Sanctus

Friday, July 23, 2010

2 Timothy 1:7

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Galations 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Matthew 10:28

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.

1 Corinthians 16:13

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jeremiah 39:17-18

But I will rescue you on that day, declares the Lord; you will not be handed over to those you fear. I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the Lord.

Psalm 60:12

With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.

Job 5:20

In famine he will ransom you from death, and in battle from the stroke of the sword.

Deuteronomy 20:4

For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.

Deuteronomy 28:7

The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.

Psalm 37:37

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace.

Psalm 49:15

But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.

Proverbs 14:32

When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge.

Joshua 1:9

Have i not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your god will be with you wherever you go.

Psalm 37:28

For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off.

Psalm 16: God the Supreme Good

Keep me safe, o God; in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, you are my Lord, you are my only good. Worthless are all the false gods of the land. Accursed are all who delight in them. They multiply their sorrows who court other gods. Blood libations to them I will not pour out, nor will I take their names upon my lips. Lord, my allotted portion and my cup, you have made my destiny secure. Pleasant places were measured out for me.; fair to me indeed is my inheritance. I bless the Lord who counsels me; even at night my heart exhorts me. I keep the Lord always before me; with the Lord always before me; with the Lord at my right, I shall never be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure, for you will not abandon me to Shaol., nor let your faithful servant see the pit. You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Geoffri de Charny: A knight's own book of Chivalry

This is an excellent book. Indeed the most definitive work on Chivalry and Catholic Knighthood. Charny is renowned amongst his peers, and was known as the original owner of the Shroud of Turin. This book was designed as a guide for the Company of the Star, an order created by Jean II of France in 1352 to rival the English Order of the Garter. Although he gives more detailed opinions on a wide variety of topics concerning Chivalry I will focus here on just a select few.

First he describes a knight as the most worthy and the most adept warrior, a knight noble in intentions and deed, unwavering, virtuous, loyal and chivalrous. One who fears and loves God. Ceaselessly wages a two fold war both against the flesh and blood and against a spiritual army of evil in the Heavens. What a glory to return in victory from such a battle! How blessed to die there as a martyr!

He says Chivalry becomes an allegory for the quest of spiritual life (hence quest for the Holy Grail), a high goal that can be achieved by the best of knights. Chivalry has been the grand force for good, the strong arm of true faith, favored by God, the agency of defense, the guarantor of good and peaceful governance and the procurer of glorious victories.

He affirms that all will be well if the men who bear arms understand two principle themes he advances. 1st: prowess is the essential chivalric trait that leads to honor, the highest human good. 2nd: This prowess is the gift of God, requiring ceaseless thankfulness. "Qui plus fait, mieux vault" or he who does more is worth more. As well as "he who does best is most worthy".

The Heavy Responsibility of men of rank and prowess
A body used well gains honor which like the soul is immortal. It is hard being a knight. To give up the ease that others take for granted, to always be alert ready to work and risk in battle. So that he can carry the load that is heavier than beast of burden; the heavy responsibility of men of rank and prowess. What an honorable and weighty burden to bear! And he who bears such a burden should fear lest he let it fall; if God doesn't grant him the wisdom and good judgment to know how to keep it safe.

So it must seem to everyone that such people should strive with the utmost diligence to ensure that they suffer no reproach against themselves nor against the bounties God has bestowed on them. It is not, therefore, the only virtue of those who bear arms that they carry weapons and perform feats of arms; but in addition to this, it is necessary that in all respects mentioned above, in no way can anything dishonorable be perceived nor said concerning them. Indeed, it is a fine thing to perform great deeds, for those who rise to great achievement cannot rightly grow tired or sated with it; so the more they achieve, the less they feel they have achieved; this stems from the delight they take in striving constantly to reach greater heights. And great good comes from performing these deeds, for the more one does, the less is one proud of oneself, and it always seems that there is so much left to do. You should not care about amassing great wealth, for the more worldly foods a man acquires, the more reluctant he is to die and the greater he fears to die, for his worth and honor will always remain.

Advice on Conduct Towards Friends and Enemies

Be humble among friends, proud and bold against their foes, tender and merciful toward those who need assistance, cruel avengers against their enemies, pleasant and amiable with all others. No one should gall into despair from cowardice nor be too confident from great daring, for falling into too great despair can make a man lose his position and his honor, and trusting too much in his daring can make a man lose his life foolishly.

Speak of achievements of others but not of your own, and do not be envious of others. Make sure that you do not praise your own conduct nor criticize too much that of others.

When moving against your enemies to meet them in battle, never admit the idea that you might be defeated nor think how you might be captured or how you might flee, but be strong in heart, firm and confident, always expecting victory, not defeat, you will always do well because of the good hopes that you have.

You should, therefore, always and in all circumstances be determined to do your best and above all have the true and certain hope that comes from God that He will help you, not relying just on your strength nor your intelligence nor your power but on God alone. You can see clearly and understand that you on your own can achieve nothing except what God grants you. And does not God confer great honor when He allows you of his mercy to defeat your enemies without harm to yourself? And if you are in a state of grace and you die honorably, does not God show you great mercy when He grants you such a glorious end to your life in this world and bears your soul away with Him in to eternal bliss?

If you want to be strong and of good courage, be sure that you care less about death that about shame. And those who put their lives in the face of dangers with the deliberate intention of avoiding shame are strong in all things. You should first thank and praise Him who gives you those things and preserve them without arrogance, for you must understand that where there is arrogance, there reigns anger and all kinds of folly; and where humility is to be found, there reigns good sense and happiness.

The Men-at- Arms of Supreme Worth

You should know that in no way can anyone in the world, now or in the past or the future, ever have such a complete set of good qualification as have been described above as possessed by men of high merit, except purely by the grace of God and of His gentle Mother and of His heavenly court. And thus it is that these people whom Our Lord has of His grace endowed with so many gifts should not maintain nor think nor believe that in any way do any of these virtues listed above, for which they are so much loved, praised and honored, come from themselves.

Were these men to claim the credit for all these qualities, believing that they all stem from themselves, and were they not to give thanks as they should and it is their duty to do this mighty even, to their Almighty Lord from whom they have received them and do not acknowledge this, then this Almighty Lord would cause all these benefits, so ill merited and unacknowledged, to crumble and collapse in various ways, as, for example by chronic illness through which they would lose the glory they had won. Those who put great effort into acquiring these honorable skills and achievements of prowess and those to whom God has by his grace granted that they should acquire them should indeed spend all their time giving thanks, praising and honoring Our Lord, praying and entreating humbly that as He has given and granted to them, so He will not take away and withdraw according to what they deserve.

The Rigors of the Order of Knighthood

No one can and should excuse himself from bearing arms in a just cause, whether for Holy Church or to defend and uphold the faith or out of piety for men or women who cannot defend their own rights. And for these who perform deeds of arms more to gain. God's grace and for the salvation of the soul than for glory in this world, their noble souls will be set in paradise to all eternity and their persons will be for ever honored and remembered.



On Knighthood and Catholicism

Of most importance he states it is a necessity to be a good Christian and imperative for the knight because he lives in constant peril and must be ready to die at any moment. He further explains that knights felt a need to fit their violent vocation into the framework of a Christian teaching; many if not all of them wanted to understand as well as buttress their place of dominance with the increasingly ordered Christian society.

He also states that it will be wise always for the knight, he insists to think less about the pleasure of his body and more about his soul and honor. Charny also insists that a good knight can wear his armor as purely and devoutly as any priest wears his vestments for Mass. Moreover, a knight must keep his conduct as thoroughly honest as any priest.He is certain that there can be no contradiction between a worthy knightly vocation and true religion. Piety and Chivalry do not occupy separate spaces in his consciousness, they are inseparable almost interchangeable qualities in men of war. Not to mention that knights must remain in a state of grace, for as long as they maintain this state they have no need to be afraid; especially of the devils, who are the most powerful enemies they will have to deal with. And it behooves them to seek in humble devotion for the help of Our Lord in such a perilous service as is required of them in the vocation of arms. Hence the position and way of life of these men-at-arms should above all be devoted to serving with all their hearts Our Lord and the glourious Virgin Mary in return for the good comfort and honorable escape from death which Our Lord has granted them from day to day.



