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 bridle is given to the horse and the reins of the bridle are placed in the knight’s hands, so that the knight may hold his horse to his will and refrain him. And this signifies that a knight ought to refrain his tongue and speak no foul words nor false; and also it signifies that he ought to refrain his hands, that he give not so much that he be suffering and needy, that he beg nor demand nothing, nor be too hardy, but that his hardiness have reason and temperance.

The Order of Chivalry: Courtesy:2


All the virtues can be found here.

  1. Adapted from:

    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.)

    Here is a modern translation:

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

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

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