Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

R. Scott Moore, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Tamara L. Whited, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Ricketts, Ph.D.


This thesis analyzes the chivalric traits expected in medieval knights as illustrated in contemporary chivalric handbooks, chansons de geste, as well as medieval romances, to determine the prominent ideals of the code, and show how chivalry was originally a martial concept. The examination of the literature not only supports this argument, but also shows the transition of pre-Arthurian chivalry as a violent warrior code to that of a social doctrine. This study concludes with an analysis of chivalry in practice through the examination of the actual conduct of combat operations in the well-known battles of the Hundred Years War. Chivalry in these battles is shown to have been a practical ideal that allowed for high degrees of violence. In order to give chivalry its proper place in medieval society, the fact that violence was not always deemed unchivalrous, but was tolerated in certain situations must be understood and accepted.