Saturday, March 6, 2010

Edward Burman: Templars



Another good resource on Templars. Mr. Burman explains that:

(They were) formed to protect the route for pilgrims to the Holy Land. Fused two current ideas of medieval society, Knighthood and monasticism, into a code for a community of warrior monks. The sucessful synthesis of these contradictory elements forged the original character of the Knights Templars and made the Order the model of all future military orders.

Many people believed that Galahad, the ideal knight or taskless gallant, was Bernard himself. (Bernard was the priest who wrote the rule of the order.)

This fact of the rule, of becoming an approved order, was of vital importance in the medieval world. Joshua Prower explains as follows:
In medieval usage ordo meant far more than an organization or corporate body, since it included the idea of a social and public function. Men who belonged to an ordo not meerly followed thier personal destiny, but filled a place in Christian polity. The warriors as a class were now an ordo with officium.

This officium, or office, was central to the ethos of the Templars. It is made explicit in the second paragraph of the Rule.

The Templars were looking back to some imagined form or lost perfection, an ideal order of Chivalry which had perhaps never existed. The Templars themselves aleady looked back to an imagined ideal knighthood as later sects and secret societies dreamed back to the Templars.

Templars are refered to time and again as: "knight Militant" or "Militia of Christ"

The original motivation of Huge de Payen (the founder of the order) sustained the Temple for a relatively short time. It may ne the rapid institutionalization was sufficient in itself to modify the original concept beyond recognition.

Burman suggests that pride and avarice led to the hatred of the order, as a result of their wealth and privileges hatred grew.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Barbara Frale: The Templars, secrets revealed


Very good Book. Quotes of interest

Indeed it is not against enemies in flesh and blood that we have to fight, but against the lords, the powers, the rulers of the world of darkness, against the evil spirits which inhabit the heavens.

On a rule for the oder it was necessary to have a "rule" not only suitable to the dignity of a religious order but compatible with the necessity of waging war. Being as hard as warriors byt meek as a monk.

Gerald du Aurillac used his social station in a Christian way, that is, by using his power, even military power, no to plunder and pillage but to defend the defenseless people of Christ.

For the Augustinians, religion meant first and foremost service to others, especially the downtrodden; it was understood in the context of a daily battle against evil in the world using the arms of the faith. St. Augustine had praised the actions of those who dedicated their lives to the defense of the oppressed as a just war. Waged in the name of the supreme good of peace. It must be noted that the Holy bible contained many examples of men sanctified for the defense of their faith; among them King David. The figure of the religious warrior, abundantly exhaulted in the Old Testament, was sucessfully repurposed by the militant spirituality of the Augustinians as a way of ensuring salvation for the poor and underpivilaged.

Defenders of the defenseless, taking upon themselves a just mission, serving God with their arms to obtain remission of their sins.

The Templars wished to atone for their sins by risking their lives to defend the Holy Land. If they died, their souls would be those of men who fell in service to the Church and the Faith. Killing Saracens meant murdering murderers, eliminating those who had made themselves instruments of evil: this was not homicide but malicide, the killing of evil.

As St. Michael the Archangel, leader of the celestial forces against the powers of darkness, defeats the devil in the great battle of the last day, so does the knight serve the Faith by defeating its enemies. and isn't the Virgin Mary herself the one who crushes under her foot the head of the serpent, the incarnation of evil?

An order would not survive if it lost sight of its original values of penitence and spiritual poverty. The innate arrogance of Knighthood would need to be tempered by the inflexible practice of personal humility.

They would have to subject themselves to a regime of absolute obedience, renouncing their freewill to submit themselves completely to the will of their superiors. This would create a strongly homogenous and cohesive body. Commanders must maintain strict discipline. The Order could become a model of perfection in Christian society, but its leaders had to assume and exercise great moral responsibility towards the Church.

In the Warrior-Brothers of the Temple the meekness and humility of the true monk were united with the courage and noble intent of the virtuous knight. The Templar knights represented the perfect acheivement of that ideal combination of physical force and inner strength.

Templars were not ordained and never became priests. They took vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity. A special cannonical interdiction prohibited priests from engaging in combat or spilling blood. The Order was given chaplains who were priests ordained prior to joining the brotherhood, and it was absolutely prohibited to deploy them on combat missions.

Candidates already have received in their secular lives the necessary instruction in certain values that would prove very useful to the new order.

The Templars recognized four cardinal points of military ethic in their model: physical strength, courage with honor, loyalty to the group, and the spirit of sacrifice. These four knightly virtues were associated with coresponding Christian values and formed the conceptual framework that would make the Templars into ideal knights. Elevated further by their Catholicity. (Parallel with 7 Army values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage)

Pride was the biggest stumbling block. Templars had to maintain the utmost humility as an individual while feeding intense pride in belonging to the Temple.

The rule expressely required them to be a visible example of holiness and moderation. So Templars had to observe all the precepts to which they were bound and endevour to make an excellent impression on everyone they met.

The religious orthodoxy of the Templars, in view of their mission as warriors, had pushed short of the Christian fanaticism was widley recognized. They were regarded as occupying the summit of Christioan model of Society. Because they were nobles, as well as monks, the knights of the Temple united in themselves two clases to which God had entrusted the difficult task of guiding humanity.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Psalms 72 Douay-Rheims

Quam bonus Israel Deus. The temptation of the weak, upon seeing the prosperity of the wicked, is overcome by the consideration of the justice of God,

1 A psalm for Asaph. How good is God to Israel, to them that are of a right heart! 2 But my feet were almost moved; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3 Because I had a zeal on occasion of the wicked, seeing the prosperity of sinners. 4 For there is no regard to their death, nor is there strength in their stripes. 5 They are not in the labour of men: neither shall they be scourged like other men.

6 Therefore pride hath held them fast: they are covered with their iniquity and their wickedness. 7 Their iniquity hath come forth, as it were from fatness: they have passed into the affection of the heart. 8 They have thought and spoken wickedness: they have spoken iniquity on high. 9 They have set their mouth against heaven: and their tongue hath passed through the earth. 10 Therefore will my people return here and full days shall be found in them.

7 "Fatness"... Abundance and temporal prosperity, which hath encouraged them in their iniquity: and made them give themselves up to their irregular affections.

10 "Return here"... or hither. The weak among the servants of God, will be apt often to return to this thought, and will be shocked when they consider the full days, that is, the long and prosperous life of the wicked; and will be tempted to make the reflections against providence which are set down in the following verses.

11 And they said: How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? 12 Behold these are sinners; and yet abounding in the world they have obtained riches. 13 And I said: Then have I in vain justified my heart, and washed my hands among the innocent. 14 And I have been scourged all the day; and my chastisement hath been in the mornings. 15 If I said: I will speak thus; behold I should condemn the generation of thy children.

15 "If I said"... That is, if I should indulge such thoughts as these.

16 I studied that I might know this thing, it is a labour in my sight: 17 Until I go into the sanctuary of God, and understand concerning their last ends. 18 But indeed for deceits thou hast put it to them: when they were lifted up thou hast cast them down. 19 How are they brought to desolation? they have suddenly ceased to be: they have perished by reason of their iniquity. 20 As the dream of them that awake, O Lord; so in thy city thou shalt bring their image to nothing.

18 "Thou hast put it to them"... In punishment of their deceits, or for deceiving them, thou hast brought evils upon them in their last end, which, in their prosperity they never apprehended.

21 For my heart hath been inflamed, and my reins have been changed: 22 And I am brought to nothing, and I knew not. 23 I am become as a beast before thee: and I am always with thee. 24 Thou hast held me by my right hand; and by thy will thou hast conducted me, and with thy glory thou hast received me. 25 For what have I in heaven? and besides thee what do I desire upon earth?

26 For thee my flesh and my heart hath fainted away: thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever. 27 For behold they that go far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that are disloyal to thee. 28 But it is good for me to adhere to my God, to put my hope in the Lord God: That I may declare all thy praises, in the gates of the daughter of Sion.


