many generations, and which still exercises a potent influence over life and manners. What is contemplated is "a military institution, prompted by enthusiastic benevolence, sanctioned by religion, and combined with religious ceremonies, the purpose of which was to protect the weak from the oppression of the powerful, and to defend the right against the wrong" (James, History of Chivalry, chap. i). The only important omissions in this definition are the obligation of "honneur aux dames," knightly truth, and the thorough interpenetration of Christian profession, if rarely of Christian practice.
The germ of knighthood, but only the germ, may unquestionably be found in the ancient usages of the Teutonic tribes and in the Teutonic comitatus, which coalesced with Roman customs and with the suggestions of the times in shaping feudalism. The very name of knight-cniht, cnicht, boy, servant, military follower would indicate such a derivation. "Arma sumere non ante cuiquam moris quam civitas suffecturum probaverit. Tumr in ipso concilio principum aliquis, vel pater, vel propinqui, scuto frameaque juvenem ornant. Hoc apud illos toga, hic publicus juventme honos; ante hoc domus pars videntur, mox reipublic.e.... Ceteris robustioribus et jam pridem probatis adgregantur; nec rubor inter comites aspici" (Tacitus, Germ. c. xiii; comp. c. xiv). To this same source must be ascribed in part, but only in part, the chivalrous deference for women: " in esse quin etiam sanctum aliquid et providum pertant; nec aut consilia earum aspernantur aut response neglegunt" (ibid, c. viii). The intensification and spiritualization of this deference are due to Christianity.
Ethnical temperaments, ethnical tendencies, and ethnical usages are seldom entirely eradicated. They continue under many transmutations and disguises; lurk under new forms, animate new institutions, and enter into strange and often undetected combinations. With this explanation, knighthood may be, in some measure, referred to the rude warriors of the forests of Germany, who are described in the satirical romance of Tacitus in terms more appropriate to the Indians of North America than to any populations which really occupied the provinces of the crumbling empire of Rome. The actual historical origin of knighthood, though very obscure, may be safely assigned to a much later age, and to other more potent influences than those which flowed from the Rhine, and the Elbe, and the shores of the Baltic.
Without recurring to the details of the feudal system, SEE FIEF, it may be stated that feudal services (servilita) were strictly limited, and prescribed military service for a fixed time and of a fixed amount. Circumstances might occur which would demand longer. less restricted, and less formally organized warfare. Such circumstances did occur in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries. During the Norman ravages of France, on the disruption of the Carlovingian empire and the decay of the Carlovingian dynasty, universal anarchy, misery, and outrage covered the land. The perils from the barbarous enemy were scarcely greater than those from violent and rapacious barons, and from lawless and lordless plunderers. The multiplied horrors of the dismal period were aggravated by general destitution, by famine, by plague, and by disastrous prodigies on the earth and in the heavens. The bonds of authority were snapped; the regular organization of the feudal society was rent and suspended; immediate protection and prompt redress, without too nice distinction of rank and subordination, were demanded on all sides. Those who had the power, the heart, and the will, found abundant work for active hands to do in the defence of women and children, of the old and infirm, of unarmed merchants and pilgrims, of priests and monks; and rode through the country endeavoring to repress disorder, if unable to establish order. The condition of things was even worse than such as might now provoke Lynch law or instigate vigilance committees. Of course, the vigilance committees of the closing millennium assumed the mould of the time in which their services were rendered. Accordingly, the avengers of iniquity were guided by an earnest, though usually rude and blundering sense of Christian obligation in their generous warfare. It thus became the avowed duty of the true knight to serve women, to protect the feeble, to minister to the wounded, to comfort the wretched, to repress or punish wrong, and in all honor to uphold and to do the right.
"He had abroad in armes wonne muche fame, And fild far landes with glorie of his might; Plaine, faithful, true, and enimy of shame, And ever lov'd to fight for ladies right; But in vaine-glorious frayes he litle did delight."
While these calamitous generations writhed through their long agony in France, the progress of the Holy Warfare in Spain against the Saracens invited and enriched the princes, nobles, and adventurers who fought for the Cross against the Crescent. Religious fervor was thus intimately conjoined with martial prowess. But. both in France and Spain, and, in less degree, in other countries, similar necessities concurred in the production of like phenomena. Ill all cases there was a relaxation of the direct connection of military achievement with landed estates and feudal subordination. High moral qualities and Christian zeal were required of the landless or lonely knight, or were annexed as requirements to complete the character of the accomplished feudal vassal. Thus the true knight came to be distinguished from the knight by feudal tenure; though the feudal knight might possess, and was expected to possess, knightly characteristics in addition to his feudal domain and its attendant obligations.
