Knight on Horseback

The Order of Chivalry: Courtesy

In a previous blog we learned about the polymath and Christian mystic Ramon Llull (c.1232–c.1315/16) and his Book of the Order of Chivalry, which became a standard manual for chivalry in the 13th and 14th centuries. In chapter 5, Llull metaphorically links parts of the knight’s equipment with chivalrous virtues.

Here Llull equates his horse’s bit with ‘courtesy’:1

The bit is given to the horse and the reins are placed in the knight’s hands to signify that with the bit the knight reins back his mouth from speaking uncouth and false words, much as he has to beg or is so audacious that because of his audacity he expels common sense. And he should understand that he will allow himself to be led by the reins toward any place where the Order of Chivalry may wish to deploy or send him.

The Order of Chivalry: Courtesy:2

All the virtues can be found here.


  1. Adapted from:

    Llull, Ramon. Fallows, Noel (trans.). The Book of the Order of Chivalry. Boydell Press, 2013. ISBN 978-1843838494. Amazon. p.69.

    Llull, Ramon. Caxton, William (trans.). The Book of the Ordre of Chyvalry or Knyghthode. 1484, reprinted Walter J. Johnson, Inc., 1976. ISBN 9022107787. (No page numbers available.)

  2. Recorded using this marvelous organ sample set and Hauptwerk. William also plays this piece live.

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