We Knights might doubt if we are doing good in the world. But we must not become discouraged or look with favor upon the wicked. For God will reward our faithful service.
Deo Gratias!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Richard Barber's: The Knight and Chivalry



A very detailed book, I must say! Extensive history and very informative on the subjects.

Of most importance Barber discusses the concept of service to the Knight and even states outright that it is nonetheless central to knighthood. There is an unremarkable truth to this statement! Because as all of Us who are Knights know, that we must indeed be in service to others; especially Holy Mother Church. Which leads to another great point he brings up:

As the hauberk safeguards the body so the knight safeguards the Church; as the helm defends the head so the knight defends the Church; as the fear of the lance drives back the unarmed so the knight drives back the Church's ememies. The two edges of the sword show that the knights serves both God and the people, and it's point shows that all people must obey him. The horse that carries him represents the people, whom the knight must lead, but who support him and give him the wherewithal for an honorable life.

This is an important reminder to us knights of how we are needed by Holy Mother Church, the hardships we must endure for Her protection and for the protection of Her people. And as Knights we must respect the lives of others and life in general. For without the Church and people we would not be needed, and our existence would be without purpose.

So being that we have a purpose and a constant mission to fullfill we will continue to drive forward and serve and defend Holy Mother Church and Her members.

Deus Vult!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Knights Templar and The Shroud of Tourin


Richard Owen in Rome
Medieval knights hid and secretly venerated The Holy Shroud of Turin for more than 100 years after the Crusades, the Vatican said yesterday in an announcement that appeared to solve the mystery of the relic’s missing years.
The Knights Templar, an order which was suppressed and disbanded for alleged heresy, took care of the linen cloth, which bears the image of a man with a beard, long hair and the wounds of crucifixion, according to Vatican researchers.
The Shroud, which is kept in the royal chapel of Turin Cathedral, has long been revered as the shroud in which Jesus was buried, although the image only appeared clearly in 1898 when a photographer developed a negative.
Barbara Frale, a researcher in the Vatican Secret Archives, said the Shroud had disappeared in the sack of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, and did not surface again until the middle of the fourteenth century. Writing in L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Dr Frale said its fate in those years had always puzzled historians.
However her study of the trial of the Knights Templar had brought to light a document in which Arnaut Sabbatier, a young Frenchman who entered the order in 1287, testified that as part of his initiation he was taken to “a secret place to which only the brothers of the Temple had access”. There he was shown “a long linen cloth on which was impressed the figure of a man” and instructed to venerate the image by kissing its feet three times.
Dr Frale said that among other alleged offences such as sodomy, the Knights Templar had been accused of worshipping idols, in particular a “bearded figure”. In reality however the object they had secretly venerated was the Shroud.
They had rescued it to ensure that it did not fall into the hands of heretical groups such as the Cathars, who claimed that Christ did not have a true human body, only the appearance of a man, and could therefore not have died on the Cross and been resurrected. She said her discovery vindicated a theory first put forward by the British historian Ian Wilson in 1978.
The Knights Templar were founded at the time of the First Crusade in the eleventh century to protect Christians making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Order was endorsed by the Pope, but when Acre fell in 1291 and the Crusaders lost their hold on the Holy Land their support faded, amid growing envy of their fortune in property and banking.
Rumours about the order’s corrupt and arcane secret ceremonies claimed that novices had to deny Christ three times, spit on the cross, strip naked and kiss their superior on the buttocks, navel, and lips and submit to sodomy. King Philip IV of France, who coveted the order’s wealth and owed it money, arrested its leaders and put pressure on Pope Clement V to dissolve it.
Several knights, including the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, were burned at the stake. Legends of the Templars’ secret rituals and lost treasures have long fascinated conspiracy theorists, and figure in The Da Vinci Code, which repeated the theory that the knights were entrusted with the Holy Grail.
In 2003 Dr Frale, the Vatican’s medieval specialist, unearthed the record of the trial of the Templars, also known as the Chinon Parchment, after realising that it had been wrongly catalogued. The parchment showed that Pope Clement V had accepted the Templars were guilty of “grave sins”, such as corruption and sexual immorality, but not of heresy.
Their initiation ceremony involved spitting on the Cross, but this was to brace them for having to do so if captured by Muslim forces, Dr Frale said. Last year she published for the first time the prayer the Knights Templar composed when “unjustly imprisoned”, in which they appealed to the Virgin Mary to persuade "our enemies” to abandon calumnies and lies and revert to truth and charity.
Radiocarbon dating tests on the Turin Shroud in 1988 indicated that it was a medieval fake. However this had been challenged on the grounds that the dated sample was taken from an area of the shroud mended after a fire in the Middle Ages and not a part of the original cloth.
After the sack of Constantinople it was next seen at Lirey in France in 1353, when it was displayed in a local church by descendants of Geoffroy de Charney, a Templar Knight burned at the stake with Jacques de Molay.
It was moved to various European cities until it was acquired by the Savoy dynasty in Turin in the sixteenth century. Holy See property since 1983, the Shroud was last publicly exhibited in 2000, and is due to go on show again next year.
The Vatican has not declared whether it is genuine or a forgery, leaving it to believers to decide. The late John Paul II said it was “an icon of the suffering of the innocent in every age.” The self proclaimed heirs of the Knights Templar have asked the Vatican to “restore the reputation” of the disgraced order and acknowledge that assets worth some £80 million were confiscated.
The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ, based in Spain, said that when the order was dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1307, more than 9,000 properties, farms and commercial ventures belonging to knights were seized by the Church. A British branch also claiming descent from the Knights Templar and based in Hertfordshire has called for a papal apology for the persecution of the order.
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Knights Templar may have secretly held shroud, Vatican expert says
Apr 6, 2009
By John Thavis Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY – A Vatican researcher has found evidence that the Knights Templar, the medieval crusading order, held secret custody of the Shroud of Turin during the 13th and 14th centuries.The shroud, which bears the image of a man and is believed by many to have been the burial cloth of Jesus, was probably used in a secret Templar ritual to underline Christ’s humanity in the face of popular heresies of the time, the expert said. The researcher, Barbara Frale, made the comments in an article published April 5 by the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano. The article anticipated evidence the author presents in an upcoming book on the Templars and the shroud. Ms. Frale, who works in the Vatican Secret Archives, said documents that came to light during research on the 14th-century trial of the Templars contained a description of a Templar initiation ceremony. The document recounts how a Templar leader, after guiding a young initiate into a hidden room, “showed him a long linen cloth that bore the impressed figure of a man, and ordered him to worship it, kissing the feet three times,” Ms. Frale said. The idea that the Knights Templar were secret custodians of the shroud was put forward by British historian Ian Wilson in 1978. Ms. Frale said the account of the initiation ceremony, along with a number of other pieces of evidence, supports that theory. The shroud’s history has long been the subject of debate. It was believed by some to have been in Constantinople, now Istanbul, Turkey, when the city was sacked during the crusades in 1204. It turned up for public display in France in 1357, and today is kept in the cathedral of Turin, Italy. The cloth’s image, according to some experts, corresponds with that of a man who was scourged and crucified. Ms. Frale said the Knights Templar may have kept the shroud secret because of papal orders of excommunication for anyone involved in looting relics from Constantinople or trafficking in them afterward. She said the shroud’s image was particularly important for the Knights Templar, as an “antidote” to the heresies that had arisen – especially those that affirmed that Christ was a purely spiritual being, and never really had a human body or shed human blood.
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Book reveals new facts about the Templars discovered in the Vatican’s Secret Archives **** 4 Stars
by Gabrielle Pantera
“While I was doing my research for my Ph.D., I found the Chignon Parchment in the Vatican Secret Archives,” says ‘The Templars: The Secret History Revealed’ author Barbara Frale “I couldn’t quite believe it! The first people I showed my research thought I was crazy. Other people thought I was a genius.”
The Chignon Parchment is a record of the trial of the Templar leadership authorized by Pope Clement V. The document reveals details of the orders’ scandalous secret initiation ceremony. It also reveals that the Grand Master and other high ranking Templars were found innocent.
In The Templars: The Secret History Revealed, Barbara Frale explains how the Templars transformed from being monks to warriors to being disbanded. Entrusted with the money to fight the Crusades against the Muslims, the Templars become so rich and powerful they become a threat to royal houses in Europe and to the Catholic church. France’s King Philip IV, plots the downfall. He gets a secret loan from the Templars, then asks Pope Clement V to disband the Templars.
Frale’s Italian editor is Ugo Berti at Il Mulino. She corresponds by email with her American editor Casey Ebro. The two have never met.
“I studied history at university and wrote my thesis on the Templars in 1993, way before Dan Brown popularized the subject,” says Arcade Publishing editor Casey Ebro. “So when I learned about the book, I was over the moon with excitement. After I’d acquired it, a very good editor friend agreed to pass on my request for a foreword to Umberto Eco! And he agreed! Days like that are why I’m an editor.”
Eco, an Italian philosopher and novelist, is known for writing The Name of the Rose, which was made into a film starring Sean Connery, and for writing Foucault’s Pendulum, a novel about a plot created by the Medieval Templars to take over the modern world.
“There are numerous books on the Templars,” says Eco. “The only problem is that in 90 percent of the cases they are pure fantasy. No other subject has ever inspired more hacks from more countries throughout time than the Templars. Barbara Frale’s stunning discovery of the long-lost Chinon Parchment in the Vatican Secret Archives allows us to see in a new light the church’s role in the process against the Templars.”
The popularity of her Templars book took Frale by surprise. “It’s just a little book, but suddenly I was known around the world in certain circles.”
Frale has written two books that haven’t been published. “I was twenty-five years old when I wrote two historical novels,” says Frale. “In one, the action is set in 11th century Italy, where the future pope Gregory VII and a handful of brave monks defend the Church against attack. The other is set in 9th century Spain, with Muslims and Christians living in peace and religious tolerance.”
The Templars: The Secret History Revealed is a must-read for anyone with a more than passing interest in the Templars and this historical era. The book is scholarly, but a fascinating read. It’s too bad the book lacks maps to give a clear picture of where things happen.
Barbara Frale lives in Viterbo, Italy, where she was born. She’s a historian and an archivist. She’s written four historical essays. Her two historical essays about the Shroud of Turin will be published by Il Mulino in 2009.
The Templars: The Secret History Revealed by Barbara FraleHardcover, 232 pagesPublisher: Arcade PublishingRelease: January 12, 2009ISBN 9781559708890
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/5137163/Turin-Shroud-could-be-genuine-as-carbon-dating-was-flawed.html

