Chivalry and the Crusades

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Cover-Chivalry and the CrusadesLast night I read this interesting essay, “Chivalry and the Crusades,” from the January 1840 issue of “The Knickerbocker” magazine, which tells of the rise of the system of chivalry in the Middle Ages and its role in the Crusades. This theme reminds the author of dreams from childhood, saying, “…the knight’s adventurous wanderings in quest of opportunity to right the wrong, to spoil the spoiler, to chastise the oppressor, and to throw over innocence and weakness the protecting shield; all this furnishes a picture well fitted to captivate the fancy of our early years.”

Other Interesting Quotes:

“Among heathen nations generally, woman has been barred of her true place. The savage has made her a drudge. Even the cultivated Greek and Roman were far from counting her an equal. At best, she was but a rare flower, to be set in a costly vase; a singing bird, to be prisoned in a gilded cage. But the German tribes, especially the Goths, the subverters of Rome’s western empire, were in this respect a singular exception to savage life in general. Their women, Tacitus tells us, were not only respected, but held in veneration, and regarded as the recipients, often, of the spirit of divination. Respect for woman, then was an inheritance of the chivalrous order from its remote ancestry.”

“Again: the very purpose of chivalry, which was the vindication of weakness and innocence, naturally bore a very special reference to woman. For, however potent in her influence over those alive to her charms, against brute violence she has no defense. To an order, then, whose vocation it was to champion the defenseless, woman advanced claims of all others the most undeniable. From these causes combined, a high and mystical homage to the fair sex, sublimed often into the fantastic and extravagant, became a prominent feature of chivalry.”

Chivalry and the Crusades
Full Well Ventures

An essay, "Chivalry and the Crusades," from the January 1840 issue of "The Knickerbocker" magazine, tells of the rise of the system of chivalry in the Middle Ages and its role in the Crusades.

Bacon as the great restorer of true learning and science

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The name of Bacon marks an era of light in the history of science. He did not introduce, it is true, the great revolution which has taken place in the state of human knowledge; but he alone fully comprehended it. If he did not begin that revolution, he imparted the true aim and direction to its resistless energies. He, above all other men, felt its mighty impulse; and, by still mightier impulses of his own, he extended and deepened its influence. This impulse became, in his mind, something more than a dark feeling and sense of want; it became a rational and enduring conviction, giving rise to a hope too great and too firm to be shaken. He saw that the most magnificent anticipations of the human mind might be realized; nay, he comprehended and pointed out the precise method in which they would be realized. All the honors justly due to the immortal labors of his predecessors can, therefore, detract nothing from the glory of Bacon. Some of his predecessors are worthy of our veneration and gratitude; but yet he has been generally, and we believe very justly, regarded as the great restorer of true learning and science.

Methodist Review, 1847

Armies (from “The Indian Armies,” 1850)

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“To make a service so situated, perfectly efficient, and capable of rendering the utmost advantage to the State, no unnecessary exclusive spirit should be shown towards it; and surely it is but reasonable to expect that officers who alike serve their country should have no humiliating distinctions drawn between them. At the same time, it would be only justice that the fair claims of the King’s service should in no way be overlooked while they are in India.

”There is another circumstance also most hurtful to the feelings and interests of the Company’s officers, and that is, the Company’s armies of the three Presidencies being always under Commanders-in-Chief of another service, who frequently, far from having any sympathy or numerous associations with them, are utter strangers, and have few or no relations or friends in this foreign service, of which they have not
only become the head, but are moreover the official guardians of its rights and feelings, and honor.

The Indian Armies, 1850

Argument (from “Fineo and Fiamma,” 1864)

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Fineo, a member of a noble family of Savona, (an ancient city near Genoa,) and Fiamma, a lady of rank whose family live at Genova, (Genoa,) are lovers. They are opposed by their parents through a spirit of rivalry. The lady’s brother and Fineo being in the king’s service and both on duty at Genoa, the former provokes a duel with the latter, and thus causes him to be condemned to death. The sentence is finally commuted, but Fineo is lashed to a boat and left to the mercy of the sea. Fiamma, through a sense of honor, submits herself to a similar fate. They are both taken by different crews of Moors, who meet, fight, and Fineo’s captors prove victors. The lovers are taken to the king of the Moors, who, after hearing the story of their misery, releases them, and sends them in safety to Italy. —Finale.

