For Honour and Fame
The subtitle is Chivalry in England, 1066-1500, but this book deals with the reality, not the romantic image of colourful knights trailing favours in the tourney grounds. It’s an account of many aspects of medieval England, military, social, and political. Where events on the continent impinge on English life, these are also considered.
Nigel Saul writes about the influences that brought chivalry to England after 1066, how ideas changed, and the influence of chivalric ideals on many features of society, including religion and architecture. He also considers how society influenced chivalric ideas. He traces how fighting on horseback arrived with the Normans, and their continental interests led to more wars with France. Saul explores the reality of tournaments, the influence of Arthurian legends, other literature, the Crusades, and the gradual transformation from dependent household knights to relatively independent landed gentry who took on many administrative duties in their areas, and may have had nothing to do with fighting. This is a wide-ranging account, both academic and accessible. Professor Saul draws on a vast range of sources – and combines them into a fascinating story which shows the reality rather than the romanticised version of chivalric customs and behaviour.