Turin Shroud 'could be genuine as carbon-dating was flawed'
New evidence suggests the Turin Shroud could have been the cloth in which Jesus was buried, as experiments that concluded it was a medieval fake were flawed.
By Stephen Adams Last Updated: 6:08PM BST 10 Apr 2009
Turin Shroud could be genuine, scientist has said
Radio carbon dating carried out in 1988 was performed on an area of the relic that was repaired in the 16th century, according to Ray Rogers, who helped lead the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STRP). At the time he argued firmly that the shroud, which bears a Christlike image, was a clever forgery. But in a video made shortly before his death three years ago, he said facts had come to light that indicated the shroud could be genuine.
Rogers, a chemist from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, said: "I don't believe in miracles that defy the laws of nature. After the 1988 investigation I'd given up on the shroud. "But now I am coming to the conclusion that it has a very good chance of being the piece of cloth that was used to bury the historic Jesus." He came to his conclusion after re-examining a theory from two amateur scientists that he had earlier dismissed as being from "the lunatic fringe".
Sue Benford and Joe Marina, from Ohio, suspected the 1988 sample was from a damaged section of the linen shroud repaired in the 16th century after being damaged in a fire. Rogers said: "I was irritated and determined to prove Sue and Joe wrong." However, when he came to examine threads taken in 1978 - luckily from the same section as the 1988 sample - he found cotton in them. He said: "The cotton fibres were fairly heavily coated with dye, suggesting they were changed to match the linen during a repair.
"I concluded that area of the shroud was manipulated by someone with great skill. "Sue and Joe were right. The worst possible sample for carbon dating was taken. "It consisted of different materials than were used in the shroud itself, so the age we produced was inaccurate." In the video, made shortly before he died of cancer in March 2005, he said: "I came very close to proving the shroud was used to bury the historic Jesus." This latest evidence, to be broadcast in The Turin Shroud: New Evidence at 8pm on Sunday on the Discovery Channel, is the latest chapter in the shroud's history.
For the last 21 years most have considered it to be a medieval fake, after the 1988 tests dated it as being made between 1260 and 1390. The result overturned 10 years of hope among Christians that it was real, after the first scientific tests found evidence of blood and serum stains. The earliest documented sighting of the shroud is from 1353, but last week a historian claimed in the Vatican's newspaper that she had found a "missing link" in the Holy See's Secret Archives proving the Knights Templar had safeguarded it during the 13th century.
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From Times Online
August 21, 2008
Vatican scholar: prayer proves Knights Templar not heretical
Richard Owen in Rome
The Vatican has for the first time published the prayer the Knights Templar composed when "unjustly imprisoned", in which they appealed to the Virgin Mary to persuade "our enemies" to abandon "calumnies and lies" and revert to "truth and charity".
L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, said the prayer was further proof that the order, which was dissolved in the fourteenth century, was not heretical. The knights were innocent of the charges against them, which included the accusation that they worshipped idols such as a "monstrous statue, half man and half goat".
The L'Osservatore Romano article, by Barbara Frale, the Vatican Secret Archives scholar who has made a special study of the knights, said it was untrue that the knights were guilty of "decadence, heresy and immoral practices".
The move follows legal action by the alleged heirs of Knights Templar to force the Vatican to restore the reputation of the disgraced order and acknowledge that assets worth some 80 million pounds were confiscated.
The Association of the Sovereign Order of the Temple of Christ, based in Spain, says that when the order was dissolved by Pope Clement V in 1307, over 9000 properties, farms and and commercial ventures belonging to knights were seized by the Church.
It is not however demanding that they be handed back, only that the order be "rehabilitated". A British branch also claiming descent from the Knights Templar and based in Hertfordshire has called for a papal apology for the persecution of the order.
The Knights Templar were founded at the time of the First Crusade in the eleventh century to protect Christians making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The Order was endorsed by the Vatican, but when Acre fell in 1291 and the Crusaders lost their hold on the Holy Land support faded, amid growing envy of the order's fortune in property and banking, and rumours about its corrupt and arcane secret ceremonies.
Whispers said novices had to deny Christ three times, spit on the cross, strip naked and kiss their superior on the buttocks, navel, and lips and submit to sodomy. King Philip IV of France, who coveted the order's wealth, arrested its leaders and put pressure on Clement V to dissolve it. Several knights, including the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, were burned at the stake.
However Dr Frale said the arrests by Philip IV were "absolutely illegal". She said "legends and inventions" about the knights had been perpetuated by "fantasies" such as Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and - "though of a different literary calibre" - Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum.
She said that in 1312 Pope Clement had declared that the Templars were not heretics, and had explained that he had only dissolved the order to prevent Philip IV from "opening up a schism in the Church". She said proof of the Templars' fidelity to the Pope and Christian dogma lay in the prayer they had composed during their long imprisonment.
It was "beautiful and moving" and "full of poetry", Dr Frale said, but "incredibly has never been studied".The prayer is addressed to "Holy Mary, mother of God", the "consolation of those who hope", and "humbly implores" her to obtain freedom for the order "through the intercession of the angels, archangels, prophets, evangelists, apostles, martyrs, confessors and virgins". It adds that the Virgin Mary knows that "our enemies" have spread "calumnies and lies" about the order, and pleads with her to make them "return to truth and charity".
Last October the Vatican launched a scheme to market limited reproductions of Processus Contra Templarios (Papal Inquiry into the Trial of the Templars), also known as the Chinon document, which Dr Frale discovered in the Vatican archives in 2003 after realising that it had been wrongly catalogued.
She said the parchment proved Clement V had accepted the Templars were not guilty of heresy. Their initiation ceremony involved spitting on the Cross, but this was to brace them for having to do so if captured by Muslim forces.

