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Lucas LaVoy




Location: New Orleans, LA
Joined: 08 Mar 2008

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PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct, 2009 9:21 am    Post subject: Knightly Prayer         Reply with quote

Hello,

This is a little off-topic to arms and armor but here goes: I'm in the process of composing several choral works and I've reached the stage where I'm looking for texts. I would like to set one of these pieces to a prayer from the early or high middle ages; the period I'm looking in would run until the end of the crusades. I am trying to find prayers that were specific to knights and the institution of knighthood. Prayers from knighting ceremonies, prayers for protection, or prayers associated with specific knights would all be perfect for this project. So far I'm aware only of the famous Knight's Prayer from Chartres Cathedral; I'm hoping to find more along those lines.

I guess I'm asking here because I have a feeling that a lot of great material might be found as inscriptions on effigies, artifacts, etc., that I'm just not familiar with. Thanks to anyone who can respond and I'm looking forward to seeing what turns up.

"Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing."
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Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
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PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct, 2009 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't have a direct answer, but an alternate term "vespers" that may be useful as a search term. By late 12th and early 13th century, evenings before tournaments included the evening vigil of the vespers (prayers, most likely Latin chants, O Come Emanuel being a translation of an advent carol arguably dating back close to this era) that were specific for the knights. Churches even had special morning and evening services just to support the contests, which were considered profitable sources of donations. I don't know if any of these were written down, but I would expect they should have been knowing the propensity of clergy to document things.

I don't think anyone knows where his records are stored at present, but, Charles of Sayne retired as a bondsman knight from Frederich Barbarossa's service and supported himself on the tournament circuit between Mainz and Cologne for a couple of years. His real goal was to become an abbot, which he did at the legendary Villers en Brabant. (Laid the cornerstone actually.) He wrote an autobiography among other materials. Richard Barber had located and referenced the materials in one of his texts on chivalry in the late1960's. If you did locate his works, you might find a discussion of vespers for knights, written by a former knight himself!

http://www.kbi.org/about/prayer.html

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
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Bjorn Hagstrom




Location: Höör, Skane
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PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct, 2009 11:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Early rites should provide you ample material. There are also many "books of hours" specifying prayers, they are however usually from later periods, I am at work at the moment but will look through my sources when I return and see what I can find.

"Rule of benedict" might have some prayers listed as well?

Very interesting project though, I happen to be a member of a choir that specialise in early/medieval music but I guess you have your bases covered when it comes to the musical sources and stuff?

BR
/Bjorn

There is nothing quite as sad as a one man conga-line...
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Lucas LaVoy




Location: New Orleans, LA
Joined: 08 Mar 2008

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PostPosted: Fri 09 Oct, 2009 10:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the leads you guys; you are right, there is a lot of material out there. That Knightsbridge prayer is really good too. If I ever get this project finished I'll post a link to the recording Happy And Bjorn, my early music knowledge is pretty limited. I'm familiar with Allegri and Palestrina but thats about it. There may very well be pieces like this one already out there. Time to hit the music library I think. Thanks again!
"Somewhere in la Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing."
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Gabriele A. Pini




Location: Olgiate Comasco, Como
Joined: 02 Sep 2008

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PostPosted: Fri 09 Oct, 2009 2:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can go sure with the Psalms: they were a very diffuse and common prayer for the ones that could have access to a "Salterius" or "book of hour", like members of a monastic order or rich nobles. They are very simple to memorized for their structure and themes (like a modern song) and can be recited with a chanting rythm that favor the coral recitation.
Even the "cantici" (I don't know the proper english name", songs similar to the psalms with the words from a bible's passage were very diffuse, and also some are very beautiful.
N.B.: the psalms were always sung, not recited or, worse, mind-read. To read only a psalm for a medieval man was the equivalent of take a modern song book and read it...

To give to the low people a proper alternative was developed the rosary, but it's big diffusion was only in the 16th century (the Battle of Lepanto was dedicated to the "Queen of the Rosary" with strong anti-protestant sentiment.). The beads of the rosary are 150 (plus 10 pater noster), like the numebr of psalms...
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Bjorn Hagstrom




Location: Höör, Skane
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Oct, 2009 12:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So far my research on knighlty ceremonies and prayer has pretty much yielded nothing. Elaborate knighting ceremonies seem to be a product of knighlty romances, or at least be a high medieval/renaissance thing.

That being said, I think you should go with what ceremonies we do know more about. And that is church rites. The church was the social arena at the time and in the time of the crusades there where clear links between church and the institute of knighthood. Especially in the case of the knightly orders where the distinction of knight and monk is fine indeed.

Style-wise, I can hint you to some examples from the Era:

Alle Psallute cum lya From around 1200, good example of early polyphony.

Etas Auri (A piece written for the coronation of Richard I of England. The text is fantastic!)

-Yes that is my choir Happy

There is nothing quite as sad as a one man conga-line...
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Edward Hitchens




Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Oct, 2009 6:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Lucas,

As a musician, I love your idea! And I found a text on page 11 of Oakeshott's "Sword In Hand" (Arms & Armor, 2000) that may be of some benefit to your project:

"In the complete, elaborate ceremonial making of a knight, the sword was the central ritual object. Laid upon the alter and blessed by a priest (or bishop, where possible), the sword, now sanctified, was handed to the aspirant with the words...

'Accipe gladium istum in nomine Patris et Feilii et Spiritus Sancti, et utaris eo in defensam tuam et Sancti Dei Ecclesiae, et ad confusionem inimicorum Crucis Christi ac Fidei christianiae (Receive the sword in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and use it in your own defense and that of the Holy Church of God, and to the confusion of the enemies of the Cross of Christ and of the Christian faith).'"

"The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest." Thomas Jefferson
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