Doubtless in France and Spain, and elsewhere, chivalrous emprise was encouraged, if not originated by the Church, the sole moral authority of those days, which was anxious for peace, earnest for order, vowed to the maintenance of right, and eager to subordinate to spiritual rule and guidance the military ardor and the temporal power of the time.
All these influences and all these tendencies, of various age and origin, converged and commingled, with augmented energy in each, in the Crusades. These romantic and persistent enterprises may have been undertaken and prolonged by the instigation and for the interest of the Papacy, but they were none the less the outburst of popular enthusiasm, and of a popular enthusiasm which gave form and active reality to an instinctive perception of urgent policy. Whole nations are not impelled for centuries to arduous and perilous undertakings by any extrinsic force; the enduring impulse by which they are set and kept in motion must be a living power in their own bosoms, " bequeathed by bleeding sire to son." Looking back from the safe vantange ground, which has been secured only within two hundred years, it is difficult to appreciate justly the alarming dangers to which Christianity and Christian nations were exposed from Moslem aggression at the commencement of the second millennium of our era. The apprehension was not dispelled entirely till the victory of John Sobieski under the walls of Vienna (1683). It is equally difficult to estimate now the effect of a wild, warlike fanaticism against, Saracens and Pagans in implanting the recently acquired and imperfectly received creed in turbulent spirits, and perhaps still more difficult to recognise the service rendered by the Holy Wars in diffusing and deepening the sentiment of a common faith, a common interest, a common civilization throughout Western Europe-a Christendom, or dominion of Christ.
All of these feelings were quickened by the Crusades, and were both exalted and rendered, in some sort, self-conscious by them. It must be remembered that the Crusades did not begin with Peter the Hermit and the Council of Clermont, but that the crusading spirit had been previously manifested and cherished in Spain, in Sicily, and in Northern Africa. This spirit only received its full development and definite purpose by being directed to the recovery of Jerusalem. Through distant Asiatic expeditions the desultory and unregulated adventure for the maintenance of Christian belief and Christian security was generalized, organized, disciplined, and refined. The disorderly violence of martial barons was withdrawn from domestic discords, and guided to a great European aim. War was in some degree sanctified; it was ennobled, at least in the conception of the warrior, by being employed for the defence and maintenance of the faith. A strange but not unfruitful union was thus effected between devotion and military prowess. There is no question here of the use which was made of this combination for the extension of ecclesiastical domination. All that is contemplated is the consequence of this union in the production of chivalry and of the knightly character-a magnificent and previously unimagined ideal, however far human vices, and passions, and frailties may have prevented the perfect realization of that ideal. Is Christianity to be condemned in these late ages because so few of those who profess its behests reach their performance, and because so many fail to add the Christian graces to the plainer merits of Christian belief and morals? The vision of the Holy Grail may visit this sorrowful earth, but it is not on earth that it can be won even by Sir Galahad.
Another influence must be admitted to have exercised a beneficial effect on the formation of knighthood. 'This is the contact and comparison with the intellectual and social culture of the degenerate Greeks, and with the elegance and courtesy of the Saracens. This influence must have commenced early, for Bohemond, and Tancred, and Raymond of Toulouse, and Godfrey of Bouillon, and Robert of Normandy carried with them to the Holy Land in the First Crusade much of that courtly bearing and generous sentiment which did not become generally disseminated through the Christian West, or through the nobility at home, till the Second and Third Crusades. These qualities may have been directly and indirectly communicated by the Saracens in Spain, Sicily, and Southern France.
Old institutions of the German forest life; the effects of feudal organization and of feudal society; the necessities of a ravaged, ruined, and distracted country; the operation of religious zeal, and even of general religious fanaticism; the action of the priesthood, and collision with cultivated Greeks and brilliant Saracens, all contributed to the formation of the type of a Christian soldier — a true knight, a prleux checdier, sans talche et sans reproche. The judgment is accordingly correct which regards the era of the Crusades, when the regular and permanent Orders were instituted, as the true period of the formation of that kieal of knighthood which is one of the most precious bequests for which modern times are indebted to the Middle Ages. Undoubtedly there was a previous growth of the same kind, but the growth did not proceed to mature and perfect fruitage until all agencies were efficaciously combined on the sacred soil of Palestine.
