In the perception of descendants, the history of chivalry is steeped in romance. Many times filmed legends about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Walter Scott's wonderful novel Ivanhoe and even the very ironic Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes have formed in the imagination of readers and viewers the image of a noble fighter for justice, a fiery lover and fearless defender of the weak and oppressed. However, such idealized notions are unlikely to fully correspond to the truth.
Many historians have written about the origin of chivalry, but they have not been able to develop a single point of view. Some believe that the first crusades were the direct reason for the emergence of the knightly movement. Others say that chivalry appeared much later - at the beginning of the 8th century. Considerably different are the views on what the knights really were - brave and magnanimous or cruel and arrogant.
The beginning of the Middle Ages, which followed the fall of the Western Roman Empire, was marked by numerous internecine wars, a widespread decline in morals, the destruction of science, which continued to develop only in closed monasteries. People, shocked by what was happening, were waiting for the arrival of the hero-defender, and he did not hesitate to appear.
Warriors clad in iron armor wandered along the roads of Europe, defeating robbers and rescuing those who were in trouble. They really awakened admiration and admiration in the souls of ordinary people, but not only because of their noble deeds. In many ways, this attitude of the knights was due to the influence of the Church, which saw in them the guardians of the faith and defenders of all the unjustly offended and oppressed.
The authority of chivalry largely rested on excellent military training and excellent, for those times, weapons. Gradually the word "knight" became the designation of the honorary title of the highest military class. Although initially chivalrous morality had little in common with the church, over time, the Church began to attract noble soldiers to defend their interests. By taking part in a crusade, a knight could achieve such fame, wealth and influence that not every king possessed.
Fearless warriors enjoyed well-deserved popularity among the ladies. Chivalry lifted a woman to unprecedented heights, making her an object of worship. The knight's love, as a rule, was of a reverent, chaste nature. Usually the knight chose for himself a "lady of the heart", who in the near future was to become his wife, and performed feats for her sake. However, while remaining loyal to his lady, the knight had to help other women in need of protection. Here you can recall the story of Ivanhoe from the novel by Walter Scott, who, being loyal to Lady Rowena, saved the life of the beautiful Jewess Rebekah.
Of course, in reality, everything was far from being as beautiful and sublime as it looked on paper. Among the knights there were money-grubbers, traitors, and ordinary robbers, but there were still not so many of them. Participation in the crusades and the need to obey the harsh rules and laws of honor disciplined the soldiers. True, over time, the knights who took part in the battles for the Holy Sepulcher began to be awarded almost the status of saints, which covered any atrocities. But this happened later, and initially the knight really was the embodiment of courage, mercy and valor.