Any Knight Could Dub Another Knight

March 12, 2020

A knight’s accolade by Louis Édouard Fournier

To whom belonged the privilege of making knights? It is necessary to ascertain this.

Every knight has the power to create knights.—This is the principle which we must first lay down and which is predominant: it was the ancient and primordial custom, the spirit, the life, the very essence of the institution.

The knighting of Viktor Count Boos zu Waldeck, who came from the old Rhenish noble family Boos zu Waldeck.

Chivalry was a society in which all members had a right to introduce new members, and as many as they pleased. That is the whole matter.

There is in the hand and in the sword of every knight a power (I nearly wrote “a fluid,” but I did not dare) which is really capable of creating other knights. It was the most noble and the most precious privilege of the miles.

Conferring knighthood on the field of battle.

If it were not an abuse of so sacred a term, I would say that he was a military priest. But after all, Chivalry in this, as in other things, has been modeled on the Church. A Christian is permitted to make Christians in some circumstances, and the water of Baptism may in some instances fall from any hand. So in like manner every knight could very legitimately say to himself, “I can make others knight” and hold up his head proudly.

 

León Gautier, Chivalry, trans. Henry Frith (London: George Routledge and Sons, Ltd., 1891), 222–3.

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