1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Knighthood and Chivalry
KNIGHTHOOD and CHIVALRY. These two words, which are nearly but not quite synonymous, designate a single subject of inquiry, which presents itself under three different although connected and in a measure intermingled aspects. It may be regarded in the first place as a mode or variety of feudal tenure, in the second place as a personal attribute or dignity, and in the third place as a scheme of manners or social arrangements. The first of these aspects is discussed under the headings Feudalism and Knight Service: we are concerned here only with the second and third. For the more important religious as distinguished from the military orders of knighthood or chivalry the reader is referred to the headings St John of Jerusalem, Knights of; Teutonic Knights; and Templars.
"The growth of knighthood" (writes Stubbs) "is a subject on which the greatest obscurity prevails": and, though J. H. Round has done much to explain the introduction of the system into England, its actual origin on the continent of Europe is still obscure in many of its most important details.
The words knight and knighthood are merely the modern forms of the Anglo-Saxon or Old English cniht and cnihthád. Of these the primary signification of the first was a boy or youth, and of the second that period of life which intervenes between childhood and manhood. But some time before the middle of the 12th century they had acquired the meaning they still retain of the French chevalier and chevalerie. In a secondary sense cniht meant a servant or attendant answering to the German Knecht, and in the Anglo-Saxon Gospels a disciple is described as a leorning cniht. In a tertiary sense the word appears to have been occasionally employed as equivalent to the Latin miles—usually translated by thegn—which in the earlier middle ages was used as the designation of the domestic as well as of the martial officers or retainers of sovereigns and princes or great personages. Sharon Turner suggests that cniht from meaning an attendant simply may have come to mean more especially a military attendant, and that in this sense it may have gradually superseded the word thegn. But the word thegn itself, that is, when it was used as the description of an attendant of the king, appears to have meant more especially a military attendant. As Stubbs says "the thegn seems to be primarily the warrior gesith"—the gesithas forming the chosen band of companions (comites) of the German chiefs (principes) noticed by Tacitus—"he is probably the gesith who had a particular military duty in his master's service"; and he adds that from the reign of Athelstan "the gesith is lost sight of except very occasionally, the more important class having become thegns, and the lesser sort sinking into the rank of mere servants of the king." It is pretty clear, therefore, that the word cniht could never have superseded the word thegn in the sense of a military attendant, at all events of the king. But besides the king, the ealdormen, bishops and king's thegns themselves had their thegns, and to these it is more than probable that the name of cniht was applied.
Around the Anglo-Saxon magnates were collected a crowd of retainers and dependants of all ranks and conditions; and there is evidence enough to show that among them were some called cnihtas who were not always the humblest or least considerable of their number. The testimony of Domesday also establishes the existence in the reign of Edward the Confessor of what Stubbs describes as a "large class" of landholders who had commended themselves to some lord, and he regards it as doubtful whether their tenure had not already assumed a really feudal character. But in any event it is manifest that their condition was in many respects similar to that of a vast number of unquestionably feudal and military tenants who made their appearance after the Norman Conquest. If consequently the former were called cnihtas under the Anglo-Saxon régime, it seems sufficiently probable that the appellation should have been continued to the latter—practically their successors—under the Anglo-Norman régime. And if the designation of knights was first applied to the military tenants of the earls, bishops and barons—who although they held their lands of mesne lords owed their services to the king—the extension of that designation to the whole body of military tenants need not have been a very violent or prolonged process. Assuming, however, that knight was originally used to describe the military tenant of a noble person, as cniht had sometimes been used to describe the thegn of a noble person, it would, to begin with, have defined rather his social status than the nature of his services. But those whom the English called knights the Normans called chevaliers, by which term the nature of their services was defined, while their social status was left out of consideration. And at first chevalier in its general and honorary signification seems to have been rendered not by knight but by rider, as may be inferred from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, wherein it is recorded under the year 1085 that William the Conqueror "dubbade his sunu Henric to ridere." But, as E. A. Freeman says, "no such title is heard of in the earlier days of England. The thegn, the ealdorman, the king himself, fought on foot; the horse might bear him to the field, but when the fighting itself came he stood on his native earth to receive the onslaught of her enemies.” In this perhaps we may behold one of the most ancient of British insular prejudices, for on the Continent the importance of cavalry in warfare was already abundantly understood. It was by means of their horsemen that the Austrasian Franks established their superiority over their neighbours, and in time created the Western Empire anew, while from the word caballarius, which occurs in the Capitularies in the reign of Charlemagne, came the words for knight in all the Romance languages. In Germany the chevalier was called Ritter, but neither rider nor chevalier prevailed against knight in England. And it was long after knighthood had acquired its present meaning with us that chivalry was incorporated into our language. It may be remarked too in passing that in official Latin, not only in England but all over Europe, the word miles held its own against both eques and caballarius.
Concerning the origin of knighthood or chivalry as it existed in the middle ages—implying as it did a formal assumption of and initiation into the profession of arms—nothing beyond more or less probable conjecture is possible. Origin of Medieval Knighthood. The medieval knights had nothing to do in the way of derivation with the “equites” of Rome, the knights of King Arthur’s Round Table, or the Paladins of Charlemagne. But there are grounds for believing that some of the rudiments of chivalry are to be detected in early Teutonic customs, and that they may have made some advance among the Franks of Gaul. We know from Tacitus that the German tribes in his day were wont to celebrate the admission of their young men into the ranks of their warriors with much circumstance and ceremony. The people of the district to which the candidate belonged were called together; his qualifications for the privileges about to be conferred upon him were inquired into; and, if he were deemed fitted and worthy to receive them, his chief, his father, or one of his near kinsmen presented him with a shield and a lance. Again, among the Franks we find Charlemagne girding his son Louis the Pious, and Louis the Pious girding his son Charles the Bald with the sword, when they arrived at manhood. It seems certain here that some ceremony was observed which was deemed worthy of record not for its novelty, but as a thing of recognized importance. It does not follow that a similar ceremony extended to personages less exalted than the sons of kings and emperors. But if it did we must naturally suppose that it applied in the first instance to the mounted warriors who formed the most formidable portion of the warlike array of the Franks. It was among the Franks indeed, and possibly through their experiences in war with the Saracens, that cavalry first acquired the pre-eminent place which it long maintained in every European country. In early society, where the army is not a paid force but the armed nation, the cavalry must necessarily consist of the noble and wealthy, and cavalry and chivalry, as Freeman observes, will be the same. Since then we discover in the Capitularies of Charlemagne actual mention of “caballarii” as a class of warriors, it may reasonably be concluded that formal investiture with arms applied to the “caballarii” if it was a usage extending beyond the sovereign and his heir-apparent. “But,” as Hallam says, “he who fought on horseback and had been invested with peculiar arms in a solemn manner wanted nothing more to render him a knight;” and so he concludes, in view of the verbal identity of “chevalier” and “caballarius,” that “we may refer chivalry in a general sense to the age of Charlemagne.” Yet, if the “caballarii” of the Capitularies are really the precursors of the later knights, it remains a difficulty that the Latin name for a knight is “miles,” although “caballarius” became in various forms the vernacular designation.
Before it was known that the chronicle ascribed to Ingulf of Croyland is really a fiction of the 13th or 14th century, the knighting of Heward or Hereward by Brand, abbot of Burgh (now Peterborough), was accepted from Selden to Hallam as Knighthood in England. an historical fact, and knighthood was supposed, not only to have been known among the Anglo-Saxons, but to have had a distinctively religious character which was contemned by the Norman invaders. The genuine evidence at our command altogether fails to support this view. When William of Malmesbury describes the knighting of Athelstan by his grandfather Alfred the Great, that is, his investiture “with a purple garment set with gems and a Saxon sword with a golden sheath,” there is no hint of any religious observance. In spite of the silence of our records, Dr Stubbs thinks that kings so well acquainted with foreign usages as Ethelred, Canute and Edward the Confessor could hardly have failed to introduce into England the institution of chivalry then springing up in every country of Europe; and he is supported in this opinion by the circumstance that it is nowhere mentioned as a Norman innovation. Yet the fact that Harold received knighthood from William of Normandy makes it clear either that Harold was not yet a knight, which in the case of so tried a warrior would imply that “dubbing to knighthood” was not yet known in England even under Edward the Confessor, or, as Freeman thinks, that in the middle of the 11th century the custom had grown in Normandy into “something of a more special meaning” than it bore in England.
Regarded as a method of military organization, the feudal system of tenures was always far better adapted to the purposes of defensive than of offensive warfare. Against invasion it furnished a permanent provision both in men-at-arms and strongholds; nor was it unsuited for the campaigns of neighbouring counts and barons which lasted for only a few weeks, and extended over only a few leagues. But when kings and kingdoms were in conflict, and distant and prolonged expeditions became necessary, it was speedily discovered that the unassisted resources of feudalism were altogether inadequate. It became therefore the manifest interest of both parties that personal services should be commuted into pecuniary payments. Then there grew up all over Europe a system of fining the knights who failed to respond to the sovereign’s call or to stay their full time in the field; and in England this fine developed, from the reign of Henry II. to that of Edward II., into a regular war-tax called escuage or scutage (q.v.). In this way funds for war were placed at the free disposal of sovereigns, and, although the feudatories and their retainers still formed the most considerable portion of their armies, the conditions under which they served were altogether changed. Their military service was now far more the result of special agreement. In the reign of Edward I., whose warlike enterprises after he was king were confined within the four seas, this alteration does not seem to have proceeded very far, and Scotland and Wales were subjugated by what was in the main, if not exclusively, a feudal militia raised as of old by writ to the earls and barons and the sheriffs. But the armies of Edward III., Henry V. and Henry VI. during the century of intermittent warfare between England and France were recruited and sustained to a very great extent on the principle of contract. On the Continent the systematic employment of mercenaries was both an early and a common practice.
Besides consideration for the mutual convenience of sovereigns and their feudatories, there were other causes which materially contributed towards bringing about those changes in the military system of Europe which were finally The Crusades. accomplished in the 13th and 14th centuries. During the Crusades vast armies were set on foot in which feudal rights and obligations had no place, and it was seen that the volunteers who flocked to the standards of the various commanders were not less but even more efficient in the field than the vassals they had hitherto been accustomed to lead. It was thus established that pay, the love of enterprise and the prospect of plunder—if we leave zeal for the sacred cause which they had espoused for the moment out of sight—were quite as useful for the purpose of enlisting troops and keeping them together as the tenure of land and the solemnities of homage and fealty. Moreover, the crusaders who survived the difficulties and dangers of an expedition to Palestine were seasoned and experienced although frequently impoverished and landless soldiers, ready to hire themselves to the highest bidder, and well worth the wages they received. Again, it was owing to the crusades that the church took the profession of arms under her peculiar protection, and thenceforward the ceremonies of initiation into it assumed a religious as well as a martial character.
To distinguished soldiers of the cross the honours and benefits of knighthood could hardly be refused on the ground that they did not possess a sufficient property qualification—of which perhaps they had denuded themselves in Knighthood independent of Feudalism. order to their equipment for the Holy War. And thus the conception of knighthood as of something distinct from feudalism both as a social condition and a personal dignity arose and rapidly gained ground. It was then that the analogy was first detected between the order of knighthood and the order of priesthood, and that an actual union of monachism and chivalry was effected by the establishment of the religious orders of which the Knights Templars and the Knights Hospitallers were the most eminent examples. As comprehensive in their polity as the Benedictines or Franciscans, they gathered their members from, and soon scattered their possessions over, every country in Europe. And in their indifference to the distinctions of race and nationality they merely accommodated themselves to the spirit which had become characteristic of chivalry itself, already recognized, like the church, as a universal institution which knit together the whole warrior caste of Christendom into one great fraternity irrespective alike of feudal subordination and territorial boundaries. Somewhat later the adoption of hereditary surnames and armorial bearings marked the existence of a large and noble class who either from the subdivision of fiefs or from the effects of the custom of primogeniture were very insufficiently provided for. To them only two callings were generally open, that of the churchman and that of the soldier, and the latter as a rule offered greater attractions than the former in an era of much licence and little learning. Hence the favourite expedient for men of birth, although not of fortune, was to attach themselves to some prince or magnate in whose military service they were sure of an adequate maintenance and might hope for even a rich reward in the shape of booty or of ransom. It is probably to this period and these circumstances that we must look for at all events the rudimentary beginnings of the military as well as the religious orders of chivalry. Of the existence of any regularly constituted companionships of the first kind there is no trustworthy evidence until between two and three centuries after fraternities of the second kind had been organized. Soon after the greater crusading societies had been formed similar orders, such as those of St James of Compostella, Calatrava and Alcantara, were established to fight the Moors in Spain instead of the Saracens in the Holy Land. But the members of these orders were not less monks than knights, their statutes embodied the rules of the cloister, and they were bound by the ecclesiastical vows of celibacy, poverty and obedience. From a very early stage in the development of chivalry, however, we meet with the singular institution of brotherhood in arms; and from it the ultimate origin if not of the religious fraternities at any rate of the military companionships is usually derived. By this institution a relation was created between two or more monks by voluntary agreement, which was regarded as of far more intimacy and stringency than any which the mere accident of consanguinity implied. Brothers in arms were supposed to be partners in all things save the affections of their “lady-loves.” They shared in every danger and in every success, and each was expected to vindicate the honour of another as promptly and zealously as his own. The plot of the medieval romance of Amis and Amiles is built entirely on such a brotherhood. Their engagements usually lasted through life, but sometimes only for a specified period or during the continuance of specified circumstances, and they were always ratified by oath, occasionally reduced to writing in the shape of a solemn bond and often sanctified by their reception of the Eucharist together. Romance and tradition speak of strange rites—the mingling and even the drinking of blood—as having in remote and rude ages marked the inception of these martial and fraternal associations. But in later and less barbarous times they were generally evidenced and celebrated by a formal and reciprocal exchange of weapons and armour. In warfare it was customary for knights who were thus allied to appear similarly accoutred and bearing the same badges or cognisances, to the end that their enemies might not know with which of them they were in conflict, and that their friends might be unable to accord more applause to one than to the other for his prowess in the field. It seems likely enough therefore that there should grow up bodies of knights banded together by engagements of fidelity, although free from monastic obligations; wearing a uniform or livery, and naming themselves after some special symbol or some patron saint of their adoption. And such bodies placed under the command of a sovereign or grand master, regulated by statutes, and enriched by ecclesiastical endowments would have been precisely what in after times such orders as the Garter in England, the Golden Fleece in Burgundy, the Annunziata in Savoy and the St Michael and Holy Ghost in France actually were.
During the 14th and 15th centuries, as well as somewhat earlier and later, the general arrangements of a European army were always and everywhere pretty much the same. Under the sovereign the constable and the marshal Grades of Knighthood. or marshals held the chief commands, their authority being partly joint and partly several. Attendant on them were the heralds, who were the officers of their military court, wherein offences committed in the camp and field were tried and adjudged, and among whose duties it was to carry orders and messages, to deliver challenges and call truces, and to identify and number the wounded and the slain. The main divisions of the army were distributed under the royal and other principal standards, smaller divisions under the banners of some of the greater nobility or of knights banneret, and smaller divisions still under the pennons of knights or, as in distinction from knights banneret they came to be called, knights bachelors. All knights whether bachelors or bannerets were escorted by their squires. But the banner of the banneret always implied a more or less extensive command, while every knight was entitled to bear a pennon and every squire a pencel. All three flags were of such a size as to be conveniently attached to and carried on a lance, and were emblazoned with the arms or some portion of the bearings of their owners. But while the banner was square the pennon, which resembled it in other respects, was either pointed or forked at its extremity, and the pencel, which was considerably less than the others, always terminated in a single tail or streamer.