Bushido: Way of the Warrior. From Hagakure with a Catholic perspective of course!


My life is not my own, it belongs to God. Time spent here on earth is borrowed from Him; I must live according to His will. Whatever I do is done because He wills it to be. If I am one with Him then the paths I choose will always be the paths that He leads me to.
Even though I am alive I must live as though I am dead, for if I am already dead then there is no fear in dying. And because I am already dead, this allows me to fully live in that I can act without being conscience of my mortality.
The Way of the Samurai is found in death; one might say that death is at the very center of Bushido as the overall purpose- to die a good death and with one's honor intact. When it comes to either/or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. To say that dying without reaching one's aim is to die a dog's death is the frivolous way of sophisticates. When pressed with the choice of life or death, it is not necessary to gain one's aim.
We all want to live. And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaming one's aim is a dog's death and fanaticism. But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening (through prayer and good works, and other corporal works of mercy), one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he pains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.
Every morning one should first do reverence to God and honor his parents and then to his patron saints. If he will only make his master (God) first in importance, his parents will rejoice and God will give His assent. For a warrior there is nothing other than thinking of his God and master. If one creates this resolution within himself, he will always be mindful of the master's person and will not depart from him even for a moment. If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening (through prayer and daily devotion to God), one is able to live as though his body were already dead. He will gain freedom in the way, his whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.
By thinking that you must complete the job you will run out of time. By considering things like how many men the enemy has, time piles up; in the end you will give up. No matter if the enemy has thousands of men, there is fulfillment in simply standing them off and being determined to cut them all down, starting from one end. You will finish the greater part of it.
Above all, the Way of the Samurai should be in being aware that you do not know what is going to happen next, and in querying every item day and night. Victory and defeat are matters of the temporary force of circumstances. The way of avoiding shame is different. It is simply in death. Even if it seems certain that you will lose, retaliate. Neither wisdom nor technique has a place in this. A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.
How should a person respond when he is asked, "As a human being, what is essential in terms of purpose and discipline?" First, let us say, "It is to become of the mind that is right now pure and lacking complications." People in general all seem to be dejected. When one has a pure and uncomplicated mind, his expression will be lively. When one is attending to matters, there is one thing that comes forth from his heart. That is, in terms of one's lord, loyalty; in terms of one's parents, filial piety; in martial affairs, bravery ; and apart from that, something that can be used by all the world.This is very difficult to discover. Once discovered, it is again difficult to keep in constant effect. There is nothing outside the thought of the immediate moment.
Every morning, the samurai of fifty or sixty years ago would bathe, shave their foreheads, put lotion in their hair, cut their fingernails and toenails rubbing them with pumice and then with wood sorrel, and without fail pay attention to their personal appearance . It goes without saying that their armor in general was kept free from rust, that it was dusted, shined, and arranged.Although it seems that taking special care of one's appearance is similar to showiness, it is nothing akin to elegance. Even if you are aware that you may be struck down today and are firmly resolved to an inevitable death, if you are slain with an unseemly appearance, you will show your lack of previous resolve, will be despised by your enemy, and will appear unclean. For this reason it is said that both old and young should take care of their appearance.
Although you say that this is troublesome and time-consuming, a samurai's work is in such things. It is neither busy- work nor time-consuming. In constantly hardening one's resolution to die in battle, deliberately becoming as one already dead and working at one's job and dealing with military affairs, there should be no shame. But when the time comes, a person will be shamed if he is not conscious of these things even in his dreams, and rather passes his days in self- interest and self-indulgence. And if he thinks that this is not shameful, and feels that nothing else matters as long as he is comfortable, then his dissipate and discourteous actions will be repeatedly regrettable. The person without previous resolution to inevitable death makes certain that his death will be in bad form. But if one is resolved to death beforehand, in what way can he be despicable? One should be especially diligent in this concern.
When meeting calamities or difficult situations, it is not enough to simply say that one is not at all flustered. When meeting difficult situations, one should dash forward bravely and with joy. It is the crossing of a single barrier and is like the saying, "The more the water, the higher the boat."
When one's own attitude on courage is fixed in his heart, and when his resolution is devoid of doubt, then when the time comes he will of necessity be able to choose the right move. This will be manifested by one's conduct and speech according to the occasion. One's word is especially important. It is not for exposing the depths of one's heart. This is something that people will know by one's everyday affairs.
Throughout your life advance daily, becoming more skillfull than yesterday, more skillful than today. This is never-ending.

Don Quixote



In Cervantes’ Don Quixote de La Mancha, the main character Don Quixote is overcome by the ideals of chivalry and knighthood that he transposes the things he reads into reality. Quixote tries to imitate the things knights were made famous for, and in essence he tries to become a knight of the old.

What is chivalry? Chivalry is the code of rules that knights were to conform to, if they did not they were disgraced. Chivalry comes from the French word cheval (horse), the reason being because one needed a horse to be a knight. When one thinks of knights the one image that pops up in the mind is that of slaying dragons, or rescuing damsels in distress, or riding for days looking for adventures, but there was more to it than just that. A major influence on chivalry and knighthood was the literature of the times like the stories of King Arthur and his knights. Francis Gies explains that it helped to fix the self-image of the knight and it also defined the standards of knightly behavior which were set down in the codes of chivalry (77). It is by these works of literature that Don Quixote was able to learn of the rules and regulations that knights had to be held accounted for, as Gies further explains that these rules of conduct were mainly social (77). Knights were to be of certain character, according to Thomas Bulfinch, they were heroic in character, with invincible strength and valor, justice and courtesy (39-40). Bulfinch goes on to explain that the knights who set off for adventures were called knights-errant, whose mission is to redress wrongs, or to fulfill a vow of love (40). Knights also underwent a ceremony which was the hallmark of knighthood. Don Quixote tries very much to do these things, and to be these things.
Quixote is so inspired by all of these things, that he tries to transform himself to be a knight. He changes his name from Alonzo Quijano to Don Quixote de la Mancha. Quixote learns how he should act and as Marianne Sturman notes, “He has sacrificed his usual pastime of hunting and caring for his estate for the all-consuming passion of reading books of chivalry”(9).Don Quixote becomes absorbed and in a way obsessed with this way of life that he strives to live it as his own. Sturman continues by noting, “Quixote feels himself inspired to become a knight-errant and systematically collects the effects necessary to his calling“(9). Quixote acquires weapons, armor, squire and a horse to get started. Sturman describes that “Quixote shines his great-grandfather’s armor devises a visor and a cap, working on them for a week, and renames his skinny stable horse Rosinante“(9). Quixote is so into his devotion that he is patient enough to try and make his own equipment.And as well to conform with the rules of chivalry he finds a “noble” to have him knighted. Sturman describes in detail by writing, the innkeeper agrees to perform the ceremony at dawn, and Don Quixote goes about the ritual of watching his arms and meditating throughout the night. He sets his weapons in a horse trough, and when a carrier approaches to water his mules, after laying aside the sacred armor, Don Quixote rushes to attack the poor man. As soon as the fancied enemy is dispatched, another carrier approaches to water his animals, and he too is laid low next to his companion. Don Quixote now fancies that the place is infested with enemies, and he prepares to defend himself against anyone who approaches. The clever innkeeper wishes only to preserve the peace of his courtyard and begs the knight to make ready for the dubbing-”two hours watch is all that is needed”- which he accomplishes after the manner described in books of chivalry (11).

As Bulfinch explains it on page 42 of his work,the knights were to fast and pray
the whole night before and he was the go to confession and receive the sacrament. They were bathed and dressed in pure white (simple) clothing. The next day he would go before the Church and with his sword around his neck, a priest would bless it. Then the sponsor would issue the oaths and receive his spurs, mail, hauberk, and lastly his sword was girded around his waist. Then the president would give him the three strokes on the shoulders with the flat edge of a sword and declare him a knight saying to him: “ In the name of God, of St. Michael, and St. George, I make thee a knight; be valiant, courteous, and loyal!”.The knight was then given his helmet, shield, and spear. Quixote at least tried to conform to these rules, but even in reality the ceremonies were sometimes conducted in the middle of combat and were not so exquisite.