It is a cause of great embarrassment in endeavoring to ascertain the characteristics and origin of any institution which has widely prevailed in obscure ages, that such institutions only gradually assume the complete form which is their familiar shape, that many concurrent streams flow in at different periods and add their contributions, and that the darkness of the foregone time affords every opportunity and every temptation to throw back into the past those characteristics which only belong to the institution in its final development. The same confusion which presented Virgil as a necromancer to medieval fancy, and made Theseus a feudal duke of Athens in the imagination of Chaucer and Shakespeare, and exhibited Dan Hector and Sir Alexander to the admiring regards of baronial circles in the thirteenth century, pushed back the distinctions of knighthood to periods in which the germs of chivalry existed only in a loose and disconnected form. By this glamour the Arthurian cycle and the Carlovimngian myths were fashioned, and the inventions and ideas of the twelfth century were provided with a historical existence in the sixth and eighth. After knighthood became an established institution, it prevailed so widely and so generally that it seemed to be a necessary part of social order. Saladin is said to have sought and received the accolade from a Christian captive, and the Byzantine emperor Manuel Comnenus held jousts and tourneys on the plains of Antioch (Nicet. Chomat. 3:3; comp. Joann. Cantacuzenus, 1, 42).
II. Nature of Knighthood. — A knight was a soldier (miles), usually, but not necessarily, of gentle blood-a soldier who fought on horseback (caballarius, chevalier, caballero) with panoply complete
"From top to toe no place appeared bare, That deadly dint of steele endanger may."
In the feudal hierarchy he was the holder of a knight's fee, but, as chivalry was developed, he might be "lord of his presence and no land beside." The quality was thus distinguished from the estate. and, although penalties were imposed for conferring the character on any one not of knightly blood and of knightly havings, yet the honor, once bestowed, was indelible except by degradation for unworthy conduct. This point was decided in an English court of law by lord Coke, and the decision was more recently confirmed by lord Kenyon in the case of "Sir John Gallini," a ballet-master. Knighthood thus came to designate personal character and station, in contradistinction to political rank. The impoverished warrior, like " Walter the Penniless," or Bertrand du Guesclin, or the Chevalier Bayard, might be the pearl of knights, and might sit down with princes; the powerful and wealthy baron might be wholly destitute of knightly estimation.
It was a precious service that was rendered to morals and civility when lofty virtues were thus broadly discriminated from territorial possessions and worldly rank. It was a noble model of personal purity and elevation which was presented for imitation to a warlike and stormy age. The knightly character, and the obligations imposed by that character, are strikingly delineated in the instructions of Alphonso V of Portugal to his son and heir, when he knighted him after the conquest of Arzilla (1471), in the presence of his slain Count de Marialva. "First, to instruct you," said the king, "what the nature of knighthood is, know, my son, that it consists in a close confederacy or union of power and virtue, to establish peace among men, whenever ambitions avarice, or tyranny troubles states or injures particulars; for knights are bound to employ their swords on these occasions, in order to dethrone tyrants and put good men in their place. But they are likewise obliged to keep fidelity to their sovereign, as well as to obey their chiefs in war, and to give them salutary counsels. It is also the duty of a knight to be frank and liberal, and to think nothing his own but his horse and arms, which he ought to keep for the sake of acquiring honor with them, by using them in defence of his religion and country, and of those who are unable to defend themselves; for, as the priesthood was instituted for divine service, so was chivalry for the maintenance of religion and justice. A knight ought to be the husband of widows, the father of orphans, the protector of the poor, and the prop of those who have no other support; and they who do not act thus are unworthy to bear that name. These, my son, are the obligations which the order of knighthood will lay upon you." Striking the infant thrice on the helmet with his sword, Alphonso added, "May God make you as good a knight as this whose body you see before you, pierced in several places for the service of God and of his sovereign" (cited by lord Lyttelton, Hist. of Len. II, 3:159, 160. See also Digby, Moores Catholici, bk. 9:chap. x; James, Hist. of Chivalry, chap. i).
