Chivalry Today http://chivalrytoday.com Reimagining the Code of Chivalry Tue, 08 Jul 2014 01:19:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://chivalrytoday.com/?feed=podcast A monthly exploration of the history, literature and philosophy of the code of chivalry - from the code of honor of medieval knights and traditional tales of King Arthur's Round Table, to principles of leadership and ethics in today's business and politics and images of heroes and role models in contemporary media. Hosted by author, independent historian and director of the award-winning Chivalry Today educational program, Scott Farrell. Scott Farrell clean Scott Farrell scott@chivalrytoday.com scott@chivalrytoday.com (Scott Farrell) Copyright Scott Farrell, all rights reserved. Reimagining the Code of Chivalry chivalry, knight, honor, ethics, medieval, King Arthur, Camelot, sword, leadership Chivalry Today http://chivalrytoday.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/headshotitunes.jpg http://chivalrytoday.com Conversation With: Dr. Elizabeth Morrison (J. Paul Getty Museum “Chivalry in the Middle Ages”) http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-dr-elizabeth-morrison-j-paul-getty-museum-chivalry-middle-ages/ http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-dr-elizabeth-morrison-j-paul-getty-museum-chivalry-middle-ages/#comments Tue, 08 Jul 2014 01:19:21 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5332 Medieval illustrations show the ideals of chivalry playing out in real life on the pages of manuals of hunting etiquette, rolls of legal and financial disputes, and strategy guides for popular games like chess.

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This illustration of a 15th century feast, on display as part of the Getty’s “Chivalry in the Middle Ages” exhibit, shows the best and worst of table manners in a medieval dining hall.

Movies, books, paintings, and even video games can – in their own ways – help to transport us back in time, and allow us to imagine what life in the age of chivalry might have looked like, as well as how the ideals of chivalry might – or might not – have influenced the men and women who went about their daily lives in the social and political landscape of medieval Europe.

But no matter how much research a modern author or Hollywood technical advisor may have done, no 21st century depiction can match the real images we have of life in the middle ages – depictions that come from the many rich, beautiful illustrations found on the pages of medieval manuscripts. Far from presenting a world that was drab, dull, and grim, these elaborate illustrations show us a culture full of color, activity, and elaborate customs – and many of those customs are rooted in the rituals and lore of chivalry.

As you might expect, chivalric characters and scenes can be found in illustrated manuscripts of tales of King Arthur’s knights, and the adventures of Robin Hood. But perhaps a bit more surprising are images that show the ideals of chivalry playing out in real life on the pages of manuals of hunting and feasting etiquette, rolls of legal and financial disputes, and strategy guides for popular games like chess. Even in the Middle Ages, it seems, chivalry’s effect was felt in many aspects of everyday life, not just events involving jousting and sword fighting.

Anyone wanting to get a look into the ideals and practices of chivalry in medieval manuscript illustrations will certainly want to consider a trip this summer or fall to the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, to check out their new exhibit, Chivalry in the Middle Ages opening July 8, and running through November. The exhibition features a variety of wonderful pieces of medieval artwork that you can view up close – but also an ongoing series of engaging presentations and activities that will get you imagining, talking about, and taking part in the culture of chivalry – since part of the purpose of this exhibition is to bring the notion of chivalry out of the Middle Ages, and right into the modern world.
Just how does a collection of 500 year old drawings bring us a greater understanding of chivalry’s role the medieval world, as well as in the 21st century? Dr. Elizabeth Morrison, curator of manuscripts at the Getty Museum, joins host Scott Farrell for a conversation about that age-old question.

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Giving Chivalry The Bird http://chivalrytoday.com/giving-chivalry-the-bird/ http://chivalrytoday.com/giving-chivalry-the-bird/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 17:47:47 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5311 I propose we nix our self-indulgent, "you do you" neurotic New Years resolutions and bring back the peacock vow.

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Scott Farrell comments:

Vintage-Peacock-Image-GraphicsFairy2-1Self-improvement has become something of an obsession for us in today’s world. Books on diet, beauty, and productivity sell by the truckload every day. Fitness clubs and health spas are doing a booming business.

While working to improve ourselves on various levels is certainly an admirable goal, it’s also important to keep an eye on the line between “self improvement” and “self importance.” One of the underlying motivators behind the drive for self betterment should always be a search for talents and abilities that allow us to help others, not just glorify ourselves. Within the principles of chivalry, the virtue of “prowess” (what we would call “excellence”) was supposed to be tempered with the ideals of “service” and “courtesy” (a demonstration of respect for others through gracious actions.)

Perhaps one of the best expressions of these two ideals – personal excellence, and service to others – was a medieval knightly custom known as the Vow of the Peacock, an oath that knights swore (in the presence of noble ladies) to support one another, and to pursue their own quests to improve the world in some way.

As author Katy Waldman points out in this article Bring Back the Peacock Vow, which was originally published in Slate magazine, exploring the notion of taking a vow to help others – rather than continually committing ourselves to self improvement – is an important, and often overlooked way of keeping chivalry alive in today’s world. Her conclusion, “sometimes graciousness beats out flawlessness,” is a wonderful summation of one of the underlying principles of the code of chivalry.

You don’t have to be perfect to lend someone a helping hand!

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Author Katy Waldman writes about women's issues for Slate magazine.

Author Katy Waldman writes about women’s issues for Slate magazine.

Supposedly, medieval knights had their own version of the New Year’s resolution. One by one, during the last feast of the Christmas week, they would place their hands on a live or roasted peacock and recommit themselves, for the next 12 months, to the ideals of chivalry. Charles Dickens wrote about these oaths in a Victorian periodical he founded, All the Year Round.

The most celebrated of all the vows of chivalry were those that were called “The Vow of the Peacock,” or of “The Pheasant.” These noble birds—for so they qualified them—perfectly represented, by the splendour and variety of their colours, the majesty of kings during the middle ages, when, superbly arrayed, they held what was called “Tinel,” or full court, corresponding with the “Drawing-room” of modern times. The flesh of the Peacock (or of the Pheasant) according to the old romances, was the peculiar diet of valiant knights and heart-stricken lovers, and its plumage was considered by the Provencal ladies the richest ornament with which they could deck the crowns they bestowed on the Troubadours, as rewards for the poetical talent displayed by them in singing the praises of love and valour. But it was on the day when a solemn vow was made that the Peacock (or Pheasant) became the great object of admiration, and whether it appeared at the banquet given on these occasions roasted or in its natural state, it always wore its full plumage, and was brought in with great pomp by a bevy of ladies, in a large vessel of gold or silver, before all the assembled chivalry. It was presented to each in turn, and each made his vow to the bird, after which it was set upon a table to be divided amongst all present, and the skill of the carver consisted in the apportionment of a slice to every one.

First of all, this sounds like a fabulous New Year’s party—though it is not actually clear, from the excerpt, that the peacock vow had much to do with the New Year. (The sourcing for the oath-as-proto-NY-resolution legend is dubious.) But can we agree that, real or myth, the peacock vow is a far superior tradition to what we have today? Our resolutions are uniform and unimaginative: Get in shape. Get organized. Lose weight. Most of all, they are all inward-looking. They aspire to self-improvement (the motto “you do you” graced the “in” column for the Washington Post’s 2014 In/Out List). But the peacock vow faces outward, outlining a code of conduct that ripples into the lives of others. It’s a social gesture: In the symbolic ceremony, everyone receives a piece of the roasted meat.

I was thinking about this—peacocks, olde-style courtesy—as I took a train from Washington to New York on Monday. I was struggling with a large suitcase. There were plenty of able-bodied men and women around, but the person who ended up hoisting the other end of my bag (my knight!) was a silver-haired gentleman with quivering arms. I felt terrible accepting his help. It was clear, though, that he was acting out of chivalry, his solemn sense of what he owed a woman he’d never met. The experience made me wonder about people closer to my own age: Do we feel obligated by manners the way our parents did? Why don’t ladies help one another, or even men, with heavy bags? When was the last time I’d partnered with a woman I’d never met to slay a dragon/shove her overstuffed purse into an overhead compartment? Why do we always ask if men should give up their subway seats for a pregnant woman or elderly passenger rather than just asking (demanding) that we all do? Whither feminist chivalry? Whither regular chivalry?

The answer to all these questions may not involve proclaiming oaths over a large cooked pheasant while waving a sword around. But I propose we nix our self-indulgent, “you do you” neurotic New Years resolutions and bring back the peacock vow. In our culture of relentless self-perfection, we could use the reminder that sometimes graciousness beats out flawlessness.
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Read Katy Waldman’s original article in the January 2014 issue of Slate online.

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Conversation With: Heather Dale (Celtic Avalon Concert) http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-heather-dale-celtic-avalon-concert/ http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-heather-dale-celtic-avalon-concert/#comments Thu, 13 Mar 2014 18:42:43 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5301 Heather Dale taking things up a notch. Earlier this year, Heather announced a new project called Celtic Avalon - a full-scale traveling stage show about the legends of Camelot.

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Heather Dale (pictured above, performing in the greenwood with Ben Deschamps and the rest of her band) is something of a modern-day troubadour, and the fans among her “tribe” have heard her musical performances in a wide variety of venues – from sci-fi and fantasy conventions, to “Living History” faires, New Age spiritual events and gatherings, and folk music festivals. With more than 10 albums produced by her own Canadian record label, Amphis Music, Heather’s songs tap into world legends, medieval and Renaissance History, and the realms of fantasy.

Heather’s been part of Conversations With Chivalry Today before to talk about her own musical approach to the legends of King Arthur on her albums like Avalon and The Green Knight – but now she’s taking things up a notch. Earlier this year, Heather announced a new project called Celtic Avalon – a full-scale traveling stage show, through which she intends to bring a musical version of the legends of the Knights of the Round Table to a new generation of audiences.

Heather recently joined Scott for a conversation about her idealistic and ambitious quest to bring the mythos of King Arthur’s knights – and the code of chivalry they followed – to life on stage through song and music.

Get Involved: Visit the Celtic Avalon Crowd-Funding Page at Indiegogo to help make this project a reality. You can see all the details – including the levels of supporter rewards, from $5 up to $3,000!

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http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-heather-dale-celtic-avalon-concert/feed/ 0 Heather Dale taking things up a notch. Earlier this year, Heather announced a new project called Celtic Avalon - a full-scale traveling stage show about the legends of Camelot. Heather Dale taking things up a notch. Earlier this year, Heather announced a new project called Celtic Avalon - a full-scale traveling stage show about the legends of Camelot. Scott Farrell clean 22:47
How To Be Chivalrous 101 (The 2014 Edition) http://chivalrytoday.com/how-to-be-chivalrous-101-the-2014-edition/ http://chivalrytoday.com/how-to-be-chivalrous-101-the-2014-edition/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 18:21:45 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5288 All it takes is a little consideration to recognize where the rules of chivalry and courtesy lead (both men and women) in the world of romance in 2014, without taking a side trip to the Victorian era.

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Scott Farrell comments:

Talk of chivalry in the world of dating and romance often comes along with claims of bigotry, chauvinism, paternalism, and other unpleasant holdovers from the Victorian days, back in the 19th century, when men were expected to be the “big, strong breadwinners,” and ladies played the part of the “weak, demure gentle sex.”

But here we are in 2014. Women are expected to be (and fully deserve to be) self-reliant, educated, and empowered. And yet … women seem to want (and deserve) a little “old fashioned romance” in their relationships. (Whether it’s a first date, or a 50th wedding anniversary.)

What’s a modern guy to do? Are women setting men to an unattainable double-standard? Some commentators seem to think so – but, as this article on the Rules Of Chivalry by Robin Hilmantel (contributing author to Women’s Health Magazine, and associate editor at Food Network Magazine) points out very nicely, it is still quite possible to be a chivalrous gentlemen on a date with your girlfriend or bride. All it takes is a little consideration to recognize where the rules of chivalry and courtesy lead (both men and women) in the world of romance in 2014, without taking a side trip to the Victorian era.

How Chivalrous Should You Be? originally appeared on the ModernMan.com website.

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Guest author Robin Hilmantel.

Guest author Robin Hilmantel.

I’m sure Carl (not his real name) thought he was being sweet when he asked, “Can I kiss you?” But I didn’t. I thought it was cheesy as hell. Unless you’re a “Carl,” you probably know better than to do dumb things like request a woman’s permission before you lay one on her, or toss your blazer over a puddle to shield her stilettos from water. But do you know how other chivalrous moves come off these days — which ones women now consider offensive, and which ones possess the power to (sometimes literally) charm her pants off? You will.

Do: Guide her through the room
Put your hand on the small of her back as you’re walking together at a party or a restaurant and you might as well be George Clooney in her mind. Just make sure to keep your hand a solid four inches above her ass or you risk crossing into skeevy-perv territory.

Don’t: Write her a love letter
Sending her a sappy email about how amazing your third date was might be cute to her after the first read, but at least one of the five friends she’ll forward it to will convince her that the note means you’re a player or a stalker (or both). So step away from the keyboard.

Do: Open the car door for her
Any guy can (and should) hold a door open for a woman. It’s something strangers do for other strangers entering a CVS. But you actually have to walk to the other side of the car to open that door for us. I’m not saying you have to do it every time, but on a first date or a special occasion, this simple gesture can score you major points.

Don’t: Insist on paying for everything
Offering to foot the bill for dinner and drinks when you first start dating is fine. But suggesting that you fund shopping sprees and mani-pedi appointments? Don’t do it. You’ll come off like a showoff prick who’s enabling her to become dependent on you for everything she wants.

Do: Move her to the inside of the sidewalk
Every woman likes to think that you’d rather she not be run over by an Escalade. Make this move and she’ll know it’s the truth. Plus, it’s a perfect way to show her your protective side without coming off like a controlling jerk.

Don’t: Let her win
Throw the game and she’ll know you held back and will assume that you’re sexist, or she’ll believe you’re actually that terrible at arm wrestling or Words With Friends. Neither scenario makes her want to see you again. However, if you’re legitimately en route to victory, don’t rub it in her face by running up the score. That’s just being a dick.

Read Robin Hilmantel’s original article How Chivalrous Should You Be? at ModernMan.com.

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A Great Deal Of Chivalry http://chivalrytoday.com/a-great-deal-of-chivalry/ http://chivalrytoday.com/a-great-deal-of-chivalry/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 17:14:47 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5267 You can get a lot of great stuff at a Costco warehouse store – and in the month of February, that even includes some thoughts about the value of chivalry […]

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Costco CapYou can get a lot of great stuff at a Costco warehouse store – and in the month of February, that even includes some thoughts about the value of chivalry in the modern world!

Costco CapEach month, in the Costco Connection magazine, you’ll find a section called “Informed Debate,” which covers both sides of a topical current issue. In the Feb., 2014 edition, that topic is chivalry, as the magazine poses the question, Is Chivalry Outdated. Writing for the “pro chivalry” side, not surprisingly, is Chivalry Today’s program director Scott Farrell. Covering the “no chivalry” side are psychology researchers Susan Fiske and Peter Glick. (One of Prof. Glick’s articles on the dangers of benevolent sexism in the guise of chivalry already appears on this website – so we obviously respect these authors’ viewpoints!)

We invite Chivalry Today readers to check out February’s Costco Connection online edition – and, if you read it before the end of the month, be sure to follow the survey link and make your opinion on chivalry known. The results of their debate will be published in the March edition. We’d love to see the debate question “Is chivalry outdated?” answered with a resounding “no way!”.

You can also cast your “yea” or “nay” vote on the question of chivalry directly through the Costco Connection survey site.

 

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Conversation With: Author Christian Cameron http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-author-christian-cameron/ http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-author-christian-cameron/#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2013 23:54:13 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5259 In his newest novel, "The Ill Made Knight," author Christian Cameron gives readers a complex, nuanced, and extremely realistic view of both the profession, and the chivalric philosophy of a young knight of the 14th century.

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Conversation with Christian Cameron, author of “The Ill-Made Knight”

the Ill Made KnightTo write a good historical novel, an author needs to know more than just the material details of a time in history – he or she needs to have a sense of what the people in that time thought of themselves and the world they were living in – their joys and fears, their concerns and goals, and the ideals that framed their world. For a novelist working in the medieval world, that means you’d better have a strong sense of the concept of chivalry – not just the ivory-tower, Camelot version of the knightly code, but a realistic, pragmatic notion of how chivalry was (and was not) put into practice by real medieval knights in all of their military endeavors. An author who really understands the notion of chivalry can, through the eyes and words of their fictional characters, give us a depiction of how chivalry might’ve been applied in the medieval world, and (even more importantly) can also paint a picture of how the same ideals still speak to us today.

One new novel on the shelves does an outstanding job of avoiding both fairy-tale idealism, and the dark, amorality that seems to pervade so many works of historical fiction these days – it is called The Ill Made Knight, which has just been released in both print and e-book format by Orion Publishing. It is the first work of medieval fiction by up-and-coming author Christian Cameron (depicted above, wearing 14th century armor). History buffs may know Mr. Cameron more for his works of fiction set in the world of ancient Greece, such as the Tyrant and Long War series, and his novel Washington and Caesar set during the American Revolutionary war.

Through this new novel, and its protagonist, William Gold, Christian Cameron gives us a complex, nuanced, and extremely realistic view of both the profession, and the philosophy of a young knight of the 14th century. If his description of either historical detail or military life seems particularly realistic, it maybe because he is a military veteran himself, or because he studied history under the renowned Prof. Richard Kaeuper (whose been a guest on a past episode of our podcast), or because part of his research involves dressing himself in realistic armor and taking part in reenactments of the sorts of “deeds of arms” he describes in the book.

Christian Cameron joins us now on the podcast to talk about The Ill Made Knight, his own experiences in reenacting a knight’s life in the bloody and glorious time of the Hundred Years War, and his perspective on the code of chivalry – then and now.

Also …

  • Visit Christian Cameron’s author website Hippeis, where you can find more of his writing, including several downloadable short stories;
  • Follow Christian Cameron on his Facebook fan page.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-author-christian-cameron/feed/ 0 In his newest novel, "The Ill Made Knight," author Christian Cameron gives readers a complex, nuanced, and extremely realistic view of both the profession, and the chivalric philosophy of a young knight of the 14th century. In his newest novel, "The Ill Made Knight," author Christian Cameron gives readers a complex, nuanced, and extremely realistic view of both the profession, and the chivalric philosophy of a young knight of the 14th century. Scott Farrell clean 41:47
Conversation With: Prof. Steven Muhlberger http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-prof-steven-muhlberger/ http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-prof-steven-muhlberger/#comments Tue, 10 Sep 2013 00:47:26 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5245 In a world marked by ferocious politics, economic change, warfare and violence, social upheaval, and religious schism, how, exactly did chivalrous knights and their sword fighting games and jousting activities fit into the scheme of everyday life?