‘There never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.’ — Shakespeare.

Fineo and Fiamma, 1864

Court (from Thomas More’s “Utopia,” 1516)

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Raphael: “Now in a court composed of people who envy everyone else and admire only themselves, if a man should suggest something he had read of in other ages or seen in far places, the other counselors would think their reputation for wisdom was endangered, and they would look like simpletons, unless they could find fault with his proposal. If all else failed, they would take refuge in some remark like this: ‘The way we’re doing it is the way we’ve always done it, this custom was good enough for our fathers, and I only hope we’re as wise as they were.’ And with this deep thought they would take their seats, as though they had said the last word on the subject—implying, forsooth, that it would be a very dangerous matter if a man were found to be wiser in any point than his forefathers were. As a matter of fact, we quietly neglect the best examples they have left us; but if something better is proposed, we seize the excuse of reverence for times past and cling to it desperately. Such proud, obstinate, ridiculous judgments I have encountered many times, and once even in England.”

Utopia (Third Edition) (Norton Critical Editions), 1516

Utopia (Third Edition) (Norton Critical Editions) Book Cover Utopia (Third Edition) (Norton Critical Editions)
Thomas More
W. W. Norton & Company
August 31, 2010

Inspiring, provocative, prophetic, and enigmatic, Utopia is the literary masterpiece of a visionary statesman and one of the most influential books of the modern world.

Based on Thomas More’s penetrating analysis of the folly and tragedy of the politics of his time and all times, Utopia (1516) is a seedbed of alternative political institutions and a perennially challenging exploration of the possibilities and limitations of political action.

King of England, Henry the Eighth

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The most invincible King of England, Henry the Eighth of that name, a prince adorned with the royal virtues beyoned any other, had recently some differences of no slight import with Charles, the most serene Prince of Castille, and sent me into Flanders as his spokesman to discuss and settle them. I was companion and associate to that incomparable man Cuthbert Tunstall, whom the King has recently created Master of the Rolls, to everyone’s great satisfaction. I will say nothing in praise of this man, not because I fear the judgment of a friend might be questioned, but because his learning and integrity are greater than I can describe and too well-known everywhere to need my commendation—unless I would, according to the proverb, “Light up the sun with a lantern.”

Utopia (Third Edition) (Norton Critical Editions), 1516

Something Like a Gallows

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On looking with spy-glasses, something like a gallows was seen on the low sandy point which forms the entrance to the port, with something suspended from it. This certainly was not there when the schooner left, and whether intended for a mark, or what else, could not be decided, even after she had gained her anchorage. The schooner again at anchor, Lieutenant McIntosh was once more directed to take the largest of the boats, proceed in, and bring out the men, if they had been caught. As the boat neared the low sandy point, it was discovered that what had attraced so much attention on first making the land, was a gallows with a body suspended from it. Again the Lieutenant was received with courtesy, and was informed that the men were all ready to be given up, with the exception of the leader, who was hanging on the gallows on the point. ‘Tell your commander,’ said Lafitte…

A Visit to Lafitte, 1847

The Sharp Iron Part

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Emin set his horse on a gentle trot, and came near another monastery on the right of a very smooth plain, within half a mile from his abode; and on the left was a flock of sheep, which the author did not conceive to be the property of Etmiatzin. The shepherds took him to be a Turk; and he took them to be Mahometans. They set a dozen large furious dogs before and behind to annoy him from going on; and attacked him so close as almost to pull him down from his horse. He bore the insult about five minutes, endeavoring, with great patience, to avoid mischief, till the poor beast could not move forward, and one of the dogs jumped up and fixed his teeth in the horse’s upper lip. This provoked him at last to shoot the dog with a pistol, the gift of his friend lord Bolinbroke; the rest ran away and cleared the passage; and the shepherds stood back threatening him in Turkish, as he had committed a murder in killing a valuable dog of the Three Churches. It happened very luckily both for Emin and for those saucy fellows, that at the time of firing the pistol, he broke the butt in two, and the sharp iron part ran almost through the palm of his right hand; by which he was so much disabled, that it entirely took away his strength, and prevented him fortunately from cutting down all six of them in a heat of passion; he not in the least imagining the stupid unchristian consequence of it.

Emin, Life and Adventures, 1792