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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Oct, 2006 9:13 pm    Post subject: Knighting Ceremonies         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Okay, I decided to split this off and start a thread specifically about dubbing ceremonies, and the rituals surrounding the creation of a new knight.

Here's a description of the knighting ceremony from Sword in Hand by Ewart Oakeshott. Oakeshott describes a knighting ceremony of the 12th century in some detail. By the 12th century, the ceremony became more elaborate than the simple adoubement of the earlier period. This is quoted from Oakeshott:

"On the eve of his admission to the order, the aspirant to Chivalry was solemnly stripped of his clothes by his fellow squires and put into a bath, a symbol of purification. Then he was dressed in a white tunic, emblem of purity (analogous to the chrisom of baptism); and a scarlet mantle, the emblem of nobility, and hose and shoes of black, symbolic of death and the earth in which all must eventually lie. He was girt with the white cingulum for chastity, and led to the church or the castle chapel, where all night he would keep solitary vigil in prayer, his arms lying before the altar. In the morning, he would make his confession and hear Mass. Then comes the great moment. After the alleluias of the Gradual, he hands his sword to the priest, who lays it on the altar and prays for a blessing upon it. He returns it with these words:

Accipe gladium istum in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti et utaris eo in densam tuam et sancti Dei Ecclesiae et confusionem inimicorum crucis Christi ac fidei Christiannae

Virtue has passed into it; he receives it back from the priest and brandishes it three times, sheaths it, and hands it to his sponsor- who might be his liege lord or simply another knight, for all who received knighthood might bestow it- and makes his vow of knighthood to him. Then he is armed in his complete war-gear by his friends and attendants, but it is left to his sponsor to gird on his sword and give him the colee or accolade. This could either be a blow across the shoulders with the flat of a sword, or a buffet with clenched fist. Finally he receives four injunctions: he must never traffic with traitors; never give evil counsel to a lady, whether married or not; he must treat her with great respect and defend her against all. He must observe fasts and abstinences, and every day must hear Mass and make an offering to the Church."

(Of course, on the battlefield, the colee given by the lord or captain was all that was really needed to confer knighthood.)

Does anyone have other examples of knighting ceremonies they could share?

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Oct, 2006 11:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This isn't a cerimony per say, but Raymond Lull's "Book of Knighthood and Chivalry" refers to the cerimony several times.

The Squire must first go to confession, Then communion, and the day of his adoubement should be that of some great feast, (Like Christmas)

The Squire ought to fast on the vigil of saint the feast is for... (Don't blame me for the wording being strange.)
And after the Knighting day he should hear a sermon.

It also states that the Knight who adoubes the Squire must be virtueous, as he cannot give what he does not have, thus suggesting a 'transferance' if you will, of virtue from the Knight to the Squire. It goes on about this in some length. It states that after the preacher has finished, the own who will adoube the Squire should step forward, and adoube.

(Then it goes on at some length about how terrrible it is if this fellow is without virtue.

Then the Squire ought to kneel before the Altar, reach up towards heaven, and the sword is buckled on him, "in the sign of Chastity, Charity, and Justice" and then the Knight will kiss him, and 'give him a palm' (Which I take to mean a hard smack) that he not forget [all things related to the honor of Knighthood. I'm cutting it down.]



Then after the "Spritual Knight' (the Priest) and the "Terrestrial Knight," (Normal Knight) have made the Squire Knight, he should ride among the people, such that all should know him and that he is a Knight, such that if he should do evil later, all will know who he is, and know of his disgrace.


And then he should throw a party.