Quixote tries to be heroic like the knights. A classic example of this is the confrontation with the windmills. Quixote sees the molinos as monsters, and he must defeat them and vanquish them. All the while his companion is trying to convince him they are just molinos. Quixote none the less steps up and is focused solely on defeating them. He gathers his lance and speeds towards them and attempt to attack them but is thrown off his horse. Quixote was not worried of becoming injured but he tries to be brave and face the evil monsters. Quixote goes as far as to tell Sancho that, “ en esto de las adventuras; ellos son gigantes; y si tienes miedo, quitate de ahi, y ponte en oracion en el espacio que yo voy a entrar con ellos en fiera y desigual batalla.(VIII17)” In other words he is trying to say that Sancho is not brave enough to face the monsters so the only other person that is valiant enough is himself. Quixote as well tries to possess invincible strength. In light of the windmills again, it can be seen of his attempt to hold this strength. The way he just ferociously charges the molinos is evident by the way he is flipped over. He is literally thrown from his horse and his lance is broken. The sheer cause is that not only of his speed but his “strength”. He must have been so focused that he was not aware of how he used his force.

All throughout the story, Quixote is set on becoming a knight errant. But as W.H. Auden concludes he only becomes a parody(76). What does Quixote need to become a knight errant? According to the Auden’s outline, a knight errant must possess “epic arete of good birth, good looks, strength etc. as well as the use of it to rescue the unfortunate and protect the innocent and combat the wicked“(76). Quixote is of lowly birth and furthermore he is poor and is fifty-something, not to mention that he is not even a real knight. To support his passion, Auden notes that Quixote must sell his lands to buy books(76).

Nonetheless, Quixote does have the motives of a knight errant, which Auden list as: the desire for glory, the love of justice, and the love of an individual woman(76). His pursuit of glory can be seen at the windmills. When he is thrown from his horse and Sancho tells him “I told you so!”, Quixote responds by saying: “que las cosas de la Guerra, mas que en otras estan sujetas a continua mudanza; cuanto mas, que yo pienso, y es asi verdad, que aquel sabio Freston que me robo el aposento y los libros ha vuelto estos gigantes en molinos por quitarme la gloria de su vencimiento: tal es la enemistad que me tiene; mas al cabo, han de poder poco sus malas artes contra la bondad de mi espada (VIII44-50).”

In essence he is saying that, it was the forces of evil that made him see the mills as monsters and to confuse him, changed them back into mills once he attacked to steal away his glory in defeating the evil beasts. Quixote is also convinced that he must serve out justice. As Sturman suggests that, the sooner the knight-errant can adventure in the world, then the sooner will evil enchanters, like the ones in the minds of the curate and the barber who wall up the library entranceway, be banished(14). These people are convinced that the books which Quixote reads are so corrupt that they must be destroyed. These are the types of people Quixote are fighting against. As Lowry Nelson describes it, here the priest and the barber undertake to pronounce sentence on the books of chivalry in Quixote’s library and judging them and handing them down to the housekeeper to be burned. In such a way that they hope to strike at the root cause of Quixote’s mania(1). And in order to keep his “reality” assured he needs to get out and have adventures and administer fair justice to show that it is not the books that bind him to his actions but his own mindset. Sturman further annotates that he makes an eloquent speech about the virtues of the Golden Age when men lived in close communion with nature. When human nature lost this purity and innocence, then the order of knighthood was established in order to oppose the torrent of violence(16).

As far as his woman goes he creates a fair lady out of a common girl. Sturman points out that, “Now thought Don Quixote, after renaming himself, his horse, his ambitions, he must name the lady of his pure heart, for a knight-errant “without a mistress, was a tree without fruit or leaves, and a body without a soul.” Therefore he selects a young country lass named Aldonza Lorenza for his own Dulcinea del Toboso although she is all but a complete stranger to him“(9).
Quixote takes this girl that he hardly knows but has noticed her and has kept an eye on her, uses her as his love, as his woman for whom he will claim victories in his conquests. In the night after the whole molinos incident, Quixote all that night refused to sleep, but instead stayed up thinking about Dulcinea, just like the knights in his books did thinking of their loves (Cervantes, 48). To further show his love for Dulcinea, he exclaims:
Oh, senora de mi alma, Dulcinea, flor de la fermosura, socorred a este vuestro caballero, que, por satisfacer a la vuestra mucha bondad, en este riguroso trance se halla! (Cervantes, 51)
Here Quixote is following in the words of the troubadours, he is using flowery, eloquent language to express his love for Dulcinea.

Throughout all of this Quixote is serious of his “world”. Sturman makes the point that, one can argue that he approaches knight-errantry not like a madman who believes that he is someone else, but rather like an actor who memorizes and practices a role(10). Quixote doesn’t think that he is actually a true knight but his is trying to act as if he was. He uses the books, where he gathered his knowledge as a guide to his script. Gerald Brenan says that Don Quijote had a strong desire to play a noble and heroic part in life- to right wrongs and assist the unfortunate and by doing so become famous(19). Brenan adds however that his madness is confined to one thing his belief, that the books of Chivalry were true histories (18). It could be possible that Quixote in reading these materials took them at face value. E.C. Riley notes that Don Quixote says of the hero who was so vividly real to him: “ I can almost say that I have seen Amadis of Gaul with my own two eyes” (130). Quixote through his reading could have thought that he can see Amadis and his actions vividly because of his reading, which allowed him to imagine about knightly things. Brenan adds that, this was granted, it was no more mad for him to attempt to revive the profession of knight errantry than it was for a monk to imitate the Fathers of the desert (18). To further display that Quixote makes up his own truths, Sturman takes note of the helmet making scene, by commenting when testing his handiwork after the homemade visor and cap are complete, he swings a sword at it and completely cleaving the pasteboard helmet and then he makes a new and doesn’t test it because “to have faith in strength is enough, thinks the hero, for reality is always weaker”(10).

Could this be why Cervantes pokes fun at the ideas of Chivalry? Could Cervantes be trying to make a statement? According to Sturman, the aim of Cervantes is merely to “ destroy the authority and acceptance the books of chivalry have had in the world”(8). What does all this mean? What is wrong with Chivalry? Cervantes wants to point out that chivalry doesn’t work anymore because it is antiquated and if every one does not play by the same rules, then what is the use of having it, besides the real world is different than portrayed in literature. Brenan confers that the Innkeeper too believed in the truths of the books, but felt that they just ceased to take place, as a result he was content to take the world as he found it so long as he could go on cheating it (18-19). So in reality Chivalry is considered to be dead, everyone admires it but do not have what it takes to “be” or “do” it.

In conclusion, it is no surprise that the ideas of Chivalry play a big part in Cervantes’ Don Quixote. It influenced Cervantes to poke fun at it, therefore resulting in Alonzo Quijano to not only to believe in them, but to transform himself into Don Quixote, a knight errant, set on his adventures of glory, justice and his “love” Dulcinea. Which to him were very true.







Works Cited
Auden, W.,H. “The Ironic Hero: Some Reflections on Don Quixote”. Cervantes A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Lowry Nelson, Jr. N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1969. 73-81.
Brenan, Gerald. “Cervantes”. Cervantes A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Lowry Nelson, Jr. N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1969. 13-33.
Bulfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch’s mythology: The Age of Chivalry, the legends of Charlemagne and others. Ny: The New American Library of World Literature, 1962.
Cervantes. Don Quixote de la Mancha. Buenos Aires: Espas-Calpe, 1947.
Gies, Frances. The Knight in History. Ny: Harper Row, 1984.
Nelson, Lowry, Jr. “Introduction”. Cervantes A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Lowry Nelson, Jr. N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1969. 1-12.
Riley, E.C. “ Literature and Life in Don Quixote”. Cervantes A Collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Lowry Nelson, Jr. N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1969. 123-136.
Sturman, Marianne. “Don Quijote”. Lincoln: Cliff Notes, 1998.
* text:
Cervantes. “Don Quixote: chVIII.“ Panoramas literarios Espana. Kienzle B., Faith T. Ny: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. 112-114.