This lofty exemplar may have been rarely approached in the ages of chivalry. The Black Prince was guilty of sanguinary atrocities. The passions of men were brutal and untamed; temptations were great and frequent; but continual failures would not furnish strange instances of the disproportion between conception and performance, Much, however, was achieved by the constant contemplation of excellence, even though it was unattained, and by the repeated efforts after each declension to aspire to the perfection so often abandoned. Much, too, was gained by the partial and occasional accomplishment of the high duties prescribed. Even more, perhaps, was slowly secured by the bitter shame and repentance which ever revived, and thus perpetuated, the desire and the image of better things. "Altius ibunt qui ad summa nituntur." Much corruption undoubtedly flowed from the conjunction of chivalry with the Provengal courts of love, which were of mingled Greek and Saracenic descent. They contributed much to the obscuration and debasement of the wise ideal, but they contributed fully as much to the refinement and polish of the intercourse between the sexes. They added literary and intellectual culture to martial bearing; they toned down the rough, blunt manner of the battle-field to the elegant and respectful courtesies of the boudoir. They exacted from "the dauntless in war" that he should be equally gentle in peace and "faithful in love." Thus gallantry was mellowed and softened into civility, which was the antithesis of military brusquerie, as in the abbe Talleyrand's celebrated witticism. Hence sprung that thoroughly modern and Christian product, "the gentleman of the olden time," of which Sir Harry Lee of Ditchley may be taken as a specimen. If fearful licentiousness accompanied these amiable graces in Provence, Languedoc, Aquitaine, and other sunny southern lands, at any rate vice was stripped of its brutality and coarsenes, and lost its brazen shamelessness and virulent contagion. But, though truth and fidelity to his " faire ladye" were always demanded of the knight, the sensualism of the countries of romance was only accidentally connected with knightly conduct, and never formed any part of its nature. Moreover, though it be true that
"The evil that men do l'ves after them, The good is oft interred with their bones,"
the converse is equally true; and modern generations unquestionably owe much of those rarely-attained perfections which are now most admired to the fragrant nastiness and ornate prurience of the Cours d'Amour and Jeux Floraux.
In the splendid Arthurian cycle-a brighter realm of romance than all the legends of Homer and the Homeride — the heroes and heroines are sadly stained and spotted with moral blurs and blotches; and even with gross crimes. Sir Lancelot, "first of knights," bears an ineradicable brand; but still is scarce
"Less than archangel ruined, and the excess Of glory obscured."
The birth and the marriage of king Arthur are equally foul; and the champions and dames that encircled him are all tainted, except Sir Galahad-" among the faithess, faithful only he." But, despite the endless detail of weakness, of truth, and of sin, the central idea comes forth, like the sun emerging from a bank of clouds-the noblest dream of human fantasy, the highest evidence of ethereal aspirations from the midst of vicious indulgences and multiplied contaminations. This type is true knighthood. What knighthood was has been already partly explained; what it is in the Arthurian romances is shown by Arthur's latest bard:
"In that fair Order of the Table Round, A glorious comp-any, the flower of men, To serve as model for the mighty world, And be the fair beginning of a time. I made them lay their hands in mine, and swear To reverence the king, as if he were Their conscience, and their conscience as the king To break the heathen, and uphold the Christ; To ride abroad redressing human wrongs; To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it; To lead sweet lives in purest chastity; To love one maiden only, cleave to her, And worship her by years of noble deeds, Until they won her; for indeed I knew Of no more subtle master under heaven Than is the maiden passion for a maid, Not only to keep down the base in man, But teach high thoughts, and amiable words, And courtliness, and the desire of fame, And love of truth, and all that makes a man."
III. Classes and Degrees of Knighthood.-Knighthood may be loosely distributed into six classes:
1. Feudal knighthood;
2. Simple knighthood;
3. Regular knighthood, or the knighthood of the spiritual orders, like the Knights of Malta;
4. Honorary knighthood, as of the Garter;
5. Titular knighthood, as in England and many other countries, constituting a dignity of lesser nobility;
6. Social, or fantastic knighthood, as the Templars in Freemasonry, the Knights of Pythias, etc.
The first of these classes furnishes the foundation and origin of all the rest, but needs no further notice than has been already given. The last is foreign to the present purpose. 'he fifth may be excluded, as it is political rather than chivalrous. Simple, regular, and honorary knighthood require further, but brief consideration.
