Chivalry-with its pageants, heraldry, and knights in shining armor-was a social ideal that had a profound influence on the history of early modern Europe. In this eloquent and richly detailed book, a leading medieval historian discusses the complex reality of chivalry: its secular foundations, the effects of the Crusades, the literature of knighthood, and its ethos of the social and moral obligations of nobility.
"This is a rich book, making effective use of all sorts of documents and illustrations. Keen moves easily across Europe in search of the international spirit of chivalry. . . . The pageantry he presents is colorful and his conclusions uplifting."-David Herlihy, New York Times Book Review
"An elegantly written, important book."-Carolly Erickson, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Splendid. . . . Keen is exemplary in the use he makes of many kinds of medieval literature, epic and lyric poetry, family and military histories, didactic treatises, translations into the vernacular of books of the Bible and of works from ancient Rome."-R.C. Smail, New York Review of Books
"Original [and] beguiling."-Fiona MacCarthy, Times (London)
"A most readable and comprehensive survey: stimulating, informative, a splendid creation of context."-Nicholas Orme, Times Higher Education Supplement
"All historians of Western society . . . will do well to refer to this book."-Georges Duby, Times Literary Supplement
Maurice Keen is an Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, where he was tutor in medieval history from 1961 to 2000. He is the author of The Outlaws of Medieval England, The Pelican History of Medieval Europe, England in the Late Middle Ages, and Origins of the English Gentleman.