If indeed we look at the scale of chivalric subordination from another point of view, it seems to be more properly divisible into four than into three stages, of which two may be called provisional and two final. The bachelor and the banneret were both equally knights, only the one was of greater distinction and authority than the other. In like manner the squire and the page were both in training for knighthood, but the first had advanced further in the process than the second. It is true that the squire was a combatant while the page was not, and that many squires voluntarily served as squires all their lives owing to the insufficiency of their fortunes to support the costs and charges of knighthood. But in the ordinary course of a chivalrous education the successive conditions of page and squire were passed through in boyhood and youth, and the condition of knighthood was reached in early manhood. Every feudal court and castle was in fact a school of chivalry, and although princes and great personages were rarely actually pages or squires, the moral and physical discipline through which they passed was not in any important particular different from that to which less exalted candidates for knighthood were subjected. The page, or, as he was more anciently and more correctly called, the “valet” or “damoiseau,” commenced his service and instruction when he was between seven and eight years old, and the initial phase continued for seven or eight years longer. He acted as the constant personal attendant of both his master and mistress. He waited on them in their hall and accompanied them in the chase, served the lady in her bower and followed the lord to the camp. From the chaplain and his mistress and her damsels he learnt the rudiments of religion, of rectitude and of love, from his master and his squires the elements of military exercise, to cast a spear or dart, to sustain a shield, and to march with the measured tread of a soldier; and from his master and his huntsmen and falconers the “mysteries of the woods and rivers,” or in other words the rules and practices of hunting and hawking. When he was between fifteen and sixteen he became a squire. But no sudden or great alteration was made in his mode of life. He continued to wait at dinner with the pages, although in a manner more dignified according to the notions of the age. He not only served but carved and helped the dishes, proffered the first or principal cup of wine to his master and his guests, and carried to them the basin, ewer or napkin when they washed their hands before and after meat. He assisted in clearing the hall for dancing or minstrelsy, and laid the tables for chess or draughts, and he also shared in the pastimes for which he had made preparation. He brought his master the “vin de coucher” at night, and made his early refection ready for him in the morning. But his military exercises and athletic sports occupied an always increasing portion of the day. He accustomed himself to ride the “great horse,” to tilt at the quintain, to wield the sword and battle-axe, to swim and climb, to run and leap, and to bear the weight and overcome the embarrassments of armour. He inured himself to the vicissitudes of heat and cold, and voluntarily suffered the pains or inconveniences of hunger and thirst, fatigue and sleeplessness. It was then too that he chose his “lady-love,” whom he was expected to regard with an adoration at once earnest, respectful, and the more meritorious if concealed. And when it was considered that he had made sufficient advancement in his military accomplishments, he took his sword to the priest, who laid it on the altar, blessed it, and returned it to him. Afterwards he either remained with his early master, relegating most of his domestic duties to his younger companions, or he entered the service of some valiant and adventurous lord or knight of his own selection. He now became a “squire of the body,” and truly an “armiger” or “scutifer,” for he bore the shield and armour of his leader to the field, and, what was a task of no small difficulty and hazard, cased and secured him in his panoply of war before assisting him to mount his courser or charger. It was his function also to display and guard in battle the banner of the baron or banneret or the pennon of the knight he served, to raise him from the ground if he were unhorsed, to supply him with another or his own horse if his was disabled or killed, to receive and keep any prisoners he might take, to fight by his side if he was unequally matched, to rescue him if captured, to bear him to a place of safety if wounded, and to bury him honourably when dead. And after he had worthily and bravely, borne himself for six or seven years as a squire, the time came when it was fitting that he should be made a knight. This, at least, was the current theory; but it is specially dangerous in medieval history to assume too much correspondence between theory and fact. In many castles, and perhaps in most, the discipline followed simply a natural and unwritten code of “fagging” and seniority, as in public schools or on board men-of-war some hundred years or so ago.
Two modes of conferring knighthood appear to have prevailed from a very early period in all countries where chivalry was known. In both of them the essential portion seems to have been the accolade or stroke of the sword. But while in the one the accolade constituted the Modes of conferring Knighthood. whole or nearly the whole of the ceremony, in the other it was surrounded with many additional observances. The former and simpler of these modes was naturally that used in war: the candidate knelt before “the chief of the army or some valiant knight,” who struck him thrice with the flat of a sword, pronouncing a brief formula of creation and of exhortation which varied at the creator’s will.
In this form a number of knights were made before and after almost every battle between the 11th and the 16th centuries, and its advantages on the score of both convenience and economy gradually led to its general adoption both in time of peace and time of war. On extraordinary occasions indeed the more elaborate ritual continued to be observed. But recourse was had to it so rarely that in England about the beginning of the 15th century it came to be exclusively appropriated to a special king of knighthood. When Segar, garter king of arms, wrote in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, this had been accomplished with such completeness that he does not even mention that there were two ways of creating knights bachelors. “He that is to be made a knight,” he says, “is striken by the prince with a sword drawn upon his back or shoulder, the prince saying, ‘Soys Chevalier,’ and in times past was added ‘Saint George.’ And when the knight rises the prince sayeth ‘Avencez.’ This is the manner of dubbing knights at this present, and that term ‘dubbing’ was the old term in this point, not ‘creating.’ This sort of knights are by the heralds called knights bachelors.” In our days when a knight is personally made he kneels before the sovereign, who lays a sword drawn, ordinarily the sword of state, on either of his shoulders and says, “Rise,” calling him by his Christian name with the addition of “Sir” before it.
Very different were the solemnities which attended the creation of a knight when the complete procedure was observed. “The ceremonies and circumstances at the giving this dignity,” says Selden, “in the elder time were of two kinds especially, which we may call courtly and sacred. The courtly were the feasts held at the creation, giving of robes, arms, spurs and the like. The sacred were the holy devotions and what else was used in the church at or before the receiving of the dignity.” But the leading authority on the subject is an ancient tract written in French, which will be found at length either in the original or translated by Segar, Dugdale, Byshe and Nicolas, among other English writers. Daniel explains his reasons for transcribing it, “tant à cause du detail que de la naïveté du stile et encore plus de la bisarrerie des ceremonies que se faisoient pourtant alors fort sérieusement,” while he adds that these ceremonies were essentially identical in England, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
The process of inauguration was commenced in the evening by the placing of the candidate under the care of two “esquires of honour grave and well seen in courtship and nurture and also in the feats of chivalry,” who were to be “governors in all things relating to him.” Under their direction, to begin with, a barber shaved him and cut his hair. He was then conducted by them to his appointed chamber, where a bath was prepared hung within and without with linen and covered with rich cloths, into which after they had undressed him he entered. While he was in the bath two “ancient and grave knights” attended him “to inform, instruct and counsel him touching the order and feats of chivalry,” and when they had fulfilled their mission they poured some of the water of the bath over his shoulders, signing the left shoulder with the cross, and retired. He was then taken from the bath and put into a plain bed without hangings, in which he remained until his body was dry, when the two esquires put on him a white shirt and over that “a robe of russet with long sleeves having a hood thereto like unto that of an hermit.” Then the “two ancient and grave knights” returned and led him to the chapel, the esquires going before them “sporting and dancing” with “the minstrels making melody.” And when they had been served with wines and spices they went away leaving only the candidate, the esquires, “the priest, the chandler and the watch,” who kept the vigil of arms until sunrise, the candidate passing the night “bestowing himself in orisons and prayers.” At daybreak he confessed to the priest, heard matins, and communicated in the mass, offering a taper and a piece of money stuck in it as near the lighted end as possible, the first “to the honour of God” and the second “to the honour of the person that makes him a knight.” Afterwards he was taken back to his chamber, and remained in bed until the knights, esquires and minstrels went to him and aroused him. The knights then dressed him in distinctive garments, and they then mounted their horses and rode to the hall where the candidate was to receive knighthood; his future squire was to ride before him bareheaded bearing his sword by the point in its scabbard with his spurs hanging from its hilt. And when everything was prepared the prince or subject who was to knight him came into the hall, and, the candidate’s sword and spurs having been presented to him, he delivered the right spur to the “most noble and gentle” knight present, and directed him to fasten it on the candidate’s right heel, which he kneeling on one knee and putting the candidate’s right foot on his knee accordingly did, signing the candidate’s knee with the cross, and in like manner by another “noble and gentle” knight the left spur was fastened to his left heel. And then he who was to create the knight took the sword and girded him with it, and then embracing him he lifted his right hand and smote him on the neck or shoulder, saying, “Be thou a good knight,” and kissed him. When this was done they all went to the chapel with much music, and the new knight laying his right hand on the altar promised to support and defend the church, and ungirding his sword offered it on the altar. And as he came out from the chapel the master cook awaited him at the door and claimed his spurs as his fee, and said, “If you do anything contrary to the order of chivalry (which God forbid), I shall hack the spurs from your heels.”
The full solemnities for conferring knighthood seem to have been so largely and so early superseded by the practice of dubbing or giving the accolade alone that in England it became at last restricted to such knights as were made at coronations and some other occasions of state. And to them the particular name of Knights of the Bath was assigned, while knights made in the ordinary way were called in distinction from them knights of the sword, as they were also called knights bachelors in distinction from knights banneret. It is usually supposed that the first creation of knights of the Bath under that designation was at the coronation of Henry IV.; and before the order of the Bath as a companionship or capitular body was instituted the last creation of them was at the coronation of Charles II. But all knights were also knights of the spur or “equites aurati,” because their spurs were golden or gilt,—the spurs of squires being of silver or white metal,—and these became their peculiar badge in popular estimation and proverbial speech. In the form of their solemn inauguration too, as we have noticed, the spurs together with the sword were always employed as the leading and most characteristic ensigns of knighthood.
With regard to knights banneret, various opinions have been entertained as to both the nature of their dignity and the qualifications they were required to possess for receiving it at different periods and in different countries. On the Continent the distinction which is commonly but incorrectly made between the nobility and the gentry has never arisen, and it was unknown here while chivalry existed and heraldry was understood. Here, as elsewhere in the old time, a nobleman and a gentleman meant the same thing, namely, a man who under certain conditions of descent was entitled to armorial bearings. Hence Du Cange divides the medieval nobility of France and Spain into three classes: first, barons or ricos hombres; secondly, chevaliers or caballeros; and thirdly, écuyers or infanzons; and to the first, who with their several special titles constituted the greater nobility of either country, he limits the designation of banneret and the right of leading their followers to war under a banner, otherwise a “drapeau quarré” or square flag. Selden shows especially from the parliament rolls that the term banneret has been occasionally employed in England as equivalent to baron. In Scotland, even as late as the reign of James VI., lords of parliament were always created bannerets as well as barons at their investiture, “part of the ceremony consisting in the display of a banner, and such ‘barones majores’ were thereby entitled to the privilege of having one borne by a retainer before them to the field of a quadrilateral form.” In Scotland, too, lords of parliament and bannerets were also called bannerents, banrents or baronets, and in England banneret was often corrupted to baronet. “Even in a patent passed to Sir Ralph Fane, knight under Edward VI., he is called ‘baronettus’ for ‘bannerettus.’” In this manner it is not improbable that the title of baronet may have been suggested to the advisers of James I. when the order of Baronets was originally created by him, for it was a question whether the recipients of the new dignity should be designated by that or some other name. But there is no doubt that as previously used it was merely a corrupt synonym for banneret, and not the name of any separate dignity. On the Continent, however, there are several recorded examples of bannerets who had an hereditary claim to that honour and its attendant privileges on the ground of the nature of their feudal tenure. And generally, at any rate to commence with, it seems probable that bannerets were in every country merely the more important class of feudatories, the “ricos hombres” in contrast to the knights bachelors, who in France in the time of St Louis were known as “pauvres hommes.” In England all the barons or greater nobility were entitled to bear banners, and therefore Du Cange’s observations would apply to them as well as to the barons or greater nobility of France and Spain. But it is clear that from a comparatively early period bannerets whose claims were founded on personal distinction rather than on feudal tenure gradually came to the front, and much the same process of substitution appears to have gone on in their case as that which we have marked in the case of simple knights. According to the Sallade and the Division du Monde, as cited by Selden, bannerets were clearly in the beginning feudal tenants of a certain magnitude and importance and nothing more, and different forms for their creation are given in time of peace and in time of war. But in the French Gesta Romanorum the warlike form alone is given, and it is quoted by both Selden and Du Cange. From the latter a more modern version of it is given by Daniel as the only one generally in force.
The knight bachelor whose services and landed possessions entitled him to promotion would apply formally to the commander in the field for the title of banneret. If this were granted, the heralds were called to cut publicly the tails from his pennon: or the commander, as a special honour, might cut them off with his own hands. The earliest contemporary mention of knights banneret is in France, Daniel says, in the reign of Philip Augustus, and in England, Selden says in the reign of Edward I. But in neither case is reference made to them in such a manner as to suggest that the dignity was then regarded as new or even uncommon, and it seems pretty certain that its existence on one side could not have long preceded its existence on the other side of the Channel. Sir Alan Plokenet, Sir Ralph Daubeney and Sir Philip Daubeney are entered as bannerets on the roll of the garrison of Caermarthen Castle in 1282, and the roll of Carlaverock records the names and arms of eighty-five bannerets who accompanied Edward I. in his expedition into Scotland in 1300.
What the exact contingent was which bannerets were expected to supply to the royal host is doubtful. But, however this may be, in the reign of Edward III. and afterwards bannerets appear as the commanders of a military force raised by themselves and marshalled under their banners: their status and their relations both to the crown and to their followers were mainly the consequences of voluntary contract not of feudal tenure. It is from the reigns of Edward III. and Richard II. also that the two best descriptions we possess of the actual creation of a banneret have been transmitted to us. Sir Thomas Smith, writing towards the end of the 16th century, says, after noticing the conditions to be observed in the creation of bannerets, “but this order is almost grown out of use in England”; and, during the controversy which arose between the new order of baronets and the crown early in the 17th century respecting their precedence, it was alleged without contradiction in an argument on behalf of the baronets before the privy council that “there are not bannerets now in being, peradventure never shall be.” Sir Ralph Fane, Sir Francis Bryan and Sir Ralph Sadler were created bannerets by the Lord Protector Somerset after the battle of Pinkie in 1547, and the better opinion is that this was the last occasion on which the dignity was conferred. It has been stated indeed that Charles I. created Sir John Smith a banneret after the battle of Edgehill in 1642 for having rescued the royal standard from the enemy. But of this there is no sufficient proof. It was also supposed that George III. had created several naval officers bannerets towards the end of the last century, because he knighted them on board ship under the royal standard displayed. This, however, is unquestionably an error.
On the continent of Europe the degree of knight bachelor disappeared with the military system which had given rise to it. It is now therefore peculiar to the British Empire, where, although very frequently conferred by letters patent, it is yet the only dignity which is still even Existing Orders of Knighthood. occasionally created—as every dignity was formerly created—by means of a ceremony in which the sovereign and the subject personally take part. Everywhere else dubbing or the accolade seems to have become obsolete, and no other species of knighthood, if knighthood it can be called, is known except that which is dependent on admission to some particular order. It is a common error to suppose that baronets are hereditary knights. Baronets are not knights unless they are knighted like anybody else; and, so far from being knights because they are baronets, one of the privileges granted to them shortly after the institution of their dignity was that they, not being knights, and their successors and their eldest sons and heirs-apparent should, when they attained their majority, be entitled if they desired to receive knighthood. It is a maxim of the law indeed that, as Coke says, “the knight is by creation and not by descent,” and, although we hear of such designations as the “knight of Kerry” or the “knight of Glin,” they are no more than traditional nicknames, and do not by any means imply that the persons to whom they are applied are knights in a legitimate sense. Notwithstanding, however, that simple knighthood has gone out of use abroad, there are innumerable grand crosses, commanders and companions of a formidable assortment of orders in almost every part of the world. (See the section on “Orders of Knighthood” below.)
The United Kingdom has eight orders of knighthood—the Garter, the Thistle, St Patrick, the Bath, the Star of India, St Michael and St George, the Indian Empire and the Royal Victorian Order; and, while the first is undoubtedly the oldest as well as the most illustrious anywhere existing, a fictitious antiquity has been claimed and is even still frequently conceded
to the second and fourth, although the third, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth appear to be as contentedly as they are unquestionably recent.