Each of these classes exhibits the same general constitution, though the third is only an imitation, and a preposterous prolongation of the first with the forms of the second. In each there are usually three degrees. In actual chivalry, these were the page, the squire, and the knight. The young son of a knight, or of a noble who was also a knight, was placed at the age of seven years in the service and charge of another knight, selected on account of family connection, friendship, or personal renown. The education of the young in the ages of chivalry was secured by attendance on their elders in the field, in hunting, at the table, and in the concerns of domestic life (see Correspondence of Simon ale Monffort and bishop Grosseteste, and the Treatises on Manners in The Babees' Boke). The page, or varlet, or valet (vassaletus, oarletus, vtletus) was taught to ride, to run, to leap, to shoot with the bow, to hawk, to play on the lute. He was taught obedience and attention to his superiors, and was supposed to be kept in the observance of religion and morals. He attended his patron in war, but armed only with a short dagger. His person was safe in the melee, for it was dastardly to assail a page. In the intervals of serious occupation he received guests and ministered to their comforts, and waited on the chatellaine and the other ladies of the household, receiving instruction in legend, and poesy, and song; in manners, and in the formalities of love. The character of the instruction in the last easy science may perhaps be conjectured from the tenor of the lessons composed for his daughters by the knight De la Tour Landry in 1371.
At the age of fourteen the young valet-the term is often extended to the second stage-received a sword, consecrated by religious benedictions, in exchange for his dagger, and entered on the degree of squire (escuyer, scutifer, armiger). His exercises were now mainly directed to the pursuits of war. He was trained to vault on horseback without touching the stirrup.
He was taught the manazge, and the whole art of "noble horsemanship." He carried the knight's lance, or shield, or helmet, or groomed his horse, or led his destrier. He attended him in the tourney and in the battle. He was not a regular combatant in the fight, but he rescued, or defended, or remounted his principal. He cultivated courtsisle, prosecuted his pleasant studies in the art of love, began to wear ladies' favors, sought to become debonnair-that is, neither shy, nor haughty, nor awkward; and diligently imitated the procedure and imbibed the spirit of his senior.
At full age-though the honor was often postponed, and sometimes accelerated-the squire was advanced to the complete knightly dignity, which was bestowed with much solemnity, ceremonial, and religious intervention. These accompaniments were, of course, dispensed with when the promotion was conferred on the battle-field. Usually, however, the reception of knighthood was ordered at some high festival, and was surrounded with imposing and onerous rites.
IV. Institution of a Knight. — Various procedures were adopted in different countries, in different orders, and at different times. They were all symbolic, in accordance with that love of symbol and allegory which characterizes unlettered times. There was, however, such a general resemblance in the form and spirit of the ceremonial that a general description of the procedure may be readily given. It is only necessary to understand that some of the incidents were at times omitted, and that others were frequently modified.
The most elaborate of all investitures appears to have been the old procedure of the Order of the Bath, as described in a manuscript in Frend, first published by Eduardus Bissaeus, and cited textually by Du Cange (s.v. Miles). The novice was intrusted to the charge of select squires. His beard was shaven and his hair was shorn. In the evening, prudent and distinguished knights were sent to instruct him in his obligations. Minstrels and squires came singing and dancing to conduct him to the bath that had been prepared. He was stripped naked and put into the bath. He then received further instructions. When he issued from the bath, he was put to bed to dry off. When dry, he was taken up and clad warmly, with a red garment over the rest, having sleeves and a cowl like a hermit's. The knights led him to the chapel, the attendant squires singing and dancing again. He remained at his vigils and prayers all night. At break of day he confessed and received mass, after which he was put to bed. After he had rested, the knights and squires reappeared, and clothed him. He was then conducted on horseback, with song and dance, to the great hall. His spurs were fastened on by the two noblest knights present, who crossed and kissed him when they had discharged their office. His sword, suspended from a baldric (cingullum), was buckled on by another knight. The king, or officiating knight, then struck him thrice on the cheek (alopa, a slap), or on the neck or helmet, with the flat of his sword (accolluae, adobare, adoptaro: see these titles in Du Cange, and that author's Dissertation xxii sur ,Joinville), and kissed him. The spurred and belted knight was now led back to the chapel, when he knelt, and, laying his hand on the altar, swore to uphold Holy Church through life. Guizot enumerates twenty-six engagements in a knightly oath. The postulant, with his attendant knights, next proceeded to hold high festival, but the young knight was not allowed to eat, to drink, or to move, or to look about him, while the rest were feasting. After further ceremonial, he mounted his horse, assumed his arms, and exhibited feats of warlike dexterity for the entertainment and admiration of the assembled ladies.