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Conversation with Prof. Steven Muhlberger – Chivalry and Formal Combat in the 14th Century

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The joust between Englishman Peter de Courtnay and the French champion Gui de la Tremoille is an example of a “formal combat” of the 14th century, as depicted in Froissart’s Chronicles. The events leading up to, and surrounding the encounter had much larger political, social, and even economic repercussions than a simple “jousting match” for sport or pleasure. (Image courtesy of the British Library.)

Tournaments, jousts, duels, and knightly games are without a doubt some of the most colorful elements of medieval history – we all know that these were the sorts of places where knights went to demonstrate their honor and chivalry; and where ladies were revered for their inspiration and beauty.

All of that sounds delightful, but not terribly practical. In a world marked by ferocious politics, economic change, warfare and violence, social upheaval, and religious schism, how, exactly did chivalrous knights and their sword fighting games and jousting activities fit into the scheme of everyday life? Beyond the storybook image of a jousting tournament as a showcase for heroic behavior, just what did it mean to take part in a “formal combat” in the Middle Ages? Did things like duels, tournaments, jousts and deeds of arms have meaning and repercussions outside of knightly society – in the realms of politics, economics and cultural values? Can we learn anything about the ideals of chivalry in the Middle Ages – and perhaps our understanding of it today – by taking a more pragmatic and down-to-earth look at formal combats and the people who attended, supported, criticized, and participated in them?

Prof. Steven Muhlberger teaches ancient and medieval history at Nipissing University in Ontario Canada, and has published many articles and books on medieval knights, tournaments, and the practices of chivalry, including Jousts and Tournaments, published in 2003, and Deeds of Arms, published in 2005.

Apart from studying and writing about chivalric combat, Prof. Muhlberger is a practitioner as well. He studies historical European sword combat himself, and he regularly participates in “living history” events that seek to recreate the sort of knightly deeds that he researches in his work. It’s safe to say that he knows what the view is like from inside a suit of armor!

Prof. Muhlberger’s latest book is Formal Combats in the 14th Century, which has just been released by Witan Publishing, and is available in both Kindle and Nook format.
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If you enjoy our podcast offerings, please take a moment to help keep them coming.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-prof-steven-muhlberger/feed/ 0 In a world marked by ferocious politics, economic change, warfare and violence, social upheaval, and religious schism, how, exactly did chivalrous knights and their sword fighting games and jousting activities fit into the scheme of everyday life? In a world marked by ferocious politics, economic change, warfare and violence, social upheaval, and religious schism, how, exactly did chivalrous knights and their sword fighting games and jousting activities fit into the scheme of everyday life? Scott Farrell clean 32:39
Chivalry Today Salutes Education http://chivalrytoday.com/chivalry-today-salutes-education/ http://chivalrytoday.com/chivalry-today-salutes-education/#comments Wed, 04 Sep 2013 18:01:33 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5242 School’s back in session – and soon students will be studying the history of the Middle Ages and Renaissance once more. Reading tales of King Arthur and his knights; learning […]

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DSCN5135 10-58-14School’s back in session – and soon students will be studying the history of the Middle Ages and Renaissance once more. Reading tales of King Arthur and his knights; learning about the politics and culture of medieval Europe; and imagining what life would have been like for a knight or a lady in the 13th or 14th century.
That’s exactly the sort of learning opportunity that Chivalry Today can help with. Many schools put on some sort of Renaissance Festival or History Faire as part of their social studies curriculum, but it can be difficult to make such an event both memorable, and historically accurate (after all, you don’t want to bring in some fantasy role-playing group to muddle up your history lesson). For many Southern California-area schools, the answer to this dilemma is to bring in Chivalry Today’s “Festival of Chivalry” – full-scale team of historical interpreters that come right to your campus or classroom, to give students an up-close look at life in the Middle Ages.
This month, as students get back into the classroom, Chivalry Today is honored to be the focus of the “Salute To Education,” a monthly television segment produced by Cox Communications. You can catch the video on-air throughout the month of September (if you live in San Diego); or check out the segment in the video below.
Chivalry Today would like to thank the Cox production team for their interest in our program, and for putting together a really fine video feature! (We’d also like to thank our team of interpreters for doing their [normal] outstanding job in front of the video cameras.)
If you, or an educator you know, would like to learn more about bringing Chivalry Today’s Festival of Chivalry to your school, please contact us quickly. After this segment hit the airwaves, our school calendar is filling up quickly!

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Conversation With: Heather Dale http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-heather-dale/ http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-heather-dale/#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 02:21:50 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5200 Folksinger Heather Dale joins Scott to talk about chivalry in her Arthurian-themed music, and working by the business model of Camelot.

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Conversations With Chivalry Today #3: Folksinger Heather Dale

Heather Dale's album Avalon contains all 19 of her Arthurian-themed songs.

Heather Dale’s album Avalon contains all 19 of her Arthurian-themed songs.

In the Middle Ages bards, poets, and troubadours traveled all over the Kingdoms of Europe collecting, recounting, and elaborating on the legends of King Arthur and his Knights. These tales – often part history, part morality fable, and part action-adventure – had one unifying element: they all addressed the importance, the challenge, and sometimes the hypocrisy of living by the code of chivalry.

Well if there is a modern counterpart of those medieval traveling storytellers today, it might just be Heather Dale. Heather is an independent Canadian folk musician who spends much of her time on the road performing live concerts of updated medieval and Renaissance folk music – as well as her own original compositions – for audiences of medieval reenactors, Renaissance Faire enthusiasts, and science fiction/fantasy convention-goers.

One of the threads running through Heather’s musical repitiore is a variety of pieces dealing with the legends of the Middle Ages – not just King Arthur, but also Robin Hood, the Norse gods, and Joan of Arc. But the tales of the Round Table continue to be one of her main focuses, and in 2010 she released an album called Avalon, which compiles 19 of her Arthurian songs into a single musical overview of these well-known tales of chivalry, love, and adventure, from the sword in the stone to King Arthur’s final battle.

Heather and Ben

Heather Dale and her musical partner Ben Deschamps perform their folk music as part of a school educational program that introduces students to the tales and characters of the Round Table.

Heather’s singing, accompanied by her partner and musician Ben Deschamps, infuses New Age/Celtic styling with just a hint of blues, country, and even Cajun jazz, which gives these Arthurian tales both a timeless, classic quality, as well as a lively sense of contemporary popularity – making it sound like chivalry, honor, and the legends of the Round Table are topics that you’re as likely to hear discussed around a nightclub table over drinks as in a university classroom or lecture hall.

Like the medieval tales of romance and chivalry, Heather’s songs are not about helpless princesses and romantic “happily ever after” endings. These are Arthurian tales that are complex, thought provoking, sometimes dark, and rarely do they provide any sort of easy answers for the characters who struggle to live up to conflicting ideals of chivalry – and in that way, these songs seem particularly relevant today, in a world that seems ever more at odds with itself and its own conflicting ideals. Heather’s music really reminds us that, in the original tellings, the legends of chivalry were rarely harmonious.

Heather Dale joins show host Scott Farrell to share some of her music, talk about her love of the legends of Arthur and his Knights, and explore the code of chivalry they follow.

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Quicklinks – Use the links below to find the on-line resources mentioned in this podcast:

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Below: Watch Heather Dale on TED Talks discussing “How to find a tribe that loves your art,” and performing her song Fortune on the streets of Toronto, Canada, as part of the “Play Me, I’m Yours” street music project.
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Click here to view the embedded video.


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Click here to view the embedded video.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-heather-dale/feed/ 0 Avalon,Camelot,Heather Dale,King Arthur,SCA,Society for Creative Anachronism Folksinger Heather Dale joins Scott to talk about chivalry in her Arthurian-themed music, and working by the business model of Camelot. Folksinger Heather Dale joins Scott to talk about chivalry in her Arthurian-themed music, and working by the business model of Camelot. Scott Farrell clean 47:05
You Can’t Always Get What You Want http://chivalrytoday.com/you-cant-always-get-what-you-want/ http://chivalrytoday.com/you-cant-always-get-what-you-want/#comments Wed, 13 Feb 2013 19:13:57 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5179 Unlike today, when we expect romance to yield tangible results, bards of the Middle Ages who sang about their desires never expected their true love to reciprocate.

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Scott Farrell comments:

Red roses, dining by candlelight, strolling on the beach, boxes of chocolates … our modern understanding of the customs of dating and courtship are often referred to as “chivalry.” Particularly around Valentine’s Day, the news media is often abuzz with comments about how the rituals of romance – in particular, the way a “gentleman” is supposed to conduct himself on a first date: opening doors, pulling out chairs, and paying for dinner – go back to the world of the medieval knights. Along with this, critics tend to lament the loss of this sense of “chivalry,” wishing there were more “knights in shining armor” to sweep ladies off their feet these days, and provide that ultimate goal of a modern relationship: Happily ever after.

But the truth is, our concepts of romance, dating, marriage, and relationships have only come into being very recently. Hardly more than a century ago, romantic love really had very little to do with relationships. Marriages were based far more on economics and family politics than they were on passion and affection. (In fact, historical writings going back to the time of the ancient Greeks said that “amour” was a particularly bad basis to found a long-term relationship on, as falling in love, especially for young suitors, was a rather fickle concept.)

Love, affection, and desire certainly did play a part in the rituals and literature of courtly love, that came to be associated with knights, ladies, and chivalry throughout the period of the High Middle Ages. (Though we should remember that courtly love and chivalry – the warrior’s code – were two distinctly different things in the 12th and 13th centuries.) But when we try to impose our own understanding of romance and courtship onto the customs of medieval courtly love, we can come up with some very strange – and quite inaccurate – conclusions about courtly love in the Middle Ages. By getting a more historically relevant understanding of “romance and chivalry” in medieval culture, we can achieve a more accurate understanding of how these concepts came together – and, perhaps, dispel some of the absurd, anachronistic notions we have about the place of chivalry in dating and relationships today.

As this article, written by Veronica Marian (communications director of the Stanford Humanities Center), from the Valentine’s Day edition of the online Stanford News explains, medieval romance had much more to do with feudal politics than with personal desire. A new course, Courtly Love: Deceit and Desire in the Middle Ages, taught by Prof. David Lummus, uses medieval texts to gain a more realistic understanding of how romance, passion, and the idealized image of femininity all came to be wrapped up in the (sometimes murky) modern concept of chivalry.

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It’s Valentine season once again. And although Americans have adopted the medieval vocabulary of romance with words like courtship, chivalry and loyalty, the European poets who first described these ideas would find it hard to relate to our modern motto “happily ever after.”

Unlike today, when we expect romance to yield tangible results, bards of the Middle Ages who sang about their desires never expected their true love to reciprocate.

Confined by social traditions dictating whom one could marry, the upper classes were often left no choice but to love from afar. Courtiers therefore used love songs as “expressions of fantasies that were never to be fulfilled,” said David Lummus, assistant professor of Italian at Stanford.

Lummus, whose research centers on medieval and early modern Italian literature and intellectual history, noted that poets of the Middle Ages would likely find our contemporary love rituals completely alien. Medieval desire, said Lummus, was expressed as an ideal to be constantly sought, but rarely attained.

With songs like those attributed to the 11th-century troubadour William IX, Duke of Aquitaine, who lamented, “I never had the joy of what I loved, / and I never will, as I never did … I want what I cannot have,” medieval lovers would have a hard time relating to our contemporary version of love.

Lummus said that his study of romance in medieval lyrics and poetry came about because, like today, love is an unavoidable literary theme.

However, Lummus said, “love in the Middle Ages wasn’t just about sex or the idealization of a lady”; rather, the desire that could be felt for another person was tied to the cosmic structure of the universe. “Love,” Lummus said, “was the way God made himself present in the world.”

In Dante’s Divine Comedy, the poet brings in his real-life beloved, Beatrice, to be his spiritual guide through Heaven. Dante’s love for Beatrice is so strong that even if he can’t be with her (sadly, she died young), he can be spiritually uplifted by her existence.

Dante’s love for Beatrice, Lummus said, is his favorite medieval love story. It combines the historical example of a poet’s unattainable desire with a profound meditation on what love is, “from a bond between individuals, to the force that moves the stars.”

Adored, but off limits

The inaccessible beloved was described in the songs of 11th- and 12th-century French troubadours, including Bernart de Ventadorn, who wrote, “I cannot keep myself from loving / one from whom I shall get no favor … she left me nothing / but desire and a heart still wanting.”

Lummus’ colleague Marisa Galvez, assistant professor of French, describes these early entertainers as poets who composed and performed songs in small courts throughout Europe from the 11th to 13th centuries. Galvez, a current fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, said their audience was “limited to the residents of the courts, who delighted in the poetry’s conceptual and artistic sophistication.”

The courtly culture consuming these love poems was based on rigid feudal rules with subjects owing strict obedience to their lords. This dynamic found its way into the love songs, which depicted a poet’s beloved, the object of his desire, in a position of power similar to that of his lord. The socially superior lady was therefore “romantically inaccessible,” said Lummus.

With court marriages being political and economic arrangements, he said, “it is no wonder that medieval theorists of love described erotic desire as something that happened outside of marriage.”

Italian love poems seek meaning

When courtly love songs came to Italy in the 13th century, two major changes occurred. First, Lummus said, the songs performed by troubadours at court evolved into written poems, shared between friends and recited. Several sonnets between Dante Alighieri and his friends, including Guido Cavalcanti, remain, showing how poets shared their art and thoughts with each other, even offering romantic advice through their poems.

Cavalcanti, in one of his sonnets, for example, interprets one of Dante’s dreams: “You saw … every joy and every good that man can feel,” referring to Dante’s love for Beatrice. Love poetry had become separated from the formal French court traditions and became more about a personal interpretation of desire.

Secondly, the desire Italian poets wrote about became more philosophical in nature, with its object changing from a courtly lady into an “angel-like being,” Lummus said. As medieval Italian poets began reinterpreting courtly love through a philosophical lens, their love poems came to reflect a preoccupation with seeking meaning – something that is intangible and elusive.

The evolution of courtly love from France to Italy, Lummus said, shows how traditional discourses of desire can be adapted to new social and political contexts, where they remain revelant because they reflect different values and power structures.

Today, television shows like How I Met Your Mother presuppose an ideal object of desire and a fantasy about its attainment, not so different from what these poets wrote about. But a notable difference remains between medieval and modern notions of desire – our expectation of a relationship of equality, Lummus said.

Stanford students relate to romance

Stanford students are getting a taste of how different the discourse of desire was hundreds of years ago in Lummus’ winter 2013 course Courtly Love: Deceit and Desire in the Middle Ages. Lummus is asking students to consider French and Italian medieval love literature through the theories of 20th-century philosophers like René Girard, Jacques Lacan and Slavoj Žižek, each of whom addresses courtly love in his works.

Yet the poems’ greatest contribution, Lummus said, is that they capture something about human nature. “Beyond their historical value, these poems are also reflections on the human condition as a state of insatiable desire,” he said.
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This article was written by Veronica Marian, and originally appeared in the Feb. 14 edition of Standford News. You can read the original piece, and learn more about the projects and ongoing research at Stanford University, at the Stanford News website.

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Conversation With: Gemini Asonte http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-gemini-asonte/ http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-gemini-asonte/#comments Wed, 23 Jan 2013 05:33:34 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5100 Gemini Asonte, head of the Knight's Quest Academy, joins Scott Farrell for a conversation about his style of medieval combat, and how he teaches his students to be safe, train hard, and be knightly.

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Conversations With Chivalry Today #2: Oplomachia trainer Gemini Asonte

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Gemini Asonte, whose training style can be seen on the new Oplomachia: Basic Sword And Shield DVD, in his training studio at Knight's Quest Academy contemplates the question, "Can a knight have too much armor?"

Gemini Asonte, whose techniques of historical sword combat can be seen on the new Oplomachia: Basic Sword And Shield DVD, in his training studio at Knight’s Quest Academy as he contemplates the question, “Can a knight have too much armor?”

If you want evidence that chivalry isn’t dead in today’s world, all you need to do is visit a quiet suburban neighborhood in the Calif. town of Turlock, just east of San Jose, where you’ll find a school called the Knight’s Quest Academy of Chivalry. There, on pretty much any afternoon or evening, you’ll see the school’s founder Gemini Asonte, teaching students of all ages – from 5 up to 50 and beyond – his particular brand of combat with swords and other medieval weaponry, which he calls oplomachia.

Gemini himself has more than 30 years of experience in martial arts of all sorts, and, as you might expect with such a background, his method incorporates a variety of foundational techniques in a very systematic approach to learning the medieval sword-fighting skills. Beyond his considerable talents in sword combat however, Gemini’s program also involves teaching medieval arts and sciences, and exploring the values and ideals of the code of chivalry. In that way, Gemini’s medieval combat school creates truly Renaissance men and women.

Fortunately you don’t have to make a pilgrimage to the Knight’s Quest Academy in order to begin your study of oplomachia – Gemini’s teaching can be seen on his video podcast The Modern Medieval, which you can find on YouTube, as well as on his first instructional DVD, Oplomachia: Basic Sword and Shield, which has just been released by Knight’s Quest.

Gemini Asonte joins show host Scott Farrell (the two are pictured together, above, at a recent medieval reenactment festival and martial arts tournament) for a conversation about his style of medieval combat, and how he goes about the task of teaching his students to – as he puts it – be safe, train hard, and be knightly … by following the code of chivalry.
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Quicklinks – Use the links below to find the on-line resources mentioned in this podcast:

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Below – Watch Gemini’s training video on how to wield a spear in medieval knightly fashion:

Click here to view the embedded video.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-gemini-asonte/feed/ 0 Gemini Asonte, head of the Knight's Quest Academy, joins Scott Farrell for a conversation about his style of medieval combat, and how he teaches his students to be safe, train hard, and be knightly. Gemini Asonte, head of the Knight's Quest Academy, joins Scott Farrell for a conversation about his style of medieval combat, and how he teaches his students to be safe, train hard, and be knightly. Scott Farrell clean 30:29
Oaths and Honesty – Being Truthful About Personal Chivalry http://chivalrytoday.com/oaths-and-honesty-being-truthful-about-personal-chivalry/ http://chivalrytoday.com/oaths-and-honesty-being-truthful-about-personal-chivalry/#comments Tue, 04 Dec 2012 17:49:26 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5050 Even the most honest and sincere of people seem to have blind spots when it comes to their own sense of truthfulness. It was certainly true of medieval knights - who were notorious for breaking vows of loyalty when it was personally or politically expedient

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Scott Farrell comments:

Here’s a joke … A child comes home from school one day with a note from his teacher. The child gives the note to his mother who reads it, and sees that the boy got in trouble when his teacher caught him stealing a pencil off the desk of a fellow student. “Johnny!” says the boy’s mother. “How could you do this? You know that stealing is wrong! Besides, if you need a pencil, you just have to let your father know and he’ll bring you home all the pencils you need from the supply cabinet at his office!”