Now, In the next book (chapter) the wording is rather complex, but it says "That which the Preist invests him with when he sings the mass have some significance which concords with the office." It then lists the symbolism of each peice of his equipment, from his sword to the armor on his horse. This vaguely suggests the priest arming him (as in "how a man shall be armed when he shall fight on foot") as he sings the mass, but I can't say for sure.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Oct, 2006 10:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Hey George!
Thanks for posting that information from Raymond Lull's work. Did you note the importance placed upon the girding on of the sword? Wink Happy

Here's the full version of William Marshal's knighting from Sidney Painter's William Marshal: Knight-Errant, Baron, and Regent of England:

"The occasion for which William had hoped came in the summer of 1167. King Henry II was at war with his suzerain, Louis VII of France. While Louis himself occupied Henry's attention by ravaging the Norman Vexin, the French king's allies, the counts of Flanders, Boulogne, and Ponthieu, invaded the county of Eu. Count John of Eu, unable to hold his own against the invaders, was forced to retire to Neufchatel-en-Bray, then called Drincourt. There he encountered a force of knights which Henry had sent to his assistance under the command of the constable of Normandy and the lord of Tancarville. The chamberlain decided that this was an auspicious time for knighting William. A goodly array of Norman barons was at hand to lend dignity to the occasion, and the future seemed to promise an opportunity for the young knight to prove his valor. William's induction into the order of chivalry was attended by little of the ceremony usually associated with the dubbing of a knight. Dressed in a new mantle, the young man stood before the chamberlain, who girt him with a sword, the principle emblem of knighthood, and gave him the ceremonial blow." (I believe Painter took the specifics of the ceremony from Histoire de Guillaume le Marechal, a near contemporary account of William's life.)

Note that even a less elaborate dubbing ceremony including the girding on of the sword. The sword and spurs served as "insignia" of knighthood. Thus, the term "earning his spurs" for someone who earns a great accolade for some great deed.

I hope someone finds this of interest!

I'll be entering more examples later!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Oct, 2006 2:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Fay wrote:
Hello all!

Hey George!
Thanks for posting that information from Raymond Lull's work. Did you note the importance placed upon the girding on of the sword? Wink Happy


I'll be entering more examples later!


Yes, I noticed. Wink

Whilst you are going through them, see if you can find anything which does not include the 'ceremonial blow.' I think it may have also been considered a vital part.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Oct, 2006 4:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

George,
There seems to be some confusion regarding whether or not the colee is present in Raymond Llull's work, Book of the Order of Chivalry. Richard Barber, in The Knight and Chivalry, seems to think it's not present in the original 1265 treatise, and is lacking in many later translations. Could the author of your translation have added it in?

The colee was seen an an essential act by some but not all medieval authors. I'm not sure if the colee was always given during mass knightings. Here's what Barber said about the point:
"Dubbing was a blow struck with the hand or the sword, called in French colee or paumee, later regarded as the one essential act in the ceremony, is shrouded in mystery. It may be related to the obscure Germanic custom of striking the witnesses to a legal act to make them remember it, or to the blow which freed slaves in the act of manumission. Before 1350 it is only found in France and England, and even there is not universal. Raimon Llull's Book of the Order of Chivalry, written in Spain in 1265, and perhaps the most influential of all such treatises, knows nothing of it, and none of the many later translations of his book add it to the text. On the other hand, Geoffroi de Charny, writing about 1352, sees it as an essential part of the ceremony:
And, then that knight must give them the colee, as a sign that they must always bear in mind the order of chivalry which they have received and do those deeds which appertain to the said order; and thus knights are made and ought to be made"

(Geoffrey de Charny, a famous proponent of the order of chivalry, died holding the Oriflamme, the sacred banner of France, at the Battle of Poitiers in 1356.)

Apparently, the blow, or colee, was not necessary. It seems that, even though the knights of western Europe shared a similar ethos, the specifics involving the ceremonies varied from location to location.

