Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Why the Chaucer quote? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2  Next 
Author Message
JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Sun 08 Feb, 2009 6:08 am    Post subject: Why the Chaucer quote?         Reply with quote

A Knyght ther was, and that a worthy man...

Noticed this excerpt from Canterbury Tales in different signature lines. Is there a particular reason other than the obvious on why members use this? Just being curious...

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
View user's profile Send private message
M. Eversberg II




Location: California, Maryland, USA
Joined: 07 Sep 2006
Reading list: 3 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,435

PostPosted: Sun 08 Feb, 2009 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I used to have the whole quote. It's just memorable, really. The Knight is one of the better parts of the Cantibury tales.

M.

This space for rent or lease.
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger ICQ Number
Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Sun 08 Feb, 2009 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Why the Chaucer quote?         Reply with quote

JE Sarge wrote:
A Knyght ther was, and that a worthy man...

Noticed this excerpt from Canterbury Tales in different signature lines. Is there a particular reason other than the obvious on why members use this? Just being curious...


I'm sure that there are many members who are aware of the work by Terry Jones about Chaucer's Knight? In his book Jones suggests that the Knight was meant to be an ironic figure, the total opposite of the parfait gentle knight, instead chaucer may have represented a mercenary and a ruthless killer who had worked for muslims or christian's depending upon the pay.

So, while using the quote, keep in mind that it may have a double edge Wink
View user's profile Send private message
Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

Posts: 677

PostPosted: Sun 08 Feb, 2009 9:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personaly I use it because I had to wright an assignment on Chaucer for English at Uni and it just struck me as the most interesting bit (that and the Miller Big Grin ), and I guess its most relevant use was on this site, after all who doesn't want to be a knight? Laughing Out Loud

P.S. Chaucer and Beowulf ROCK!

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
View user's profile Send private message
Glennan Carnie




Location: UK
Joined: 23 Aug 2006

Posts: 289

PostPosted: Sun 08 Feb, 2009 11:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Personaly I use it because I had to wright an assignment on Chaucer for English at Uni


Obviously, spelling wasn't part of the curriculum!
View user's profile Send private message
Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2009 2:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"after all who doesn't want to be a knight? Laughing Out Loud

Must admit, nope, if i ever wanted to be a knight i can't remember it; at some stage i grew up, read a bit, gained a social conscience and came to the conclusion that feudalism and the knights represented a cross between a military dictatorship and the Freemasons Happy
View user's profile Send private message
Jonathan Blair




Location: Hanover, PA
Joined: 15 Aug 2005
Likes: 4 pages
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 479

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2009 3:55 am    Post subject: Re: Why the Chaucer quote?         Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm sure that there are many members who are aware of the work by Terry Jones about Chaucer's Knight? In his book Jones suggests that the Knight was meant to be an ironic figure, the total opposite of the parfait gentle knight, instead chaucer may have represented a mercenary and a ruthless killer who had worked for muslims or christian's depending upon the pay.

So, while using the quote, keep in mind that it may have a double edge Wink


Ah yes, the 20th century literary need to destroy the classic hero. Humble him, vilify him, point out his pimples and show just how rusty the shining armor and how pitted his vorpal blade. Tear him down mercilessly and then wonder why we have no one to look up to and why we turn to crooked politicians as "leaders" and dope using sports figures as "role models." Thanks Terry Jones and all those in the mass media who have successfully broken the stereotype: we, the mass of humanity appreciate it. Mad

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
View user's profile Send private message
Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2009 4:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For what it is worth Jonathan many inside and outside academics do not agree with Jones and his view of the knight here so do not worry too much. There are always two sides of a coin. I tend to find many of his arguments regarding the knight superficial or tenuous.

Chris,

I think that is a bit off base. There hardly is a military dictatorship in most of Europe during the High and Late medieval period where the knight exists. In most countries the king was obligated to respect those in his country no matter social condition. You have breaks in this but so do most countries now. Men were in great part free, having legal rights and ownership of property, something military dictatorships rarely grant to the masses. Take a look at Pretwich's Edward I if you want to see a good view of how the legal system could really work. If had its failings but I hardly feel like modern governments often run much smoother and any less corrupt for the most part... but I do not want to digress on this too much. The view that knights were just a group of iron fisted lawless soldiers is grossly inaccurate.

RPM
View user's profile Send private message
Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2009 4:52 am    Post subject: Re: Why the Chaucer quote?         Reply with quote

Jonathan Blair wrote:
Quote:
I'm sure that there are many members who are aware of the work by Terry Jones about Chaucer's Knight? In his book Jones suggests that the Knight was meant to be an ironic figure, the total opposite of the parfait gentle knight, instead chaucer may have represented a mercenary and a ruthless killer who had worked for muslims or christian's depending upon the pay.