Even the most honest and sincere of people seem to have blind spots when it comes to telling “harmless little lies.” It was certainly true of medieval knights – who were notorious for breaking vows of loyalty when it was personally or politically expedient – and it is certainly true of people today in just about any profession you can think of. Thus, it’s easy to point claims of hypocrisy when someone who has indulged in a little “selective dishonesty” does something to affirm their trustworthiness – like taking an oath of fealty, or making a “truthkeepers” pledge, or going to confession to absolve a list of “sins.”

But as Dan Ariely, author of the book The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty»  points out in this educational video, oaths, promises, and pledges – like those taken occasionally by medieval knights in their quest for the code of chivalry – may serve a very important function with regard to our own sense of personal honor and honesty. These are not just hollow commitments to promises we never intend to keep. These sorts of statements actually help us all reaffirm and reestablish our own dedication to the principles we want to follow. This quick video lesson reminds us all that it is worth taking a few minutes from time to time to refresh our own commitment to the virtues and ideals we want to internalize – like honesty and loyalty.

(It is also interesting to note in this video how many images of knights, kings, and characters out of medieval legend pop up in the illustrative animation. It is clear that these chivalric characters are indelibly associated with the pursuit of truth and honesty.)
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Click here to view the embedded video.

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Chivalry on Display at the Readers Festival http://chivalrytoday.com/chivalry-on-display-at-the-readers-festival/ http://chivalrytoday.com/chivalry-on-display-at-the-readers-festival/#comments Tue, 27 Nov 2012 22:17:57 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5040 Chivalry Today’s staff of educators and interpreters were proud to be asked to join in the festivities at the 2012 Mission Viejo Readers Festival. The Festival is an event that […]

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Chivalry Today’s staff of educators and interpreters were proud to be asked to join in the festivities at the 2012 Mission Viejo Readers Festival. The Festival is an event that promotes literacy and education, and gives local Southern California residents a chance to meet and speak with some world-class authors. But this year the organizers wanted to go beyond the usual book signings and author talks, so they invited several living history organizations, including Chivalry Today, to bring the color and pageantry of medieval and Renaissance history to life on the “village green,” expanding the Readers Festival into a full-fledged community festival.

Chivalry Today brought out a staff of more than 30 highly skilled interpreters to put on scheduled talks and demonstrations of medieval courtly music, Renaissance fencing, medieval artillery (catapults and trebuchets), 15th century wrestling skills, falconry, a “deed of arms” display of armored sword fighting skills, historical crafts and blacksmithing, a station for brass rubbing art, and an extensive display of hands-on pieces of armor that children (of all ages!) could try on and imagine being a knight in shining armor.

Mission Viejo TV News joined the fun, and Chivalry Today’s program director Scott Farrell got the opportunity to explain all the activities on camera.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Join Us For Castle Science http://chivalrytoday.com/join-us-for-castle-science/ http://chivalrytoday.com/join-us-for-castle-science/#comments Mon, 24 Sep 2012 21:32:48 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=5017 Ever wonder why castles have all those towers and tall walls? Can you imagine what it would be like to plan an attack on a giant medieval castle, or what […]

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Ever wonder why castles have all those towers and tall walls? Can you imagine what it would be like to plan an attack on a giant medieval castle, or what it would be like to defend one? What was life like inside a castle in the Age of Chivalry?

These, and more questions about knights and their castles will be the focus of Chivalry Today’s live presentation Castle Science, which will be held at San Diego’s Reuben H. Fleet Science Center on Monday, Nov. 5, at 12:30 pm. The presentation is part of the Fleet’s Afternoon Scholars Adult Lecture Series.

In 2004, Chivalry Today was invited by Cadw to put on a demonstration of armored sword combat inside Chepstow castle in the U.K. to give the public a taste of life inside the castle in medieval times.

This talk will be led by Chivalry Today’s program director Scott Farrell. The one-hour presentation will include lots of details about the history, design, and function of medieval castles, along with a “virtual tour” of some of the greatest castles in England and Wales, such as Beaumaris, Caerphilly, and Warwick. Scott will also talk about the experience of putting on a demonstration of medieval sword combat inside Chepstow castle in 2004, in conjunction with Cadw, the agency of the Welsh government responsible for preserving and promoting historical monuments.

Admission to the Castle Science talk is free with admission to the Fleet Science Center – and senior citizens can enjoy a discounted admission of just $7 for the whole day!

Come and join us for a medieval science and engineering, castle technology, and the ideals of chivalry at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. For more information, visit the Fleet Science Center website.

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Honor Codes – A Culture, Not A Band Aid http://chivalrytoday.com/honor-codes-a-culture-not-a-band-aid/ http://chivalrytoday.com/honor-codes-a-culture-not-a-band-aid/#comments Tue, 04 Sep 2012 17:36:16 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4997 The idea of an honor code is inherently appealing. After all, everyone likes honor, and code evokes sexy Round Table-era mystique. It makes us look like we’re fixing things. Reputation restored, right?

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Scott Farrell comments:

Cheating in school is a perennial problem. The struggle to get top grades and rise to the head of the class always tends to bring out the question: If you succeed, does it matter how you do it?

Of course, the answer is, “It certainly does.” A doctor, lawyer, journalist, or other professional may have gotten straight A’s on their final exams, but if they don’t know the information necessary to do their jobs, they’re going to fail catastrophically when they are put to the real test. Part of the job of every teacher is setting an example of commitment and integrity for his or her students.

Still, discouraging cheating among students is difficult. This is why some schools institute honor codes that specify, among other things, absolute “zero tolerance” for cheating and dishonesty. Now, as students go back to school, Yale University, one of America’s top Ivy League schools, is considering adopting just such a code in the wake of a scandal that involved widespread cheating and plagiarism among students.

But does tacking up a Ten Commandments of Honest Behavior billboard at the school’s front entrance really do anything to promote honesty? As Yale student and columnist Marrisa Medansky observes, honesty stems from the “culture” of the campus, not from a quick-fix honor code put together by the school’s public relations department over summer vacation. Her article, originally published in the Yale Daily News, provides some interesting thoughts from an “insider’s” perspective about what honor codes can – and can’t – do when it comes to bringing honesty, integrity, and chivalry onto campus.

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There’s a problem with cheating in the Ivy League, and Dartmouth students want to fix it. They’ve proposed an honor code that will obligate students not only to confess to their own academic transgressions but to reveal the dishonestly of others, too.

Their proposal has created a wave of discussion. Princeton students want to implement a similar policy. Brown students are adamantly opposed. And Yalies? They “support the code,” according to the Harvard Crimson — in, mind you, 1950 — citing its appeal to “a Yale man’s morality.”

Sixty-two years later, cheating is still a problem. As you read this, Harvard is investigating some 125 undergraduates implicated in a mass plagiarism ring. Jonah Lehrer, a 2003 Columbia grad, stepped down from his job at the New Yorker over the summer when it was revealed that he had fabricated quotes in a recent book. And here at Yale, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria resigned from his position on the Yale Corporation in the wake of a plagiarism scandal.

America craves stories of smart kids doing dumb things. To them, the Ivy League is a foreign entity: distant, majestic and unknowable. When their kids fail, it is a disappointment, but when those kids fail — those lucky, lucky Ivy League kids — it is Greek tragedy, and the major news media is all too eager to play the chorus.

Academic dishonesty is bad no matter where you choose to pursue your degree. But it could certainly be argued that, given our relative privilege, Yalies have a particular imperative not to do so. We’re lucky to be here; Yale gives us so much. It’s a little presumptuous to bite the hand that feeds.

The recent scandal at Harvard has prompted the Associated Press to ask whether an honor code would help rein in potential plagiarists. Author David Callahan told the AP that when a school like Harvard doesn’t have an honor code, then “someone’s not paying attention.”

“This is a major failure of leadership in higher education,” he mourned.

This mindset is not new; the 1950 Crimson article proves as much. Just last year, Harvard endured a firestorm when it asked freshman to sign a so-called “kindness pledge” encouraging them to “sustain a community characterized by inclusiveness and civility.” In 2008, News columnist Julia Knight proposed instituting an honor code at Yale to “introduce valuable information and inspire important discussion.”

The idea of an honor code is inherently appealing. After all, everyone likes honor, and code evokes sexy Round Table-era mystique. It is an easy fix — one that sates those critical outsiders reading the New York Times and IvyGate. It makes us look like we’re fixing things. Reputation restored, right?

Not so fast. When it comes to instating an honor code, Harvard and her peer institutions should reject such an impulse.

Universities must take care to avoid top-down approaches to eradicating dishonesty. This, to many university administrations, is counterintuitive. Yet Harvard’s freshman pledge endured mockery due to its authoritarian tinge (be nice or else). When it comes to punishing cheaters, bureaucracy has its place. But deterring them? That’s a shift in culture, not policy.

Schools where honor codes succeed — like Washington and Lee or William and Mary — have policies seeped in tradition. When their students uphold the honor code, they are connecting with the past in a meaningful, visceral way, the same way Yalies feel a tingle of pride when they drink a Mory’s cup or study in Sterling. These honor codes don’t succeed simply by existing; they work thanks to the weight of the past. And when universities heavily market their honor codes to potential applicants, they create some degree of self-selection in the incoming class. Institutional shifts don’t occur overnight; they’re the result of generations of social engineering.

If we really want to address academic dishonesty once and for all, we need to look at its causes, not the Band-Aids that hide them. Address the pressure-cooker culture at Harvard and Yale; address the perception that grades are somehow correlated with moral worth; address the prevalent I’ll-just-do-it-at-the-last-minute attitude. Only after looking at these underlying causes can we seriously consider the implications of an honor code. Maybe there’s a place for an honor code at Yale, but it should come from deliberation and discussion, not reputational anxiety.

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This article by Maria Mendasky originally appeared in the Sept. 4, 2012 edition of the Yale Daily News.

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Conversation With: Matt Hiltman http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-matt-hiltman/ http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-matt-hiltman/#comments Sat, 01 Sep 2012 04:33:06 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4988 Matt Hiltman, professional jouster and student of philosophy, joins host Scott Farrell for a hard-hitting conversation about Full Metal Jousting and Chivalry Today.

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Conversations With Chivalry Today #1: Matt Hiltman

 
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Apart from being a talented professional jouster, Matt Hiltman is also a philosophy student – a commentator with a unique perspective on the values of chivalry.

Anyone who can be considered a professional jouster today is part of a fairly exclusive club – and if you’re one of the fans of the The History Channel’s recent television show Full Metal Jousting, you’ll know that Matt Hiltman, one of the show’s 16 participants, has definitely earned his membership.

Now Matt didn’t just pick up a lance for the first time on the set of Full Metal Jousting – he was selected as a participant, like all of the other jousters, because he brought a unique and intriguing mix of experiences with him. Matt is a long-time jouster at the well-known Medieval Times restaurant chain, where diners get to watch a display of equestrian skill, sword combat, and jousting stunt-riding along with their meal.

But, most intriguingly, if you were watching the riders’ stats flash by on the screen in between bouts of jousting on Full Metal Jousting, you might have noticed that Matt also had the distinction of being labeled a “philosophy student.” He is, in fact, currently majoring in philosophy at Georgia State University.

Well, as one of the top-placed jousters on the first American national sport jousting competition, who has a university-level background in philosophy, we knew we wanted to have him on the show to talk about the practice, ideals, and philosophy of chivalry – and that’s exactly why we invited him to have a conversation with Chivalry Today.
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Below – The History Channel provides a video lesson on the rigors and dangers of real competitive jousting.

Click here to view the embedded video.


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Also, watch the final episode of Full Metal Jousting to see how Matt fares against fellow finalist, Josh Knowles.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/conversation-with-matt-hiltman/feed/ 0 Matt Hiltman, professional jouster and student of philosophy, joins host Scott Farrell for a hard-hitting conversation about Full Metal Jousting and Chivalry Today. Matt Hiltman, professional jouster and student of philosophy, joins host Scott Farrell for a hard-hitting conversation about Full Metal Jousting and Chivalry Today. Scott Farrell clean 35:44
A Little Knight Reading In Mission Viejo http://chivalrytoday.com/a-little-knight-reading-in-mission-viejo/ http://chivalrytoday.com/a-little-knight-reading-in-mission-viejo/#comments Tue, 21 Aug 2012 04:03:25 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4979 Greetings friends and readers! Chivalry Today is proud to announce that working in conjunction with the City of Mission Viejo, we are going to provide a variety of displays, demonstrations, […]

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Greetings friends and readers! Chivalry Today is proud to announce that working in conjunction with the City of Mission Viejo, we are going to provide a variety of displays, demonstrations, and presentations for the entertainment and education of the visitors at the Readers’ Festival on Oct. 14, 2012.

The Chivalry Today presentation area will feature various demonstrations beginning every 30 minutes throughout the day, including armored sword combat, falconry, full-sized catapults, music and singing, and historical blacksmithing. Along with all of that, you can sample the fare from local restaurants, and meet a variety of notable authors who’ll be doing book-signings throughout the day.

You can find all the details below or at the Mission Viejo Readers’ Festival Website. Please come and join us for a display of chivalry and medieval life at the Readers’ Festival.
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The Mission Viejo Readers’ Festival brings books to life and families and individuals together for a daylong spectacular event featuring celebrity and author readings, book signings, entertainment, food and much more. Many well-known authors, including baseball player Jim Abbott and former prosecutor Marcia Clark as well as popular children’s author, David Shannon, will be in attendance for this year’s festival on Sunday, October14, 2012.

New this year on the Village Green is a setting featuring the world of the Middle Ages. You will experience knights in costume, demonstrations of falconry, sword fighting, catapult launching, battling men and craft activities for all ages. You are welcome to come dressed for the theme.

This free festival sponsored by the Friends of the Mission Viejo Library, is from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the beautiful Oso Viejo Park and Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way. With convenient, free shuttle service from the Mission Viejo Library at 100 Civic Center, parking is a breeze as the library will closed the day of the event.

You won’t want to miss this year’s event, which promises to be the biggest and best yet. Stay tuned for updated information about your favorite authors and illustrators and all of the fun-filled activities on tap for the 4th annual Mission Viejo Readers’ Festival.

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Podcast 62: Public Understanding of Chivalry http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-62-public-perception-of-chivalry/ http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-62-public-perception-of-chivalry/#comments Wed, 18 Jul 2012 01:36:51 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4954 In the podcast's final episode, Prof. Paul Sturtevant, founder of the Society for the Public Perception of the Middle Ages, joins Scott to talk about the organization and how modern understanding of chivalry is built

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In the podcast’s final episode, Prof. Paul Sturtevant, founder of the Society for the Public Understanding of the Middle Ages, joins Scott to talk about the organization and how modern understanding of chivalry is built, colored, and reflected by real historical studies, as well as video games, movies, Renaissance faires, and the historical reenactors who work in the heritage industry. Also: A farewell to the Chivalry Today podcast as we announce our final episode — with thanks to the people who’ve made the show possible, and some final thoughts and reflections.

Quicklinks: Use the links below to learn more about the books, programs, and products mentioned in this episode of the podcast:

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Help support the Chivalry Today podcast

Your contribution of any amount makes the Chivalry Today Podcast possible, and helps make Chivalry Today presentations available to schools, libraries and youth groups as part of our ongoing educational outreach program.

If you enjoy our podcast offerings, please take a moment to help keep them coming.


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How Do We Understand the Code of Chivalry?

Prof. Paul Sturtevant is founder of the Society for the Public Understanding of the Middle Ages.

From movies (Lord of the Rings) and television shows (Games of Thrones), to Renaissance Faires, political speeches, and social movements, our view of what is truly “medieval” is constantly being affected and re-formed by images of “medieval-ism” we see all around us – including the historical interpretative events and demonstrations put on by Chivalry Today. (The image above shows just such a thing occurring as demonstrators in the Occupy Wall Street movement protest supposed corporate greed by donning costumes of the medieval outlaw-hero Robin Hood.)

What does our perception of the Age Of Chivalry tell us about who we are, and who we want to be as individuals, and as a society? And how do our own cultural and social assumptions frame, color, and distort our view of medieval history and the code of chivalry? Is it even possible to have such a thing as an “unbiased view of history,” or does our cultural baggage always travel with us as we venture into studies of the world of the past?

Scott’s guest in this episode of the podcast is Prof. Paul Sturtevant, visiting lecturer at the University of Leeds and Leeds Trinity College, and founder of the Society for the Public Understanding of the Middle Ages (PUMA). In this final episode of the podcast, Prof. Sturtevant provides some interesting thoughts on how we see ourselves reflected in studies and depictions of medieval history and the code of chivalry.

 

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http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-62-public-perception-of-chivalry/feed/ 0 In the podcast's final episode, Prof. Paul Sturtevant, founder of the Society for the Public Perception of the Middle Ages, joins Scott to talk about the organization and how modern understanding of chivalry is built In the podcast's final episode, Prof. Paul Sturtevant, founder of the Society for the Public Perception of the Middle Ages, joins Scott to talk about the organization and how modern understanding of chivalry is built Scott Farrell clean 53:48
Podcast 61: The Knightly Art of Fiore http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-61-knightly-art-fiore/ http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-61-knightly-art-fiore/#comments Tue, 22 May 2012 21:23:17 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4934 Prof. Ken Mondschein joins Scott Farrell to talk about his new book “The Knightly Art Of Battle,” which explores both the military skills, and the detailed artwork found in the late medieval fighting manuscript Flos Duellatorum.