I'll enter more knighting ceremonies and information later!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Oct, 2006 4:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

I thought I would post the description of a knighting ceremony from John of Marmoutier's life of Geoffrey of Anjou, written in the 1180's, as found in Richard Barber's The Knight and Chivalry. I posted a version from The Knight in History by Frances Gies on another thread, but Barber may have had better access to the original material. His wording is slightly different, so I thought it would be worth posting in its entirety. From Richard Barber:

"On the great day, as required by the custom for making knights, baths were prepared for use. The king had learned from his chamberlains that the Angevin and those who came with him had come from the purification ceremony. He commanded that they be summoned before him. After having cleansed his body, and come from the purification of bathing, the noble offspring of the count of Anjou dressed in a linen undershirt, putting on a robe woven with gold and a surcoat of rich purple hue; his stockings were of silk, and on his feet he wore shoes with little gold lions on them. His companions who were to be knighted with him, were all clothed in linen and purple. He left his privy chamber and paraded in public, accompanied by his noble retinue. Their horses were led, arms carried to be distributed to each in turn, according to their need. The Angevin led a wonderfully ornamented Spanish horse, whose speed was said to be so great that birds in flight were far slower. He wore a matching hauberk made of double mail, in which no hole had been pierced by spear or dart. He was shod in iron shoes, also made from double mail. To his ankles were fastened golden spurs. A shield hung from his neck, on which were golden images of lioncels. On his head was placed a helmet, reflecting the lights of many precious gems, tempered in such a way that no sword could break or pierce it. He carried an ash spear with a point of Pointevin iron, and finally a sword from the royal treasure, bearing an ancient inscription over which the superlative Wayland had sweated with much labour and application in the forge of the smiths."

This is interesting on several points. First, there is no vigil mentioned, but a purifying bath. Second, the mention of the "distribution" of arms implies that Geoffrey and his fellow squires were granted arms and armour by their sponsor. Note also the mention of the hauberk having never been pierced, as if it were already old when given to Geoffrey. Finally, note the mention of a sword taken from the royal treasure, probably another item given Geoffrey by his sponsor. Geoffrey is armed, and golden spurs are fastened to his ankles, but there is no mention of a colee or blow.

(Keep in mind, squires didn't always fight as knights until inducted into the order of knighthood, so the hauberk may not be Geoffrey's originally.)

I hope someone finds this of interest.

I can enter more information later, but this is enough for today!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Oct, 2006 5:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Fay wrote:
Hello all!

George,
There seems to be some confusion regarding whether or not the colee is present in Raymond Llull's work, Book of the Order of Chivalry. Richard Barber, in The Knight and Chivalry, seems to think it's not present in the original 1265 treatise, and is lacking in many later translations. Could the author of your translation have added it in?
e!


The translation reads "...and give to him a palm, because by that he remembers..." This might have been taken by some scholars as meaning a palm leaf or palm frond, much as the laurel was used as an award of merit by the ancients. Do you have any data which might suggest it means a plant rather then a open hand blow?

As to adding, I don't think my recent translator did... , but I cannot say with absolute certainty, as I'm working from a 'translation into Modern English' from the 1484 translation into (Old or middle? I'm never sure) English by William Caxton, who MIGHT have added it.

Also, it's worth noting that it was NOT written in spanish, but in Catalan. Now, outside of Spain many do not know the difference between the Spanish and the Catalans, but my sources inform me that the Catalans are quite vocal about the difference, or at least used to be.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Oct, 2006 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

George Hill wrote:

As to adding, I don't think my recent translator did... , but I cannot say with absolute certainty, as I'm working from a 'translation into Modern English' from the 1484 translation into (Old or middle? I'm never sure) English by William Caxton, who MIGHT have added it.


Hi George, it's me again! Big Grin
Old English is Anglo-Saxon, the English of Beowulf. English certainly evolved toward its more modern form by Caxton. Middle English is the English of Chaucer, not too terribly different from Modern English. Middle English still has its differences from Modern, but it's more readable to a Modern English-speaker than Old English! By William Caxton's day (I believe he was a printer, by the way, not necessarily and author) English was developing into its "Modern" form. Shakespeare might sound a bit odd to those unfamiliar with the Bard's idiosyncrasies, but it is Modern English.

I find it interesting that your translation of Raymond Llull's work is from a Caxton version of 1484. This is about two centuries after Llull penned the original work, and a century after Geoffrey De Charny suggested that the colee was the vital part of the dubbing ceremony! Perhaps Caxton decided to add that part into his printing of the work, since by his day the colee was considered to be necessary. It could also be a matter of a garbled translation, which could happen.