It is, however, certain that the “most noble” Order of the
Garter at least was instituted in the middle of the 14th century,
when English chivalry was outwardly brightest and
the court most magnificent. But in what particular
year this event occurred is and has been the subject
the Garter.of much difference of opinion. All the original records of the order until after 1416 have perished, and consequently the question depends for its settlement not on direct testimony but on inference from circumstances. The dates which have been selected vary from 1344 (given by Froissart, but almost certainly mistaken) to 1351. The evidence may be examined at length in Nicolas and Beltz; it is indisputable that in the wardrobe account from September 1347 to January 1349, the 21st and 23rd Edward III., the issue of certain habits with garters and the motto embroidered on them is marked for St George’s Day; that the letters patent relating to the preparation of the royal chapel of Windsor are dated in August 1348; and that in the treasury accounts of the prince of Wales there is an entry in November 1348 of the gift by him of “twenty-four garters to the knights of the Society of the Garter.” But that the order, although from this manifestly already fully constituted in the autumn of 1348, was not in existence before the summer of 1346 Sir Harris Nicolas proves pretty conclusively by pointing out that nobody who was not a knight could under its statutes have been admitted to it, and that neither the prince of Wales nor several others of the original companions were knighted until the middle of that year.
Regarding the occasion there has been almost as much controversy as regarding the date of its foundation. The “vulgar and more general story,” as Ashmole calls it, is that of the countess of Salisbury’s garter. But commentators are not at one as to which countess of Salisbury was the heroine of the adventure, whether she was Katherine Montacute or Joan the Fair Maid of Kent, while Heylyn rejects the legend as “a vain and idle romance derogatory both to the founder and the order, first published by Polydor Vergil, a stranger to the affairs of England, and by him taken upon no better ground than fama vulgi, the tradition of the common people, too trifling a foundation for so great a building.”
Another legend is that contained in the preface to the Register or Black Book of the order, compiled in the reign of Henry VIII., by what authority supported is unknown, that Richard I., while his forces were employed against Cyprus and Acre, had been inspired through the instrumentality of St George with renewed courage and the means of animating his fatigued soldiers by the device of tying about the legs of a chosen number of knights a leathern thong or garter, to the end that being thereby reminded of the honour of their enterprise they might be encouraged to redoubled efforts for victory. This was supposed to have been in the mind of Edward III. when he fixed on the garter as the emblem of the order, and it was stated so to have been by Taylor, master of the rolls, in his address to Francis I. of France on his investiture in 1527. According to Ashmole the true account of the matter is that “King Edward having given forth his own garter as the signal for a battle which sped fortunately (which with Du Chesne we conceive to be that of Crécy), the victory, we say, being happily gained, he thence took occasion to institute this order, and gave the garter (assumed by him for the symbol of unity and society) preeminence among the ensigns of it.” But, as Sir Harris Nicolas points out—although Ashmole is not open to the correction—this hypothesis rests for its plausibility on the assumption that the order was established before the invasion of France in 1346. And he further observes that “a great variety of devices and mottoes were used by Edward III.; they were chosen from the most trivial causes and were of an amorous rather than of a military character. Nothing,” he adds, “is more likely than that in a crowded assembly a lady should accidentally have dropped her garter; that the circumstance should have caused a smile in the bystanders; and that on its being taken up by Edward he should have reproved the levity of his courtiers by so happy and chivalrous an exclamation, placing the garter at the same time on his own knee, as ‘Dishonoured be he who thinks ill of it.’ Such a circumstance occurring at a time of general festivity, when devices, mottoes and conceits of all kinds were adopted as ornaments or badges of the habits worn at jousts and tournaments, would naturally have been commemorated as other royal expressions seem to have been by its conversion into a device and motto for the dresses at an approaching hastilude.” Moreover, Sir Harris Nicolas contends that the order had no loftier immediate origin than a joust or tournament. It consisted of the king and the Black Prince, and 24 knights divided into two bands of 12 like the tilters in a hastilude—at the head of the one being the first, and of the other the second; and to the companions belonging to each, when the order had superseded the Round Table and had become a permanent institution, were assigned stalls either on the sovereign’s or the prince’s side of St George’s Chapel. That Sir Harris Nicolas is accurate in this conjecture seems probable from the selection which was made of the “founder knights.” As Beltz observes, the fame of Sir Reginald Cobham, Sir Walter Manny and the earls of Northampton, Hereford and Suffolk was already established by their warlike exploits, and they would certainly have been among the original companions had the order been then regarded as the reward of military merit only. But, although these eminent warriors were subsequently elected as vacancies occurred, their admission was postponed to that of several very young and in actual warfare comparatively unknown knights, whose claims to the honour may be most rationally explained on the assumption that they had excelled in the particular feats of arms which preceded the institution of the order. The original companionship had consisted of the sovereign and 25 knights, and no change was made in this respect until 1786, when the sons of George III. and his successors were made eligible notwithstanding that the chapter might be complete. In 1805 another alteration was effected by the provision that the lineal descendants of George II. should be eligible in the same manner, except the Prince of Wales for the time being, who was declared to be “a constituent part of the original institution”; and again in 1831 it was further ordained that the privilege accorded to the lineal descendants of George II. should extend to the lineal descendants of George I. Although, as Sir Harris Nicolas observes, nothing is now known of the form of admitting ladies into the order, the description applied to them in the records during the 14th and 15th centuries leaves no doubt that they were regularly received into it. The queen consort, the wives and daughters of knights, and some other women of exalted position, were designated “Dames de la Fraternité de St George,” and entries of the delivery of robes and garters to them are found at intervals in the Wardrobe Accounts from the 50th Edward III. (1376) to the 10th of Henry VII. (1495), the first being Isabel, countess of Bedford, the daughter of the one king, and the last being Margaret and Elizabeth, the daughters of the other king. The effigies of Margaret Byron, wife of Sir Robert Harcourt, K.G., at Stanton Harcourt, and of Alice Chaucer, wife of William de la Pole, duke of Suffolk, K.G., at Ewelme, which date from the reigns of Henry VI. and Edward IV., have garters on their left arms. (See further under “Orders of Knighthood” below.)
It has been the general opinion, as expressed by Sainte Palaye and Mills, that formerly all knights were qualified to confer knighthood. But it may be questioned whether the privilege was thus indiscriminately enjoyed even in the earlier days of chivalry. It is true that as much might be inferred from Persons empowered to confer Knighthood. the testimony of the romance writers; historical evidence, however, tends to limit the proposition, and the sounder conclusion appears to be, as Sir Harris Nicolas says, that the right was always restricted in operation to sovereign princes, to those acting under their authority or sanction, and to a few other personages of exalted rank and station. In several of the writs for distraint of knighthood from Henry III. to Edward III. a distinction is drawn between those who are to be knighted by the king himself or by the sheriffs of counties respectively, and bishops and abbots could make knights in the 11th and 12th centuries. At all periods the commanders of the royal armies had the power of conferring knighthood; as late as the reign of Elizabeth it was exercised among others by Sir Henry Sidney in 1583, and Robert, earl of Essex, in 1595, while under James I. an ordinance of 1622, confirmed by a proclamation of 1623, for the registration of knights in the college of arms, is rendered applicable to all who should receive knighthood from either the king or any of his lieutenants. Many sovereigns, too, both of England and of France, have been knighted after their accession to the throne by their own subjects, as, for instance, Edward III. by Henry, earl of Lancaster, Edward VI. by the lord protector Somerset, Louis XI. by Philip, duke of Burgundy, and Francis I. by the Chevalier Bayard. But when in 1543 Henry VIII. appointed Sir John Wallop to be captain of Guisnes, it was considered necessary that he should be authorized in express terms to confer knighthood, which was also done by Edward VI. in his own case when he received knighthood from the duke of Somerset. But at present the only subject to whom the right of conferring knighthood belongs is the lord-lieutenant of Ireland, and to him it belongs merely by long usage and established custom. But, by whomsoever conferred, knighthood at one time endowed the recipient with the same status and attributes in every country wherein chivalry was recognized. In the middle ages it was a common practice for sovereigns and princes to dub each other knights much as they were afterwards, and are now, in the habit of exchanging the stars and ribbons of their orders. Henry II. was knighted by his great-uncle David I. of Scotland, Alexander III. of Scotland by Henry III., Edward I. when he was prince by Alphonso X. of Castile, and Ferdinand of Portugal by Edmund of Langley, earl of Cambridge. And, long after the military importance of knighthood had practically disappeared, what may be called its cosmopolitan character was maintained: a knight’s title was recognized in all European countries, and not only in that country in which he had received it. In modern times, however, by certain regulations, made in 1823, and repeated and enlarged in 1855, not only is it provided that the sovereign’s permission by royal warrant shall be necessary for the reception by a British subject of any foreign order of knighthood, but further that such permission shall not authorize “the assumption of any style, appellation, rank, precedence, or privilege appertaining to a knight bachelor of the United Kingdom.”
Since knighthood was accorded either by actual investiture or its equivalent, a counter process of degradation was regarded as necessary for the purpose of depriving anybody who had once received it of the rank and condition it implied. The cases in Degradation.which a knight has been formally degraded in England are exceedingly few, so few indeed that two only are mentioned by Segar, writing in 1602, and Dallaway says that only three were on record in the College of Arms when he wrote in 1793. The last case was that of Sir Francis Michell in 1621, whose spurs were hacked from his heels, his sword-belt cut, and his sword broken over his head by the heralds in Westminster Hall.
Roughly speaking, the age of chivalry properly so called may be said to have extended from the beginning of the crusades to the end of the Wars of the Roses. Even in the way of pageantry and martial exercise it did not long survive the middle ages. In England tilts and tourneys, in which her father had so much excelled, were patronized to the last by Queen Elizabeth, and were even occasionally held until after the death of Henry, prince of Wales. But on the Continent they were discredited by the fatal accident which befell Henry II. of France in 1559. The golden age of chivalry has been variously located. Most writers would place it in the early 13th century, but Gautier would remove it two or three generations further back. It may be true that, in the comparative scarcity of historical evidence, 12th-century romances present a more favourable picture of chivalry at that earlier time; but even such historical evidence as we possess, when carefully scrutinized, is enough to dispel the illusion that there was any period of the middle ages in which the unselfish championship of “God and the ladies” was anything but a rare exception.
It is difficult to describe the true spirit and moral influence of knighthood, if only because the ages in which it flourished differed so widely from our own. At its very best, it was always hampered by the limitations of medieval society. Moreover, many of the noblest precepts of the knightly code were a legacy from earlier ages, and have survived the decay of knighthood just as they will survive all transitory human institutions, forming part of the eternal heritage of the race. Indeed, the most important of these precepts did not even attain to their highest development in the middle ages. As a conscious effort to bring religion into daily life, chivalry was less successful than later puritanism; while the educated classes of our own day far surpass the average medieval knight in discipline, self-control and outward or inward refinement. Freeman’s estimate comes far nearer to the historical facts than Burke’s: “The chivalrous spirit is above all things a class spirit. The good knight is bound to endless fantastic courtesies towards men and still more towards women of a certain rank; he may treat all below that rank with any decree of scorn and cruelty. The spirit of chivalry implies the arbitrary choice of one or two virtues to be practised in such an exaggerated degree as to become vices, while the ordinary laws of right and wrong are forgotten. The false code of honour supplants the laws of the commonwealth, the law of God and the eternal principles of right. Chivalry again in its military aspect not only encourages the love of war for its own sake without regard to the cause for which war is waged, it encourages also an extravagant regard for a fantastic show of personal daring which cannot in any way advance the objects of the siege or campaign which is going on. Chivalry in short is in morals very much what feudalism is in law: each substitutes purely personal obligations devised in the interests of an exclusive class, for the more homely duties of an honest man and a good citizen” (Norman Conquest, v. 482). The chivalry from which Burke drew his ideas was, so far as it existed at all, the product of a far later age. In its own age, chivalry rested practically, like the highest civilization of ancient Greece and Rome, on slave labour; and if many of its most brilliant outward attractions have now faded for ever, this is only because modern civilization tends so strongly to remove social barriers. The knightly ages will always enjoy the glory of having formulated a code of honour which aimed at rendering the upper classes worthy of their exceptional privileges; yet we must judge chivalry not only by its formal code but also by its practical fruits. The ideal is well summed up by F. W. Cornish: “Chivalry taught the world the duty of noble service willingly rendered. It upheld courage and enterprise in obedience to rule, it consecrated military prowess to the service of the Church, glorified the virtues of liberality, good faith, unselfishness and courtesy, and above all, courtesy to women. Against these may be set the vices of pride, ostentation, love of bloodshed, contempt of inferiors, and loose manners. Chivalry was an imperfect discipline, but it was a discipline, and one fit for the times. It may have existed in the world too long: it did not come into existence too early; and with all its shortcomings it exercised a great and wholesome influence in raising the medieval world from barbarism to civilization” (p. 27). This was the ideal, but to give the reader a clear view of the actual features of knightly society in their contrast with that of our own day, it is necessary to bring out one or two very significant shadows.
Far too much has been made of the extent to which the knightly code, and the reverence paid to the Virgin Mary, raised the position of women (e.g. Gautier, p. 360). As Gautier himself admits, the feudal system made it difficult to separate the woman’s person from her fief: instead of the freedom of Christian marriage on which the Church in theory insisted, lands and women were handed over together, as a business bargain, by parents or guardians. In theory, the knight was the defender of widows and orphans; but in practice wardships and marriages were bought and sold as a matter of everyday routine like stocks and shares in the modern market. Lord Thomas de Berkeley (1245–1321) counted on this as a regular and considerable source of income (Smyth, Lives, i. 157). Late in the 15th century, in spite of the somewhat greater liberty of that age, we find Stephen Scrope writing nakedly to a familiar correspondent “for very need [of poverty], I was fain to sell a little daughter I have for much less than I should have done by possibility,” i.e. than the fair market price (Gairdner, Paston Letters, Introduction, p. clxxvi; cf. ccclxxi). Startling as such words are, it is perhaps still more startling to find how frequently and naturally, in the highest society, ladies were degraded by personal violence. The proofs of this which Schultz and Gautier adduce from the Chansons de Geste might be multiplied indefinitely. The Knight of La Tour-Landry (1372) relates, by way of warning to his daughters, a tale of a lady who so irritated her husband by scolding him in company, that he struck her to the earth with his fist and kicked her in the face, breaking her nose. Upon this the good knight moralizes: “And this she had for her euelle and gret langage, that she was wont to saie to her husbonde. And therfor the wiff aught to suffre and lete her husbonde haue the wordes, and to be maister, for that is her worshippe; for it is shame to here striff betwene hem, and in especial before folke. But y saie not but whanne thei be allone, but she may tolle hym with goodly wordes, and counsaile hym to amende yef he do amys” (La Tour, chap. xviii.; cf. xvii. and xix.). The right of wife-beating was formally recognized by more than one code of laws, and it was already a forward step when, in the 13th century, the Coutumes du Beauvoisis provided “que le mari ne doit battre sa femme que raisonnablement” (Gautier, p. 349). This was a natural consequence not only of the want of self-control which we see everywhere in the middle ages, but also of the custom of contracting child-marriages for unsentimental considerations. Between 1288 and 1500 five marriages are recorded in the direct line of the Berkeley family in which the ten contracting parties averaged less than eleven years of age: the marriage contract of another Lord Berkeley was drawn up before he was six years old. Moreover, the same business considerations which dictated those early marriages clashed equally with the strict theory of knighthood. In the same Berkeley family, the lord Maurice IV. was knighted in 1338 at the age of seven to avoid the possible evils of wardship, and Thomas V. for the same reason in 1476 at the age of five. Smyth’s record of this great family shows that, from the middle of the 13th century onwards, the lords were not only statesmen and warriors, but still more distinguished as gentlemen-farmers on a great scale, even selling fruit from the castle gardens, while their ladies would go round on tours of inspection from dairy to dairy. The lord Thomas III. (1326–1361), who was noted as a special lover of tournaments, spent in two years only £90, or an average of about £15 per tournament; yet he was then laying money by at the rate of £450 a year, and, a few years later, at the rate of £1150, or nearly half his income! Indeed, economic causes contributed much to the decay of romantic chivalry. The old families had lost heavily from generation to generation, partly by personal extravagances, but also by gradual alienations of land to the Church and by the enormous expenses of the crusades. Already, in the 13th century, they were hard pressed by the growing wealth of the burghers, and even the greatest nobles could scarcely keep up their state without careful business management. It is not surprising therefore, to find that at least as early as the middle of the 13th century the commercial side of knighthood became very prominent. Although by the code of chivalry no candidate could be knighted before the age of twenty-one, we have seen how great nobles like the Berkeleys obtained that honour for their infant heirs in order to avoid possible pecuniary loss; and French writers of the 14th century complained of this knighting of infants as a common and serious abuse. Moreover, after the knight’s liability to personal service in war had been modified in the 12th century by the scutage system, it became necessary in the first quarter of the 13th to compel landowners to take up the knighthood which in theory they should have coveted as an honour—a compulsion which was soon systematically enforced (Distraint of Knighthood, 1278), and became a recognized source of royal income. An indirect effect of this system was to break down another rule of the chivalrous code—that none could be dubbed who was not of gentle birth. This rule, however, had often been broken before; even the romances of chivalry speak not infrequently of the knighting of serfs or jongleurs; and other causes besides distraint of knighthood tended to level the old distinctions. While knighthood was avoided by poor nobles, it was coveted by rich citizens. It is recorded in 1298 as “an immemorial custom” in Provence that rich burghers enjoyed the honour of knighthood; and less than a century later we find Sacchetti complaining that the dignity is open to any rich upstart, however disreputable his antecedents. Similar causes contributed to the decay of knightly ideas in warfare. Even in the 12th century, when war was still rather the pastime of kings and knights than a national effort, the strict code of chivalry was more honoured in the breach than in the observance. But when the Hundred Years’ War brought a real national conflict between England and France, when archery became of supreme importance, and a large proportion even of the cavalry were mercenary soldiers, then the exigencies of serious warfare swept away much of that outward display and those class-conventions on which chivalry had always rested. Siméon Luce (chap. vi.) has shown how much the English successes in this war were due to strict business methods. Several of the best commanders (e.g. Sir Robert Knolles and Sir Thomas Dagworth) were of obscure birth, while on the French side even Du Guesclin had to wait long for his knighthood because he belonged only to the lesser nobility. The tournament again, which for two centuries had been under the ban of the Church, was often almost as definitely discouraged by Edward III. as it was encouraged by John of France; and while John’s father opened the Crécy campaign by sending Edward a challenge in due form of chivalry, Edward took advantage of this formal delay to amuse the French king with negotiations while he withdrew his army by a rapid march from an almost hopeless position. A couple of quotations from Froissart will illustrate the extent to which war had now become a mere business. Much as he admired the French chivalry, he recognized their impotence at Crécy. “The sharp arrows ran into the men of arms and into their horses, and many fell, horse and men.... And also among the Englishmen there were certain rascals that went afoot with great knives, and they went in among the men of arms, and slew and murdered many as they lay on the ground, both earls, barons, knights and squires, whereof the king of England was after displeased, for he had rather they had been taken prisoners.” How far Edward’s solicitude was disinterested may be gauged from Froissart’s parallel remark about the battle of Aljubarrota, where, as at Agincourt, the handful of victors were obliged by a sudden panic to slay their prisoners. “Lo, behold the great evil adventure that fell that Saturday. For they slew as many good prisoners as would well have been worth, one with another, four hundred thousand franks.” In 1402 Lord Thomas de Berkeley bought, as a speculation, 24 Scottish prisoners. Similar practical considerations forced the nobles of other European countries either to conform to less sentimental methods of warfare and to growing conceptions of nationality, or to become mere Ishmaels of the type which outlived the middle ages in Götz von Berlichingen and his compeers.
Bibliography.—Froissart is perhaps the source from which we may gather most of chivalry in its double aspect, good and bad. The brilliant side comes out most clearly in Joinville, the Chronique de Du Guesclin, and the Histoire de Bayart; the darker side appears in the earlier chronicles of the crusades, and is especially emphasized by preachers and moralists like Jacques de Vitry, Étienne de Bourbon, Nicole Bozon and John Gower. John Smyth’s Lives of the Berkeleys (Bristol and Gloucs. Archaeol. Soc, 2 vols.) and the Book of the Knight of La Tour-Landry (ed. A. de Montaiglon, or in the old English trans. published by the Early English Text Soc.) throw a very vivid light on the inner life of noble families. Of modern books, besides those quoted by their full titles in the notes, the best are A. Schultz, Höfisches Leben z. Zeit der Minnesänger (Leipzig, 1879); S. Luce, Hist. de Du Guesclin et de son Époque (2nd ed., Paris, 1882), masterly but unfortunately unfinished at the author’s death; Léon Gautier, La Chevalerie (Paris, 1883), written with a strong apologetic bias, but full and correct in its references; and F. W. Cornish, Chivalry (London, 1901), too little reference to the more prosaic historical documents, but candid and without intentional partiality. (G. G. Co.)
Orders of Knighthood
When orders ceased to be fraternities and became more and more marks of favour and a means of recognizing meritorious services to the Crown and country, the term “orders” became loosely applied to the insignia and decorations themselves. Thus “orders,” irrespective of the title or other specific designation they confer, fall in Great Britain generally into three main categories, according as the recipients are made “knights grand cross,” “knights commander,” or “companions.” In some orders the classes are more numerous, as in the Royal Victorian, for instance, which has five, numerous foreign orders a like number, some six, while the Chinese “Dragon” boasts no less than eleven degrees. Generally speaking, the insignia of the “knights grand cross” consist of a star worn on the left breast and a badge, usually some form either of the cross patée or of the Maltese cross, worn suspended from a ribbon over the shoulder or, in certain cases, on days of high ceremonial from a collar. The “commanders” wear the badge from a ribbon round the neck, and the star on the breast; the “companions” have no star and wear the badge from a narrow ribbon at the button-hole.
Orders may, again, be grouped according as they are (1) Prime Orders of Christendom, conferred upon an exclusive class only. Here belong, inter alia, the well-known orders of the Garter (England), Golden Fleece (Austria and Spain), Annunziata (Italy), Black Eagle (Prussia), St Andrew (Russia), Elephant (Denmark) and Seraphim (Sweden). Of these the first three only, which are usually held to rank inter se in the order given, are historically identified with chivalry. (2) Family Orders, bestowed upon members of the royal or princely class, or upon humbler individuals according to classes, in respect of “personal” services rendered to the family. To this category belong such orders as the Royal Victorian and the Hohenzollern (Prussia). (3) Orders of Merit, whether military, civil or joint orders. Such have, as a rule, at least three, oftener five classes, and here belong such as the Order of the Bath (British), Red Eagle (Prussia), Legion of Honour (France). There are also certain orders, such as the recently instituted Order of Merit (British), and the Pour le Mérite (Prussia), which have but one class, all members being on an equality of rank within the order.
Of the three great military and religious orders, branches survive of two, the Teutonic Order (Der hohe deutsche Ritter Orden or Marianen Orden) and the Knights of St John of Jerusalem (Johanniter Orden, Malteser Orden), for the history of which and the present state see Teutonic Order and St John of Jerusalem, Knights of the Order of.
Great Britain.—The history and constitution of the “most noble” Order of the Garter has been treated above. The officers of the order are five—the prelate, chancellor, registrar, king of arms and usher—the first, third and fifth having been attached to it from the commencement, while the fourth was added by Henry V. and the second by Edward IV. The prelate has always been the bishop of Winchester; the chancellor was formerly the bishop of Salisbury, but is now the bishop of Oxford; the registrarship and the deanery of Windsor have been united since the reign of Charles I.; the king of arms, whose duties were in the beginning discharged by Windsor herald, is Garter Principal King of Arms; and the usher is the gentleman usher of the Black Rod. The chapel of the order is St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The insignia of the order are illustrated on Plate I.
The “most ancient” Order of the Thistle, was founded by James II. in 1687, and dedicated to St Andrew. It consisted of the sovereign and eight knights companions, and fell into abeyance at the Revolution of 1688. In 1703 it was revived by Queen Anne, when it was ordained to consist of the sovereign and 12 knights companions, the number being increased to 16 by statute in 1827. The officers of the order are the dean, the secretary, Lyon King of Arms and the gentleman usher of the Green Rod. The chapel, in St Giles’s, Edinburgh, was begun in 1909. The star, badge and ribbon of the order are illustrated on Plate II., figs. 5 and 6. The collar is formed of thistles, alternating with sprigs of rue, and themotto is Nemo me impune lacessit. The “most illustrious” Order of St Patrick was instituted
by George III. in 1788, to consist of the sovereign, the lord lieutenant of Ireland as grand master and 15 knights companions, enlarged to 22 in 1833. The chancellor of the order is the chief secretary to the lord lieutenant of Ireland, and the king of arms is Ulster King of Arms; Black Rod is the usher. The chapel is in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. The star, badge and ribbon are illustrated on Plate II., figs. 7 and 8. The collar is formed of alternate roses with red and white leaves, and gold harps linked by gold knots; the badge is suspended from a harp surmounted by an imperial jewelled crown. The motto is Quis separabit?
The “most honourable” Order of the Bath was established by George I. in 1725, to consist of the sovereign, a grand master and 36 knights companions. This was a pretended revival of an order supposed to have been created by Henry IV. at his coronation in 1399. But, as has been shown in the preceding section, no such order existed. Knights of the Bath, although they were allowed precedence before knights bachelors, were merely knights bachelors who were knighted with more elaborate ceremonies than others and on certain great occasions. In 1815 the order was instituted, in three classes, “to commemorate the auspicious termination of the long and arduous contest in which the Empire has been engaged”; and in 1847 the civil knights commanders and companions were added. Exclusive of the sovereign, royal princes and distinguished foreigners, the order is limited to 55 military and 27 civil knights grand cross, 145 military and 108 civil knights commanders, and 705 military and 298 civil companions. The officers of the order are the dean (the dean of Westminster), Bath King of Arms, the registrar, and the usher of the Scarlet Rod. The ribbon and badges of the knights grand cross (civil and military) and the stars are illustrated on Plate II., figs. 1, 2, 3 and 4.
The “most distinguished” Order of St Michael and St George was founded by the prince regent, afterwards George IV., in 1818, in commemoration of the British protectorate of the Ionian Islands, “for natives of the Ionian Islands and of the island of Malta and its dependencies, and for such other subjects of his majesty as may hold high and confidential situations in the Mediterranean.” By statute of 1832 the lord high commissioner of the Ionian Islands was to be the grand master, and the order was directed to consist of 15 knights grand crosses, 20 knights commanders and 25 cavaliers or companions. After the repudiation of the British protectorate of the Ionian Islands, the order was placed on a new basis, and by letters patent of 1868 and 1877 it was extended and provided for such of “the natural born subjects of the Crown of the United Kingdom as may have held or shall hold high and confidential offices within her majesty’s colonial possessions, and in reward for services rendered to the crown in relation to the foreign affairs of the Empire.” It is now (by the enlargement of 1902) limited to 100 knights grand cross, of whom the first or principal is grand master, exclusive of extra and honorary members, of 300 knights commanders and 600 companions. The officers are the prelate, chancellor, registrar, secretary and officer of arms. The chapel of the order, in St Paul’s Cathedral, was dedicated in 1906. The badge of the knights grand cross and the ribbon are illustrated on Plate II., figs. 9 and 10. The star of the knights grand cross is a seven-rayed star of silver with a small ray of gold between each, in the centre is a red St George’s cross bearing a medallion of St Michael encountering Satan, surrounded by a blue fillet with the motto Auspicium melioris aevi.
The Order of St Michael and St George ranks between the “most exalted” Order of the Star of India and the “most eminent” Order of the Indian Empire, of both of which the viceroy of India for the time being is ex officio grand master. Of these the first was instituted in 1861 and enlarged in 1876, 1897 and 1903, in three classes, knights grand commanders, knights commanders and companions, and the second was established (for “companions” only) in 1878 and enlarged in 1887, 1892, 1897 and 1903, also in the same three classes, in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s assumption of the imperial style and title of the Empress of India. The badges, stars and ribbons of the knights grand commanders of the two orders are illustrated on Plate III., figs. 3, 4, 5 and 6. The collar of the Star of India is composed of alternate links of the lotus flower, red and white roses and palm branches enamelled on gold, with an imperial crown in the centre; that of the Indian Empire is composed of elephants, peacocks and Indian roses.
The Royal Victorian Order was instituted by Queen Victoria on the 25th of April 1896, and conferred for personal services rendered to her majesty and her successors on the throne. It consists of the sovereign, chancellor, secretary and five classes—knights grand commanders, knights commanders, commanders and members of the fourth and fifth classes, the distinction between these last divisions lying in the badge and in the precedence enjoyed by the members. The knights of this order rank in their respective classes immediately after those of the Indian Empire, and its numbers are unlimited. The badge, star and ribbon of the knights grand cross are illustrated on Plate III., figs. 1 and 2.
To the class of orders without the titular appellation “knight” belongs the Order of Merit, founded by King Edward VII. on the occasion of his coronation. The order is founded on the lines of the Prussian Ordre pour le mérite (see below), yet more comprehensive, including those who have gained distinction in the military and naval services of the Empire, and such as have made themselves a great name in the fields of science, art and literature. The number of British members has been fixed at twenty-four, with the addition of such foreign persons as the sovereign shall appoint. The names of the first recipients were: Earl Roberts, Viscount Wolseley, Viscount Kitchener, Sir Henry Keppel, Sir Edward Seymour, Lord Lister, Lord Rayleigh, Lord Kelvin, John Morley, W. E. H. Lecky, G. F. Watts and Sir William Huggins. The only foreign recipients up to 1910 were Field Marshals Yamagata and Oyama and Admiral Togo. A lady, Miss Florence Nightingale, received the order in 1907. The badge is a cross of red and blue enamel surmounted by an imperial crown; the central blue medallion bears the inscription “For Merit” in gold, and is surrounded by a wreath of laurel. The badge of the military and naval members bears two crossed swords in the angles of the cross. The ribbon is garter blue and crimson and is worn round the neck.
The Distinguished Service Order, an order of military merit, was founded on the 6th of September 1886 by Queen Victoria, its object being to recognize the special services of officers in the army and navy. Its numbers are unlimited, and its designation the letters D.S.O. It consists of one class only, who take precedence immediately after the 4th class of the Royal Victorian Order. The badge is a white and gold cross with a red centre bearing the imperial crown surrounded by a laurel wreath. The ribbon is red edged with blue. The Imperial Service Order was likewise instituted on the 26th of June 1902, and finally revised in 1908, to commemorate King Edward’s coronation, and is specially designed as a recognition of faithful and meritorious services rendered to the British Crown by the administrative members of the civil service in various parts of the Empire, and is to consist of companions only. The numbers are limited to 475, of whom 250 belong to the home and 225 to the civil services of the colonies and protectorates (Royal Warrant, June 1909). Women as well as men are eligible. The members of the order have the distinction of adding the letters I.S.O. after their names. In precedence the order ranks after the Distinguished Service Order. The badge is a gold medallion bearing the royal cipher and the words “For Faithful Service” in blue; for men it rests on a silver star, for women it is surrounded by a silver wreath. The ribbon is one blue between two crimson stripes.
In addition to the above, there are two British orders confined to ladies. The Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, which was instituted in 1862, is a purely court distinction. It consists of four classes, and it has as designation the letters V.A. The Imperial Order of the Crown of India is conferred for like purposes as the Order of the Indian Empire. Its primary object is to recognize the services of ladies connected with the court of India. The letters C.I. are its designation.
The sovereign’s permission by royal warrant is necessary before a British subject can receive a foreign order of knighthood. For other decorations, see under Medals.
The Golden Fleece (La Toison d’Or) ranks historically and in distinction as one of the great knightly orders of Europe. It is now divided into two branches, of Austria and Spain. It was founded on the 10th of January, 1429/30 by Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, on the day of his marriage with Isabella of Portugal at Bruges, in her honour and dedicated to the Virgin and St Andrew. No certain origin can be given for the name. It seems to have been in dispute even in the early history of the order. Four different sources have been suggested; the classical myth of the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts for the golden fleece, the scriptural story of Gideon, the staple trade of Flanders in wool, and the fleece of golden hair of Marie de Rambrugge, the duke’s mistress. Motley (Rise of Dutch Rep., i. 48) says: “What could be more practical and more devout than the conception? Did not the Lamb of God, suspended at each knight’s heart, symbolize at once the woollen fabrics to which so much of Flemish wealth and Burgundian power was owing, and the gentle humility of Christ which was ever to characterize the order?” At its constitution the number of the knights was limited to 24, exclusive of the grand master, the sovereign. The members were to be gentilshommes de nom et d’armes et sans reproche, not knights of any other order, and vowed to join their sovereign in the defence of the Catholic faith, the protection of Holy Church, and the upholding of virtue and good morals. The sovereign undertook to consult the knights before embarking on a war, all disputes between the knights were to be settled by the order, at each chapter the deeds of each knight were held in review, and punishments and admonitions were dealt out to offenders; to this the sovereign was expressly subject. Thus we find that the emperor Charles V. accepted humbly the criticism of the knights of the Fleece on his over-centralization of the government and the wasteful personal attention to details (E. A. Armstrong, Charles V., 1902, ii. 373). The knights could claim as of right to be tried by their fellows on charges of rebellion, heresy and treason, and Charles V. conferred on the order exclusive jurisdiction over all crimes committed by the knights. The arrest of the offender had to be by warrant signed by at least six knights, and during the process of charge and trial he remained not in prison but dans l’aimable compagnie du dit ordre. It was in defiance of this right that Alva refused the claim of Counts Egmont and Horn to be tried by the knights of the Fleece in 1568. During the 16th century the order frequently acted as a consultative body in the state; thus in 1539 and 1540 Charles summons the knights with the council of state and the privy council to decide what steps should be taken in face of the revolt of Ghent (Armstrong, op. cit., i. 302), in 1562 Margaret of Parma, the regent, summons them to Brussels to debate the dangerous condition of the provinces (Motley, i. 48), and they were present at the abdication of Charles in the great hall at Brussels in 1555. The history of the order and its subsequent division into the two branches of Austria and Spain may be briefly summarized. By the marriage of Mary, only daughter of Charles the Bold of Burgundy to Maximilian, archduke of Austria, 1477, the grand mastership of the order came to the house of Habsburg and, with the Netherlands provinces, to Spain in 1504 on the accession of Philip, Maximilian’s son, to Castile. On the extinction of the Habsburg dynasty in Spain by the death of Charles II. in 1700 the grand-mastership, which had been filled by the kings of Spain after the loss of the Netherlands, was claimed by the emperor Charles VI., and he instituted the order in Vienna in 1713. Protests were made at various times by Philip V., but the question has never been finally decided by treaty, and the Austrian and Spanish branches have continued as independent orders ever since as the principal order of knighthood in the respective states. It may be noticed that while the Austrian branch excludes any other than Roman Catholics from the order, the Spanish Fleece may be granted to Protestants. The badges of the two branches vary slightly in detail, more particularly in the attachment of fire-stones (fusils or furisons) and steels by which the fleece is attached to the ribbon of the collar. The Spanish form is given on Plate IV., fig. 2. The collar is composed of alternate links of furisons and double steels interlaced to form the letter B for Burgundy. A magnificent exhibition of relics, portraits of knights and other objects connected with the order of the Golden Fleece was held at Bruges in 1907.
The chief history of the order is Baron de Reiffenberg’s Histoire de l’Ordre de la Toison d’Or (1830); see also an article by Sir J. Balfour Paul, Lyon King of Arms, in the Scottish Historical Review (July 1908).
Austria-Hungary.—The following are the principal orders other than that of the Golden Fleece (supra). The Order of St Stephen of Hungary, the royal Hungarian order, founded in 1764 by the empress Maria Theresa, consists of the grand master (the sovereign), 20 knights grand cross, 30 knights commanders and 50 knights. The badge is a green enamelled cross with gold borders, suspended from the Hungarian crown; the red enamelled medallion in the centre of the cross bears a white patriarchal cross issuing from a coroneted green mound; on either side of the cross are the letters M.T. in gold, and the whole is surrounded by a white fillet with the legend Publicum Meritorum Praemium. The ribbon is green with a crimson central stripe. The collar, only worn by the knights grand cross, is of gold, and consists of Hungarian crowns linked together alternately by the monograms of St Stephen, S.S., and the foundress, M.T.; the centre of the collar is formed by a flying lark encircled by the motto Stringit amore. An illustration of the star of the grand cross is given on Plate V. fig. 4. The Order of Leopold, for civil and military service, was founded in 1808 by the emperor Francis I. in memory of his father Leopold II. The three classes take precedence next after the corresponding classes of the order of St Stephen. The badge is a red enamelled cross bordered with white and gold and surmounted by the imperial crown; the red medallion in the centre bears the letters F.I.A., and on the encircling white fillet is the inscription Integritati et Merito. When conferred for service in war the cross rests on a green laurel wreath. The ribbon is scarlet with two white stripes. The collar consists of imperial crowns, the initials F. and L. and oak wreaths. The Order of the Iron Crown, i.e. of Lombardy, was founded by Napoleon as king of Italy in 1809, and refounded as an Austrian order of civil and military merit in 1816 by the emperor Francis I.; the number of knights is limited to 100—20 grand cross, 30 commanders, 50 knights. The badge consists of the double-headed imperial eagle with sword and orb; below it is the jewelled iron crown of Lombardy, and above the imperial crown; on the breast of the eagle is a gold-bordered blue shield with the letter F. in gold. The military decoration for war service also bears two green laurel branches. The ribbon is yellow edged with narrow blue stripes. The collar is formed of Lombard crowns, oak wreaths and the monogram F. P. (Franciscus Primus). The Order of Francis Joseph, for personal merit of every kind, was founded in 1849 by the emperor Francis Joseph I. It is of the three usual classes and is unlimited in numbers. The badge is a black and gold imperial eagle surmounted by the imperial crown. The eagle bears a red cross with a white medallion, containing the letters F. J., and to the beaks of the two heads of the eagle is attached a chain on which is the legend Viribus Unitis. The ribbon is deep red. The Order of Maria Theresa was founded by the empress Maria Theresa in 1757. It is a purely military order and is given to officers for personal distinguished conduct in the field. There are three classes. There were originally only two, grand cross and knights. The emperor Joseph II. added a commanders’ class in 1765. The badge is a white cross with gold edge, in the centre a red medallion with a white gold-edged fesse, surrounded by a fillet with the inscription Fortitudini. The ribbon is red with a white central stripe. The Order of Elizabeth Theresa, also a military order for officers, was founded in 1750 by the will of Elizabeth Christina, widow of the emperor Charles VI. It was renovated in 1771 by her daughter, the empress Maria Theresa. The order is limited to 21 knights in three divisions. The badge is an oval star with eight points, enamelled half red and white, dependent from a gold imperial crown. The central medallion bears the initials of the founders, with the encircling inscription M. Theresa parentis gratiam perennem voluit. The ribbon is black. The Order of the Starry Cross, for high-born ladies of the Roman Catholic faith who devote themselves to good works, spiritual and temporal, was founded in 1668 by the empress Eleanor, widow of the emperor Ferdinand III. and mother of Leopold I., to commemorate the recovery of a relic of the true cross from a dangerous fire in the imperial palace at Vienna. The relic was supposed to have been peculiarly treasured by the emperor Maximilian I. and the emperor Frederick III. The patroness of the order must be a princess of the imperial Austrian house. The badge is the black double-headed eagle surrounded by a blue-enamelled ornamented border, with the inscription Salus et Gloria on a white fillet; the eagle bears a red Greek cross with gold and blue borders. The Order of Elizabeth, also for ladies, was founded in 1898.
Belgium.—The Order of Leopold, for civil and military merit, was founded in 1832 by Leopold I., with four classes, a fifth being added in 1838. The badge is a white enamelled cross, with gold borders and balls, suspended from a royal crown and resting on a green laurel and oak wreath. In the centre a medallion, surrounded by a red fillet with the motto of the order, L’union fait la force, bears a golden Belgian lion on a black field. The ribbon is watered red.
The Order of the Iron Cross, the badge of which is a black cross with gold borders, with a gold centre bearing a lion, was instituted by Leopold II. in 1867 as an order of civil merit. The military cross was instituted in 1885. There are also the following orders instituted by Leopold II. for service in the Congo State: the Order of the African Star (1888), the Royal Order of the Lion (1891) and the Congo Star (1889).
Bulgaria.—The Order of SS Cyril and Methodius was instituted in 1909 by King Ferdinand to commemorate the elevation of the principality to the position of an independent kingdom. It now takes precedence of the Order of St Alexander, which was founded by Prince Alexander in 1881, and reconstituted by Prince Ferdinand in 1888. There are six classes. The plain white cross, suspended from the Bulgarian crown, bears the name of the patron saint in old Cyrillic letters in the centre.
Denmark.—The Order of the Elephant, one of the chief European orders of knighthood, was, it is said, founded by Christian I. in 1462; a still earlier origin has been assigned to it, but its regular institution was that of Christian V. in 1693. The order, exclusive of the sovereign and his sons, is limited to 30 knights, who must be of the Protestant religion. The badge of the order is illustrated on Plate IV. fig. 5. The ribbon is light watered blue, the collar of alternate gold elephants with blue housings and towers, the star of silver with a purple medallion bearing a silver or brilliant cross surrounded by a silver laurel wreath. The motto is Magnanime pretium. The Order of the Dannebrog is, according to Danish tradition, of miraculous origin, and was founded by Valdemar II. in 1219 as a memorial of a victory over the Esthonians, won by the appearance in the sky of a red banner bearing a white cross. Historically the order dates from the foundation in 1671 by Christian V. at the birth of his son Frederick, the statutes being published in 1693. Originally restricted to 50 knights and granted as a family or court decoration, it was reconstituted as an unlimited order of merit in 1808 by Frederick VI.; alterations have been made in 1811 and 1864. It now consists of three classes—grand cross, commander (two grades), knight, and of one rank of ordinary members (Dannebrogs maender). The badge of the order is, with variations for the different classes, a white enamelled Danish cross with red and gold borders, bearing in the centre the letter W (V) and on the four arms the inscription Gud og Kongen (For God and King). The ribbon is white with red edging.
France.—The Legion of Honour, the only order of France, and one which in its higher grades ranks in estimation with the highest European orders, was instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte on the 19th of May 1802 (29 Floreal of the year X.) as a general military and civil order of merit. All soldiers on whom “swords of honour” had been already conferred were declared legionaries ipso facto, and all citizens after 25 years’ service were declared eligible, whatever their birth, rank or religion. On admission all were to swear to co-operate so far as in them lay for the assertion of the principles of liberty and equality. The organization as laid down by Napoleon in 1804 was as follows: Napoleon was grand master; a grand council of 7 grand officers administered the order; the order was divided into 15 “cohorts” of 7 grand officers, 20 commanders, 30 officers and 350 legionaries, and at the headquarters of the cohorts, for which the territory of France was separated into 15 divisions, were maintained hospitals for the support of the sick and infirm legionaries. Salaries (traitements) varying in each rank were attached to the order. In 1805 the rank of “Grand Eagle” (now Grand Cross, or Grand Cordon) was instituted, taking precedence of the grand officers. At the Restoration many changes were made, the old military and religious orders were restored, and the Legion of Honour, now Ordre Royale de la Légion d’Honneur, took the lowest rank. The revolution of July 1830 restored the order to its unique place. The constitution of the order now rests on the decrees of the 16th of March and 24th of November 1852, the law of the 25th of July 1873, the decree of the 29th of December 1892, and the laws of the 16th of April 1895 and the 28th of January 1897, and a decree of the 26th of June 1900. The president of the republic is the grand master of the order; the administration is in the hands of a grand chancellor, who has a council of the order nominated by the grand master. The chancellery is housed in the Palais de la Légion de l’Honneur, which, burnt during the Commune, was rebuilt in 1878. The order consists of the five classes of grand cross (limited to 80), grand officer (200), commander (1000), officers (4000), and chevalier or knight, in which the number is unlimited. These limitations in number do not affect the foreign recipients of the order. Salaries (traitements) are attached to the military and naval recipients of the order when on the active list, viz. 3000 francs for grand cross, 2000 francs for grand officers, 1000 francs for commanders, 250 francs for chevaliers. The numbers of the recipients of the order sans traitement are limited through all classes. In ordinary circumstances twenty years of military, naval or civil service must have been performed before a candidate can be eligible for the rank of chevalier, and promotions can only be made after definite service in the lower rank. Extraordinary service in time of war and extraordinary services in civil life admit to any rank. Women have been decorated, notably Rosa Bonheur, Madame Curie and Madame Bartet. The Napoleonic form of the grand cross and ribbon is illustrated on Plate IV, fig. 6; the cross from which the drawing was made was given to King Edward VII. when prince of Wales in 1863. In the present order of the French Republic the symbolical head of the Republic appears in the centre, and a laurel wreath replaces the imperial crown; the inscription round the medallion is République française. Since 1805 there has existed an institution, Maison d’éducation de la Legion d’Honneur, for the education of the daughters, granddaughters, sisters and nieces of members of the Legion of Honour. There are three houses, at Saint Denis, at Écouen and Les Loges (see Dictionnaire de l’administration française, by M. Block and E. Magnéro, 1905, s.v. “Decorations”).
Among the orders swept away at the French Revolution, restored in part at the Restoration, and finally abolished at the revolution of July 1830 were the following: The Order of St Michael was founded by Louis XI. in 1469 for a limited number of knights of noble birth. Later the numbers were so much increased under Charles IX. that it became known as Le Collier à toutes bêtes. In 1816 the order was granted for services in art and science. In view of the low esteem into which the Order of St Michael had fallen, Henry III. founded in 1578 the Order of the Holy Ghost (St Esprit). The badge of the order was a white Maltese cross decorated in gold, with the gold lilies of France at the angles, in the centre a white dove with wings outstretched, the ribbon was sky blue (cordon bleu). The motto of the order was Duce et auspice. The Order of St Louis was founded by Louis XIV. in 1693 for military merit, and the Order of Military Merit by Louis XV. in 1759, originally for Protestant officers.