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Prof. Ken Mondschein joins Scott Farrell to talk about his new book The Knightly Art Of Battle, which explores both the military skills, and the detailed artwork found in the late medieval fighting manuscript Flos Duellatorum, written by the fencing master Fiore dei Liberi, which is in the collection at the J. Paul Getty Art Museum in Los Angeles, California. They discuss the fighting arts of the 14th and 15th centuries, and how the illustrations and verse of this book provide a glimpse into the ideals of its author, and the code of honor that prevailed in the world of medieval Italian knights of the time.

Quicklinks: Use the links below to learn more about the books, programs, and products mentioned in this episode of the podcast:

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Help support the Chivalry Today podcast

Your contribution of any amount makes the Chivalry Today Podcast possible, and helps make Chivalry Today presentations available to schools, libraries and youth groups as part of our ongoing educational outreach program.

If you enjoy our podcast offerings, please take a moment to help keep them coming.


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The fighting manuals of the late Middle Ages are intriguing windows into the skills that knights and men-at-arms trained in in preparation for battles, duels and tournaments. But these books – highly illustrated and many written in verse – are also works of art and literature. The drawings in them show us the fashions of the times, and the text, whether enigmatic poetry or detailed technical description, gives us the author’s voice and their outlook on the world around them. If you doubt that a book on sword-fighting can honestly be considered art … well then, you might be surprised to learn that a copy of the fighting manual called The Flower of Battle, written by Italian fencing master Fiore dei Libre, is held in the art collection at the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California.

So, does examining a manuscript, like Fiore’s fighting manual, from an artist’s perspective give us new insight into the life and training of a medieval knight? As we explore themes in the text or styles in the form and execution of the illustrations, does a more refined understanding of the knightly sense of honor and chivalry emerge – or do we simply see violence and cruelty cloaked behind flowery language and pretty pictures?

Scott is joined by Prof. Ken Mondschein, research fellow and historical fencing instructor at the Higgins Armory Museum in Worster, Mass., visiting fellow at the Center for Renaissance Studies at the Univ. of Mass., Amherst, and author of several books on medieval and Renaissance fighting techniques, including Fencing: A Renaissance Treatise, which is a translation of the 1553 fencing manual of Camillo Agrippa, and The Art Of The Two-Handed Sword, a translation of Francesco Alfieri’s Lo Spadone with a Guide to Modern Practice. His most recent book is The Knightly Art Of Battle, published in 2011 by Getty Publications, to talk about Fiore’s work and its artistic depiction of the skills of chivalry.
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We would like to thank Greenoak Media for their technical support for the Chivalry Today Podcast. Show theme and incidental music composed and performed by Joe Novelozo.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-61-knightly-art-fiore/feed/ 0 Armor,chivalry,Fiore,Italy,sword,Western martial arts Prof. Ken Mondschein joins Scott Farrell to talk about his new book “The Knightly Art Of Battle,” which explores both the military skills, and the detailed artwork found in the late medieval fighting manuscript Flos Duellatorum. Prof. Ken Mondschein joins Scott Farrell to talk about his new book “The Knightly Art Of Battle,” which explores both the military skills, and the detailed artwork found in the late medieval fighting manuscript Flos Duellatorum. Scott Farrell clean 36:59
Chivalry Of The Walking Dead http://chivalrytoday.com/chivalry-walking-dead/ http://chivalrytoday.com/chivalry-walking-dead/#comments Fri, 18 May 2012 19:31:00 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4924 No, this isn't an article about the zombie apocalypse and the code of chivalry. But with so many people proclaiming - frequently and definitively - the death of chivalry, it does seem like talking about chivalry in real, practical terms is a bit like trying to resurrect the dead

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Scott Farrell Comments:

No, this isn’t an article about the zombie apocalypse and the code of chivalry. But with so many people proclaiming – frequently and definitively – the death of chivalry,  it does seem like talking about chivalry in real, practical terms is a bit like trying to resurrect the dead.

While the fatal demise of chivalry can sometimes seem to be a foregone conclusion, there may be more to the situation than a quick pronouncement of chivalry’s time of death. Look around and you’ll see plenty of people in today’s world who value respect and integrity, who recognize the importance of commitment and character, and who are doing their best to be compassionate, personable, and kind. In short, there seem to be an awful lot of people who are living by the code of chivalry – even if they don’t realize it.

So maybe chivalry only looks dead – but if that’s so, how can we recognize this “resurrected” form of chivalry when we see it? In his post for the blog Thought Catalog, author Christopher Hudspeth offers some intriguing thoughts on the Five Conditions Of Chivalry (Other Than Dead) as a means of pointing out just where we might look for chivalry in the 21st century.

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In (today’s world) it’s often assumed that the creation of good-mannered gentleman has come to a screeching halt. Apparently the making of chivalrous individuals was discontinued and the mass manufacturing of liars, cheaters and inconsiderate jerks skyrocketed. As a result, we constantly hear the phrase “chivalry is dead.” While it’s easy to mistake extraordinarily uncommon for nonexistent, we should consider some of the other possibilities.

1. Chivalry Isn’t Dead, It’s On Life Support: What does that even mean, you ask? Well a while back I saw a guy open a door for his girlfriend. As she entered he stuck his foot out and playfully tripped her. We’re in a generation where sarcasm, irony and somewhat rude humor are at an all time high. People deflect with cynicism and mockery so often that sometimes we display our affection through uncouth actions. That is chivalry on life support. Courtliness on a ventilator, with a feeding tube down its throat as it lives on, barely.

2. Chivalry Could Be Dead, But It Shows Up In Holograph Form Like Tupac: The definition of “Holographic Chivalry:” Acts of chivalry committed with ulterior motives. Typically this occurs when a male creates the illusion of being a gentleman in the hopes that it results in some form of sex.

In simpler terms, Holographic Chivalry is a dude pretending to be nice so that he can get in a girl’s pants. It’s chivalry but in actuality it isn’t. At times it looks disturbingly real (much like the Tupac holograph at Coachella) but those with a good eye can distinguish the fraud from the authentic.

3. Chivalry Is Viciously Murdered By Certain Girls: The word “girls” is being used specifically because grown women don’t kill chivalry. A girl who refers to herself as “a bad bitch” and posts over-the-top, duckface-laden self-portraiture on Facebook attracts a specific type of dude, and he isn’t typically a courteous one. If posting gratuitous self-shots on the internet for 70 Facebook “likes” makes the girl feel confident, she can expect to receive multiple comments along the lines of, “Damn ma — u sexy as hell”, but she shouldn’t bank on that same fellow opening any doors or pulling out any chairs for her.

4. Chivalry Is Contemplating Suicide: Chivalry is debating ending itself, mainly because many times its appearance isn’t greeted pleasantly. Some in this era find the courteous types cheesy and refer to them as lame. In other words, when a guy tries being a gentleman multiple times and gets shot down or walked all over, he may try other methods – such as douchebag-ery. When this happens, chivalry is taking a handful of pills, washing it down with some whiskey and potentially calling it a life.

5. Chivalry Is Alive If You Look In The Right Places: Clubs, bars and gyms may be the places where you’ll find the most aesthetically pleasing guys, but are those the best locations to seek out a companion? Often times, physical attraction takes precedence over ambition, brains and personality in general. Here’s the thing; in a lot (not all, but a lot) of scenarios, good looking guys don’t necessarily feel the need to be the nicest people because when you’re attractive, you are generally able to draw in more attention from the opposite sex. I’m not saying this is right, but it is the sad truth in a large margin of cases. Guys who are less physically appealing but genuinely nice tend to get less attention. As a result, they appreciate and take care of the ladies who do give them the time of day. It’s unfortunate but spot on, getting to know people is the best way to find a true gentleman. Until then, many will adapt the Nelly Furtado mindset: Chivalry is dead but you’re still kinda cute.

Whatever state chivalry is currently in, I know it isn’t dead. If women refuse to accept anything less than a chivalrous gentleman, then eventually they’ll find him. It’s almost just a matter of having patience. Although it seems like time is of the essence and everyone is in a rush to find someone to be with before the impending zombie apocalypse goes down. Hmm, when this inevitably happens will we say that “Chivalry is Walking Dead?”

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Podcast 60: Chivalry Makes The Lyst http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-60/ http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-60/#comments Fri, 13 Apr 2012 23:29:29 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4904 The organizers of the 2012 Lysts On The Lake, Steve Hemphill and Scott Wilson, discuss this upcoming event that combines the sport of competitive jousting with the burgeoning interest in the field of Western martial arts and historical sword combat

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The organizers of the 2012 Lysts On The Lake, Steve Hemphill and Scott Wilson, discuss this upcoming event that combines the sport of competitive jousting with the burgeoning interest in the field of Western martial arts and historical sword combat, and talk about what role chivalry will play in this year’s event. Plus: A look at the centennial of the Titanic’s sinking and the lessons of chivalry and courtesy to be learned from that fateful “night to remember.”

Quicklinks: Use the links below to learn more about the books, programs, and products mentioned in this episode of the podcast:

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Help support the Chivalry Today podcast

Your contribution of any amount makes the Chivalry Today Podcast possible, and helps make Chivalry Today presentations available to schools, libraries and youth groups as part of our ongoing educational outreach program.

If you enjoy our podcast offerings, please take a moment to help keep them coming.


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Recently the martial arts of medieval Europe have been undergoing nothing short of a Renaissance – moving away from the theatrical pomp and play-acting of scripted jousting shows, and staged sword-fight displays, and toward the more serious study and practice of real, authentic combat on horseback and foot, with lances, swords, and other realistic weapons.

Steve Hemphill is president of A Plaisance Ltd., and coordinator of the Lysts On The Lake jousting tournament.

Not one, but two recent television series have focused on the growing practice of live, competitive sport jousting. And there is an exploding number of conventions and symposia for practitioners of 14th and 15th century fencing, wrestling, and armed combat.

All of these martial arts were, of course, practiced by knights, and those of knightly status in the Middle Ages – back in the days of real chivalry. (That is to say, when chivalry was a current, contemporary concept – not a topic for debate about historical accuracy.)

But for someone of “knightly spirit” in the 21st century, getting a solid grounding in all of these martial arts is difficult. After all, few of us have a castle courtyard where we can go for private lessons with our masters of horse and sword.

But, on May 8th through the 13th, if you’re in the vicinity of Austin, Texas, you can have the next best thing – because that’s when both of these styles of medieval chivalric sports are going to come together in Taylor, Texas at the East Williamson County Event Center, and the Taylor Rodeo Association Arena as spectators, students, and competitors come for the Chivalric Martial Arts International convention, and the Lysts On The Lake jousting tournament.

Scott Wilson is chief sword maker at Darkwood Armory, and coordinator of the Chivalric Martial Arts International Symposium.

Of course, watching these instructors, students and competitors gather to wrestle, hammer, slash, stab, and joust with one another is certainly exciting and colorful. But in these practices of the martial arts of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, will they be exploring the ideals of chivalry, or simply proving that a sense of honor goes out the window once the swords are drawn and the lances come down? Will spectators come away with greater respect for the ideals and practices of chivalry in a competitive environment – or is this merely an exhibition of the obsolescence of the knightly code.

Scott is joined by Steve Hemphill and Scott Wilson, organizers of the event, to discuss how the ideals of chivalry are viewed by the participants in these events.

You can purchase tickets to the event in advance (at a discount) through the Lysts On The Lake website.

See the promotional video for the 2012 Lysts On The Lake jousting tournament and Chivalric Martial Arts International Symposium below.
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http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-60/feed/ 0 The organizers of the 2012 Lysts On The Lake, Steve Hemphill and Scott Wilson, discuss this upcoming event that combines the sport of competitive jousting with the burgeoning interest in the field of Western martial arts and historical sword combat The organizers of the 2012 Lysts On The Lake, Steve Hemphill and Scott Wilson, discuss this upcoming event that combines the sport of competitive jousting with the burgeoning interest in the field of Western martial arts and historical sword combat Scott Farrell clean 42:51
The Drive Of Chivalry http://chivalrytoday.com/drive-chivalry/ http://chivalrytoday.com/drive-chivalry/#comments Fri, 30 Mar 2012 02:36:51 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4891 You can't put the brakes on chivalry, decency, and integrity just because you think no one's watching when you've got a chance to snatch up a quick, unearned buck. Abandoning your own sense of honor just isn't worth the price.

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Scott Farrell comments:

If you want to check someone’s sense of ethics (including your own), you can start by asking one simple question: What would you do if you thought no one was watching you?

It’s a quandary that goes back to the writings of Plato and the famous Ring of Gyges — an enchanted ring that, the great philosopher supposed, would turn the wearer invisible and allow him to get away with anything he wanted, completely unobserved.

If you were unknown and unseen, would it change who you are and what you’re willing to do? Is your sense of honor, decency, or chivalry predicated on the fact that someone you respect might be watching you?

A recent incident involving a bag of cash scattered on a busy highway brought those questions into very non-hypothetical focus. The AP did a very informal “what would you do?” survey, and the results were surprising – and more than a little startling. Many respondents said they would have taken the opportunity to pocket a few bills themselves … but only if their children were not there to see them do it. (As if the kids wouldn’t already be aware that their parents had a pretty shaky sense of honesty, just because they hadn’t seen it in action.)

You can’t put the brakes on chivalry, decency, and integrity just because you think no one’s watching when you’ve got a chance to snatch up a quick, unearned buck. Abandoning your own sense of honor just isn’t worth the price.

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You’re cruising along the highway when you see a bunch of green bills fluttering around like flakes in a snow globe. You get closer and you realize it’s cash. Other drivers are pulling over to snatch what they can. What do you do?

Some drivers in Maryland faced that choice (in March 2012) when two plastic bags containing about $5,700 in bills and coins fell from an unlatched door on an armored truck and spilled onto Interstate 270 about 35 miles northwest of Washington.

One witness said she saw about 30 cars pulled over on the shoulders and people frantically collecting fistfuls of cash. Police say the motorists grabbed almost all of it. Others kept driving.

Imagine having your commute turn into a morality play. What’s your first reaction? Do you slam on the brakes, jump onto a busy highway and start scrambling? Do you slow down to get a closer look? Or do you keep driving, guilt-free but without a surprise payday? OK, now what if your kids were in the car?

The answers from several people who spoke to The Associated Press on Friday offer a glimpse into the minds of Americans trying to juggle doing the right thing and getting by in a tough economy where even a few unexpected dollars can be a blessing.

It wasn’t hypothetical for attorney Heather Kelly, who was driving to her office in Frederick when she passed through the surreal scene. She didn’t see the armored truck but noticed the two clear plastic bags of currency along the road and people snatching the $1 to $50 bills wafting through the air and skittering along the highway.

“It was in the traffic lanes and on the shoulders and just generally kind of like a snow globe of cash,” she said. “Some people had fists full of money, fists full of dollars, and other people were just still trying to collect.”

Kelly decided it was too risky to stop, though no one was injured. She said she wouldn’t have stopped even if it was a two-lane road with no other traffic.

“It was really unclear what was going on and I like to stay away from that type of thing,” she said.

The truck belonged to Garda World Security Services Corp., a Montreal-based security and cash logistics company, spokesman Joe Gavaghan said. He said they’re cooperating with state police investigators to find out what happened.

Maryland State Police urged people to return the money to the agency’s barracks in Rockville, with no questions asked and no charges filed. As of Friday afternoon, no one had.

So what would you do?

Chicago billing clerk Stephany Harris, 53, didn’t miss a beat.

“Of course I would,” she said. “If the armored car had been in an accident of something, I’d make sure the drivers were OK and I’d call 911. But I’d put as much money in my pockets (as I could) and run.”

But what if her kids were there? “I absolutely would not take any money,” she answered again without hesitation. “I wouldn’t want them to get the message that grabbing money that is not yours is the right thing to do.”

Jeff Bora, 30, of Chicago said he would stop to make sure none of the money was stolen.

“I’d start picking it up and I’d call police right away,” he said.

As a former lawyer and prosecutor, he knows that it’s stealing and he could land in serious trouble. Even if he was alone and could get away undetected, he said he still wouldn’t do it: “It would be about how I would feel about myself later. Bad karma would get me in the end.”

Another kind of karma occurred to Dennis Lowe, 30, of Providence, R.I. He said it’s simple human nature, especially if the money is from an armored truck. He said plenty of Americans are fed up with banks, insurance companies and other corporations that move cash in armored trucks.

“The money is insured,” he said while waiting downtown for a bus. “They’ve been taking money from me, so it’s just karma.”

He said he likely would have stopped to grab a few bills, but it might depend on where he was going. He planned to watch his alma mater, Xavier University, on TV in the NCAA basketball tournament on Friday night.

What if he spotted the cash on his way to catch the game? Watch his team or grab the greenbacks?

“Watch Xavier,” he said. “No question.”

In Southern California, where mammoth freeways and gridlock are a way of life, 19-year-old Stephen Schreiber worried about causing traffic.

“I don’t want to get hit by some cars and I don’t want to cause traffic,” he said while working at a coffee shop in Tustin.

He did see one possibility: “What kind of car are we driving? A convertible? Because then maybe my hand or my butterfly net would just stick up and grab some as I drive on by, but otherwise I probably wouldn’t stop,” he said.

Anthony Janni, 36, a bartender in Hagerstown, said he understands why people would stop for “money that seems to just fall into their hands,” but he probably wouldn’t have done so.

“The highway’s not necessarily the place to do something like that,” Janni said. “It’s not something worth causing an accident over.”

Brian Gates, 32, of Cincinnati said he would get out to pick up the cash, with a few conditions. If he had kids and they were in the car, he wouldn’t do it. He also wouldn’t risk his safety.

“I’m not going to take a chance of endangering my life or others for money,” he said.

If he was alone? “Oh yeah! If there is money out there. We can all use money.”

The economy lurked in the decision-making for Gates and others.

Gates believes it’s much harder economically now for the middle class than in his parents’ day because “everything costs more.”

“I bought a little economy car to help with gas, when gas was two dollars, and now it’s doubled. I never thought I would have to pay four dollars for gas.”

Jeanetta Campbell, 40, is a part-time mail clerk for the U.S. Postal Service in Cincinnati. She said she certainly wouldn’t leave her kids in a car to chase money and she probably wouldn’t do it if she was alone.

The denomination of the bills might make a difference.

“If it was hundred-dollar bills, it would be worth it,” she said, laughing. “But if was just (single) dollars, no.”

She’s a single mother with three sons and a grandson. Her youngest son, 17, is still at home. She finds it “harder all the time to make ends meet.”

Maybe the economy makes people more likely to go chase cash on a highway, she speculated, recalling her own single mother: “My mother still had to struggle, but I think the economy was better when we were growing up than it is now.”
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This article was provided by the Associated Press and printed in the Arizona Star Net.

Associated Press Writers David Klepper in Providence, R.I., Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati, Michael Tarm in Chicago and Gillian Flaccus in Tustin, Calif., contributed to this report.

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Podcast 59: Chivalry To The Extreme http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-59-chivalry-extreme/ http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-59-chivalry-extreme/#comments Fri, 09 Mar 2012 06:03:17 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4842 Recently there’s been a shift – away from the dramatized depiction of the joust as a set piece of conflict and hero’s journey, and more towards restoring the jousting match as an honest, unscripted athletic competition.

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Visit the Higgins Armory Museum to learn about their new exhibit Extreme Sport: The Joust as Scott is joined by Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng, the museum’s curator of arms and armor, and one of the coordinators of the exhibition. Dr. Forgeng is one of the world’s few professional scholars of the history of European martial arts. His books include Joachim Meyer’s Art Of Combat and The Medieval Art Of Swordsmanship, and he is one of the lead trainer-interpreters with the Higgins Sword Guild. He is the Paul S. Morgan Curator at the Higgins Armory Museum, and an Adjunct Associate Professor of History at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Quicklinks: Use the links below to learn more about the books, programs, and products mentioned in this episode of the podcast:

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Help support the Chivalry Today podcast

Your contribution of any amount makes the Chivalry Today Podcast possible, and helps make Chivalry Today presentations available to schools, libraries and youth groups as part of our ongoing educational outreach program.

If you enjoy our podcast offerings, please take a moment to help keep them coming.


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Chivalry To The Extreme: The Higgins Armory Museum’s Exhibition “Extreme Sport — The Joust”

Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng is an internationally recognized expert on European martial arts, and one of the organizers of the new exhibit The Joust.

Anyone interested in medieval history or the code of chivalry knows that jousting has been used as a focus for dramatic tension in practically every work of fiction set in medieval times – from L’Morte Darthur, to Edmund Spencer’s The Fairy Queen, to Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. Lerner & Lowe’s musical Camelot brought a jousting match right up onto a Broadway stage; and more recently, A Knight’s Tale gave us a movie that was, in fact, entirely set in the jousting arena.

But recently there’s been a shift – away from the dramatized depiction of the joust as a set piece of conflict and hero’s journey, and more towards restoring the jousting match as an honest, unscripted athletic competition. Live, competitive jousting events, such as the World Joust Tournament of the Phoenix, and international jousting competitions held at castles and museums in Europe, are creating an audience that is no longer satisfied with sparking swords, fake blood, and gymnastic stunts. This new interest in jousting has also given rise to not one, but two television shows that focus on the sport in a “reality TV” sort of way: Nat Geo’s Knights of Mayhem, which took a behind the scenes look at a sport-jousting troupe, and History Channel’s Full Metal Jousting, which is currently on-air, that takes more of a game-show approach to the sport by inviting sixteen athletes and riders from various disciplines to “come on down” and see which one of them can become the best jouster after 30 days of training.

So, what does this new interest in athletic jousting tell us about our understanding of medieval knights and the culture they created? Do these new “sport jousting” events provide a more authentic picture of this uniquely medieval sport, or are they creating a new sort of mythology about jousting that is no more realistic than the bombastic Renaissance Fair jousting performances we’re all familiar with? And, perhaps most importantly, does seeing jousting as a sport provide us with a more complex understanding of the ideals and practices of chivalry – or does that, rather, reveal that chivalry was (and is) nothing but idealistic window dressing that needs to be set aside in order to excel in a real competitive activity?

For anyone who wants to explore such questions – or just plain learn a little more about the jousting in both its historical and modern forms – the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Mass., is the place to go. Their newly opened exhibit, called The Joust, gives visitors a chance to see, and even feel the sport of jousting in a very up-close and personal way.

Scott talks with Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng, one of the museum’s curators, about the exhibit.
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While the idea of jousting may conjure up images of ancient castles and knights of long ago, there’s been a remarkable interest in reviving the sport for a modern audience. Here’s what the participants on History Channel’s Full Metal Jousting have to say about this medieval spectacle as a 21st century sport.

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We would like to thank Greenoak Media for their technical support for the Chivalry Today Podcast. Show theme and incidental music composed and performed by Joe Novelozo.

The post Podcast 59: Chivalry To The Extreme appeared first on Chivalry Today.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-59-chivalry-extreme/feed/ 0 Recently there’s been a shift – away from the dramatized depiction of the joust as a set piece of conflict and hero’s journey, and more towards restoring the jousting match as an honest, unscripted athletic competition. Recently there’s been a shift – away from the dramatized depiction of the joust as a set piece of conflict and hero’s journey, and more towards restoring the jousting match as an honest, unscripted athletic competition. Scott Farrell clean 44:31
Podcast 58: The Style of Chivalry In the Armourer’s Art http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-58-style-chivalry-armourers-art/ http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-58-style-chivalry-armourers-art/#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2012 03:30:54 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4794 To learn about medieval armor, there’s nothing quite like holding a piece of it in your hands – although the Royal Armouries' recent collaborative project is just about as close as your going to get.

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Dr. Thom Richardson, keeper of armor at England’s Royal Armouries, joins Scott to talk about the artistry of medieval armor. Dr. Richardson is author of the foreword in the new two-volume photography book The Royal Armouries by acclaimed Italian photographer Carlo Paggiarino, published by Hans Prunner. He has also written a variety of articles on the history and study of medieval and Renaissance arms and armor for several academic journals. Plus: The Chivalry Today podcast needs your help – please take a moment to make a donation and take part in our Choose Your Rewards support drive.

Quicklinks: Use the links below to learn more about the books, programs, and products mentioned in this episode of the podcast:

Help support the Chivalry Today podcast

Your contribution of any amount makes the Chivalry Today Podcast possible, and helps make Chivalry Today presentations available to schools, libraries and youth groups as part of our ongoing educational outreach program.

If you enjoy our podcast offerings, please take a moment to help keep them coming.


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The Style of Chivalry In the Armourer’s Art

Thom Richardson is the keeper of the armor collection at the Royal Armouries at Leeds, and author of the foreword to the illustrated book The Royal Armouries.

The Royal Armouries at Leeds has become known as one of (if not the) finest collection of arms, armor, and militaria in the world – but one of the Royal Armouries’ missions is to bring arms and armor to life in their “native environment,” which is not gathering dust behind a glass display case, but in use as wearable, practical, functional pieces of equipment.

The Royal Armouries is constantly exploring new and dynamic ways to bring its pieces to life in the public eye, from lectures and special exhibits, to live interpretations of jousting and sword combat, and educational outreach programs. Still, to learn about medieval armor, there’s nothing quite like holding a piece of it in your hands – although the Royal Armouries’ recent collaborative project is just about as close as your going to get.

Working with acclaimed international photographer Carlo Paggiarino, the Royal Armouries has helped produce a new two-volume set of books titled simply The Royal Armouries, published by Hans Prunner Books. Paggiarino has done photography work for other arms and armor collections before, including the Wallace Collection and the Churburg Armory – and for anyone who has seen these books, you know this is not just a run-of-the-mill picture book. Captured in the 624 pages of Paggiarino’s books are some of the most clear, vivid, and true-to-life photographs of armor you’re ever likely to see; when you turn the pages, you’ll swear you can almost hear the metal plates clanking and the mail armor jingling. With a limited publication run of only 1,000 copies, these books are true collector’s editions.

Click the thumbnail images on this page to get a larger display of a sample of the photographs from The Royal Armouries. Photographs courtesy of Hans Prunner.

So, if this photographic chronicle of some of the Royal Armouries’ finest pieces of armor gives us a true “knight’s eye” view of medieval armor, how does it change our perception of the skills and status of the knights who wore it in the Middle Ages? Does the craft and beauty of the armorer’s art lend an iron-clad framework to the image of the chivalric champion? Or does each dent and rust spot reveal the fallacy of chivalry by reminding us of the violent, brutal culture of the men who fought and killed while wearing this armor?

Dr. Thom Richardson, keeper of the Royal Armouries’ Armor collection and author of the foreword to Paggiarino’s books joins Scott to talk about the work of photographing these historic pieces of armor, and what the images reveal about medieval knights and the code of chivalry.
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  • After listening to Episode 58 be sure to visit the Hans Prunner publishing website to enjoy a magnificent slide-show display of some of the images from The Royal Armouries.
  • Find out more about the current exhibitions and activities at the Royal Armouries at Leeds in the museum’s “What’s On?” directory.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-58-style-chivalry-armourers-art/feed/ 0 To learn about medieval armor, there’s nothing quite like holding a piece of it in your hands – although the Royal Armouries' recent collaborative project is just about as close as your going to get. To learn about medieval armor, there’s nothing quite like holding a piece of it in your hands – although the Royal Armouries' recent collaborative project is just about as close as your going to get. Scott Farrell clean 43:43
Podcast 38: Ideology of Chivalry http://chivalrytoday.com/episode-38-ideology-of-chivalry/ http://chivalrytoday.com/episode-38-ideology-of-chivalry/#comments Thu, 02 Feb 2012 19:03:40 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=3323 In this episode: Scott is joined by Prof. Richard Kaeuper, author of Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry for a conversation about the sometimes tenuous relationship between knights and […]

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In this episode: Scott is joined by Prof. Richard Kaeuper, author of Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry for a conversation about the sometimes tenuous relationship between knights and the church throughout the Middle Ages, and how the teachings of Christianity affected the ideals of chivalry. Also: An interview with Sarah Wendell, co-author of Beyond Heaving Bosoms, about “romance novel chivalry”; and we want you to take our listener challenge!

Quicklinks – Buy the titles from authors interviewed in this show by using the following links:

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Help support the Chivalry Today podcast

Your contribution of any amount makes the Chivalry Today Podcast possible, and helps make Chivalry Today presentations available to schools, libraries and youth groups as part of our ongoing educational outreach program.

If you enjoy our podcast offerings, please take a moment to help keep them coming.

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Segment 1: Take the Listener Challenge

A sculpture in the city hall in Cologne, Germany, depicts the Nine Worthies of medieval lore.

We want you to nominate someone for our list of Nine Worthies of Chivalry Today — nine individuals (living, historical or fictional) who represent the ideals of chivalry in action. You can suggest one, some or a whole list of nine names – each month Scott will choose some of the nominees to read on the podcast, and everyone who sends in a suggestion will be entered into our monthly drawing. Visit our Listener Challenge page for full details.
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Prof. Richard KaeuperSegment 2: Ideology of Chivalry — Interview with Prof. Richard Kaeuper, author of Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry

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Segment 3: Romance Novel Chivalry – A Conversation with Sarah Wendell

What are the three elements that comprise the “trifecta of awesome” on a romance novel cover? Sarah discusses this, and other (more serious) elements of the romance genre in the video below:

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We would like to thank Greenoak Media for their technical support for the Chivalry Today Podcast. Show theme and incidental music composed and performed by Joe Novelozo.


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Next month on Episode 39: John Clements, director of the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts joins us to talk about historical sword combat and the code of chivalry.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/episode-38-ideology-of-chivalry/feed/ 0 In this episode: Scott is joined by Prof. Richard Kaeuper, author of Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry for a conversation about the sometimes tenuous relationship between knights and the church throughout the Middle Ages, In this episode: Scott is joined by Prof. Richard Kaeuper, author of Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry for a conversation about the sometimes tenuous relationship between knights and the church throughout the Middle Ages, and how the teachings of Christianity affected the ideals of chivalry. Also: An interview with Sarah Wendell, co-author of Beyond Heaving Bosoms, about "romance novel chivalry"; and we want you to take our listener challenge! Quicklinks - Buy the titles from authors interviewed in this show by using the following links: Holy Warriors by Prof. Richard Kaeuper Beyond Heaving Bosoms by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan Segment 1: Take the Listener Challenge We want you to nominate someone for our list of Nine Worthies of Chivalry Today — nine individuals (living, historical or fictional) who represent the ideals of chivalry in action. You can suggest one, some or a whole list of nine names - each month Scott will choose some of the nominees to read on the podcast, and everyone who sends in a suggestion will be entered into our monthly drawing. Visit our Listener Challenge page for full details. Segment 2: Ideology of Chivalry — Interview with Prof. Richard Kaeuper, author of Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry Read a review of Holy Warriors, reviewed by Prof. Stephen Muhlberger, author of Deeds Of Arms and a past guest on the podcast. Buy Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry at the Chivalry Today bookshop. Segment 3: Romance Novel Chivalry - A Conversation with Sarah Wendell What are the three elements that comprise the "trifecta of awesome" on a romance novel cover? Sarah discusses this, and other (more serious) elements of the romance genre in the video below: Read Chivalry and Other Romantic Behaviors on Sarah's blog; Buy Beyond Heaving Bosoms by Sarah Wendell and Candy Tan at the Chivalry Today bookshop. Next month on Episode 39: John Clements, director of the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts joins us to talk about historical sword combat and the code of chivalry. Scott Farrell clean
Choose Your Rewards: Season Six Contributor Appreciation Drive http://chivalrytoday.com/choose-your-rewards-season-six-contributor-appreciation-drive/ http://chivalrytoday.com/choose-your-rewards-season-six-contributor-appreciation-drive/#comments Wed, 18 Jan 2012 22:45:45 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4612 Our Season Six Podcast promotion has come to an end, and we do want to thank the small but dedicated group of listeners who took to time to contribute to […]

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The “Chivalry Today Girls” model our logo T-shirts at the 2011 Tournament of the Phoenix. The shirts are available to supporters who donate $20.

Our Season Six Podcast promotion has come to an end, and we do want to thank the small but dedicated group of listeners who took to time to contribute to our program.

Our regularly schedule podcast has been discontinued, though you will still be able to hear intriguing and engaging interviews from time to time in our new Conversations With Chivalry Today series – very much like the podcast, but produced on an irregular basis.

Of course, there is still a way for you to help with production of our podcast – listeners are always welcome, and even encouraged, to make a contribution of  just $20. In return, you can choose either one of our Chivalry Today T-shirts (pictured at right), or a copy of the book Martial Arts And Philosophy, which features a chapter on the philosophy of chivalry written by Chivalry Today’s own program director, Scott Farrell.

We hope you’ll continue to enjoy listening to our Conversations With Chivalry Today, and that you will consider supporting our program with a donation of $20.

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Podcast 57: Chivalry Urbanis – Civil-izing the Knightly Code http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-57-chivalry-urbanis-civil-izing-knightly-code/ http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-57-chivalry-urbanis-civil-izing-knightly-code/#comments Wed, 18 Jan 2012 21:50:20 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4731 Scott speaks with Prof. P.M. Forni, founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project and author of the book Choosing Civility, who discusses the history of “civil” behavior and chivalry

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Scott speaks with Prof. P.M. Forni, founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project and author of the book Choosing Civility, who discusses the history of “civil” behavior and chivalry, and why this concept still matters today. Plus: Chivalry Today needs your help! Please donate and take advantage of our Choose Your Rewards donor appreciation program.

Quicklinks – use the links below to learn more about the books, videos, products and programs mentioned on this episode of the podcast:

Help support the Chivalry Today podcast

Your contribution of any amount makes the Chivalry Today Podcast possible, and helps make Chivalry Today presentations available to schools, libraries and youth groups as part of our ongoing educational outreach program.

If you enjoy our podcast offerings, please take a moment to help keep them coming.

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Chivalry Urbanis — Civil-izing The Knightly Code

Back in the Age of Chivalry, there was a book written that encapsulated much of the important knowledge of being a knight and a member of noble society. It wasn’t a book of battle tactics or heroic tales of glory – it was called Liber Urbanis … the Book of Civilized Behavior.
The knowledge and mastery of civility was a crucial part of the code of chivalry – being courteous, refined and civil was the way a knight (or a lady) demonstrated that inner sense of nobility and grace.
Professor Pier Forni is taking a new look at this age-old concept of civility. With a Ph.D. in Italian Renaissance Literature, Prof. Forni has worked at the Harvard Center for Renaissance Studies in Florence, and in 1997 he became the co-founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project – a program aimed at assessing the significance of civility, manners and politeness in contemporary society. He is the author of two books on the subject – Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct, and The Civility Solution: What To Do When People Are Rude. Prof. Forni has written on the subject of modern civility for the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times and Forbes Magazaine, and he has appeared in a variety of media, including ABC World News Tonight and the Oprah show.
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We would like to thank Greenoak Media for their technical support for the Chivalry Today Podcast. Show theme and incidental music composed and performed by Joe Novelozo.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-57-chivalry-urbanis-civil-izing-knightly-code/feed/ 0 Scott speaks with Prof. P.M. Forni, founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project and author of the book Choosing Civility, who discusses the history of “civil” behavior and chivalry Scott speaks with Prof. P.M. Forni, founder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project and author of the book Choosing Civility, who discusses the history of “civil” behavior and chivalry Scott Farrell clean 36:49
A Violent Shift In The Knightly Image http://chivalrytoday.com/violent-knights-not-chivalrous-knights/ http://chivalrytoday.com/violent-knights-not-chivalrous-knights/#comments Tue, 13 Dec 2011 21:54:50 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4711 Modern military psychology enables us to read medieval texts in a new way – giving us insight into the perception of violence in the Middle Ages in the general population and the use of lethal violence by knights

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Scott Farrell comments:

The concept of chivalry as a military code of ethics is sometimes dismissed as simply an excuse for causing harm and doing violence under the guise of righteousness. In fact, in many of Chivalry Today’s presentations, audience members (of all ages) openly scoff at the notion of a medieval knight as an “ethical soldier” who has respect for “rules of engagement.” Sadly, many people have come to believe that a soldier’s code of conduct is merely a pretty mask put over an ugly truth: That warriors in the Middle Ages took pride and pleasure in harming other people, and embraced any excuse to do so.

But new research from the University of Copenhagen indicates something very different: That chivalry may, in fact, have reflected knights’ desire to refrain from killing and hurting other people needlessly. In fact, this study of authentic medieval accounts and chronicles reveals that knights and soldiers of the Middle Ages may have been acutely aware of the causes and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and looked (in part) to the principles of the code of chivalry as a means of protecting themselves from the psychological aftermath of battle.