So, while using the quote, keep in mind that it may have a double edge Wink


Ah yes, the 20th century literary need to destroy the classic hero. Humble him, vilify him, point out his pimples and show just how rusty the shining armor and how pitted his vorpal blade. Tear him down mercilessly and then wonder why we have no one to look up to and why we turn to crooked politicians as "leaders" and dope using sports figures as "role models." Thanks Terry Jones and all those in the mass media who have successfully broken the stereotype: we, the mass of humanity appreciate it. Mad


It might be rememberd that the the ancient and medieval "mass media" created the "classic hero". The tales or arthur, chaucer and others were fiction, representing fictional characters and as such the authors created what are now held up as the classic hero's. They were the pulp fiction writers of the day. It might be suggested that its only because of the ignorance of the context in later centuries that they didn't get Chaucer's ironic joke, instead people took him seriously and couldn't see that we was actually having a dig at the so called chivalrous knights. No one is "tearing" anyone down because if Jones is correct then the entire idea of chaucers knight being the paragon of chivalry was a misinterpretation in the first place. But should "hero's" be off limits to intelligent historical scrutiny because to undermine their legend might cause someone a personal crisis? Sorry to say but people were following corrupt or incompetent politicians, sports people and the paris hiltons of the world long before anyone popped the chivalrous balloon, even during the supposed heyday of chivalry itself.

No, i don't beleive that i refered to them as a lawless dictatorship, rather that the knights were just part of a system that upheld the rights of the privledged and powerful (sumptery laws? Limits on what "people not like us" can wear, amongst other things) My point is that no one alive today would accept or expect to live in a society like that, so perhaps we shouldn't idealise a social system that you wouldn't want your daughters to grow up in.
View user's profile Send private message
Gabriel P. Hagai




Location: Paris, France
Joined: 20 Aug 2006
Reading list: 17 books

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2009 5:43 am    Post subject: Re: Why the Chaucer quote?         Reply with quote

Christopher Lee wrote:
My point is that no one alive today would accept or expect to live in a society like that, so perhaps we shouldn't idealise a social system that you wouldn't want your daughters to grow up in.


Hear, hear! Right on, Christopher.

But still, we love the stereotype: courageous knights, shiny armors and mighty swords.

Pugna pro Causam, Victoria Justis.
View user's profile Send private message
Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2009 5:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris,

See that’s part of my point. It seems like you are missing that 99% of the time sumptuary laws failed and were not enforced as was most of the 'forced' social system you seem to think existed. Most of the real limits existed between the knightly, noble and royal class. The common class by far was the most fluid of the social groups able to move around nearly anywhere. If you are familiar with the current work on the subject we would not be discussing this theme. THe idea of the poor, dirt covered and oppressed peasant is 50-100 year out of date. You seem to be confusing later absolute monarchy style governments with feudal ones. Even 'grounded' peasants, those who owned no land, could leave at will. Edward III tried to limit this after the Black Death (also failed) because the major economic issues of men shifting to one area but men continued to move about and make the choices they wished to live better lives. Most local groups elected their own local leadership, had trials by local men and right to continue their case all the way to the king if needed. The fact is that much if not most of the world population likely lives in a much worse place than medieval european society in terms of rights, quality of living and such. Like I said, there is way, way to much modern work out of the common classes and society to have such a 19th century view of medieval society.

RPM
View user's profile Send private message
Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
Joined: 10 Feb 2005
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 3
Posts: 1,532

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2009 2:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would have to skim through which ones, but some of my pro-medieval historian texts mention Chaucer's depiction of a knight as ironic as well. I tend to think of this as more similar to the tale of Don Quixote, where the sincerity of the character is not being ridiculed, but rather the passing of outmoded feudal and chivalric ideals were being ridiculed in a tragic manner. If I recall right, Chaucer served as a page in some of the most respected royal campaign entourages of the era, and enjoyed patronage from their class throughout most of his career. It seems improbable that he would have totally villanized that which had provided so well for his own livelihood.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
View user's profile Send private message
Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2009 4:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Chris,

See that’s part of my point. It seems like you are missing that 99% of the time sumptuary laws failed and were not enforced as was most of the 'forced' social system you seem to think existed. Most of the real limits existed between the knightly, noble and royal class. The common class by far was the most fluid of the social groups able to move around nearly anywhere. If you are familiar with the current work on the subject we would not be discussing this theme. THe idea of the poor, dirt covered and oppressed peasant is 50-100 year out of date. You seem to be confusing later absolute monarchy style governments with feudal ones. Even 'grounded' peasants, those who owned no land, could leave at will. Edward III tried to limit this after the Black Death (also failed) because the major economic issues of men shifting to one area but men continued to move about and make the choices they wished to live better lives. Most local groups elected their own local leadership, had trials by local men and right to continue their case all the way to the king if needed. The fact is that much if not most of the world population likely lives in a much worse place than medieval european society in terms of rights, quality of living and such. Like I said, there is way, way to much modern work out of the common classes and society to have such a 19th century view of medieval society.

