Sam Krupski / January 29th, 2011 / Mr. Masterson's WHCP Class / Per. #7 / Chapter 13.3 Notes

Key Vocabulary/People:


  • Chivalry - a complex set of ideals demanded that a knight fight bravely in defense of 3 masters.
  • Tournaments - mock battles. They combined recreation with combat training. 2 armies of knights charged at each other, lords and ladies cheered, they were fierce and bloody competitions. Winners demanded large ransoms from defeated knights.
  • Troubadours - traveling poet-musicians at the castles and courts of Europe. Wrote their own songs about happiness, sadness, and love.
  • The Song of Roland - One of the earliest and most famous medieval epic poems. Praised a band of French soldiers who died in battle during Charlemagne’s reign.
  • Knights - Warriors on horseback, defending and using the utmost chivalry.

Key Events:


Technology of Warfare Changes

  • - In the 700's, it wasn't uncommon for a soldier to save the day whilst riding on a horseback.

The Warrior’s Role in Feudal Society

  • - Leather stirrups and saddles changed the way wars were fought in Europe during the 700’s. Around 200 BC, both were developed in Asia.
  • - Stirrups kept a knight on his horse and allowed him to hold weapons.
  • - In the 11th century, Western Europe had become a place in constant war between nobles battling for power. Nobles paid knights for fighting for them.
  • - A knight’s main job was to serve in battle for his lord. Lords usually demanded 40 days of combat a year. When knights were not fighting, they were training for war, wrestling, and hunting. These pastimes allowed them to practice skills they would need on the battlefield.

Knighthood & the Code of Chivalry


  • - Knights were expected to follow the code of chivalry. A chivalrous knight was expected to be loyal, brave, and courteous.

A Knight's Training

  • - Sons of nobles began training for knighthood when they were very young. A boy would be sent off to the castle of another lord when they turned 7. At this castle, he would wait on his hosts and practice fighting skills. At 14, he would become a squire, which was like a servant to a knight. At 21, he became a full-fledged knight.
  • - Once a knight the majority of the young men would travel for up to 2 years, practicing and taking part in local duels/tournaments.

The Brutal Reality of Warfare


  • - Wars were much more violent and bloody than tournaments.
  • - By 1100’s lords, ladies, knights, and others lived in castles surrounded by thick walls and guard towers.
  • - Attackers had weapons and tried to take over the castle. Castle residents poured boiling water, hot oil or molten lead on attackers. Archers stood on the roof and shot arrows that could pierce full armor.
  • - As one can deduce, attackers used all they had and were essentially ruthless.

Literature of Chivalry


  • - Literature made knighthood and chivalry look glamorous and became notorious; many songs were attributed to the knight's special ladies.

Epic Poetry

  • - Epics and poems told stories about a hero’s adventures.
  • - Song of Roland told a story about chivalry and battle.

Love Poems & Songs


  • - With the code of chivalry, a knight’s commitment to his lady became as important as his commitment to his lord. Many poems and songs were about how hard it was to have a balance between these two obligations.
  • - Troubadours wrote many of these songs and sang them in the castles of their ladies.
  • - Troubadours also wrote songs about love’s disappointments.
  • - Other songs made knights look more romantic than brutal and told about knights who would never win over the lady they loved.
  • - Eleanor of Aquitaine was the most celebrated woman of her time. She was the mother of two kings.

Women's Role in Feudal Society


  • - The majority of the women did not have any power in feudal society. Women were thought to be less than men. Idea came from the church. Women had important roles in both peasant and noble families.

Noble Women

  • - Possible for noble women to inherit estate from husband. In the absence of her husband she could act as military commander and warrior, played a key role in defending castle, and at her lord’s request she could send his knights to war.
  • - Most noble women led limited lives, working in the home or convent.
  • - Very few women owned property because most was passed to the son.

Peasant Women

  • - Although valuable to the peasant household, women had no power, but endless work and hardships.
  • - Peasant girls learned household skills from their mothers at an early age, which is quite unfortunate.
  • - Church influenced the status of medieval women and basically labeled them as to what they were.




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