Germany.—i. Anhalt. The Order of Albert the Bear, a family order or Hausorden, was founded in 1836 by the dukes Henry of Anhalt-Köthen, Leopold Frederick of Anhalt-Dessau and Alexander Charles of Anhalt-Bernburg. Changes in the constitution have been made at various dates. It now consists of five classes, grand cross, commander (2 classes) and knights (2 classes). The badge is a gold oval bearing in gold a crowned and collared bear on a crenellated wall; below the ring by which the badge is attached to the ribbon is a shield with the arms of the house of Anhalt, on the reverse those of the house of Ascania. Round the oval is the motto Fürchte Gott und folge seine Befehle. The ribbon is green with two red stripes. The grand master alone wears a collar.
ii. Baden. The Order of Fidelity or Loyalty (Hausorden der Treue) was instituted by William, margrave of Baden-Durlach in 1715, and reconstituted in 1803 by the elector Charles Frederick. There is now only one class, for princes of the reigning house, foreign sovereigns and eminent men of the state. The badge is a red enamelled cross with gold borders and double C’s interlaced in the angles; in the centre a white medallion with red monogram over a green mound surmounted by the word Fidelitas in black; the cross is suspended from a ducal crown. The ribbon is orange with silver edging. The military Order of Charles Frederick was founded in 1807. There are three classes. The badge is a white cross resting on a green laurel wreath, the ribbon is red with a yellow stripe bordered with white. The order is conferred for long and meritorious military service. The Order of the Zähringen Lion was founded in 1812 in commemoration of the descent of the reigning house of Baden from the dukes of Zähringen. It has been reconstituted in 1840 and 1877. It now consists of five classes. The badge is a green enamel cross with gold clasps in the angles; in the central medallion an enamelled representation of the ruined castle of Zähringen. The ribbon is green with two orange stripes. Since 1896 the Order of Berthold I. has been a distinct order; it was founded in 1877 as a higher class of the Zähringen Lion.
iii. Bavaria. The Order of St Hubert, one of the oldest and most distinguished knightly orders, was founded in 1444 by duke Gerhard V. of Jülich-Berg in honour of a victory over Count Arnold of Egmont at Ravensberg on the 3rd of November, St Hubert’s day. The knights wore a collar of golden hunting horns, whence the order was also known as the Order of the Horn. Statutes were granted in 1476, but the order fell into abeyance at the extinction of the dynasty in 1609. It was revived in 1708 by the elector palatine, John William of Neuberg, and its constitution was altered at various times, its final form being given by the elector Maximilian Joseph, first king of Bavaria, in 1808. Exclusive of the sovereign and princes of the blood, and foreign sovereigns and princes, it consists of twelve capitular knights of the rank of count or Freiherr. The badge of the order and the ribbon are illustrated in Plate V. fig. 3. The central medallion represents the conversion of St Hubert. The collar is composed of gold and blue enamel figures of the conversion linked by the Gothic monogram I.T.V., In Trau Vast, the motto of the order, alternately red and green. The Order of St George, said to have been founded in the 12th century as a crusading order and revived by the emperor Maximilian I. in 1494, dates historically from its institution in 1729 by the elector Charles Albert, afterwards the emperor Charles VII. It was confirmed by the elector Charles Theodore in 1778 and by the elector Maximilian Joseph IV. as the second Bavarian order. Various new statutes have been granted from 1827 to 1875. The order is divided into two branches, “of German and foreign languages,” and it also has a “spiritual class.” The members of the order must be Roman Catholics. The badge is a blue enamelled cross with white and gold edging suspended from the mouth of a gold lion’s head; in the angles of the cross are blue lozenges containing the letters V.I.B.I., Virgini Immaculatae Bavaria Immaculata. The central medallion contains a figure of the Immaculate Conception. The medallion on the reverse contains a figure of St George and the Dragon and the corresponding initials J.U.P.F., Justus ut Palma Florebit, the motto of the order. Besides the above Bavaria possesses the Military Order of Maximilian Joseph, 1806, and the Civil Orders of Merit of St Michael, 1693, and of the Bavarian Crown, 1808, and other minor orders and decorations, civil and military. There are also the two illustrious orders for ladies, the Order of Elizabeth, founded in 1766, and the Order of Theresa, in 1827. The foundations of St Anne of Munich and of St Anne of Würzburg for ladies are not properly orders.
iv. Brunswick. The Order of Henry the Lion, for military and civil merit, was founded by Duke William in 1834. There are five classes, and a cross of merit of two classes. The badge is a blue enamelled cross dependent from a lion surmounted by the ducal crown; the angles of the cross are filled by crowned W’s and the centre bears the arms of Brunswick, a crowned pillar and a white horse, between two sickles. The ribbon is deep red bordered with yellow.
v. Hanover. The Order of St George (one class only) was instituted by King Ernest Augustus I. in 1839 as the family order of the house of Hanover; the Royal Guelphic Order (three classes) by George, prince regent, afterwards George IV. of Great Britain, in 1815; and the Order of Ernest Augustus by George V. of Hanover in 1865. These orders have not been conferred since 1866, when Hanover ceased to be a kingdom, and the Royal Guelphic Order, which from its institution was more British than Hanoverian, not since the death of William IV. in 1837. The last British grand cross was the late duke of Cambridge.
vi. Hesse. Of the various orders founded by the houses of Hesse-Cassel and Hesse-Darmstadt the following are still bestowed in the grand duchy of Hesse. The Order of Louis, founded by the grand duke Louis I. of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1807; there are five classes; the black, red and gold bordered cross bears the initial L. in the centre, the ribbon is black with red borders; the Order of Philip the Magnanimous, founded by the grand duke Louis II. in 1840 has five classes; the white cross of the badge bears the effigy of Philip surrounded by the motto Si Deus vobiscum quis contra nos. The Order of the Golden Lion was founded in 1770 by the landgrave Frederick II. of Hesse-Cassel, the knights are 41 in number and take precedence of the members of the two former orders. The badge is an open oval of gold with the Hessian lion in the centre. The ribbon is crimson.
vii. Mecklenburg. The grand duchies of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz possess jointly the Order of the Wendish Crown, founded in 1864 by the grand dukes Frederick Francis II. of Schwerin and Frederick William of Strelitz; there are four classes, with two divisions of the grand cross, and also an affiliated cross of merit; the grand cross can be granted to ladies. The badge is a white cross bearing on a blue centre the Wendish crown, surrounded by the motto, for the Schwerin knights, Per aspera ad astra, for the Strelitz knights, Avito viret honore. The Order of the Griffin, founded in 1884 by Frederick Francis III. of Schwerin, was made common to the duchies in 1904.
viii. Oldenberg. The Order of Duke Peter Frederick Louis, a family order and order of merit, was founded by the grand duke Paul Frederick Augustus in memory of his father in 1838. It has two divisions, each of five classes, of capitular knights and honorary members. The badge is a white gold bordered cross suspended from a crown, in the centre the crowned monogram P.F.L. surrounded by the motto Ein Gott, Ein Recht, Eine Wahrheit; the ribbon is dark blue bordered with red.
ix. Prussia. The Order of the Black Eagle, one of the most distinguished of European orders, was founded in 1701 by the elector of Brandenburg, Frederick I., in memory of his coronation as king of Prussia. The order consists of one class only and the original statutes limited the number, exclusive of the princes of the royal house and foreign members, to 30. But the number has been exceeded. It is only conferred on those of royal lineage and upon high officers of state. It confers the nobiliary particle von. Only those who have received the Order of the Red Eagle are eligible. An illustration of the badge of the order with ribbon is given on Plate IV. fig. 3. The star of silver bears the black eagle on an orange ground surrounded by a silver fillet on which is the motto of the order Suum Cuique. The collar is formed of alternate black eagles and a circular medallion with the motto on a white centre surrounded by the initials F.R. repeated in green, the whole in a circle of blue with four gold crowns on the exterior rim. The Order of the Red Eagle, the second of the Prussian orders, was founded originally as the Order of Sincerity (L’Ordre de la Sincerité) in 1705 by George William, hereditary prince of Brandenburg-Bayreuth. The original constitution and insignia are now entirely changed, with the exception of the red eagle which formed the centre of the cross of the badge. The order had almost fallen into oblivion when it was revived in 1734 by the margrave George Frederick Charles as the Order of the Brandenburg Red Eagle. It consisted of 30 nobly born knights. The numbers were increased and a grand cross class added in 1759. On the cession of the principality to Prussia in 1791 the order was transferred and King Frederick William raised it to that place in Prussian orders which it has since maintained. The order was divided into four classes in 1810 and there are now five classes with numerous subdivisions. It is an order of civil and military merit. The grand cross resembles the badge of the Black Eagle, but is white and the eagles in the corners red, the central medallion bearing the initials W.R. (those of William I.) surrounded by a blue fillet with the motto Sincere et Constanter. The numerous classes and subdivisions have exceedingly complicated distinguishing marks, some bearing crossed swords, a crown, or an oak-leaf surmounting the cross. The ribbon is white with two orange stripes.
The Order for Merit (Ordre pour le Mérite), one of the most highly prized of European orders of merit, has now two divisions, military and for science and art. It was originally founded by the electoral prince Frederick, afterwards Frederick I. of Prussia, in 1667 as the Order of Generosity; it was given its present name and granted for civil and military distinction by Frederick the Great, 1740. In 1810 the order was made one for military merit against the enemy in the field exclusively. In 1840 the class for distinction for science and art, or peace class (Friedensklasse) was founded by Frederick William IV., for those “who have gained an illustrious name by wide recognition in the spheres of science and art.” The number is limited to 30 German and 30 foreign members. The Academy of Sciences and Arts on a vacancy nominates three candidates, from which one is selected by the king. It is interesting to note that this was the only distinction which Thomas Carlyle would accept. The badge of the military order is a blue cross with gold uncrowned eagles in the angles; on the topmost arm is the initial F., with a crown; on the other arms the inscription Pour le Mérite. The ribbon is black with a silver stripe at the edges. In 1866 a special grand cross was instituted for the crown prince (afterwards Frederick III.) and Prince Frederick Charles. It was in 1879 granted to Count von Moltke as a special distinction. The badge of the class for science or art is a circular medallion of white, with a gold eagle in the centre surrounded by a blue border with the inscription Pour le Mérite; on the white field the letters ꟻF. II. four times repeated, and four crowns in gold projecting from the rim. The ribbon is the same as for the military class. The Order of the Crown, founded by William I. in 1861, ranks with the Red Eagle. There are four classes, with many subdivisions. Other Prussian orders are the Order of William, instituted by William II. in 1896; a Prussian branch of the knights of St John of Jerusalem, Johanniter Orden, in its present form dating from 1893; and the family Order of the House of Hohenzollern, founded in 1851 by Frederick William IV. There are two divisions, military and civil, divided into four classes. The military badge is a white cross with black and gold edging, resting on a green oak and laurel wreath; the central medallion bears the Prussian Eagle with the arms of Hohenzollern, and is surrounded by a blue fillet with the motto Vom Fels zum Meer; the civil badge is a black eagle, with the head encircled with a blue fillet with the motto. There are also for ladies the Order of Service, founded in 1814 by Frederick William III., in one class, but enlarged in 1850 and in 1865. The decoration of merit for ladies (Verdienst-kreuz), founded in 1870, was raised to an order in 1907. For the famous military decoration, the Iron Cross, see Medals.
x. Saxony.—The Order of the Crown of Rue (Rauten Krone) was founded as a family order by Frederick Augustus I. in 1807. It is of one class only, and the sons and nephews of the sovereign are born knights of the order. It is granted to foreign ruling princes and subjects of high rank. The badge is a pale green enamelled cross resting on a gold crown with eight rue leaves, the centre is white with the crowned monogram of the founder surrounded by a green circlet of rue; the star bears in its centre the motto Providentiae Memor. The ribbon is green. Other Saxon orders are the military Order of St Henry, for distinguished service in the field, founded in 1736 in one class; since 1829 it has had four classes; the ribbon is sky blue with two yellow stripes, the gold cross bears in the centre the effigy of the emperor Henry II.; the Order of Albert, for civil and military merit, founded in 1850 by Frederick Augustus II. in memory of Duke Albert the Bold, the founder of the Albertine lineof Saxony, has six classes; the Order of Civil Merit, was founded in
1815. For ladies there are the Order of Sidonia, 1870, in memory of the wife of Albert the Bold, the mother (Stamm-Mutter) of the Albertine line; and the Maria Anna Order, 1906.
xi. The duchies of Saxe Altenburg, Saxe Coburg Gotha and Saxe Meiningen have in common the family Order of Ernest, founded in 1833 in memory of Duke Ernest the Pious of Saxe Gotha and as a revival of the Order of German Integrity (Orden der deutschen Redlichkeit) founded in 1690. Saxe Coburg Gotha and Saxe Meiningen have also separate crosses of merit in science and art.
xii. Saxe Weimar.—The Order of the White Falcon or of Vigilance was founded in 1732 and renewed in 1815.
xiii. Württemberg.—The Order of the Crown of Württemberg was founded in 1818, uniting the former Order of the Golden Eagle and an order of civil merit. It has five classes. The badge is a white cross surmounted by the royal crown, in the centre the initial F surrounded by a crimson fillet on which is the motto Furchtlos und Treu; in the angles of the cross are four golden leopards; the ribbon is crimson with two black stripes. Besides the military Order of Merit founded in 1759, and the silver cross of merit, 1900, Württemberg has also the Order of Frederick, 1830, and the Order of Olga, 1871, which is granted to ladies as well as men.
Greece.—The Order of the Redeemer was founded as such in 1833 by King Otto, being a conversion of a decoration of honour instituted in 1829 by the National Assembly at Argos. There are five classes, the numbers being regulated for each. An illustration of the badge and ribbon of the grand cross is given on Plate V. fig. 1.
Holland.—The Order of William, for military merit, was founded in 1815 by William I.; there are four classes; the badge is a white cross resting on a green laurel Burgundian cross, in the centre the Burgundian flint-steel, as in the order of the Golden Fleece. The motto Voer Moed, Belied, Trouw (For Valour, Devotion, Loyalty), appears on the arms of the cross. The cross is surmounted by a jewelled crown; the ribbon is orange with dark blue edging. The Order of the Netherlands Lion, for civil merit, was founded in 1818; there are four classes. The family Order of the Golden Lion of Nassau passed in 1890 to the grand duchy of Luxembourg (see under Luxemburg). In 1892 Queen Wilhelmina instituted the Order of Orange-Nassau with five classes. The Teutonic Order (q.v.), surviving in the Ballarde (Bailiwick) of Utrecht, was officially established in the Netherlands by the States General in 1580. It was abolished by Napoleon in 1811 and was restored in 1815.
Italy.—The Order of the Annunziata, the highest order of knighthood of the Italian kingdom, was instituted in 1362 by Amadeus VI., count of Savoy, as the Order of the Collare or Collar, from the silver collar made up of love-knots and roses, which was its badge, in honour of the fifteen joys of the Virgin; hence the number of the knights was restricted to fifteen, the fifteen chaplains recited fifteen masses each day, and the clauses of the original statute of the order were fifteen (Amadeus VIII. added five others in 1434). Charles III. decreed that the order should be called the Annunziata, and made some other alterations in 1518. His son and successor, Emmanuel Philibert, made further modifications in the statute and the costume. The church of the order was originally the Carthusian monastery of Pierre-châtel in the district of Bugey, but after Charles Emmanuel I. had given Bugey and Bresse to France in 1601 the church of the order was transferred to the Camaldolese monastery near Turin. That religious order having been suppressed at the time of the French Revolution, King Charles Albert decreed in 1840 that the Carthusian church of Collegno should be the chapel of the order. The knights of the Annunziata have the title of “cousins of the king,” and enjoy precedence over all the other officials of the state. The costume of the order is of white satin embroidered in silk, with a purple velvet cloak adorned with roses and gold embroidery, but it is now never worn; in the collar the motto Fert is inserted, on the meaning of which there is great uncertainty, and from it hangs a pendant enclosing a medallion representing the Annunciation (see Plate IV. fig. 7). An account of the order is given in Count Luigi Cibrario’s Ordini Cavallereschi (Turin, 1846) with coloured plates of the costume and badges.
The Order of St Maurice and St Lazarus (SS Maurizio e Lazzaro), is a combination of two ancient orders. The Order of St Maurice was originally founded by Amadeus VIII., duke of Savoy, in 1434, when he retired to the hermitage of Ripaille, and consisted of a group of half-a-dozen councillors who were to advise him on such affairs of state as he continued to control. When he became pope as Felix V. the order practically ceased to exist. It was re-established at the instance of Emmanuel Philibert by Pope Pius V. in 1572 as a military and religious order, and the following year it was united to that of St Lazarus by Gregory XIII. The latter order had been founded as a military and religious community at the time of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem with the object of assisting lepers, many of whom were among its members. Popes, princes and nobles endowed it with estates and privileges, including that of administering and succeeding to the property of lepers, which eventually led to grave abuses. With the advance of the Saracens the knights of St Lazarus, when driven from the Holy Land and Egypt, migrated to France (1291) and Naples (1311), where they founded leper hospitals. The order in Naples, which alone was afterwards recognized as the legitimate descendant of the Jerusalem community, was empowered to seize and confine anyone suspected of leprosy, a permission which led to the establishment of a regular inquisitorial system of blackmail. In the 15th and 16th centuries dissensions broke out among the knights, and the order declined in credit and wealth, until finally the grand master, Giannotto Castiglioni, resigned his position in favour of Emmanuel Philibert, duke of Savoy, in 1571. Two years later the orders of St Lazarus and St Maurice were incorporated into one community, the members of which were to devote themselves to the defence of the Holy See and to fight its enemies as well as to continue assisting lepers. The galleys of the order subsequently took part in various expeditions against the Turks and the Barbary pirates. Leprosy, which had almost disappeared in the 17th century, broke out once more in the 18th, and in 1773 a hospital was established by the order at Aosta, made famous by Xavier de Maistre’s tale, Le Lépreux de la cité d’Aoste. The statutes were published in 1816, by which date the order had lost its military character; it was reformed first by Charles Albert (1831), and later by Victor Emmanuel II., king of Italy (1868). The knighthood of St Maurice and St Lazarus is now a dignity conferred by the king of Italy (the grand master) on persons distinguished in the public service, science, art and letters, trade, and above all in charitable works, to which its income is devoted. There are five classes. The badge of the combined order is composed of the white cross with trefoil termination of St Lazarus resting on the green cross of St Maurice; both crosses are bordered gold. The first four classes wear the badge suspended from a royal crown. The ribbon is dark green.