RPM


Randall, i think that it would be more appropriate to suggest that the conception of chaucer being anything other than ironic is several centuries out of date. However, regarding the sumptuary laws, even the fact that they existed, despite their failure must surely suggest a desire on the part of the social elites to retain their priveledges and status, even to the point of legislating against people dressing better than them. But once again, i didn't say that the "knightly" class were lawless brigands or that they rode around flogging the poor starving filthy "pythonesque" peasants just for the fun of it; rather my point was that they were an integral part of social system that was far from being able to be idealised and held up as something we should all aspire to. The idea that in some way we are all the poorer because someone popped chivalry's balloon is somewhat naive and simplistic; chivalry was tied up with christian ideals and more often than not those ideals were ignored in favour of expediency, personal gain or religious intolerance. The fact that the occasional "chivalrous" act was written up and shouted from the rooftops must have meant that on the whole they were pretty rare. But that said, chivalry was generally only for "people like us"; people within the circle, the right sort of people. If peasants revolted well they could be slaughtered with impunity along with worthless footsoldiers who weren't worth ransoming. However respect and manners were accorded those noble people who were of the right sort of birth (or at least rich enough). Also, chivalry where? In Muscovy, or Poland, in Sicily or Denmark? The anglo-centric view of medieval history is in part also a hang over of the Victorian era. What about when? During the germand peasant revolts?

But i think that in the end this will come down to a matter of opinion and interpretation; i prefer not to cling to an idealised picture in the hope that in believing something it will make it true or that if i aspire to be like Edward I then i will somehow be a better person.

The first lesson learnt by anyone studying history is that there were no "golden ages" when men were men, hero's were hero's, and cliches were unquestioned.
View user's profile Send private message
Sam Gordon Campbell




Location: Australia.
Joined: 16 Nov 2008

Posts: 677

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2009 5:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personaly (well my thoughts are) that he's a vetren crusader, who though he aspires to follow the code of chivilary completely (and as we know, this is a near impossible task... Well in my experiance anyway) perhaps whilst adventuring, he did some deeds dirt cheap and now he's off to repent and perhaps protect the other pilgrims from bandits and such. On the other hand he could just be a really pious guy Big Grin
Also, I think all of 'The Canterbury Tales' are done in a satire kind of way, charactures after all tell us more about people and there underlying traits then portraits I guess.
That's just my two cents before this turns into a flame war Razz

Member of Australia's Stoccata School of Defence since 2008.
Host of Crash Course HEMA.
Founder of The Van Dieman's Land Stage Gladiators.
View user's profile Send private message
JE Sarge
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2009 10:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, in wondering why members selected to use the quote, its definately interesting to see all the input here. I was expecting something simple, IE, 'cause I like knights', but it seems there are many different viewpoints - especially where Chaucer's true intent was and how it translates to today. I can agree that in the 20th century everything seemingly must be allegorical in context, but to be honest, I've never thought about this specifically since I was a sophmore in college.

Time to dust off the book and read 'The Knight's Tale' portion again to see if I missed anything... Happy

J.E. Sarge
Crusader Monk Sword Scabbards and Customizations
www.crusadermonk.com

"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
View user's profile Send private message
Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2009 11:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris,

Your comments are funny considering I teach history at a University. What great research have you done on the period lately? I never claimed it was a golden age but it seems that much of your ideas on the period are clearly not correct. If you put the time into researching the period then you have been reading very selectively or books that are very dated.

Slaughtering commoners in warfare? Sometimes…. Happens a great deal today even. You are aware than often the commoner soldiers were not purposely killed off. Most Medieval wars then had a far smaller casualty rate than any modern wars from the 16 or 17th after. The War of the Roses it was the reverse, knights and nobles ordered to be killed. At times if it were possible commoners were taken for ransom. Peasant revolts yep they happened.... oh wait and still do happen. It seems to me like your own opinions have coloured medieval history more than real history has.

As I stated sumptuary laws really applied to the noble class and knightly as a way to separate them not from commoners per se but more in their own ranks. You can keep saying the ‘man’ was trying to squash the small guy but in reality it was the upper tier pushing down on the tier right below them.

I really do not feel like it is worth really continuing this talk with someone as completely unwilling to even do any real research on the period but perpetuate modern forced concepts on a period they do not really understand. Believe what you will, I just hope the majority of people reading these posts will not be sidelined by such inaccurate info you keep putting up.