Of course, there were no combat psychologists following knights on the Crusades or in the Hundred Years War – but as this article by Kristian Sjøgren, originally published in the Danish science journal Science Nordic shows, medieval soldiers may have been more aware of the mental risks of combat and warfare than was previously believed – and chivalry might have been their armor against PTSD.

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Medieval warriors were in grave danger of developing post-traumatic stress disorder following their acts of war. The knights could counteract the severe mental suffering by ensuring they always fought for a noble cause when cutting their enemies to shreds. (Photo: Saffron Blaze)

Medieval knights are often depicted as bloodthirsty men who enjoyed killing. But that is a completely wrong picture, new research shows.

The knights did not kill just because they wanted to, but because it was their job – precisely like soldiers today. Nor were the Middle Ages as violent as we think, despite their different perception of violence compared to ours.

“Modern military psychology enables us to read medieval texts in a new way – giving us insight into the perception of violence in the Middle Ages in the general population and the use of lethal violence by knights,” says Thomas Heebøll-Holm of the SAXO Institute at the University of Copenhagen, who researches the perception of violence in the late Middle Ages.

“Previously, medieval texts were read as worshipping heroes and glorifying violence. But in the light of modern military psychology we can see the mental cost to the knights of their participation in the gruesome and extremely violent wars in the Middle Ages.”

Violent by nature or culture?

Were the knights violent by nature, enjoying killing? Or was killing something they learned from living in a violent society and culture?

Some psychologists believe violence is latent in our genes, while others believe it is something we learn through training. Heebøll-Holm’s research places the medieval perception of violence somewhere between those categories.

“From crime statistics and letters of pardon, historians can see that people in the Middle Ages were no more violent than we are today,” says the researcher. “But they had a different perception of the use of violence, including lethal violence.”

Back then, people generally had the same concerns about violence as we do today – they were opposed to the use of violence, he explains. In some cultural situations they were forced to use violence, even if it involved murder – and they did so.

“If someone had acted in a way that violated the honour of one of your family members, you were expected to make him answer for his actions, and kill him if necessary.”

Kill and get a pardon

The researcher relates a story from Paris in the 14th Century. A woman was beaten to death by her husband. Her two brothers demanded that the husband pay penance for his actions, but he refused.

Although the brothers felt no pleasure from killing the husband, and even tried to avoid doing so, they felt they were forced to kill him to re-establish their honour.

But instead of punishment the brothers were pardoned, as it was well known that the husband had violated their honour by killing their sister.

“In the Middle Ages, the authorities were too weak to ensure law and order,” says Heebøll-Holm.

“To carry this to its logical conclusion, it was up to individuals to ensure that their honour was not violated or abused by others. This meant that ordinary people had to kill to show the world around them that they were willing to ensure their rights by using the most drastic means if necessary.”

Knights with PTSD

Although they exercised violence in its most extreme form, participating in wars where their comrades were cut into shreds by their enemy’s troops and where they themselves used brutal and gruesome violence against the enemy, medieval knights were not violent by nature or through culture.

But their war experiences could leave them with a very serious case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the researcher.

During his studies of violence in the Middle Ages he came across a book written by a knight who lived in the first half of the 14th century.

“His name was Geoffroi de Charny, and he was one of the most respected knights of his age. The book, about the life of a knight, included the psychological consequences of being a knight – and they strongly resemble the symptoms of PTSD.”

In his book, de Charny advises knights on how to relate to the fact that they must kill people when they are at war. He also mentions some of the hardships knights face: poor sleep, hunger, and a feeling that even nature is going against them.

“De Charny describes stress factors that we also see related in modern military psychology, including reports from Vietnam War veterans,” he says. “His picture of knights shows they are very remote from the violent psychopaths that we picture them as.”

Fight for a good cause

De Charny also suggested what the knights should do to resist the stress factors. He said knights should fight for a good cause to avoid succumbing to the pressures of war. A ‘good cause’ should be God’s cause – a war for a higher and just cause, to reinstate law and order – and not for personal gain.

“On the one hand we can see that de Charny was a very conscientious man – and in the Middle Ages conscience was regarded as God’s way of telling us how to relate to rights and wrongs.

“On the other hand, he was a warrior who took part in several wars over a period of 30 years, including a crusade to the city we call Ismir. War and crusades are by definition violent,” says Heebøll-Holm.

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Podcast 56: Manvoted To Chivalry http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-56-manvotionals-chivalry/ http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-56-manvotionals-chivalry/#comments Wed, 07 Dec 2011 23:16:09 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4651 Scott speaks with Brett McKay, founder of the Art Of Manliness and co-author of Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom And Advice On Living The 7 Manly Virtues, about the gentlemanly arts and the place of the code of chivalry within the framework of manly philosophy

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Scott speaks with Brett McKay, founder of the Art Of Manliness and co-author of Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom And Advice On Living The 7 Manly Virtues, about the gentlemanly arts and the place of the code of chivalry within the framework of manly philosophy. Plus: A message of generosity from one of the great coaches of college basketball; and you can send a Pledge Of Chivalry to a friend as a holiday gift for as little as $20.

Quicklinks: Use the links below to learn more about the books, videos, products, and programs mentioned on this episode of the podcast:

  • Visit the Art Of Manliness website to learn more about the skills of being a modern gentleman (even if you’re a woman!);
  • Purchase the book Manvotionals by Brett and Kate McKay;
  • Buy a copy of John Feinstein’s new book One On One.

Help support the Chivalry Today podcast

Your contribution of any amount makes the Chivalry Today Podcast possible, and helps make Chivalry Today presentations available to schools, libraries and youth groups as part of our ongoing educational outreach program.

If you enjoy our podcast offerings, please take a moment to help keep them coming.


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Manvoted To Chivalry

Brett McKay (left) with his wife, Kate, are the authors of the new book Manvotionals, a collection of thoughts on the art of manliness.

Chivalry is often defined as the “lost art of being a gentleman.” Why don’t young men act like gentlemen anymore? people – particularly young ladies – often complain. The days when gentlemen used polite manners, stood up for what’s right, took pride in being confident and self-reliant, and lived up to their word seem to be a thing of the past.

Recently there have been a variety of efforts to recapture what might be called “The Art of Manliness” – and to teach young men (or, actually, men of all ages) what it is to be a man who lives with a real sense of discipline, honor, industry, and courage, rather than just to be couch-potato playing World of Warcraft in your man-cave.

But part of the challenge in this reclamation of the art of manliness is the understanding of the difference between what a man does and what a man is … you can learn to run a bulldozer, hunt big game, and sail the seven seas all you want,  but the trappings of manliness are nothing without the ideals, values, and principles of manly character.

So just what is it that makes a male into a man? How does one achieve not just the skills, but also the philosophy of a modern gentleman? Are the qualities of chivalry still relevant to the contemporary practice of the art of manliness, or has the notion of the chivalrous knight been eclipsed by the more up-to-date profile of the cosmopolitan man-about-town?

These are the questions Scott explores with Brett McKay, author of Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom And Advice On Living The 7 Manly Virtues.


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Bobby Knight – A Slam-Dunk Lesson In Gratitude

A clip from a recent episode of the on-air talk show Fresh Air, hosted by Dave Davies, provides a memorable lesson on the value of generosity and gratitude in a fiercely competitive environment as sports commentator John Feinstein talks about his observations of coach Bobby Knight in his new book One On One: Behind The Scenes With The Greats In The Game.
(Listen to the full broadcast of the show on NPR’s Fresh Air website.)
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Coming Up On Episode 57: Scott will be joined by Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng, curator of arms and armor at the Higgins Armory Museum, to talk about the newly opened exhibit The Joust.
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We would like to thank Greenoak Media for their technical support for the Chivalry Today Podcast. Show theme and incidental music composed and performed by Joe Novelozo.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-56-manvotionals-chivalry/feed/ 1 Scott speaks with Brett McKay, founder of the Art Of Manliness and co-author of Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom And Advice On Living The 7 Manly Virtues, about the gentlemanly arts and the place of the code of chivalry within the framework of manly philo... Scott speaks with Brett McKay, founder of the Art Of Manliness and co-author of Manvotionals: Timeless Wisdom And Advice On Living The 7 Manly Virtues, about the gentlemanly arts and the place of the code of chivalry within the framework of manly philosophy Scott Farrell clean 50:44
Podcast 55: Chivalry Never Sleeps — The Knight and the Private Eye http://chivalrytoday.com/chivalry-never-sleeps-the-knight-and-the-private-eye/ http://chivalrytoday.com/chivalry-never-sleeps-the-knight-and-the-private-eye/#comments Wed, 02 Nov 2011 01:41:54 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4626 Scott explores the dark streets of one of the most overlooked genres of chivalric literature - the private eye story - with author and publisher Charles Ardai.

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Phillip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) and Carmen Sternwood (Martha Vickers) in a scene from The Big Sleep (1946).

In this episode: Scott explores the dark streets of one of the most overlooked genres of chivalric literature – the private eye story – with author and publisher Charles Ardai. Mr. Ardai is founder of Hard Case Crime Books, and his short story The Home Front won an Edgar Award in 2007 for outstanding mystery fiction. Mr. Ardai recently uncovered a rumored (but long-lost) manuscript by James M. Cain, one of the pioneers of early 20th century detective fiction (along with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler) called The Cocktail Waitress, which he is currently editing and preparing for publication.

(A note for those who maybe confused by the title of this episode: “We Never Sleep” was the motto used by private investigator and security man Allan Pinkerton in the 1870′s. When allegedly nonfiction accounts of some of Pinkerton’s exploits were published, they started to create a market for American readers interested in the doings of the “private eye.”)

Quicklinks – use the links below to learn more about the books, videos, products, and programs mentioned on this episode of the podcast:

  • Hard Case Crime Books – Explore the full catalog of crime fiction titles they offer, including novels by Stephen King, Lawrence Block, and Mickey Spillane;
  • Read the full text of Charles Ardai’s award-winning story The Home Front on-line;
  • Donate to Chivalry Today and get some great appreciation gifts as part of our Sixth Season “Choose Your Rewards” donor appreciation program.

Help support the Chivalry Today podcast

Your contribution of any amount makes the Chivalry Today Podcast possible, and helps make Chivalry Today presentations available to schools, libraries and youth groups as part of our ongoing educational outreach program.

If you enjoy our podcast offerings, please take a moment to help keep them coming.

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Chivalry Never Sleeps: The Private Eye and the Knight

Seedy gin joints and filthy city alleys lit by stark streetlamps. Saps, switchblades and snub-nosed six guns. Men in dark fedoras and stained trench coats, and blonde-bombshell women with strong wills and weak morals …

Bill Waterson's cartoon character Calvin occassionally played the role of a make-believe detective "Tracer Bullet" in the comics.

These are just a few of the more distinctive features of a genre of literature and film we’ve come to know as the crime novel, or the detective story. From books written in the early 20th century like The Malteese Falcon and Farewell, My Lovely, to more recent film interpretations like Chinatown and L.A. Confidential, the noir detective story has become a staple of American film and literature. (Even Calvin, in the comic strip Calvin & Hobbes, fancied himself a gumshoe private eye from time to time as he tracked down homework-stealing villains as his noir alter-ego Tracer Bullet – a tribute to just how deeply entrenched that sort of character is in our cultural psyche.)

Now at first you might wonder what private eyes and urban crime stories have to do with discussions of the code of chivalry. But scratch the surface just a little bit, and you’ll find that hidden under that trenchcoat, “roscoe,” and fedora is, in fact, a knight in shining armor.

Consider: In early drafts of Raymond Chandler’s work, detective Philip Marlowe was named (instead) Philip Malory in homage to the Arthurian tales written by Sir Thomas Malory in the 15th century, which inspired Chandler’s writing.

And in an article in The New Yorker in 1931, literary critic Dorothy Parker compared Dashell Hammet’s detective character Sam Spade to Sir Lancelot.

In fact, the connection between the knightly characters of the Age of Chivalry and the hard-boiled detectives and private eyes of modern crime fiction is pretty clear, once you start looking for it. The black knights and evil sorceresses may have become mob bosses and femme fatales, but in both cases these are stories of heroes struggling to follow a code as they move through a dark world of temptation and corruption in a quest for justice.

So just what do private eyes and detective stories have to teach us about the ideals of chivalry – in both literary tradition and real life? Are these stories that reaffirm the presence of a code of honor on the hard city streets? Or do we come away with the message, to paraphrase Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep, that “knights have no meaning; this world isn’t a place for knights”?

In this episode, Scott speaks with author and crime novel expert Charles Ardai about the character of the private eye and the code of chivalry.

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Learn more with these links

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We would like to thank Greenoak Media for their technical support for the Chivalry Today Podcast. Show theme and incidental music composed and performed by Joe Novelozo.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/chivalry-never-sleeps-the-knight-and-the-private-eye/feed/ 0 Scott explores the dark streets of one of the most overlooked genres of chivalric literature - the private eye story - with author and publisher Charles Ardai. Scott explores the dark streets of one of the most overlooked genres of chivalric literature - the private eye story - with author and publisher Charles Ardai. Scott Farrell clean 53:31
Wearing Chivalry On Your Sleeve http://chivalrytoday.com/wearing-chivalry-on-your-sleeve/ http://chivalrytoday.com/wearing-chivalry-on-your-sleeve/#comments Wed, 26 Oct 2011 01:40:35 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4595 Chivalry Today needs your support! Why? We need your support to help continue our educational presentations for as many schools, libraries, churches, youth groups, camps, and other organizations as we […]

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Chivalry Today needs your support!

Why?

We need your support to help continue our educational presentations for as many schools, libraries, churches, youth groups, camps, and other organizations as we can.

We need your support to keep our monthly Chivalry Today Podcast on line so you can hear the voices of today’s top scholars, researchers, authors, and interpreters in the fields of literature and medieval/chivalry studies.

We need your support to help us continue our Swords Of Chivalry historical sword-combat classes, and Warrior Camp After School Activity Program.

And we need your support to keep this website, our Facebook page, and other on-line resources available to teachers, history enthusiasts, and chivalry fans all around the world.

Is that enough? Are we working hard enough to earn your support with a financial donation of whatever level you can afford?

Well, we hope so. But in case you need just an added nudge – one last spark of added incentive – we’re offering you one more motivator: some Chivalry Today swag! A beautiful Chivalry Today T-shirt!

If you make a donation of just $25 to the Chivalry Today Program, we’ll reward you with a comfortable T-shirt with the Chivalry Today logo, along with an eye-catching image of two armored knights in honorable tournament battle. In the photo at the top of the page, you can see a picture of the shirt, modeled in courtly fashion by the Lady Judges at the 2011 Tournament of the Phoenix jousting event — along with a trio of unruly marshals and judges attired in 15th century garb. (The six of them are attempting to show some sort of meaningful hand signal – possibly “Live long and prosper”?)

Chivalry Girls

The "Chivalry Today Girls" model our logo T-shirts, which are available to supporters who donate $25.

PLUS: If you make a $25 donation before Dec. 31, 2011, we’ll toss in a travel mug with the Chivalry Today logo as well – a $10 value free just for taking advantage of this timely, end-of-year offer.

In 2011 Chivalry Today has worked with more teachers and more schools than ever before, teaching lessons in chivalry, honor, and the Knightly Virtues to more than 7,000 students in the Southern California area, and more than 6,000 listeners of our on-line podcast. We want to continue spreading the values of the code of chivalry – but to do that, we need your support.

Please, help Chivalry Today with a $25 donation right now – and as a way of showing our appreciation, we’ll let you wear chivalry on your sleeve (and your chest) with a Chivalry Today T-shirt.

Please specify your preferred T-shirt size – M, L, XL, or XXL – when making your donation.

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Podcast 54: Saddled With Chivalry http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-54-saddled-with-chivalry/ http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-54-saddled-with-chivalry/#comments Tue, 04 Oct 2011 20:56:43 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4573 Scott is joined by Gwen Nowrick and Jeffrey Hedgecock, founders of Historic Enterprises and organizers of the World Joust Tournament of the Phoenix competitive jousting event, to discuss medieval horsemanship and its relationship to the ideals of chivalry.

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Jouster Dominic Sewell demonstrates the elegant (and difficult) art of armored horsemanship. Dominic, along with Jeffrey Hedgecock, will be on hand at the Historical Horsemanshp Roundtable to do their best to demonstrate the link between horsemanship and chivalry.

In this episode, Scott is joined by Gwen Nowrick and Jeffrey Hedgecock, the founders of Historic Enterprises, and organizers of the World Joust Tournament of the Phoenix competitive jousting event, to discuss medieval horsemanship and its relationship to the ideals of chivalry. Gwen is the author of an article on the competitive sport of jousting in the Fall edition of Elite Equestrian magazine, and Jeffrey will be one of the competitors riding in the jousting event. They are also the coordinators of a roundtable discussion and demonstration of historical horsemanship that will be conducted by internationally acclaimed trainer Patrice Edwards, and Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng, curator of arms and armor at the Higgins Armory Museum.
Before listening: Please make a donation to help support the production of our podcast in its new “Simply Chivalry” format for Season Six. Donate at one of the following levels and you’ll receive the appreciation gift listed:

You can make a donation of any size by using the red Piggy Bank donation button on the right-hand side of your screen.

Saddled With Chivalry: Equestrian researchers Gwen Nowrick and Jeffrey Hedgecock discuss riding and the knightly code.

Gwen Nowrick’s article on the competitive sport of jousting appears in the Fall Edition of Elite Equestrian Magazine.

Armored knights on horseback competing in the spirit of chivalry may seem like something out of a medieval history book – but don’t call jousting “a thing of the past” when Gwen Nowrick and Jeffrey Hedgecock are around. Gwen and Jeffrey are organizers behind World Joust; Gwen is an avid student and practitioner of historical equestrian riding and training practices; Jeffrey is a skilled horseman himself, who is one of the best-known competitors on the jousting circuit today.

For these two, jousting is a sport that’s a blend of both traditional pageantry and exciting contemporary relevance – no different from polo, steeple jumping, or even horse racing. (And if you think that clanking chain mail and long medieval gowns automatically disqualify this as a modern sport … well, those wild outfits you see in the stands on opening day at the races aren’t any stranger than medieval armor or 15th century lady’s fashions.)

In coordinating the judges and field staff at the jousting tournament, Gwen’s focus is not so much on the skill and accuracy with the lance or sword, as with the control and grace between rider and horse. For Jeffrey, of course, the jousting matches are an opportunity to put academic research into practice – to see how historical riding skills hold up when it’s time to start breaking lances.

