Knight on Horseback

The Order of Chivalry: Reason

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.

A Knight's Horse's Shaffron
The Shaffron on a Knight’s Horse

Here Llull equates his horse’s shaffron with ‘reason’:1

The shaffron is given to the horse to signify that a knight must not use arms without reason. For just as the horse’s head goes in front of the knight, likewise reason ought to go before all that a knight does. For all works without reason are vices to him. And as the shaffron protects the horse’s head, likewise reason keeps and defends a knight from blame and shame.

The Order of Chivalry: Reason:2

 Sample

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.)

    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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