Christian Chivalry and Sir Gawain




























Here is some of my writing from college, enjoy:

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight explores the chivalric life of a Christian Knight in Medieval society. It catalogues the rules to which a knight, like Gawain must adhere to such as: courtesy, loyalty, humility and courage. It also shows how the church influenced knighthood by incorporating Christian ideology into the life of a knight.
What exactly is Chivalry? Chivalry which is from the French word cheval (horse),is more than just armor-clad knights riding around looking for adventures, or slaying dragons, and rescuing damsels in distress, it is a way of life, with preset rules and regulations that a knight must adhere too, or be looked upon in shame. A major influence on chivalry was works of literature such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Francis Gies explains that it helped to fix the self-image of the knight and it also defined the standards of knightly behavior which were set down in the codes of chivalry (77). These codes were somewhat like the rigid codes of ethics (Bushido) of the samurai of Japan. As Gies further explains that these rules of conduct were mainly social (77). A knight had to be courteous, loyal, humble, and courageous; just to name a few.
Courtesy, the act of having good manners, is one of the many characteristics that a knight must display. This came in handy when in court, because manners go a long way when working with people. Gawain expresses his courtesy not only to his lord, King Arthur, but to Bercilak and the lady of the castle. Alan Markman notes, “His courtesy requires no discovery here. His very first words in the romance, as he asks Arthur’s permission to accept the challenge (164).” Gawain out of respect for the authority of the king politely says to Arthur “I beseech, before all here, that this melee may be mine. Would you grant me the grace, [To be gone from this bench and stand by you there, If I without discourtesy might quit this board…](lines 341-345).This shows the extent of Gawain’s manners, he doesn’t just step up and say “move aside king, let me handle this!” but instead he maintains that in being within courtesy that he must ask to take the place of the king and to leave the court table.
Gawain’s courtesy to Bercilak is shown in the work as well. On coming to Bercilak’s castle, Gawain doesn’t just barge in and take a room, but he politely asks the porter “if your lord would allow me to lodge here a space (lines 812)?” When Gawain is allowed to stay, upon greeting the lord of the castle he openly says “Many thanks (line 38).” The people of the castle even admire Gawain for his courtesy saying “… with command of manners pure, he shall each heart imbue (lines 924-925).” Even during the exchanging of the kills Gawain puts on his best words to Bercilak, commenting, “ this game is the finest I have seen in seven years in the season of winter (lines 1380-1381).” Throughout Gawain’s whole stay he made note to always be courteous to the head of the house.
As to Bercilak’s wife, Gawain displays courtesy to her as well. Whenever in the presence of the lady he acts according to courtesy, bowing , and kissing her hand and talking politely and softly, and things of that sort. When they are alone, Gawain tries to be as courteous as possible without leading her on. When asked during the second visit on why he didn’t kiss her, he politely replies that is was out of fear that “ it were rude to request if the right were denied (line1494).” With these confrontations it becomes harder for Gawain to express all of his courtesies because of his loyalty to the lord of the castle.
Loyalty, or pledging allegiance to a lord, was necessary in Medieval life since many knights were vassals of higher ranking lords they were required to give their life and services to their lord. Gawain shows his loyalty to King Arthur, as well as to Bercilak. As Markman suggests that loyalty is Gawain’s “strongest part of his character (164).” Gawain’s loyalty to King Arthur can be seen as Gawain steps up in place of his lord to play the game, as if to say that the king is too valuable to be injured. Gawain’s loyalty seems to over-shine the other knights at the court, because he was more willing to step up for Arthur, as the other knights even confer amongst themselves “to give Gawain the game (line 364).” Therefore Gawain being the “prized knight” gives his undying loyalty to his king.
Gawain displays his loyalty to the lord of the castle, Bercilak who is allowing him to take refuge. Gawain openly tells Bercilak that, “while I lie in your lodging, your laws will I follow (line 192).” In this statement Gawain pledges himself to the lord’s requests, in thanks for allowing him to lodge there. Gawain as well gives his word in the deal that is presented to him, and his loyalty (being tested) is his bond. Another example of his loyalty to Bercilak is in the way he handles himself in the presence of the lady of the castle. Markman suggests that it is Gawain’s loyalty that “keeps him from inviting the Lady into his bed” (172). This is evident because Bercilak is Gawain’s lord while in the castle, and as a guest it is not “kosher” to sleep with the lady of the house. Gawain questions the situation to himself saying, “…should he commit sin and belie his loyal oath to the lord of that house (lines 1774-1775).” This shows Gawain’s active conscience on his loyalty to Bercilak.
Also however in pledging loyalty to Bercilak, Gawain also pledges his loyalty to the Lady. This particular loyalty causes some conflicts and puts Gawain in a bind. Gawain in the third attempt of the lady to seduce him is given a girdle and the Lady asks for his loyalty and silence in the matter. This deal as Jan Solomon notes causes, “a breech of loyalty in keeping the girdle, and the Lady having demanded secrecy, prevents Gawain from turning over the girdle” (270). Gawain must use both of his loyalties and determine what is best in the situation.
Gawain’s humility can be seen outright in the opening of the story and throughout. Gawain at proposing to take the challenge, shows his humility by telling Arthur, “ I am the weakest, well I know, and of my wit feeblest; And the loss of my life would be least of any (lines 354-355).” Here he humbles himself below all those who are present at the banquet. Gawain goes on to exclaim that, “I have you [Arthur] for uncle is my only praise (line 356).” This is to say that Gawain is able to sit among the table because he is a blood relative of Arthur. Gawain’s humility can further be seen at the castle of Bercilak. Bercilak tells Gawain that he is lucky for having him as a guest. Gawain tells Bercilak on line 38; “ All the honor is your own”. Gawain reverses the situation and tells Bercilak that it is by his (Bercilak’s) honor that makes him lucky. Gawain’s humility is further seen when asked by the Lady to tell of his many deeds and of his loves and so forth. Gawain however, avoids the situation by telling her, “In all that I am able, my aim is to please, As in honor behooves me…(lines 1546-1547).” In other words he is saying that, if he tells her it would be boastful of him to do so. In these actions Gawain preserves his humility by not going overboard with is position as a knight and by not making up some over-exaggerated story of love and his adventures.
Gawain’s courage is a trait that is shown at the beginning of the story and throughout as well. The importance of courage is vital to a knight, especially in combat. Markman notes that, “his courage is, of course, is demonstrated, in the first place, by his willingness to accept the monstrous challenge of the Green Knight“(163). Gawain is the second only to Arthur to take the challenge. Gawain is the only other knight to put himself on the line, the others vote that he take it. Only Gawain possesses knightly courage to step up for his king, and furthermore to seek out the Green Knight and maintain his contract. His courage is further showed on the way to and at staying in Bercilak’s castle. Gawain’s courage is tested in the wilderness when he encounters some beasts in the woods and defeats them. At the castle his courage is seen when he makes the deal with Bercilak. Gawain who doesn’t know Bercilak at all, is brave enough to make the deal to exchange winnings with each other. Not to mention to stay in the castle another day after having been confronted by the Lady, such as he did, should speak for itself on his sense of courage.
Gawain’s courage is once more seen when the guide advises him to turn back. Gawain tells the guide on line 2131 that, “ I were a caitiff coward; I could not be excused”. In this Gawain is brave enough not to except this bribe, and gathers himself to face his fate. At meeting the Green Knight, Gawain’s courage is seen as he goes through with the contract and uncovers his neck, although Gawain does flinch, he allows for the Green Knight to take the strike. To further show his bravery, Gawain draws his sword and challenges the Green Knight, telling him in line 2325, “ If you make another move I shall meet it midway”. All these things show how Gawain is absent of fear and takes action as a knight should.
The Roman Catholic Church, made great influences on the institution of knighthood. The Church transformed the knight out of barbarity and into a soldier of the Cross. Before the Church put their hands in knighthood, many warriors were fighting feudal wars, these wars sometimes left villages destroyed and millions of people killed. A system of checks had to be placed into society, and as Thomas Bulfinch notes the Church did this by their influences, in hopes to protect the weak and to bring peace about (39). One way in doing this, was the institution of limitations, the Peace of God and Truce of God put restrictions on the days that a feudal war could be fought on and even the time, place, and reason for fighting were kept in check.
In order to directly effect the fighting the Church went right to the source, the knights. The Church made the knights, protectors of the Church in the essence that the Church endowed the order of knighthood to those worthy. Bulfinch takes note that, the order of knighthood, endowed with all the sanctity and religious awe that attended the priesthood, became and object of ambition to the greatest sovereigns (42). The ceremonies and the symbolism was what put people in the state of awe.
The ceremony to become a knight was very religiously based. As Bulfinch
explains it on page 42 of his work, “the knights were to fast and pray the whole
night before and he was the go to confession and receive the sacrament. They
were bathed and dressed in pure white (simple) clothing. The next day he would
go before the Church and with his sword around his neck, a priest would bless it.
Then the sponsor would issue the oaths and receive his spurs, mail, hauberk,
and lastly his sword was girded around his waist. Then the president would give
him the three strokes on the shoulders with the flat edge of a sword and declare
him a knight saying to him: “ In the name of God, of St. Michael, and St. George,
I make thee a knight; be valiant, courteous, and loyal!”. The knight was then
given his helmet, shield, and spear.” The three taps were for the three persons of
God (the Trinity) as well as for St. Michael the Archangel, patron saint of soldiers
and St. George, patron to knights, soldiers, and to England. All of
these things were to cleanse the knight for his duty as a soldier of Christ and the
Church, and also having taken the sacraments, and as Geis describes on page
104, “he heard Mass and a sermon stating the articles of Christian faith , and the
Ten Commandments“, made him duty bound to defend the church.
To go even further each piece of equipment had a religious symbolism. Frances Geis explains on page 79 that; “the shield protected him as he must defend the Holy Church from all malefactors, robber or infidel. As his hauberk guarded his body he must defend the Church. As his helmet shielded his head he must shield the Church. The two edges of his sword signified that the knight was the servant of both Our Lord and of his people. The point signified the obedience the people owed the knight. The horse symbolized the people, who must support him, as the knight guarded them knight and day, they should provide him with necessities of life. As the knight guided his horse, he must guide the people“. Gies continues on page 105, “the sword (in the form of the Cross) showed that its owner must combat the enemies of Christianity and to maintain justice; the spear signified truth; the helmet “dread of shame”; the hauberk resistance to “vices and faults”; the mail stockings were meant to keep him from straying; the spurs to endow him with diligence and swiftness in pursuit of duty.” These are all the things the Church did to make knighthood an institution of Christianity.
How does all this apply to Gawain? At Gawain’s leaving he hears Mass and is dressed in his armor. The thing that stands out the most is his shield which is described in lines 620-665. It is red and it’s main frontal feature is the pentangle, an endless knot, like the star of David and Solomon, with five points which is representative of the five senses, virtues, wounds of Christ, and the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary (Annunciation of the angel to Mary, visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, Nativity, presentation of Jesus to the Temple, and the Finding of Jesus in the Temple). On the inside of the shield (what Gawain sees) is an image of the Virgin Mary a symbol of purity and honesty, which is to guide him and keep him safe. It could be assumed that Gawain too is a virgin based on his expression to St. John in line1788, St John is known to be a symbol of virginity. In the journey to meet the Green Knight it is apparent that Gawain is serious of his commitment to God, Gawain is desperate to lodge somewhere and hear Mass and at finding Bercilak‘s castle he hears the Mass service daily. All of these things show the influence that the Church has given him in the form of Christianity.
In conclusion, it can be seen that Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, catalogues the rules of knighthood: courtesy, loyalty, humility, and courage all of which are present in Gawain; also it shows the influence the Roman Catholic Church had on knighthood and Gawain through the implementation of the Christian symbolism in the equipment and in the ceremony. Furthermore it can be said that Gawain is a Christian knight.