Gwen’s article on jousting as a modern sport appears in the most recent issue of Elite Equestrian magazine. As part of the 2011 Tournament of the Phoenix, she and Jeffrey have helped put together a forum on historical horsemanship and equestrian training that will be led by internationally acclaimed trainer Patrice Edwards and medieval scholar Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng,that will kick off the jousting event on Thurs. Oct. 20 at 4pm.
Scott spoke with Gwen and Jeffrey in their working offices (just steps away from their stable and armor workshop) to talk about chivalry’s role in the skills of medieval horsemanship.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-54-saddled-with-chivalry/feed/ 0 Scott is joined by Gwen Nowrick and Jeffrey Hedgecock, founders of Historic Enterprises and organizers of the World Joust Tournament of the Phoenix competitive jousting event, to discuss medieval horsemanship and its relationship to the ideals of chiva... Scott is joined by Gwen Nowrick and Jeffrey Hedgecock, founders of Historic Enterprises and organizers of the World Joust Tournament of the Phoenix competitive jousting event, to discuss medieval horsemanship and its relationship to the ideals of chivalry. Scott Farrell clean
Sun Tzu In Competition With Chivalry http://chivalrytoday.com/competing-chivalry-sun-tzu/ http://chivalrytoday.com/competing-chivalry-sun-tzu/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2011 01:42:51 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4321 All businesses are trying to improve the world in one way or another, whether they recognize it or not. Even the most basic economic activities are worthy and important goals, but only if you value people.

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Scott Farrell comments:

Chinese war leader Sun Tzu wrote The Art Of War, which is often quoted by business leaders who place profit above principles. What would Sun Tzu have thought of the code of chivalry as a guide for business strategy?

Chivalry’s sense of honesty, ethics, and fair-play is often criticized by commentators who favor a more “cutthroat philosophy” of competition – particularly in the arenas of business and finance. Proponents of this approach often cite the writings of the famous Chinese strategist Sun Tzu to justify their position, in the belief that his timeless work The Art Of War strips away any pretense of honor or ethics in the pursuit of military victory. By adapting this strategy guide for effective, profitable business practices, any sort of hindrances of conscience or idealism would be completely stripped away, and you’d be left with nothing but the raw, ruthless drive to conquer.

But in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Like effective strategists throughout history, from Vegetius to Von Clausewitz, Sun Tzu recognized that there are factors of principles and ethics that must guide a general, an army, and a nation (and thus, a business as well) if they are to achieve any sort of lasting victory. Far from abandoning the ideals of honor and chivalry, Sun Tzu’s strategies seem to be in perfect harmony with the code of chivalry — whether the victory you are seeking is military, or commercial.

Business consultant Gary Gagliardi is author of the series of books Sun Tzu’s Art Of War Plus … and founder of the Science of Strategy Institute. In this article (excerpted from his book Sun Tzu’s Art Of War Plus The Art Of Marketing), he contradicts the notion that Sun Tzu would have allowed, or encouraged his followers to abandon their principles in pursuit of profits. Instead, as Mr. Gagliardi teaches his business clients, Sun Tzu’s approach to competition would have been one of trust, respect … and even chivalry! All of these ideals have important roles to play in the pursuit of profit and victory.

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Consultant Gary Gagliardi is founder of the Science of Stragegy Institute, and the Sun Tzu’s Art Of War Plus ... book series.

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is broadly read within the business world as a basic primer for competitive strategy, which is easily adapted to marketing. In the original Chinese, the original work is an almost mathematical analysis of how competitive systems work. Though a basic translation puts its principles in military terms, its original formulas can be directly translated line-by-line from military terminology to business marketing terms. When we do this, some fascinating ethical insights emerge.

The most common misconception among people who have not studied Sun Tzu’s work is that its basic competitive philosophy is Machiavellian, devoid of ethical considerations in advancing its principles of success in competitive arenas. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary, Sun Tzu teaches that ethical behavior is the foundation for success in competition.

Sun Tzu’s ethics are pragmatic rather than idealistic. He focuses on the fact that direct conflict is inherently costly. Those who naturally react to competitive situations by wanting to engage in battles and defeat their opponents are doomed to defeat, even if they consistently win their battles. This is as true in marketing battles as it is in military ones. He advances the art of war as a strategy for replacing the artless, destructive conflicts that define most competitive battles, including those that too often take place among business competitors.

His analysis is that victorious conflict is so inherently costly that it is never worthwhile. We can win a market by spending too much money, but we cannot make a profit doing so. He says specifically:

A general that fights a hundred battles and wins a hundred battles in not a great general. The great general is one who finds a way to win without fighting a single battle.

The Art of War teaches us to stop defining successful in terms of winning conflicts or in terms of beating opponents. Sun Tzu redefines success very simply as advancing our position, improving our market share, if you will, while avoiding costly direct conflicts. By using strategy, as opposed to brute force, we can advance our position in such a way that people do not want to attack us, and ideally want to join us. In warfare and marketing, this means finding openings where we can go around the competitors rather than battling them directly.

Ethical considerations are at the foundation of his strategic principles. Of the five factors that are the basis for strategy, the first and foremost is philosophy. Sun Tzu taught that people could not be united to succeed in any endeavor unless they shared a common philosophy that gives their struggle a greater meaning. A shared philosophy unites and focuses an organization. In business, our term for his idea of philosophy is a company mission.

Every successful organization has a corporate mission that gives them a purpose greater than simply making money. All businesses are trying to improve the world in one way or another, whether they recognize it or not. Even the most basic economic activities — feeding people, clothing them, giving them shelter — are worthy and important goals, but only if you value people. Sun Tzu valued people because he saw that our every success depends upon them. In human society, we cannot be successful in a vacuum. A well-defined higher mission is the basis for any successful marketing campaign.

In Sun Tzu’s system, not only must we have worthy goals to be successful, but our methods, the last of his five factors, must be honorable as well. As a matter of fact, the only limitation he puts on methods is that they must be consistent with our philosophy. If our methods run contrary to our mission, we cannot be successful. Again, this is not an idealistic principle but a pragmatic one. From a marketing point of view, we cannot sell our higher mission if our methods are clearly inconsistent with those ideals. Do you ever get spam e-mail messages from companies offering to put a stop to spam e-mail? How successful do you think those companies are going to be?

The final and perhaps most critical of his five keys factors with an ethical dimension is the organization’s leader. Sun Tzu teaches that leaders must be honest. In the end, people will only follow you into war or in business if they can trust you. Sun Tzu teaches that the essence of war is controlling people’s perceptions. For Sun Tzu, strategy is a long-term, systematic approach to success. While dishonesty can offer some types of temporary advantages, it always works against us in the long run, whether we realize it our not.

For Sun Tzu, the strategic process of advancing our position is opportunistic, but he defines opportunism as a form of mutual dependence. He teaches that we don’t create our opportunities because they are part of the larger environment (heaven and earth, the last two of his five factors), which we cannot control. Sun Tzu teaches that we depend on others to create opportunities for us. Every marketplace has unfulfilled needs, just as every business has weaknesses. Both are opportunities for improving our position, and quite often those opportunities are disguised as problems. We do not recognize these opportunities simply because we are not trained to see them in the challenges that face us.

To be successful in marketing, we must learn how to leverage the opportunities that others give us. We can only do this if we build our businesses on a solid foundation of ethics. Without that solid ethical foundation, we cannot build long-term success from taking advantage of opportunities because people eventually find us out. In today’s world, our business practices are more transparent than ever.

About The Art of War and the Science of Strategy Institute: In The Art of War, Sun Tzu offers a wealth of detailed information about continuously improving our position in a way that unites people and brings them together. Though the book takes only a few hours to read, understanding how these principles work is difficult because they are often counter intuitive. This is why we developed The Warrior Class, our free (to our book owners) on-line training site that offers slide shows, lessons, and self-scoring tests to make it easy to master Sun Tzu’s strategic principles.

To learn more, visit The Science of Strategy website.

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Podcast 53: Courtly Love – How Chivalry And Romance Got Together http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-53-courtly-love-rethought/ http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-53-courtly-love-rethought/#comments Tue, 13 Sep 2011 00:37:06 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4298 In the first episode of the sixth season of the podcast, Scott speaks with Prof. Jennifer G. Wollock, author of the new book Rethinking Chivalry And Courtly Love. She explains […]

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In the first episode of the sixth season of the podcast, Scott speaks with Prof. Jennifer G. Wollock, author of the new book Rethinking Chivalry And Courtly Love. She explains how this medieval literary ideal has had a profound impact on modern society, from military doctrines and ethics, to romantic stories of forbidden love and star-crossed passion.
Also: Please make a donation to help support the production of our podcast in its new “Simply Chivalry” format for Season Six. Donate at one of the following levels and you’ll receive the appreciation gift listed:

You can make a donation of any size by using the red Piggy Bank donation button on the right-hand side of your screen.

Interview: Jennifer G. Wollock, Author of Rethinking Chivalry And Courtly Love

One of the topics that almost always comes up when you’re talking about the code of chivalry, medieval literature, or the history of knighthood, is courtly love. Often associated with the tragic romance of Lancelot and Guenevere, courtly love is (more generally) defined as sense of passion and attraction between lover and beloved that overcomes obstacles and survives in spite of, or even because of, the impediments that keep lovers apart.

Like the ideals of chivalry, the literature and customs of courtly love are often denounced by scholars as frivolous, decadent, unrealistic, and as a means of romanticizing the repressive social mores of a bygone era. Despite the fact that we’ve spent decades working toward gender equality in politics, family, education, and the workplace, that dynamic of chivalry and courtly love seems to have left a lasting mark on our cultural psyche – you can see its influence in works of literature ranging from Romeo & Juliet to the Twilight series.

So is courtly love an archaic, outdated tradition that’ll be forever attached to the medieval notion of chivalry – or is it an archetypal, organic element of human behavior that reflects the natural patterns of courtship and mating. Where does courtly love come from, why is it such a persistent trope in art, literature, and pop culture, and is there any future for bold gentlemen, distressed damsels, and the customs of courtly love in the 21st century?

In this episode, Scott speaks with author Jennifer G. Wollock to consider (or reconsider) the value of chivalry and courtly love.

Purchase a copy of Rethinking Chivalry And Courtly Love published by Praeger press.

The post Podcast 53: Courtly Love – How Chivalry And Romance Got Together appeared first on Chivalry Today.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/podcast-53-courtly-love-rethought/feed/ 0 In the first episode of the sixth season of the podcast, Scott speaks with Prof. Jennifer G. Wollock, author of the new book Rethinking Chivalry And Courtly Love. She explains how this medieval literary ideal has had a profound impact on modern society, In the first episode of the sixth season of the podcast, Scott speaks with Prof. Jennifer G. Wollock, author of the new book Rethinking Chivalry And Courtly Love. She explains how this medieval literary ideal has had a profound impact on modern society, from military doctrines and ethics, to romantic stories of forbidden love and star-crossed passion. Also: Please make a donation to help support the production of our podcast in its new "Simply Chivalry" format for Season Six. Donate at one of the following levels and you'll receive the appreciation gift listed: Donate $25 to Chivalry Today and you'll receive a Chivalry Today T-shirt or travel mug (your choice); Donate $50 to Chivalry Today and you'll receive a shirt with the logo for the 2011 Tournament of the Phoenix jousting event, two one-day passes to the joust (Oct. 21, 22, or 23), as well as a Chivalry Today T-shirt; Donate $100 to Chivalry Today and you'll receive a family four-pack of three-day passes to the joust (good all three days, Oct. 21, 22, and 23) as well as Chivalry Today and Tournament of the Phoenix T-shirts. You can make a donation of any size by using the red Piggy Bank donation button on the right-hand side of your screen. Interview: Jennifer G. Wollock, Author of Rethinking Chivalry And Courtly Love One of the topics that almost always comes up when you’re talking about the code of chivalry, medieval literature, or the history of knighthood, is courtly love. Often associated with the tragic romance of Lancelot and Guenevere, courtly love is (more generally) defined as sense of passion and attraction between lover and beloved that overcomes obstacles and survives in spite of, or even because of, the impediments that keep lovers apart. Like the ideals of chivalry, the literature and customs of courtly love are often denounced by scholars as frivolous, decadent, unrealistic, and as a means of romanticizing the repressive social mores of a bygone era. Despite the fact that we’ve spent decades working toward gender equality in politics, family, education, and the workplace, that dynamic of chivalry and courtly love seems to have left a lasting mark on our cultural psyche - you can see its influence in works of literature ranging from Romeo & Juliet to the Twilight series. So is courtly love an archaic, outdated tradition that’ll be forever attached to the medieval notion of chivalry - or is it an archetypal, organic element of human behavior that reflects the natural patterns of courtship and mating. Where does courtly love come from, why is it such a persistent trope in art, literature, and pop culture, and is there any future for bold gentlemen, distressed damsels, and the customs of courtly love in the 21st century? In this episode, Scott speaks with author Jennifer G. Wollock to consider (or reconsider) the value of chivalry and courtly love. Purchase a copy of Rethinking Chivalry And Courtly Love published by Praeger press. Scott Farrell clean 36:05
Summer Of Chivalry Podcast: Part 2 http://chivalrytoday.com/summer-chivalry-podcast-part-2/ http://chivalrytoday.com/summer-chivalry-podcast-part-2/#comments Wed, 27 Jul 2011 04:48:00 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4234 The Summer Of Chivalry Podcast concludes with Part 2, as host Scott Farrell speaks with Prof. Steven Muhlberger, author of Deeds Of Arms, about a historical battle known as the […]

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An illustration of the Combat Of The Thirty from chronicler Pierre Le Baud, drawn in 1480, more than 100 years after the event took place.

The Summer Of Chivalry Podcast concludes with Part 2, as host Scott Farrell speaks with Prof. Steven Muhlberger, author of Deeds Of Arms, about a historical battle known as the Combat Of The Thirty Against Thirty , and a re-enactment of that famously chivalric event that will be put on as part of the SCA’s Pennsic War XXXX in Pennsylvania. Plus: An interview with Dr. Elizabeth Morrison, acting senior curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, about the exhibition Fashion In The Middle Ages, and the hidden code of medieval knightly clothing.

Quicklinks — Use the links below to learn more about the events, publications, and activities featured in this podcast.

  • Get more information about the Pennsic War XXXX (July 29 to Aug. 14), where the Combat Of The Thirty will take place on Sunday, August 7, at 6 pm on the main battlefield;
  • Buy the book Deed Of Arms, an exploration of chivalry in Late Medieval battles and tournaments, by Prof. Steven Muhlberger;
  • Visitor information for the J. Paul Getty Museum, in Los Angeles, Calif., where the exhibition Fashion In The Middle Ages will be on display through Aug. 14. – admission to the museum is free;
  • Where are you going this summer? The beach, the amusement park, the campground? Wherever you’re vacationing, take along your Chivalry Today T-shirt, and post a picture of yourself in it at the Chivalry Today Facebook Page. (If you don’t have a T-shirt yet, you can get one by just making a $25 donation to the Chivalry Today Program using the button at the right. It will be shipped Priority Mail for free [in the U.S.] if you donate before Aug. 31.)

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Help support the Chivalry Today podcast

Your contribution of any amount makes the Chivalry Today Podcast possible, and helps make Chivalry Today presentations available to schools, libraries and youth groups as part of our ongoing educational outreach program.

If you enjoy our podcast offerings, please take a moment to help keep them coming.


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Segment 1: The Combat Of The Thirty — Recreating A Chivalric Deed Of Arms

Sixty armored participants took part in the Combat of the Thirty in 2010. Show host Scott Farrell can be seen in armor at the far right.

Steven Muhlberger, History Professor at Nipissing University with a specialty in Ancient and medieval studies, is author of the book Deed Of Arms, and an authority on both medieval practices of chivalry, and practical interpretations of medieval military encounters (which is to say, he knows how to use a sword himself). Each year a reenactment of this medievally celebrated encounter is put on at The Pennsic War, a gathering of nearly 10,000 historical reenactors and enthusiasts in Slippery Rock, Penn., just north of Pittsburgh. There is a certain amount of prestige in being part of the Combat Of The Thirty reenactment: Only a select few (60 maximum!) participants are chosen, and each makes a commitment to appearing in the most authentic 14th century armor possible. Like show host Scott Farrell, Prof. Muhlberger has taken part in this event in years past, and he joins Scott to compare the reenacted Combat with its historical counterpart, and to discuss how the notion of chivalry works into both the medieval and the modern deed of arms.

(The photo at right, courtesy of the Anglesey Photo Gallery, shows some of the action from the 2010 Combat Of The Thirty reenactment battle. If you look closely [or click on the photo] you’ll notice our show host, Scott Farrell, at right, ready to jump into the fray.)

Below: Watch a video of the Combat Of The Thirty reenactment put on at the 2010 Pennsic War.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Segment 2: Interview With Dr. Elizabeth Morrison: Chivalry and Fashion in the Middle Ages

From May 31 to August 14, 2011, visitors at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Calif., can enjoy a special exhibition, Fashion In The Middle Ages. Featuring a selected display of medieval illustration and artwork, the exhibition seeks to highlight not just the colors and styles of medieval clothing, but also the economic, social, and even spiritual status of the subjects they depicted, and the patrons who commissioned their artwork. Thus, drawings of kings, knights, and ladies, in these medieval manuscripts may provide clues as to how these individuals viewed themselves with regards to the virtues of chivalry. Was fashionable dress, like chivalric principles, stylized and idealized beyond recognition, or can each provide a clue as to how medieval noblemen and women viewed themselves as part of their society?

Dr. Elizabeth Morrison is acting senior curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and one of the organizers of the exhibition. She joins Scott to talk about the “secret code” of medieval fashion, and to discuss the upcoming lecture The Medieval Clotheshorse, which will be conducted by Roger Wieck, curator of Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts at the Morgan Library and Museum, on Aug. 4 at the Getty Center’s Museum Lecture Hall.

 

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On the next episode: The Chivalry Today Podcast begins its sixth season with more explorations of the history, literature and philosophy of the code of chivalry. We hope you’ll join us for another exciting year!
Don’t forget, we’ve always got some interesting articles, photos, and links to share on the Chivalry Today Facebook Page.

We would like to thank Greenoak Media for their technical support for the Chivalry Today Podcast. Show theme and incidental music composed and performed by Joe Novelozo.