RPM
View user's profile Send private message
Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Mon 09 Feb, 2009 11:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Chris,

Your comments are funny considering I teach history at a University. What great research have you done on the period lately? I never claimed it was a golden age but it seems that much of your ideas on the period are clearly not correct. If you put the time into researching the period then you have been reading very selectively or books that are very dated.

Slaughtering commoners in warfare? Sometimes…. Happens a great deal today even. You are aware than often the commoner soldiers were not purposely killed off. Most Medieval wars then had a far smaller casualty rate than any modern wars from the 16 or 17th after. The War of the Roses it was the reverse, knights and nobles ordered to be killed. At times if it were possible commoners were taken for ransom. Peasant revolts yep they happened.... oh wait and still do happen. It seems to me like your own opinions have coloured medieval history more than real history has.

As I stated sumptuary laws really applied to the noble class and knightly as a way to separate them not from commoners per se but more in their own ranks. You can keep saying the ‘man’ was trying to squash the small guy but in reality it was the upper tier pushing down on the tier right below them.

I really do not feel like it is worth really continuing this talk with someone as completely unwilling to even do any real research on the period but perpetuate modern forced concepts on a period they do not really understand. Believe what you will, I just hope the majority of people reading these posts will not be sidelined by such inaccurate info you keep putting up.

RPM


Randall, while i hadn't started out by intending to insult you, you clearly set out with the intent to attempt to insult me. I at no stage brought into question your education level; if it makes the slightest difference to you i have a BA History Hons consisting of a double major in classics and medieval history. I didn't feel the need to tout my credentials so that i could be taken as credible. So, please, remember you lowered the tone of the discussion to a mud slinging match first.

I do find it interesting though that my experience of university lecturers was that they tended to occupy certain intellectual camps and would tend to push their line during lectures to the exclusion of all others. I can not help but wonder if this is the case here?

But I agree, its pointless to engage in a silly discussion like this, especially given that the entire point of this thread was about chaucer and not about an academic sandpit fight. I won't comment any more on this topic, its not worth having an opinion that might diverge from your orthodoxy.
View user's profile Send private message
Anders Backlund




Location: Sweden
Joined: 24 Oct 2007

Posts: 629

PostPosted: Tue 10 Feb, 2009 12:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Lee wrote:
[ i prefer not to cling to an idealised picture in the hope that in believing something it will make it true or that if i aspire to be like Edward I then i will somehow be a better person.


So wait, you're saying you don't believe you can be truthful, honourable, and love all freedom and courtesy? You don't think believing in these ideals will make them true to you? Or are you saying that upholding them will not make a man better? Worried

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
View user's profile Send private message
Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Tue 10 Feb, 2009 3:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anders Backlund wrote:
Christopher Lee wrote:
[ i prefer not to cling to an idealised picture in the hope that in believing something it will make it true or that if i aspire to be like Edward I then i will somehow be a better person.


So wait, you're saying you don't believe you can be truthful, honourable, and love all freedom and courtesy? You don't think believing in these ideals will make them true to you? Or are you saying that upholding them will not make a man better? Worried


I hadn't really wanted to continue to contribute further to this topic as it seems to be taking a turn for the worse and becoming about people telling me that i'm wrong, but hey, its all good Happy

A belief in the ideal of chivalry, the cliches of parfait gentle knights and all that does not necessarily make a person chivalrous and vice versa in the same way that morality and ethics can exist without religion, truthfulness and courtesy can exist quite well without king arthur or the chevalier bayard; "chivalrous" behaviour and just basic good manners can exist without knights, indeed those qualities existed well before knights were around and can be found in societies that never had knights. It may be easier for some to aspire to be like such and such fictional or historical exemplars, i prefer to find my own way to that point without having to "try and be like someone".

That's it, i promise, no more from me Happy
View user's profile Send private message
F. Carl Holz




Location: someplace out on the water (and probably not able to access my PM)
Joined: 05 Aug 2006
Likes: 6 pages
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 115

PostPosted: Tue 10 Feb, 2009 10:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

perhaps some people use the quote not to cheer or jeer at a character historical or fantastic, but to merely give an image of an ideal they wish to obtain.
regardless of the reality of the originator of the code of chivalry, I should like to be remembered in such a way.

A Knyght ther was, and that a worthy man,/ That fro the tyme that he first bigan/ To riden out, he loved chivalrie,/ Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie./ ... He was a verray parfit gentil knyght./ But for to tellen yow of his array,/ His hors weren goode, but he was nat gay./ Of fustian he wered a gypoun,/ Al bismotered with his habergeoun;/ For he was late ycome from his viage,/ And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Why the Chaucer quote?
Page 1 of 2 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum