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Chapter 13.3: The Age of Chivalry Formative Quiz


  1. Who was Eleanor of Aquitaine? (Time Period, Location, Key Achievements)

  • 1122-1204/ Aquitaine, France and England/ considered the most celebrated woman of her age…she became Queen of England, and ruled on behalf of her husband and sons, Richard and John at various times. Extraordinary woman.



  1. What was the Code of Chivalry?

  • The code of ethics and conduct that a medieval knight was expected to follow…how he was supposed to treat his superiors, as well as those that were not his social equal. Chivalry included how knights were to act in daily life, as well as in war…(ex: dishonorable to kill an unarmed man)



  1. What was the role of medieval women?

  • In general, medieval women were primarily responsible for bearing and raising children…they had limited rights…land was passed through the laws of primogeniture, to male heirs…if women did own land, they were still not able to do with it as they pleased. There were some exceptions, but the majority of women were illiterate, and were also marginalized by the Church at the time.

Notes: Castle (15 Points)

Chapter 13.3: The Age of Chivalry



  1. Warriors on Horseback

  • Mounted soldiers became valuable in combat during the reign of Charlemagne’s grandfather, Charles Martel, in the 700’s

    • Charles Martel had observed that Muslim cavalry often turned the tide of battles.

    • He then organized Frankish troops of armored horsemen, knights.

  1. Saddles and Stirrups

  • Leather saddle was developed on the Asian steppes around 200 BCE

  • Stirrups developed in India around 200BCE

    • Both impacted European technology for warfare in the 700’s

  • Gradually, mounted knights became the most important part of an army

    • Horses they owned were status symbols

    • Warhorses played a key military role

  1. The Warrior’s Role in Feudal Society

  • By the 11th century, western Europe was a battleground of warring nobles vying for power.

  • To defend territories, feudal lords raised private armies

    • In exchanged for military service, feudal lords provided land

    • Knights awarded with fiefs of their own

    • Knights- vassals of the lord- main obligation was to serve in battle

    • Lord typically demanded 40 days of mounted combat each year

    • Knight’s pastimes also revolved around training for war

      • Wrestling, hunting, jousting

    • Caltrops: 2-inch high iron spikes…used to maim galloping warhorses

  1. Knighthood and Chivalry

  • Education of a Knight

    • Page- age 7- sent to the castle of another lord…waited on his hosts and learned courtly manners…played chess for war strategies…practiced sword fighting

    • Squire- age 14- Squire was a servant to a knight…took care of knight’s armor, weapons, warhorse…escorted the knight to battles

    • Knight-age 21- knighting ceremony by his lord, “In the name of God, Saint Michael, and Saint George, I dub thee knight. Be valiant.”

  • Knights were expected to display courage in battle and loyalty to their lord

  • By 1100’s, code of CHIVALRY, developed

    • Complex set of ideals

    • Demanded that a knight fight bravely in defense of 3 masters: earthly feudal lord, his heavenly Lord, and his chosen lady

    • Knight also protected the weak and poor

    • Ideal knight was loyal, brave, and courteous

    • Most knights treated lower classes brutally

    • If knight disregarded the code of chivalry, faced public shame

      • Armor stripped off

      • Shield was cracked

      • Spurs were cut off

      • Sword was broken over his head

      • Knight thrown in a coffin…dragged to church…priest chanted a mock funeral service

  1. War Games for Glory

  • Sons of nobles began training for knighthood at an early age

  • After being dubbed a knight, most young men traveled with companions for a year or two

  • Gained experience fighting in local wars

  • Tournaments= mock battles…winners could demand large ransoms from defeated knights

  1. Brutal Reality of Warfare

  • Small-scale violence of tournaments did not match the bloodshed of actual battles…especially at castles

  • Castles dominated the countryside in western Europe

  • Castle was a home of the lord and lady, family, knights, other men-at-arms, servants

  • Castle was primarily a fortress, designed for defense

  • Attacking armies used a wide range of strategies and weapons to force castle residents to surrender

    • Defenders of a castle poured boiling liquids (water, oil, molten lead) on enemy soldiers

    • Expert archers on roof of the castle

      • Armed with crossbows

    • Siege Tower

    • Battering Ram

    • Trebuchet

    • Mangonel

    • Mantlet

    • Tortoise

  1. The Literature of Chivalry

  • 1100’s, themes of medieval literature downplayed the brutality of knighthood and feudal warfare

  • Idealized castle life

  • Glorified knighthood and chivalry, tournaments and real battles

  • Songs and poems about a knight’s undying love for a lady were also popular

  1. Epic Poetry

  • Poems recounted a hero’s deeds and adventures

  • Many epics focused on heroes of early Middle Ages: King Arthur and Charlemagne

  • Song of Roland-one of earliest and most famous medieval epic poems…praises a band of French soldiers who perished in battle during Charlemagne’s reign

    • French knights, led by Roland, battled an overwhelming army of Muslims from Spain

    • Roland’s friend, Turpin the Archbishop, shining example of medieval ideals: courage, faith, and chivalry

  1. Love Poems and Songs

  • Under the code of chivalry, knight’s duty to his lady was as important as his duty to his lord

    • Hero’s difficulties resulted from a conflict between those 2 obligations

  • Troubadours: poet-musicians at the castles and courts of Europe

    • Short verses and songs about the joys and sorrows of romantic love

    • Roving minstrels carry their songs to courts

  • Code of chivalry promoted a false image of knights…love songs created an artificial image of women…troubadour’s eyes, noblewomen were always beautiful and pure

  • Eleanor of Aquitaine- most celebrated woman of the age (1122-1204)

    • Troubadours flocked to her court

    • Later, Queen of England

    • Mother of Richard the Lion-Hearted and King John

    • Marie of Champagne, Eleanor’s daughter, presided at a famed Court of Love, where troubled lovers came to air their grievances

  1. Shifting Role of Women

  • Church viewed women as inferior to men

  • Idea of romantic love placed noblewomen on a pedestal

  • True knight pledged to protect all women

    • Might also love, serve, and adore a particular lady, preferably from afar

  • As feudalism developed, women’s status actually declined…roles became increasingly limited to the home and convent

  • For majority of women, life remained unchanged for centuries…most were still poor powerless…roles were confined to performing endless labor, bearing children, and raising families

  1. Women in Power

  • Under the feudal system, noblewomen could inherit an estate from her husband

    • Could also send his knights to war

    • When husband was off fighting, lady of a medieval castle might act as military commander and a warrior

  • Women were not eligible to receive land as reward in exchange for military service…women held less property…lords passed down fiefs to sons, not their daughters

  1. Women’s Falling Status

  • As Middle Ages progressed, noblewomen wielded less real power

  • (Eleanor of Aquitaine as exception: ruled for her husband, Henry II, and later sons Richard and John)

  • Church played a part in medieval women’s declining fortunes

  • Church tried to regain control of religious appointments and organizations


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