Order of Chivalry: Obedience

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 the knight’s collar with ‘obedience’:1

The collar is given to the knight to signify obedience, for the knight who is neither obedient to his lord nor to the Order of Chivalry dishonors his lord and breaks with the Order of Chivalry. Thus, just as the collar encircles the knight’s neck so that it is protected from wounds and blows, so obedience makes him follow the commands of his lord or superior as well as the Order of Chivalry so that neither treason, pride, injustice nor any other vice shall corrupt the oath that the knight has taken to his lord and to Chivalry

In this piece I’m imagining the wild exuberance of our young squire, who chooses to submit himself to the discipline and training of his order, much of which requires practicing skills over and over. All this is musically symbolized by a ‘canon‘ (which is like a ’round’ like “Row, row, row your boat”) over a repeating seven-bar bass melody. As the canon unfolds, so too does long discipline unfold his natural abilities, transforming him into a powerful Warrior.

The Order of Chivalry: Obedience: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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