This is an abridged, if not a brief account of knightly investiture. These minute and tedious formalities, which are travestied by Don Quixote, belong only to times of peace, and subsequent to the establishment of the regular orders.
V. The Regular Orders grew out of the necessities of the Holy War in Spain and in Palestine. The knights, like priests, were vowed to celibacy, and were designed to be ecclesiastical soldiers. They were to protect pilgrims, to feed the hungry, to entertain the poor, to shield the weak, to nurse the sick and the wounded, to assert the faith, to defend the Christian land, and to do zealously all duties of charity, devotion, and war. The most noted of these Orders were
(I.) The Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, instituted by Godfrey de Bouillon in 1099 to guard the sepulchre of Christ. They were distinguished by a golden cross, cantoned with four crosses of the same, pendent from a black ribbon. They languished and expired after the fall of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem.
(II.) Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, or Knights Hospitallers, afterwards successively Knights of Rhodes (q.v.) and Knights of Malta (q.v.). They were founded about 1048 by some Neapolitan merchants, and organized in 1104. In peace they wore the black robe of the Augustinian fraternity, with a cross of white cloth; in war they exchanged the black robe for a white gown. On the expulsion of the Christians from Palestine they passed over to Cyprus, where they remained till their conquest of Rhodes, 1308. Driven out of Rhodes by the Turks, 1522, they received Malta from the emperor Charles V, 1530. 'The order expired with the surrender of the island to Napoleon in 1798. SEE HOSPITALLES.
(III.) The Knights of the Temple, or Red Cross Knights, founded in 1118 by two French Crusaders, Hugo de Paganis and Godfrey Aldemar (or of St. Omer), and organized in 1128. Their rules were drawn up for them by Bernard of Clairvaux. Their badge was a red cross embroidered on a white cloak; their emblem, two knights on one horse, to indicate their vow of poverty. They soon, however, acquired immense wealth, and were accused of horrid vices and crimes; but Ashmole remarks that many sober men judge that their wealth was their greatest crime. After sharp persecutions and iniquitous trials, they were suppressed with savage cruelty in France by Philippe le Bel, 1310, and soon after in other countries. They were charged with the possession of 40,000 lordships in Europe. SEE TEMPLARS.
(IV.) The Knights of Mary, or the Teutonic Order, established for the support of poor pilgrims of all nations by wealthy German knights, organized in 1190 by the survivors of the army of Frederick Barbarossa. Their distinctive garb was a White mantle, having on the front a black cross with a white potence. Before the loss of Palestine, the Teutonic knights, under their grand-master Hermann von Salza, had directed their efforts and arms against the Prussians, Lithuanians, and heathen tribes of north-eastern Europe. By the secularization of Prussia, in 1525, under their grand-master Albert of Brandenburg, the order was broken up, was deprived of its most valuable possessions, and passed out of notice. SEE TEUTONIC KNIGHTS.
(V.) The Knights of San Salvador, founded by Alphonso V of Aragon in 1118. Extinguished, and its commanderies added to the crown, by Charles II, 1665.
(VI.) The Knights of Santiago de la Espcana, in Spain, refer their origin to 837, but received their definite constitution in 1170.
(VII.) The Knights of Acantara, 1158, and,
(VIII.) The Knights of Calatrava, 1199, were instituted to guard the western and southern portions of Spain against the Moors. The grand- mastership of both was ultimately assumed by the crown of Spain.
The regular orders of knighthood were designed to promote Christian virtues and Christian conduct, and to employ chivalrous energies for the maintenance and extension of Christianity, and the protection of Christendom against Saracens and Pagans. These functions they unquestionably discharged in their better age, and while such services were essentially necessary. With merit came favor, and power, and wealth, and arrogance, and negligence, and idleness, and luxury, and other vices. It is the old and oft-repeated story of energy declining into corruption. But they had afforded Europe time and security to develop, knit together, and confirm its civilization and its strength. When they were extinguished by secular greed for their possessions, their aptitude had disappeared. " Othello's occupation was gone" when " villainous saltpetre" had .totally changed the organization of armies and the conduct of battles. It was chiefly during this period of confusion that sovereigns and princes, desirous of preserving the amusements, exercises, attachments, loyalty, splendors, and honors of knighthood-perhaps, also, of perpetuating its spirit-instituted princely in imitation of the regular orders. The enumeration and description of the multitude of such associations would afford little additional illustration of knighthood. It must suffice to name a few of these imitative establishments. VI. Honorary Knighthood. -Of this there were the following orders: The Order of the: Instituted White Elephant of Denmark 1190. the White Eagle of Poland 1325. the Garter 1343. the Bath 1399. the Golden Fleece 1430. the Thistle 1540. The Order of Saint Esprit 1578 Saint Louis 1693 Saint Andrew and Saint Catharie 1698. the Black Eagle of Prussia 1705. Saint George (for Russia) 1769.