I doubt that the reference to "palm" has to do with the plant; although palms were considered symbolic of religious pilgrimage. From what you said about "giving the palm so he won't forget", it certainly sounds like a colee. It actually echoes strongly what Geoffrey De Charny wrote about keeping the responsibilities of the order of chivalry in mind. If it was a hard blow from the hand of a hardened veteran knight, I'm sure it's something that the newly dubbed knight would remember the rest of his life!

I have no reason to suspect Barber's information; he seems to have decent source material, complete with footnotes. (I know this doesn't mean much in and of itself, but at least he lists sources, many do not!) I do believe he is relying on a translation of Llull, though. I understand what you're saying about Catalan versus Spanish, but I believe the Catalans are within the borders of Spain. It's like the difference between "British" and "Welsh". Referring to the work as "Spanish" instead of "Catalan" is perhaps an inappropriate generality, but doesn't change to content of the work.

I'll look around later and see if I can find a different source for Llull's view on this issue, but I must get around to doing other things today. Give me a few days, and I'll see what I come up with! I think this does prove one thing; the precise details surrounding the dubbing ritual were in a constant state of evolution. It certainly tended to become more elaborate over time!

More on the subject later!

Stay safe!

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George Hill




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Oct, 2006 10:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Fay wrote:
Hello all!

Hi George, it's me again! Big Grin
Old English is Anglo-Saxon, the English of Beowulf. English certainly evolved toward its more modern form by Caxton. Middle English is the English of Chaucer, not too terribly different from Modern English. Middle English still has its differences from Modern, but it's more readable to a Modern English-speaker than Old English! By William Caxton's day (I believe he was a printer, by the way, not necessarily and author) English was developing into its "Modern" form. Shakespeare might sound a bit odd to those unfamiliar with the Bard's idiosyncrasies, but it is Modern English.
!


Yes, I've read Chaucer in the original.... Well, actually I read about one page of Chaucer in the original, tossed it in a nearby lake, and switched to a 'translation into Modern English.'

It's likely the recent 'translation' is only so far as uniformity of spelling and a tiny bit of grammar rather then any big changes, but Caxton... him I'm less trusting of so far as revisions. Wink

But yes, seeing at the palm was symbolic, I wouldn't be too suprised if someone saw it as an actual 'palm.' rather then a smack. Indeed, it might be that BOTH are true. That Lull did not mention the blow, that Caxton added it in as such, and that your source overlooked it in the Caxton version, and happened to be right about Lull not mentioning it originallly! (Wouldn't that be something!)

If you can find out, let me know.

Also, on the symbolism of the blow, I've always heard that this was the last blow the Knight recieved without striking back. (I've also heard it described as a 'pair' of blow, one to each of the ears, or either side of the head.) Any information on that?

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sat 14 Oct, 2006 12:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

George Hill wrote:

Also, on the symbolism of the blow, I've always heard that this was the last blow the Knight recieved without striking back. (I've also heard it described as a 'pair' of blow, one to each of the ears, or either side of the head.) Any information on that?


George, Happy
I've heard that, too, but keep in mind the colee could be a blow with the hand, or the more well-known "tap" with the flat of the blade. I bet it was a pretty hard blow, even with the flat, early on! There is at least one medieval illustration that shows a 14th century battlefield knighting where the sponsor is raising his sword in the act of dubbing an armoured, kneeling squire. It's in several of my books.
I'll dig around later, but I really must get on to other things today!
Get back to you later on this!
Stay safe!

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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Oct, 2006 6:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Hey George, I've got more about knighting ceremonies and rituals for you! Big Grin

Some works claim that the accolade is vital, while others claim it was unknown for some time in certain areas.

The following is an excerpt from a work by Antoine de la Sale, found in The Medieval Warrior by Paul La Croix and Walter Clifford Meller.