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http://chivalrytoday.com/summer-chivalry-podcast-part-2/feed/ 1 The Summer Of Chivalry Podcast concludes with Part 2, as host Scott Farrell speaks with Prof. Steven Muhlberger, author of Deeds Of Arms, about a historical battle known as the Combat Of The Thirty Against Thirty , The Summer Of Chivalry Podcast concludes with Part 2, as host Scott Farrell speaks with Prof. Steven Muhlberger, author of Deeds Of Arms, about a historical battle known as the Combat Of The Thirty Against Thirty , and a re-enactment of that famously c... Scott Farrell clean 53:52
Saddle Up With Shakespeare’s Knights http://chivalrytoday.com/saddle-shakespeares-knights/ http://chivalrytoday.com/saddle-shakespeares-knights/#comments Thu, 21 Jul 2011 01:35:15 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4222 Our presentation on Shakespeare's knights raised questions: Could a knight in armor "vault into his seat"? Didn't a knight need a winch or a crane to lift him into the saddle?

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We recently were invited by the San Diego Shakespeare Society to give a talk to its members on Arms, Armor, & Chivalry In Shakespeare’s Histories – and we had a great time preparing the talk, interspersing demonstrations of medieval armor and sword combat, and illustrations from historical source material, with readings and movie clips from Shakespearean works (like Henry V, Hamlet, King John, and even A Midsummer Night’s Dream) to illustrate Shakespeare’s marvelous use of armor terminology in his plays.
Consider, if you will, this passage from Henry IV Part 1, where Vernon describes the knights of the royal army to his cousin, Henry “Hotspur” Percy:

(They are) All furnish’d, all in arms;
All plumed like estridges that with the wind
Baited like eagles having lately bathed;
Glittering in golden coats, like images;
As full of spirit as the month of May,
And gorgeous as the sun at midsummer;
Wanton as youthful goats, wild as young bulls.
I saw young Harry, with his beaver on,
His cuisses on his thighs, gallantly arm’d
Rise from the ground like feather’d Mercury,
And vaulted with such ease into his seat,
As if an angel dropp’d down from the clouds,
To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus
And witch the world with noble horsemanship.

Placed alongside the illustration of a mounted knight in his finery from the famous Lutrell Psalter (written in the mid-14th century), you get a pretty vivid picture of what Prince Hal and his company of mounted warriors must have looked like on their way to the Battle of Shrewsbury.

But, in our presentation, the reading also raised some questions: Could a knight in armor “vault into his seat”? Weren’t armored knights slow and heavy? Didn’t a knight need a winch or a crane to lift him into the saddle?

This notion, of course, was only emphasized by one of the film clips we showed – Falstaff’s soliloquy on “honor” from the movie Chimes At Midnight – which actually had a scene of knights being hoisted into position via pulleys on the tree branches!

Of course, we explained that this perception was done for comic effect, and has no basis in reality – and just to drive the point home, here is a marvelous 45-minute lecture, graciously provided by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, called How To Mount A Horse In Armor & Other Chivalric Problems, given by Dirk Breiding, curator of arms and armor. He explains not only did medieval knights have both the capability and the technology to get onto horseback without the use of a block-and-tackle (a simple step works quite nicely, thanks), but also addresses the often-mistaken perception in the difference between Renaissance armor (i.e., the “classic knight in shining armor”) and true medieval armor.


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School History Festival & Chivalry Today http://chivalrytoday.com/school-history-festival-chivalry-today/ http://chivalrytoday.com/school-history-festival-chivalry-today/#comments Fri, 15 Jul 2011 20:44:41 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4210 Chivalry Today can bring an engaging Medieval Festival Day to your school campus for a fraction of the cost of a field trip. This is a great way to bring your studies in world history, English literature, or Shakespearean performing arts to life.

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Though we’re enjoying the relaxing days of summer, it won’t be long till our attention turns back to more serious matters with the new school year. If you’re a teacher (or know someone in the education field) we hope you’ll consider making Chivalry Today part of your studies in history/social studies, English literature, performing arts, or the “pillars of character” ethical focus in the 2011/12 school year.

Students at one of San Diego's middle schools cheer on the knights in Chivalry Today's Deed of Arms.

As always, we have a variety of educational resources for teachers, students, and parents – from the research materials and class project ideas you’ll find on this website, to the many classroom presentations we offer – but this year we invite you to consider what has become our most popular educational presentation by far: The Medieval Festival Day!

We know budgets are tight, and one of the places schools are cutting back is in off-campus excursions and activities. That’s why the Medieval Festival Day was designed as a way of bringing the field trip to you, to fit into any school facility or budget. Chivalry Today’s team of outstanding historical interpreters can come to your campus, multi-purpose room, or athletic field for a fraction of the price of taking your whole class to the Renaissance Faire or history museum – and with far less time taken out of classroom and away from other studies.

With Chivalry Today’s Medieval Festival Day, we make all the arrangements for you. At your request, Chivalry Today can provide any, or all of the following educational presentations:

  • A display of authentic sword combat in the style of a medieval “deed of arms”;
  • An encounter with a live bird of prey and a presentation of medieval falconry;
  • A demonstration of the power of medieval siege engines with a full-size catapult;
  • A 50-minute performance of one of the works of Shakespeare, such as Macbeth or Romeo & Juliet;
  • A performance of medieval-style music on authentic historical instruments;
  • A medieval fashion show, with displays of clothing from medieval culture;
  • An exciting display of mounted games and real jousting on horseback;
  • A captivating telling of a selection of tales of King Arthur and his Knights.

Students get to see medieval engineering in action in this display of a full-size catapult at a recent Medieval Festival Day put on by Chivalry Today.

Whether you have just an hour-long period in a single classroom, or you’re planning an outdoor History Faire that will be the highlight of your school year activities, Chivalry Today can bring your historical studies to life – literally! In addition, all of our presentations and interpretations feature a focus on the ideals of chivalry, honor and the knightly virtues – a great way to tie in with lessons in ethics, peace-building, “pillars of character,” or any sort of campus-wide focus on citizenship and good behavior.

Although we welcome all inquiries, Chivalry Today’s calender of Medieval Festival Days is quite limited, so if you are interested in scheduling this as part of your classroom activities in the coming year, contact us quickly.

Chivalry Today offers early-booking discounts through August, 2011 – and, if you book before the school year starts, you’ll get one of our Chivalry Today T-shirts to wear as a show of our appreciation.

Give your students a look into history they won’t forget with Chivalry Today’s Medieval Festival Day! Contact Chivalry Today to book your event now.

 

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Summer of Chivalry Podcast: Part 1 http://chivalrytoday.com/summer-of-chivalry-podcast-part-1/ http://chivalrytoday.com/summer-of-chivalry-podcast-part-1/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2011 00:36:27 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4178 Scott speaks with Jared Kirby, president and organizer of the First Annual CombatCon - a gathering of Medieval and Renaissance martial arts enthusiasts which kicks off a variety of great summertime events.

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In the first part of Chivalry Today’s Summer of Chivalry bonus podcast, host Scott Farrell speaks with Jared Kirby, president and organizer of the First Annual CombatCon – a gathering of Medieval and Renaissance martial arts enthusiasts which kicks off a variety of great summertime events. Plus: A conversation with Devon Kurtz, director of education at the Higgins Armory Museum, about their new exhibit called Castle Quest; and we invite you to tell us what you’re up to during this Summer of Chivalry on the Chivalry Today Facebook page!

Quicklinks — Use the links below to learn more about the events and activities featured in this podcast episode

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Segment 1: An Interview with Jared Kirby — Chivalry at CombatCon

Scott interviews Jared Kirby, accomplished actor (he appeared in a recent production of Macbeth with the York Shakespeare Company), fight choreographer, and president and organizer of the first annual CombatCon to talk about historical European martial arts, Victorian stick fighting, Jedi knights, zombies, and steampunk fiction. What do all of these things have in common? You might be surprised to learn that the answer is: The code of chivalry. The spirit of romance, honor, and heroism is the underlying foundation of nearly all the events, presentations, and workshops that attendees will be enjoying at CombatCon.

You can learn more about Jared Kirby’s impressive background in acting, fight arrangement, and directing at his website, The Art Of Combat.

It’s not too late to make plans to attend CombatCon in Las Vegas, Nevada, June 24-26. The Tuscany Hotel is offering special weekend rates to CombatCon attendees.

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Segment 2: Castle Quest At The Higgins Armory Museum

Characters like the knight, lady, archer, and castelain are waiting at the Higgins Armory Museum to give visitors a tour through the Castle Quest.

Scott is joined by Devon Kurtz, director of education and public programs at the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Mass., to talk about the museum’s new exhibit Castle Quest, which opened just in time for Summer 2011 vacationers. The display gives visitors an opportunity to see life inside a medieval castle through the eyes of the people who call it home – from the knight and the lady to the stable hands, grooms, and archers.

Castle Quest is just one of the engaging, interactive exhibits you’ll find when you visit the Higgins Armory Museum. You can find a full listing of the events and activities going on in the museum on the exhibits page of the Higgins website.

The Higgins Armory Museum also offers courses and workshops in historical fencing and sword combat as part of their Academy of the Sword program. Sword-fighting enthusiasts and re-enactors who live on the West Coast (which is a bit far for commuting to the Higgins for lessons) might wish to join Chivalry Today’s Knight School Historical Sword Combat program on Friday evenings at San Diego’s Team Touche Fencing Center.
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What Are You Doing This Summer (of Chivalry)?

Got big plans this summer? If you know of an event that would be of interest to Chivalry Today’s fans and podcast listeners – a Renaissance faire, a lecture or talk on medieval history, a screening of an independent movie with a fantasy theme, or any activity or event that relates to the ideals of chivalry — then share it with a post on the Chivalry Today Facebook Page.
Or, if you’ve been to an event or site that you want to share with everyone – a festival, battlefield, performance, town, or castle – post your vacation pictures or videos on the Facebook page for everyone to enjoy. Or, just post some thoughts on your summer reading list: What book(s) are you enjoying at the beach or park that are taking you away into a realm of chivalry? We want to know more about your Summer of Chivalry!
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Coming Next Month in Summer of Chivalry Part 2

We’ll take a trip to the acclaimed Getty Museum in Los Angeles for an exhibition of medieval clothing and fashion, and a walk down the runway with a 14th century “clotheshorse”; and we’ll explore one of the most famous (and fatal) deeds of arms of the late Middle Ages as we prepare for a re-enactment of the Combat Of The Thirty in August in a field just north of Pittsburgh, Penn.

 

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http://chivalrytoday.com/summer-of-chivalry-podcast-part-1/feed/ 0 Scott speaks with Jared Kirby, president and organizer of the First Annual CombatCon - a gathering of Medieval and Renaissance martial arts enthusiasts which kicks off a variety of great summertime events. Scott speaks with Jared Kirby, president and organizer of the First Annual CombatCon - a gathering of Medieval and Renaissance martial arts enthusiasts which kicks off a variety of great summertime events. Scott Farrell clean 36:21
Chivalry Today: You Made This Possible! http://chivalrytoday.com/chivalry-today-you-made-this-possible/ http://chivalrytoday.com/chivalry-today-you-made-this-possible/#comments Fri, 03 Jun 2011 02:16:08 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4169 Chivalry Today's donors have made it possible for the program to provide several displays, lectures, and interpretive activities to area low-income schools. These pictures are our way of saying thanks to the contributors who've helped make this possible.

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The interpreters from Chivalry Today let students get up-close-and-personal with some medieval armor at a campus Renaissance Faire in La Mesa.

During the course of the past year, we’ve put out several calls to Chivalry Today’s Facebook fans, website visitors, and podcast listeners to support our program with contributions and financial donations. And, while many of our loyal supporters have stepped up and answered the call, you might be wondering, “Just what are these donations being used for? How much money is required to simply keep up a website?”

Well, as you undoubtedly know, there’s a lot more to Chivalry Today than our ever-growing website. And although our podcast has more than 5,000 listeners worldwide, that’s not all there is to our program either.

In fact, each year Chivalry Today provides dozens of educational lectures, displays, and interpretative activities at schools, libraries, and camps throughout Southern California. But, as you can certainly imagine, in today’s economy, not every school has the budget to bring in a crew of trained interpreters, craftspeople, and historians to give their students the sort of experience that can make medieval history come to life – and highlight the values of chivalry and honor in a way that makes them relevant and applicable in the world of the 21st century.

Scott Farrell shows students the workings of a 15th century helmet called a sallet.

That’s where our donors come in. Everyone who has made a contribution to Chivalry Today through our website in the past year has helped make it possible for our program to provide our award-winning educational presentations to several school districts serving low-income students for no cost, or for a reduced fee schedule.

Yesterday, June 1, Chivalry Today provided it’s final interpretative demonstration of the 2010/11 school year at a middle school in La Mesa, California, as part of the all-campus Renaissance Faire. You, our generous donors, made it possible for Chivalry Today to provide that school with a display of medieval arms and armor, and our exciting Deed Of Arms presentation, even though the school’s social studies department was operating on a severely reduced budget.

So – take a look at all the smiling faces in the accompanying photographs, which appeared in the local news website The La Mesa Patch. Those grins and joyful looks are the result of your generosity – and they’re our way of saying thanks to those of you who have been generous enough to support Chivalry Today with a financial contribution.

Even a 12th century knight's helmet can't hide a student's smile!

Although this school year is winding down, Chivalry Today is already scheduling presentations and demonstrations for the fall season! If you are (or know) a teacher who’d like to bring one of Chivalry Today’s engaging presentations to your classroom or campus, please contact us soon! And if you’d like to support our educational outreach program in an effort to bring an appreciation of historical studies and the values of chivalry, please take a moment to make a contribution of any size to support Chivalry Today.

We know quite a few students who’ll be very glad that you did!

 

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All images copyright 2011 Ken Stone and The La Mesa Patch

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The Captain Has Turned The Chivalry Sign On: A Summer Of Chivalry Article http://chivalrytoday.com/the-captain-has-turned-the-chivalry-sign-on-a-summer-of-chivalry-article/ http://chivalrytoday.com/the-captain-has-turned-the-chivalry-sign-on-a-summer-of-chivalry-article/#comments Fri, 03 Jun 2011 01:30:41 +0000 http://chivalrytoday.com/?p=4162 Air travelers are in unfamiliar surroundings, tired and rushed, focused on themselves and their own needs, and oblivious to the hundreds of (similarly stressed) people all around them. What better place to exert a little ... chivalry?

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Scott Farrell comments:

This summer, plenty of families will be on the go – traveling to visit friends and relatives, or spend some time at a much-needed vacation destination. But despite looking forward to time off and joyful reunions, the fact is, traveling can be stressful. Travelers are in unfamiliar surroundings, tired and rushed, focused on themselves and their own needs, and oblivious to the hundreds of (similarly stressed) people all around them. What better place to exert a little … chivalry?

Though many commentators and experts might believe that chivalry is obsolete and needless in today’s world, a walk through just about any major airport on a summer’s day will prove that chivalry – consideration, politeness, respect for others, and good old-fashioned courtesy – is a crucially needed vacation commodity.

But what are the rules of courtesy when you’re crushed in cheek-by-jowl with hundreds of other people? How do you show good manners when you’re rushing to make a tight connection, or wedged into a center seat? What can you do to be chivalrous when you’re on an airplane – a mode of traveling that seems practically designed to strip away the very notion of chivalry and courtesy?

The following article, which originally appeared on the website of NPR’s midday show Talk Of The Nation, gives some suggestions on how to exhibit gentlemanly and ladylike manners and courteous attitudes when you’re in the cabin of a commercial airliner. Although sitting elbow-to-elbow with barely enough room for your knees might seem to be the height of rudeness and inconvenience, as travel expert Scott McCartney (author of the Wall Street Journal’s Travel Blog) reveals, this is precisely the time when we all should look for ways to be courteous to others, and be patient and calm instead of aggressive and self-centered.

As part of Chivalry Today’s Summer Of Chivalry series, this article is just a little reminder that chivalry can make our summer vacation experiences just a little more pleasant.

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On a Sunday night flight from Washington, D.C., to Ghana, a passenger reclined his seat a little too close to the lap of the man sitting behind him. The man retaliated by slapping the head of the passenger in front of him, and, ultimately, a fistfight ensued. The pilot turned the jet around, and two F-16s were scrambled to escort the flight back to Washington.

“Reclining the seats is a major issue,” says Scott McCartney, who writes The Middle Seat Terminal blog and column for the Wall Street Journal. “You have very limited space. If you want to work on your laptop and the person in front of you reclines, you may not be able to.”

Though the fight that broke out on the Sunday night flight was obviously an overreaction, McCartney tells NPR’s Neal Conan, confrontations over seat reclining happen almost every day on airplanes.

Last March, McCartney assembled a panel of experts — a veteran flight attendant, an etiquette expert and frequent fliers — and asked them about the proper etiquette when it comes to reclining your seat on an airplane. He offers the following guidance — gleaned from personal experience and input from his panel — to help maintain in-flight harmony.

When reclining your seat: McCartney says if you’re thinking of reclining, “use some care for the person behind you.” You can recline slowly, or turn around and ask the passenger behind you if it’s OK. When McCartney needs to work on his laptop during the flight, he says, he sometimes asks the passenger in front of him if he’d mind not reclining the whole way.

When you’re in the window seat, your seatmates are asleep and you need to get up: “Most [panelists] thought that if you have to go to the bathroom, go,” McCartney says. Other panelists suggested the aisle seat passenger could try to coordinate times when everyone could get up. And if you need to wake up someone next to you, try touching a shoulder or an arm, not a hand, “or you might startle somebody.”

When you’re hungry or bored: McCartney advises being mindful of your travel companions. Think about whether that big greasy burger with extra onions or that violent movie might offend the person wedged in next to you.

When you’re too tall or wide for the seat: The seats are about 17 inches wide on a Boeing 737, McCartney says, and people don’t have a lot of sympathy — especially not for obese passengers. Exit and bulkhead rows can provide a bit of relief, though.

When a kid kicks your seat: McCartney advises not trying to discipline someone else’s child. You don’t want to put the parent in a defensive posture.
Who gets the arm rest? “Arm rests are a real battle,” McCartney says. Some people believe the beleaguered middle-seater deserves both; others say it’s first come, first rested. So the jury’s still out on that one.

Ultimately, McCartney says, the thing that’s missing from air travel is the notion that we’re all in this together. “I think passengers can help each other more than they really do.”

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