Friday, October 23, 2015

Etiquette and French Chivalry

During the age of chivalry, knights raised the visor to indicate friendliness. An interesting phase in the development of our etiquette and custom of gentlemen raising their hats.

"The great mediaeval social system known in history as chivalry was founded in France during the 11th century. This system of chivalry revolutionized the manners, morals, tastes, amusements, ethics of France, and, later, of England, Italy, and other European countries. 

The system of knight errantry, or chivalry, began about the middle of the 11th century and was originated by some nobles who had become ashamed of their lives of brigandage. At the age of seven every boy of noble birth was apprenticed to some great Lord as page, and trained to knighthood. He was taught honour, chivalry, truth, refinement. The highest ideals were inculculated in him. 
Frank Alvah Parsons says: 'This system may properly be said to have sounded the deathknell of heathen barbarism and to have marked the beginning of Christian civilization as we know it to-day.'
During the next three centuries many external conditions changed the manners and customs of France, making them heavy, formal, dull. There were the Crusades, in themselves most romantic and with a delightful history, but bringing into France new and strange tastes and customs. And there were the wars which threw the country into chaos. The decline of spirit of mediaevalism and chivalry at the end of the 14th century was followed by the gradual decay of the ideals and the courtesies that began in the time of Henry I." —From Lillian Eichler's, Customs of Mankind



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