See L. Cibrario, Descrizione storica degli Ordini Cavallereschi, vol. i. (Turin, 1846); Calendario Reale, an annual publication issued in Rome.
The military Order of Savoy was founded in 1815 by Victor Emmanuel of Sardinia; badge modified 1855 and 1857. It has now five classes. The badge is a white cross, the arms of which expand and terminate in an obtuse angle; round the cross is a green laurel and oak wreath; the central medallion is red, bearing in gold two crossed swords, the initials of the founder and the date 1855. The ribbon is red with a central stripe of blue. The Civil Order of Savoy, founded in 1831 by Charles Albert of Sardinia, is of one class, and in statutes of 1868 is limited to 60 members. The badge is the plain Savoy cross in blue, with silver medallion, the ribbon is blue with white borders. The Order of the Crown of Italy was founded in 1868 by Victor Emmanuel II. in commemoration of the union of Italy into a kingdom. There are five classes.
Luxemburg.—The Order of the Golden Lion was founded as a family order of the house of Nassau by William III. of the Netherlands and Adolphus of Nassau jointly. On the death of William in 1890 it passed to the grand duke of Luxemburg; it has only one class. The Order of Adolphus of Nassau, for civil and military merit, in four classes, was founded in 1858, and the Order of the Oak Crown as a general order of merit, in five classes, in 1841, modified 1858.
Monaco.—The Order of St Charles, five classes, was founded in 1858 by Prince Charles III. and remodelled in 1863. It is a general order of merit.
Montenegro.—The Order of St Peter, founded in 1852, is a family order, in one class, and only given to members of the princely family; the Order of Danilo, or of the Independence of Montenegro, is a general order of merit, in four classes, with subdivisions, also founded in 1852.
Norway.—The Order of St Olaf was founded in 1847 by Oscar I. in honour of St Olaf, the founder of Christianity in Norway, as a general order of merit, military and civil. There are three classes, the last two being, in 1873 and 1890, subdivided into two grades each. The badge and ribbon is illustrated on Plate V, fig. 5. The reverse bears the motto Ret og Sandhed (Right and Truth). The Order of the Norwegian Lion, founded in 1904 by Oscar II., has only one class; foreigners on whom the order is conferred must be sovereigns or heads of states or members of reigning houses.
Papal.—The arrangement and constitution of the papal orders was remodelled by a brief of Pius X. in 1905. The Order of Christ, the supreme pontifical order, is of one class only; for the history of this ancient order see Portugal (infra). The badge and ribbon is the same as the older Portuguese form. The Order of Pius was founded in 1847 by Pius IX.; there are now three classes; the badge is an eight-pointed blue star with golden flames between the rays, a white centre bears the founder’s name; the ribbon is blue with two red stripes at each border. The Order of St Gregory the Great, founded in 1831, is in two divisions, civil and military, each having three classes. The Order of St Sylvester was originally founded as the Order of the Golden Spur by Paul IV. in 1559 as a military body, though tradition assigns it to Constantine the Great and Pope Sylvester. It was reorganized as an order of merit by Gregory XVI. in 1841. In 1905 the order was divided into three classes, and a separate order, that of the Golden Spur or Golden Legion (Militia Aurata) was established, in one class, with the numbers limited to a hundred. The cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, instituted by Leo XIII. in 1888 is a decoration, not an order. There remains the venerable Order of the Holy Sepulchre, of which tradition assigns the foundation to Godfrey de Bouillon. It was, however, probably founded as a military order for the protection of the Holy Sepulchre by Alexander VI. in 1496. The right to nominate to the order was shared with the pope as grand master by the guardian of the Patres Minores in Jerusalem, later by the Franciscans, and then by the Latin patriarch in Jerusalem. In 1905 the latter was nominated grand master, but the pope reserves the joint right of nomination. The badge of the order is a red Jerusalem cross with red Latin crosses in the angles.
Portugal.—The Order of Christ was founded on the abolition of the Templars by Dionysius or Diniz of Portugal and in 1318 in conjunction with Pope John XXII., both having the right to nominate to the order. The papal branch survives as a distinct order. In 1522 it was formed as a distinct Portuguese order and the grand mastership vested in the crown of Portugal. In 1789 its original religious aspect was abandoned, and with the exception that its members must be of the Roman Catholic faith, it is entirely secularized. There are three classes. The original badge of the order was a long red cross with expanded flat ends bearing a small cross in white; the ribbon is red. The modern badge is a blue enamelled cross resting on a green laurel wreath; the central medallion, in white, contains the old red and white cross. The older form is worn with the collar by the grand-crosses. The Order of the Tower and Sword was founded in 1808 in Brazil by the regent, afterwards king John VI. of Portugal, as a revival of the old Order of the Sword, said to have been founded by Alfonso V. in 1459. It was remodelled in 1832 under its present name and constitution as a general order of military and civil merit. There are five classes. The badge of the order and ribbon is illustrated on Plate IV. fig 4. The Order of St Benedict of Aviz (earlier of Evora), founded in 1162 as a religious military order, was secularized in 1789 as an order of military merit, in four classes. The badge is a green cross fleury; the ribbon is green. The Order of St James of the Sword, or James of Compostella, is a branch of the Spanish order of that name (see under Spain). It also was secularized in 1789, and in 1862 was constituted an order of merit for science, literature and art, in five classes. The badge is the lily-hilted sword of St James, enamelled red with gold borders; the ribbon is violet. In 1789 these three orders were granted a common badge uniting the three separate crosses in a gold medallion; the joint ribbon is red, green and violet, and to the separate crosses was added a red sacred heart and small white cross. There are also the Order of Our Lady of Villa Viçosa (1819), for both sexes, and the Order of St Isabella, 1801, for ladies.
Rumania.—The Order of the Star of Rumania was founded in 1877, and the Order of the Crown of Rumania in 1881, both in five classes, for civil and military merit; the ribbon of the first is red with blue borders, of the second light blue with two silver stripes.
Russia.—The Order of St Andrew was founded in 1698 by Peter the Great. It is the chief order of the empire, and admission carries with it according to the statutes of 1720 the orders of St Anne, Alexander Nevsky, and the White Eagle; there is only one class. The badge and ribbon is illustrated in Plate IV. fig 5. The collar is composed of three members alternately, the imperial eagle bearing on a red medallion a figure of St George slaying the Dragon, the badge of the grand duchy of Moskow, the cipher of the emperor Paul I. in gold on a blue ground, surmounted by the imperial crown, and surrounded by a trophy of weapons and green and white flags, and a circular red and gold star with a blue St Andrew’s cross. The Order of St Catherine, for ladies, ranks next to the St Andrew. It was founded under the name of the Order of Rescue by Peter the Great in 1714 in honour of the empress Catherine and the part she had taken in rescuing him at the battle of the Pruth in 1711. There are two classes. The grand cross is only for members of the imperial house and ladies of the highest nobility. The second class was added in 1797. The badge of the order is a cross of diamonds bearing in a medallion the effigy of St Catherine. The ribbon is red with the motto For Love and Fatherland in silver letters. The Order of St Alexander Nevsky was founded in 1725 by the empress Catherine I. There is only one class. The badge is a red enamelled cross with gold eagles in the angles, bearing in a medallion the mounted effigy of St Alexander Nevsky. The ribbon is red. The Order of the White Eagle was founded in 1713 by Augustus II. of Poland and was adopted as a Russian order in 1831; there is one class. The Order of St Anne was founded by Charles Frederick, duke of Holstein-Gottorp in 1735 in honour of his wife, Anna Petrovna, daughter of Peter the Great. It was adopted as a Russian order in 1797 by their grandson, the emperor Paul. There are four classes. Other orders are those of St Vladimir, founded by Catherine II., 1782, four classes, and of St Stanislaus, founded originally as a Polish order by Stanislaus Augustus Poniatowski in 1765, and adopted as a Russian order in 1831.
The military Order of St George was founded by the empress Catherine II. in 1769 for military service on land and sea, with four classes; a fifth class for non-commissioned officers and men, the St George’s Cross, was added in 1807. The badge is a white cross with gold borders, with a red central medallion on which is the figure of St George slaying the dragon. The ribbon is orange with three black stripes.
Servia.—The Order of the White Eagle, the principal order, was founded by Milan I. in 1882, statutes 1883, in five classes; the ribbon is blue and red; the Order of St Sava, founded 1883, also in five classes, is an order of merit for science and art; the Order of the Star of Karageorgevitch, four classes, was founded by Peter I. in 1904. The orders of Milosch the Great, founded by Alexander I. in 1898 and of Takovo, founded originally by Michael Obrenovitch in 1863, reconstituted in 1883, are since the dynastic revolution of 1903 no longer bestowed. The Order of St Lazarus is not a general order, the cross and collar being only worn by the king.
Spain.—The Spanish branch of the Order of the Golden Fleece has been treated above. The three most ancient orders of Spain—of St James of Compostella, or St James of the Sword, of Alcantara and of Calatrava—still exist as orders of merit, the first in three classes, the last two as orders of military merit in one class. They were all originally founded as military religious orders, like the crusading Templars and the Hospitallers, but to fight for the true faith against the Moors in Spain. The present badges of the orders represent the crosses that the knights wore on their mantles. That of St James of Compostella is the red lily-hilted sword of St James; the ribbon is also red. The other two orders wear the cross fleury—Alcantara red, Calatrava green, with corresponding ribbons. A short history of these orders may be here given. Tradition gives the foundation of the Order of Knights of St James of Compostella to Ramiro II., king of Leon, in the 10th century, to commemorate a victory over the Moors, but, historically the order dates from the confirmation in 1175 by Pope Alexander III. It gained great reputation in the wars against the Moors and became very wealthy. In 1493 the grand-mastership was annexed by Ferdinand the Catholic, and was vested permanently in the crown of Spain by Pope Adrian VI. in 1522.
The Order of Knights of Alcantara, instituted about 1156 by the brothers Don Suarez and Don Gomez de Barrientos for protection against the Moors. In 1177 they were confirmed as a religious order of knighthood under Benedictine rule by Pope Alexander III. Until about 1213 they were known as the Knights of San Julian del Pereyro; but when the defence of Alcantara, newly wrested from the Moors by Alphonso IX. of Castile, was entrusted to them they took their name from that city. For a considerable time they were in some degree subject to the grand master of the kindred order of Calatrava. Ultimately, however, they asserted their independence by electing a grand master of their own, the first holder of the office being Don Diego Sanche. During the rule of thirty-seven successive grand masters, similarly chosen, the influence and wealth of the order gradually increased until the Knights of Alcantara were almost as powerful as the sovereign. In 1494–1495 Juan de Zuñiga was prevailed upon to resign the grand-mastership to Ferdinand, who thereupon vested it in his own person as king; and this arrangement was ratified by a bull of Pope Alexander VI., and was declared permanent by Pope Adrian VI. in 1523. The yearly income of Zuñiga at the time of his resignation amounted to 150,000 ducats. In 1540 Pope Paul III. released the knights from the strictness of Benedictine rule by giving them permission to marry, though second marriage was forbidden. The three vows were henceforth obedientia, castitas conjugalis and conversio morum. In modern times the history of the order has been somewhat chequered. When Joseph Bonaparte became king of Spain in 1808, he deprived the knights of their revenues, which were only partially recovered on the restoration of Ferdinand VII. in 1814. The order ceased to exist as a spiritual body in 1835.
The Order of Knights of Calatrava was founded in 1158 by Don Sancho III. of Castile, who presented the town of Calatrava, newly wrested from the Moors, to them to guard. In 1164 Pope Alexander III. granted confirmation as a religious military order under Cistercian rule. In 1197 Calatrava fell into the hands of the Moors and the order removed to the castle of Salvatierra, but recovered their town in 1212. In 1489 Ferdinand seized the grand-mastership, and it was finally vested in the crown of Spain in 1523. The order became a military order of merit in 1808 and was reorganized in 1874. The Royal and Illustrious Order of Charles III. was founded in 1771 by Charles III., in two classes; altered in 1804, it was abolished by Joseph Bonaparte in 1809, together with all the Spanish orders except the Golden Fleece, and the Royal Order of the Knights of Spain was established. In 1814 Ferdinand VII. revived the order, and in 1847 it received its present constitution, viz. of three classes (the commanders in two divisions). The badge of the order is a blue and white cross suspended from a green laurel wreath, in the angles are golden lilies, and the oval centre bears a figure of the Virgin in a golden glory. The ribbon is blue and white. The Order of Isabella the Catholic was founded in 1815 under the patronage of St Isabella, wife of Diniz of Portugal; originally instituted to reward loyalty in defence of the Spanish possessions in America, it is now a general order of merit, in three classes. The badge is a red rayed cross with gold rays in the angles, in the centre a representation of the pillars of Hercules; the cross is attached to the yellow and white ribbon by a green laurel wreath. Other Spanish orders are the Maria Louisa, 1792, for noble ladies; the military and naval orders of merit of St Ferdinand, founded by the Cortes in 1811, five classes; of St Ermenegild (Hermenegildo), 1814, three classes, of Military Merit and Naval Merit, 1866, and of Maria Christina,1890; the Order of Beneficencia for civil merit, 1856; that of Alfonso XII. for merit in science, literature and art, 1902, and the
Civil Order of Alfonso XII., 1902.
Sweden.—The Order of the Seraphim (the “Blue Ribbon”). Tradition attributes the foundation of this most illustrious order of knighthood to Magnus I. in 1280, more certainty attaches to the fact that the order was in existence in 1336. In its modern form the order dates from its reconstitution in 1748 by Frederick I., modified by statutes of 1798 and 1814. Exclusive of the sovereign and the princes of the blood, the order is limited to 23 Swedish and 8 foreign members. The native members must be already members of the Order of the Sword or the Pole Star. There is a prelate of the order which is administered by a chapter; the chapel of the knights is in the Riddar Holmskyrka at Stockholm. The badge and ribbon of the grand cross is illustrated on Plate V. fig. 6. The collar is formed of alternate gold seraphim and blue enamelled patriarchal crosses. The motto is Iesus Hominum Salvator. The Order of the Sword (the “Yellow Ribbon”), the principal Swedish military order, was founded, it is said, by Gustavus I. Vasa in 1522, and was re-established by Frederick I., with the Seraphim and the Pole Star in 1748; modifications have been made in 1798, 1814 and 1889. There are five classes, with subdivisions. The badge is a white cross, in the angles gold crowns, the points of the cross joined by gold swords entwined with gold and blue belts, in the blue centre an upright sword with the three crowns in gold, the whole surmounted by the royal crown. The ribbon is yellow with blue edging. The Order of the Pole Star (Polar Star, North Star, the “Black Ribbon”), founded in 1748 for civil merit, has since 1844 three classes. The white cross bears a five-pointed silver star on a blue medallion. The ribbon is black. The Order of Vasa (the “Green Ribbon”), founded by Gustavus III. in 1772 as an order of merit for services rendered to the national industries and manufactures, has three classes, with subdivisions. The white cross badge bears on a blue centre the charge of the house of Vasa, a gold sheaf shaped like a vase with two handles. The ribbon is green. The Order of Charles XIII., founded in 1811, is granted to Freemasons of high degree. It is thus quite unique.