Saint Patrick 1783. the Legion of Honor 1802. the Iron Crown (or Italy) 1805
There is no necessity, and would be little propriety in noticing titular and social, or fantastic knighthood here.
In 1790, Burke lamented that "the age of chivalry was gone." Its expiring gleams gilded the stark forms of Bayard at the Sesia and of Sir Philip Sidney at Zutphen. An institution which, even after a long decline, could breed such characters as these, had obviously rendered an enduring service to humanity. The age of chivalry may be gone, and the forms of chivalry may be relegated to the domain of Romance, but its spirit lives on, offering examples which the young still welcome in their dreamy and joyous days, and which the mature and the old still contemplate with fond and reverential regard. The ideal remains-purified by time, freed from the frailities and alloys of its former embodiment-and aids in fashioning modern sentiment to the conception and admiration of the Christian gentleman. Disregarding the vices which connected themselves with chivalry, but which were not of its essence, knighthood merits the commendation invariably bestowed upon it by discerning historians. It aimed to achieve-as far as the circumstances of its actual manifestation permitted; it did achieve, in thought, if rarely in act-what the oath of the new-made knight bound him to pursue as his rule of action through life. Its influences are transmitted to the passing generation, which has itself witnessed shining illustrations of their abiding efficacy.
VII. Literature.-Mills, History of Chivalry (London, 1825); James, History of Chivalry and the Crusades (London, 1830), are well known to general readers. Familiar also are the notices in Blackstone's Commentaries, bk. ii, chap. v; Robertson, History of Charles V, Introduction; Hallam, Middle Ages, and Guizot, Hist. de la Civilisation en France, ii Cours, chap. vi. The more important and authoritative works on the subject are less known, and some of them are inaccessible to students il this country. Among them may be specified, Lord Lvttelton, Life and History of Henry II (London, 1 77, 6 -vols. 8vo: tedious, but full of information); K. H. Digby, The Broadstone of Honor (London, 1845-8, 3 vols. 12mo), and Mores Catholici, or The Ages of Faith (London, 1844-7, 3 vols. 8vo); Dugdale, Dissertation upon Knighthood in The Antiquities of
Waruickshire (London, 1656, folio); Selden, Titles of Honor (1614, 4to) ; Segar, Honor, Military and Civil (1602, folio); Spelman, Disertatio de Mite ; Upton, De Studio Militari, etc. (London, 1654, folio); Clarke, History of Knighthood; Sir H. N. Nicolas's Heraldic Works; Du Cange, Gloss. Med. et IJ: Latin. title Miles, Adobare, Alopa, Armiger, Calcar, Cingulum, Valetus, etc., and Dissertations sur Joinville; Muratori, Amztiq. Italicre; Mireus, Origines E'questrinum sirve Militariume Ordinum; Favin, Thetre d'.Honneur et de Chevtalerie; Menestrier, De la Chevalerie cancienne et moderne; Vulson de la Colombiere, Le Vrai Theatre d'lonneur et de la Chevalerie; De la Curne de St. Palaye, Memoires sur l'ancienne Chevalerie (Paris, 1759-1780); Ampere, De la Chevalerie; Perrot, Collection Historique des Ordres de Chevalerie (Paris, 1836); Gourdon de Genouillac, Dictionnaire Historique des Ordres de Chevalerie (Paris, 1853); Reibisch, Geschichte des Ritterwesens (Stuttgard, 1842). A very copious account of the regular and natural Orders of Honorary Knighthood-extending to 137 associations, but not including the Order of the Victoria Cross and other recent orders-may be found in the Encyclopaedia Londinensis. (G. F. H.)