The Spirit of Chivalry: The Sense of One’s Dignity, Combative Love of Hierarchy and of the Proper Order of Things

January 21, 2016

By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

Roi_de-CastilleThe spirit of chivalry is a spirit of logic, coherence, and strength of soul whereby a man has an exact notion of his own dignity; of his dignity as man, and his dignity as a Catholic. Of his dignity inasmuch as he occupies, in the scale of human values, a certain situation that others must respect.

Now then, the spirit of chivalry is properly speaking this: The fact that the knight loves this hierarchical order, this order of bravery and good ordering of things, in a combative way. So he does not endure any form of violation of this order and is always ready to intervene with force, to dot the i’s, and cross the t’s. But he does this according to good sense, an upright sense of things.

Antal Ligeti and Sándor Wágner (Nagykároly 1823 - Budapest 1890 / Pest 1838 - München 1919) - Return of King Matthias from Hunting, 1871

Return of King Matthias from Hunting, 1871 by Antal Ligeti and Sándor Wágner.

For example, let us suppose that a person is a nobleman. Someone disrespects him in a light matter, say, by taking precedence before him when he should not. What should the nobleman do? He notices the infraction and says a discreet but firm word making it clear that what happened is not right and should not be repeated. But for this first time it is just a word.

(Excerpt from a Chá of Tuesday, October 3, 1989.)

( translation.)



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