The 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 (an armored collar worn around the neck) with ‘obedience’:1

The collar is given to the knight to signify obedience, for every knight who that is not obedient to his lord nor to the Order of Chivlary dishonors his lord, breaks with his Order. Thus, just as the collar encircles the knight’s neck so that it is protected from strikes and wounds, so obedience makes him follow the commands of his lord and within the Order of Chivalry so that neither treason, pride nor any other vice shall corrupt the oath that the knight has taken to his lord and to Chivalry

This piece begins with the wild exuberance of our young squire, who then chooses to submit himself to the discipline and training of his order, much of which requires practicing skills over and over (over a repeating bass pattern). And ‘obedience’ is musically symbolized by a canon at the octave (which is like a ’round’ like “Row, row, row your boat”): the second lower part ‘obeys’ the higher lead part. As the canon unfolds, so too does long discipline unfold his unique personality and 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. 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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