"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Monday, August 31, 2015

Chivalry and Love Of The Fight

Chivalry and Love Of The Fight

By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira


What is this spirit of chivalry? It is to admire and love the fight. It is to have a fearless spirit so that when we find ourselves in the apex of effort and complication, we feel fulfilled. 


In other words, the knight was above all a Catholic who was profoundly pained by and indignant with the fact that the Sepulcher of Our Lord Jesus Christ was in the hands of Mohammedans. And because he had the spirit of faith, he knew perfectly well the sacrosanct sublimity of the Holy Sepulcher of Our Lord Jesus Christ and gauged accurately the infamy there was in Catholics allowing such a sacrosanct Sepulcher to remain in the hands of infidels…. It was a sublime indignation because it was turned to the most sublime of ideals, which is Our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Well, this gave him a great elevation of spirit, a great indignation at seeing the divine being trampled underfoot; and it gave him a heroic spirit of a religious nature and an inspiration that led to every renunciation, every kind of courage, and every epic and magnificent enterprise. This was the spirit of chivalry.


How the Assassins Dreaded the Templars and the Hospitallers

While the king [St. Louis IX] was sojourning at Acre, envoys came to him from the Old Man of the Mountain. When the king returned from his mass, he caused them to be brought before him. The king had them seated in such manner that there was, in front, an emir well clothed and well appointed, and behind the emir, a young bachelor, well appointed, who held in his fist three knives, of which the one entered into the handle of the other; and these knives, if the emir’s proposals were rejected, he was to present to the king in token of defiance. Behind the bachelor who held the three knives, was another, and he had a strong (winding) sheet wound round about his arm, and this he was to present to the king for his burial, if he refused the demands of the Old Man of the Mountain.

 The Crusader fortress in Acre, Palestine. Inside is a 350m long tunnel constructed by the Knights Templar to serve as a strategic underground passageway linking the fortress with the port.

The king told the emir to say what was his will; and the emir presented his letters of credence, and spoke thus: “My lord sends me to ask if you know him?” And the king answered that he did not know him, for he had never seen him, but that he had often heard tell of him. “And seeing that you have heard tell of my lord,” said the emir, “I marvel greatly that you have not sent him so much of your substance as would keep him for your friend—like as the Emperor of Germany, the King of Hungary, the Sultan of Babylon, and the rest do year by year, because they know of a certainty that they can only keep their lives as long as my lord pleases. And if it does not suit you to do this, then cause him to be acquitted of the tribute that he owes to the Hospital and to the Temple, and he will cry quits wit you.” (Now at that time the Old Man of the Mountain paid a tribute to the Temple and to the Hospital, for the Templars and Hospitallers stood in no fear of the Assassins, seeing that the Old Man had nothing to gain by the death of the Master of the Temple or of the Hospital, inasmuch as he knew very well that if he caused one to be killed, another, equally good, would be put in his place. Wherefore he had no wish to sacrifice his Assassins in a service where there was nothing to be gained.)
The king answered the emir that he would see him again in the afternoon.

When the emir returned, he found the king seated so that the Master of the Hospital was on the one side of him and the Master of the Temple on the other. Then the king told the emir to say again what he had said in the morning. And the emir replied he had no intention of repeating what he had said save in the presence of those who had been with the king in the morning. Then the two masters said: “We command you to repeat what you said.” and he answered that as they commanded it he would do so. Then the two masters caused him to be told, in the Saracen tongue, that he should come on the morrow and speak to them at the Hospital.

 When he came to them on the morrow the two masters caused him to be told that his lord was very rash in daring to address such rude words to the king; and they caused him to be told further, that if it were not for the king’s honor, to whom they had come as envoys, they should have been drowned in the foul sea of Acre, in their lord’s despite. “And we command you to return to your lord, and to come back here within fifteen days, bringing to the king, on the part of your lord, such letters, and such jewels, that the king may hold himself appeased, and have you in his good grace.”

Geoffroy de Villehardouin and Jean de Joinville, Memoirs of the Crusades, trans. Sir Frank Marzials (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., n.d.), 248-9.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 489

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