Antione de la Sale wrote:

The squire when he had traveled much and has been on several deeds of arms by which he had attained to honor, and if he has sufficient of what is necessary to maintain the estate (for otherwise there is no honor for him and it is better worthwhile to be a good squire than an impoverished knight). Since that it is most honorable to be made so before battle, an assault or encounter, where the banners of princes are, then he might request some lord or noble knight in the name of God, of our Lady and Monseigneur St. George. The good knight, handed him his naked sword and then kissed the cross. Other good knights are dubbed at the Holy Sepulcher of our Lord for His love and others at St. Katherine, or where they perform their devotions. Others are made who bathed in tubs and then re-clothed in new and that night they go to watch in the church where they must be at their devotions until after High Mass is sung. Then the prince or some other knighted lord girds him with the golden sword and also in several other easier ways.


Note another important requirement, besides armour, sword, and horse; the aspirant to the rank of knight must have the financial means to support it! Sometimes land was granted to a newly-made knight by a lord specifically so he could support the knightly rank

The authors go on to say that the passage from de la Sale describes the bath and vigil, but the ritual on the battlefield often omits all but the accolade.

I gleaned a few more details from Richard Barber's The Knight and Chivalry as well. John of Salisbury in his Policraticus of 1159 describes knighting using the term "girt with the belt of a soldier". The soon-to-be knight goes to the church and offers his sword to the altar, dedicating it and himself to the service of God. A religious service follows a secular one. John of Salisbury linked the girding of the sword with classical rituals.

Churchmen could apparently sometimes confer knighthood to princes in the religious service of investiture. This service operated alongside the secular ritual of dubbing. This is what Barber wrote about an investiture service in the pontifical of Guillaume Durand, Bishop of Mende, from about 1295:

Richard Barber wrote:

The sword is first blessed, followed by any other pieces of armour, a prayer is said and the naked sword is given to the knight. It is sheathed and girded on; the knight then takes it out and brandishes it three times. The kiss of peace is exchanged and the bishop gives him a light blow, saying "Awake from evil dreams and keep watch faithful in Christ and praiseworthy in fame". The nobles standing by then put on his spurs and if he is entitled to a banner, this is presented with a final blessing. The phrases of the service repeat the idea of protection: "O Lord...who didst wish to institute the order of knighthood for the safeguard of Thy people..."; and there is a warning against the misues of power: "that he may not unjustly harm anyone with this sword or any other".


Barber also mentions the knighting of Louis D'Anjou and his brother Charles by Charles VI at Saint Denis at Easter 1389. A Mass was said, then the king administered the "usual oath, then bound on their swords and ordered M. de Chauvigny to put on their spurs". Barber also says that knighting on the field could consist of simply a blow and the words "be thou a knight". He also describes the knighting of Francesco Carrara by the emperor Charles IV on December 31, 1354. The emperor sat on horseback and struck Carrara on the neck with the flat of his hand with the words "be a good knight and true to the Empire". Two of Charles's noble attendants then placed spurs on the new knight's ankles.

I found a bit more about the colee in Maurice Keen's Chivalry:

Maurice Keen wrote:

The girding of the aspirant with his sword was clearly a very central element in the secular ritual for making a knight, older and more basic than the collee or paumee (which indeed remained unknown in Germany for a long period) and it remains central in the dubbing rites of later Pontificals, such as that of William Durandus.


Keen also had a brief overview of Lull's work. He describes what Lull wrote about the origins of chivalry, the duties of a knight, the examination a squire must undergo, and the knighting ritual. Keen mentions the prayer vigil, the knighting before the altar, and the symbolic significance of each piece of the knight's equipment, but nothing about the collee. He does say that Lull's version of chivalry is more ecclesiastical than earlier versions, with more of a crusading flavour. Lull had a dramatic religious experience that caused him to seek the life of a missionary (a brief but interesting overview of Lull's life appears in Knights by Andrea Hopkins), so perhaps the palm really is the plant after all!

I wish I could find out more about Lull, but I hope you find the rest to be of interest!

Stay safe!

Richard

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George Hill




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Oct, 2006 8:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quite interisting. If you find out about Lull, you know where the thread is. And thank you.
To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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