Works Cited
Bulfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch’s mythology: The Age of Chivalry, the legends of Charlemagne and others. Ny: The New American Library of World Literature, 1962.
Gies, Frances. The Knight in History. Ny: Harper Row, 1984.
Markman, Alan. “The Meaning of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight“. Sir Gawain and Pearl: Critical Essays. Ed. Blanch, R. Bloomington: Indiana Univ., 1966. 162-173.
“Sir Gawain and the Green Knight“. Ed. M.H.Abrams. The Norton anthology of English literature,7th ed. London:Norton & Company, 1999. 156-210.
Solomon, Jan. “ The Lessons of Sir Gawain”. Critical Studies of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Ed. Howard, Zacher. London: Notre Dame, 1968. 267- 275.

Insights from Ramon de Lull’s book of chivalry


“Never has their been a perfect knight. Knighthood is, by definition, an office that strives for a distant ideal, a changing ideal, but one that seeks to emulate the ancient virtues associated with chivalric office. Knights will by definition fail as they are human, but attain their grace in the striving for virtue, for the perseverance of seeking to overcome the vanities of the body and soul, to do what is 'right'. It is a striving for excellence even as we know that perfection is beyond our grasp, but that fact alone does not allow us to stop in our quest for it.

Historically, knights were the defenders. Beginning as warriors, some defended the populace while others pillaged. Their virtues were warrior ones, revered by warrior cultures the world over; prowess, strength, courage, loyalty. These are the virtues of the pure soldier, the killing machine who when he uses his considerable strength for good, contributes greatly to society even as he is estranged from it. Estranged because to excel in the extreme, be jettisons the concerns of hearth and of the soul, focusing his whole being upon the martial task at hand-he must not fail or the society to which be belongs will perish.

Society quickly settled from the warfare of the dark ages that spawned this free-roaming warrior. The church grew in power and influence alongside the growth of ease at court. These developments, made possible owing to the leisure accorded by a more stable Europe, gave voice to others concerned with what the knights were and what they should become. The clerk and the lady, chiefly, were the two main influences upon the course of knighthood, next to the influences of the warriors themselves.
The church believed the knights should become 'knights of Christ', using their considerable strength to defend the faith and to become the physical defenders of the church and her ideals. The church contributed the powerful virtues of faith, temperance and humility; three cornerstone virtues of what has come to be knighthood. Lull writes, a knight should first: defend his faith and protect the Holy Church, second defend his lord and protect the weak including women, widows and orphans, keeping himself ready for action by continuous exercise by attending jousts and tournaments.... accept office in secular government if the king chooses him, and he should act as judge or magistrate in local justice courts...[and] it is his duty to pursue criminals and bring them to justice.
The lady and the demands of court also shaped what the knight was to become. She demanded, through the romance literature that remains a powerful influence today, that the knight act with strength on one hand, and courtesy and respect on the other. A knight should respect women, he should defend them in their hour of need, eschewing the magnetic gravity of mere lust. Love could be a powerful influence over the knight, a strengthening force, that could propel the knight to greatness beyond his own capability. The church agreed, arguing only that the spiritual love of Christ was superior to the love of a woman; but the important detail was that love as an ennobling motivator was added as a chivalric element that was to stay. As a nobleman and dispenser of justice, the knight was required to seek justice, to defend the right, and to dispense of his wealth with largesse, showing the generosity that thwarted greed and thus helped the knight to ennoble himself in deed as well as blood.
These things are of course ideals. The expectations for 'chivalrous conduct' have certainly changed throughout the history of knighthood; these elements of virtue have stood the test of time in their purity, changing only in how we interpret them from age to age. It was said that renown was the key quality of a knight. Renown, the fame by which a knight is known for his virtue or malice, is not glory, it is not honor, it is the 'good name' earned through the pursuit of virtue. A pursuit that others have recognized, according you honor because of it, honoring you enough to increase your fame both in their own hearts and in the estimation of others. Renown is what you earn; you thus earn the armour that will defend you when you fail; provided that you continue to strive for excellence, keeping the virtue of humility close to the heart that the knight not fall to the sin of pride in the guise of vanity.