Turkey.—The Nischan-i-Imtiaz, or Order of Privilege, was founded by Abdul Hamid II. in 1879 as a general order of merit in one class; the Nischan-el-Iftikhar, or Order of Glory, also one class, founded 1831 by Mahmoud II.; the Nischan-i-Mejidi, the Mejidieh, was founded as a civil and military order of merit in 1851 by Abdul Medjid. There are five classes; the badge is a silver sun of seven clustered rays, with crescent and star between each cluster; on a gold centre is the sultan’s name in black Turkish lettering, surrounded by a red fillet inscribed with the words Zeal, Devotion, Loyalty; it is suspended from a red crescent and star; the ribbon is red with green borders. The khedive of Egypt has authority, delegated by the sultan, to grant this order. The Nischan-i-Osmanie, the Osmanieh, for civil and military merit, was founded by Abdul Aziz in 1862; it has four classes. The badge is a gold sun with seven gold-bordered green rays; the red centre bears the crescent, and it is also suspended from a gold crescent and star; the ribbon is green bordered with red. The Nischan-i-Schefakat of Compassion or Benevolence, was instituted for ladies, in three classes, in 1878 by the sultan in honour of the work done for the non-combatant victims of the Russo-Turkish war of 1877 in connexion with the Turkish Compassionate Fund started by the late Baroness Burdett-Coutts. She was one of the first to receive the order. There are also the family order, for Turkish princes, the Hanédani-Ali-Osman, founded in 1893, and the Ertogroul, in 1903.
Non-European Orders.—Of the various states of Central and South America, Nicaragua has the American Order of San Juan or Grey Town, founded in 1857, in three classes; and Venezuela that of the Bust of Bolivar, 1854, five classes; the ribbon is yellow, blue and red. Mexico has abolished its former orders, the Mexican Eagle, 1865, and Our Lady of Guadalupe, 1853; as has Brazil those of the Southern Cross, 1822, Dom Pedro I., 1826, the Rose, 1829, and the Brazilian branches of the Portuguese orders of Christ, St Benedict of Aviz and St James. The republican Order of Columbus, founded in 1890, was abolished in 1891.
China.—There are no orders for natives, and such distinctions as are conferred by the different coloured buttons of the mandarins, the grades indicated by the number of peacocks’ feathers, the gift of the yellow jacket and the like, are rather insignia of rank or personal marks of honour than orders, whether of knighthood or merit, in the European sense. For foreigners, however, the emperor in 1882 established the sole order, that of the Imperial Double Dragon, in five classes, the first three of which are further divided into three grades each, making eleven grades in all. The recipients eligible for the various classes are graded, from the first grade of the first class for reigning sovereigns down to the fifth class for merchants and manufacturers. The insignia of the order are unique in shape and decoration. Of the three grades of the first class the badge is a rectangular gold and yellow enamel plaque, decorated with two upright blue dragons, with details in green and white, between the heads for the first grade a pearl, for the second a ruby, for the third a coral, set in green, white and gold circles. The size of the plaque varies for the different classes. The badges of the other four classes are round plaques, the first three with indented edges, the last plain; in the second class the dragons are in silver on a yellow and gold ground, the jewel is a cut coral; the grades differ in the colour, shape, &c., of the borders and indentations; in the third class the dragons are gold, the ground green, the jewel a sapphire; in the fourth the silver dragons are on a blue ground, the jewel a lapis lazuli; in the fifth green dragons on a silver ground, the jewel a pearl. The ribbons, decorated with embroidered dragons, differ for the various grades and classes.
Japan.—The Japanese orders have all been instituted by the emperor Mutsu Hito. In design and workmanship the insignia of the orders are beautiful examples of the art of the native enamellers. The Order of the Chrysanthemum (Kikkwa Daijasho), founded in 1877, has only one class. It is but rarely conferred on others than members of the royal house or foreign rulers or princes. The badge of the order may be described as follows: From a centre of red enamel representing the sun issue 32 white gold-bordered rays in four sharply projecting groups, between the angles of which are four yellow conventional chrysanthemum flowers with green leaves forming a circle on which the rays rest; the whole is suspended from a larger yellow chrysanthemum. The ribbon is deep red bordered with purple. The collar, which may be granted with the order or later, is composed of four members repeated, two gold chrysanthemums, one with green leaves, the other surrounded by a wreath of palm, and two elaborate arabesque designs. The Order of the Paulownia Sun (Tokwa Daijasho), founded in 1888, in one class, may be in a sense regarded as the highest class of the Rising Sun (Kiokujitsasho) founded in eight classes, in 1875. The badge of both orders is essentially the same, viz. the red sun with white and gold rays; in the former the lilac flowers of the Paulownia tree, the flower of the Tycoon’s arms, take a prominent part. The ribbon of the first order is deep red with white edging, of the second scarlet with white central stripe. The last two classes of the Rising Sun wear a decoration formed of the Paulownia flower and leaves. The Order of the Mirror or Happy Sacred Treasure (Zaihosho) was founded in 1888, with eight classes. The cross of white and gold clustered rays bears in a blue centre a silver star-shaped mirror. The ribbon is pale blue with orange stripes. There is also an order for ladies, that of the Crown, founded in five classes in 1888. The military order of Japan is the Order of the Golden Kite, founded in 1890, in seven classes. The badge has an elaborate design; it consists of a star of purple, red, yellow, gold and silver rays, on which are displayed old Japanese weapons, banners and shields in various coloured enamels, the whole surmounted by a golden kite with outstretched wings. The ribbon is green with white stripes.
Persia.—The Order of the Sun and Lion, founded by Fath ‛Ali Shāh in 1808, has five classes. There is also the Nischan-i-Aftab, for ladies, founded in 1873.
Siam.—The Sacred Order, or the Nine Precious Stones, was founded in 1869, in one class only, for the Buddhist princes of the royal house. The Order of the White Elephant, founded in 1861, is in five classes. This is the principal general order. The badge is a striking example of Oriental design adapted to a European conventional form. The circular plaque is formed of a triple circle of lotus leaves in gold, red and green, within a blue circlet with pearls a richly caparisoned white elephant on a gold ground, the whole surmounted by the jewelled gold pagoda crown of Siam; the collar is formed of alternate white elephants, red, blue and white royal monograms and gold pagoda crowns. The ribbon is red with green borders and small blue and white stripes. Other orders are the Siamese Crown (Mongkut Siam), five classes, founded 1869; the family Order of Chulah-Chon-Clao, three classes, 1873; and the Maha Charkrkri, 1884, only for princes and princesses of the reigning family. (C. We.)
- Feudal England, pp. 225 sqq.
- Du Cange, Gloss., s.v. " Miles."
- History of England, iii. 12.
- Stubbs, Constitutional History, i. 156.
- Ibid. i. 156, 366; Turner, iii. 125—129.
- Ingram's edition, p. 290.
- Comparative Politics, p. 74.
- Baluze, Capitularia Regum Francorum, ii. 794, 1069.
- Du Cange, Gloss., s.v. “Arma.”
- Freeman, Comparative Politics, p. 73.
- Hallam, Middle Ages, iii. 392.
- Stubbs, Const. Hist. ii. 278; also compare Grosse, Military Antiquities, i. 65 seq.
- There has been a general tendency to ignore the extent to which the armies of Edward III. were raised by compulsory levies even after the system of raising troops by free contract had begun. Luce (ch. vi.) points out how much England relied at this time on what would now be called conscription: and his remarks are entirely borne out by the Norwich documents published by Mr W. Hudson (Norf, and Norwich Archaeological Soc. xiv. 263 sqq.), by a Lynn corporation document of 18th Edw. III. (Hist. MSS. Commission Report XI. Appendix pt. iii. p. 189), and by Smyth’s Lives of the Berkeleys, i. 312, 319, 320.
- J. B. de Lacurne de Sainte Palaye, Mémoires sur l’Ancienne Chevalerie, i. 363, 364 (ed. 1781).
- Du Cange, Dissertation sur Joinville, xxi.; Sainte Palaye, Mémoires, i. 272; G. F. Beltz, Memorials of the Order of the Garter (1841,) p. xxvii.
- Du Cange, Dissertation, xxi., and Lancelot du Lac, among other romances.
- Anstis, Register of the Order of the Garter, i. 63.
- Grose, Military Antiq. i. 207 seq.; Stubbs, Const. Hist. ii. 276 seq., and iii. 278 seq.
- Grose’s Military Antiquities, ii. 256.
- Sainte Palaye, Mémoires, i. 36; Froissart, bk. iii. ch. 9.
- Sainte Palaye, Mémoires, pt. i. and Mills, History of Chivalry, vol. i. ch. 2.
- See the long sermon in the romance of Petit Jehan de Saintré, pt. i. ch. v., and compare the theory there set forth with the actual behaviour of the chief personages. Even Gautier, while he contends that chivalry did much to refine morality, is compelled to admit the prevailing immorality to which medieval romances testify, and the extraordinary free behaviour of the unmarried ladies. No doubt these romances, taken alone, might give as unfair an idea as modern French novels give of Parisian morals, but we have abundant other evidence for placing the moral standard of the age of chivalry definitely below that of educated society in the present day.
- Sainte Palaye, Mémoires, i. 11 seq.: “C’est peut-être à cette cérémonie et non à celles de la chevalerie qu’on doit rapporter ce qui se lit dans nos historiens de la première et de la seconde race au sujet des premières armes que les Rois et les Princes remettoient avec solemnité au ieunes Princes leurs enfans.”
- There are several obscure points as to the relation of the longer and shorter ceremonies, as well as the origin and original relation of their several parts. There is nothing to show whence came “dubbing” or the “accolade.” It seems certain that the word “dub” means to strike, and the usage is as old as the knighting of Henry by William the Conqueror (supra, pp. 851, 852). So, too, in the Empire a dubbed knight is “ritter geschlagen.” The “accolade” may etymologically refer to the embrace, accompanied by a blow with the hand, characteristic of the longer form of knighting. The derivation of “adouber,” corresponding to “dub,” from “adoptare,” which is given by Du Cange, and would connect the ceremony with “adoptio per arma,” is certainly inaccurate. The investiture with arms, which formed a part of the longer form of knighting, and which we have seen to rest on very ancient usage, may originally have had a distinct meaning. We have observed that Lanfranc invested Henry I. with arms, while William “dubbed him to rider.” If there was a difference in the meaning of the two ceremonies, the difficulty as to the knighting of Earl Harold (supra, p. 852) is at least partly removed.
- Selden, Titles of Honor, 639.
- Daniel, Histoire de la Milice Françoise, i. 99-104; Byshe’s Upton, De Studio Militari, pp. 21-24; Dugdale, Warwickshire, ii. 708–710; Segar, Honor Civil and Military, pp. 69 seq. and Nicolas, Orders of Knighthood, vol. ii. (Order of the Bath) pp. 19 seq.... It is given as “the order and manner of creating Knights of the Bath in time of peace according to the custom of England,” and consequently dates from a period when the full ceremony of creating knights bachelors generally had gone out of fashion. But as Ashmole, speaking of Knights of the Bath, says, “if the ceremonies and circumstances of their creation be well considered, it will appear that this king [Henry IV.] did not institute but rather restore the ancient manner of making knights, and consequently that the Knights of the Bath are in truth no other than knights bachelors, that is to say, such as are created with those ceremonies wherewith knights bachelors were formerly created.” (Ashmole, Order of the Garter, p. 15). See also Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 678, and the Archæological Journal, v. 258 seq.
- As may be gathered from Selden, Favyn, La Colombiers, Menestrier and Sainte Palaye, there were several differences of detail in the ceremony at different times and in different places. But in the main it was everywhere the same both in its military and its ecclesiastical elements. In the Pontificale Romanum, the old Ordo Romanus and the manual or Common Prayer Book in use in England before the Reformation forms for the blessing or consecration of new knights are included, and of these the first and the last are quoted by Selden.
- Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 678; Ashmole, Order of the Garter, p. 15; Favyn, Théâtre d’Honneur, ii. 1035.
- “If we sum up the principal ensigns of knighthood, ancient and modern, we shall find they have been or are a horse, gold ring, shield and lance, a belt and sword, gilt spurs and a gold chain or collar.”—Ashmole, Order of the Garter, pp. 12, 13.
- On the banner see Grose, Military Antiquities, ii. 257; and Nicolas, British Orders of Knighthood, vol. i. p. xxxvii.
- Titles of Honor, pp. 356 and 608. See also Hallam, Middle Ages, iii. 126 seq. and Stubbs, Const. Hist. iii. 440 seq.
- Riddell’s Law and Practice in Scottish Peerages, p. 578; also Nisbet’s System of Heraldry, ii. 49 and Selden’s Titles of Honor, p. 702.
- Selden, Titles of Honor, pp. 608 and 657.
- See “Project concerninge the conferinge of the title of vidom,” wherein it is said that “the title of vidom (vicedominus) was an ancient title used in this kingdom of England both before and since the Norman Conquest” (State Papers, James I. Domestic Series, lxiii. 150 B, probable date April 1611).
- Selden, Titles of Honor, pp. 452 seq.
- Ibid. pp. 449 seq.
- Du Cange, Dissertation, ix.; Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 452; Daniel, Milice Françoise, i. 86 (Paris, 1721).
- Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 656; Grose, Military Antiquities, ii. 206.
- Froissart, Bk. I. ch. 241 and Bk. II. ch. 53. The recipients were Sir John Chandos and Sir Thos. Trivet.
- Commonwealth of England (ed. 1640), p. 48.
- State Papers, Domestic Series, James the First, lxvii. 119.
- “Thursday, June 24th: His Majesty was pleased to confer the honour of knights banneret on the following flag officers and commanders under the royal standard, who kneeling kissed hands on the occasion: Admirals Pye and Sprye; Captains Knight, Bickerton and Vernon,” Gentleman’s Magazine (1773) xliii. 299. Sir Harris Nicolas remarks on these and the other cases (British Orders of Knighthood, vol. xliii.) and Sir William Fitzherbert published anonymously a pamphlet on the subject, A Short Inquiry into the Nature of the Titles conferred at Portsmouth, &c., which is very scarce, but is to be found under the name of “Fitzherbert” in the catalogue of the British Museum Library.
- “Sir Henry Ferrers, Baronet, was indicted by the name of Sir Henry Ferrers, Knight, for the murther of one Stone whom one Nightingale feloniously murthered, and that the said Sir Henry was present aiding and abetting, &c. Upon this indictment Sir Henry Ferrers being arraigned said he never was knighted, which being confessed, the indictment was held not to be sufficient, wherefore he was indicted de novo by the name of Sir Henry Ferrers, Baronet.” Brydall, Jus Imaginis apud Anglos, or the Law of England relating to the Nobility and Gentry (London, 1675), p. 20. Cf. Patent Rolls, 10 Jac. I., pt. x. No. 18; Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 687.
- Louis XIV. introduced the practice of dividing the members of military orders into several degrees when he established the order of St Louis in 1693.
- G. F. Beltz, Memorials of the Most Noble Order of the Garter (1841), p. 385.
- Heylyn, Cosmographie and History of the Whole World, bk. i. p. 286.
- Beltz, Memorials, p. xlvi.
- Orders of Knighthood, vol. i. p. lxxxiii.
- Mémoires, i. 67, i. 22; History of Chivalry; Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vii. 200.
- Orders of Knighthood, vol. i. p. xi.
- Selden, Titles of Honor, p. 638.
- Harleian MS. 6063; Hargrave MS. 325.
- Patent Rolls, 35th Hen. VIII., pt. xvi., No. 24; Burnet, Hist. of Reformation, i. 15.
- Spelman, “De milite dissertatio,” Posthumous Works, p. 181.
- London Gazette, December 6, 1823, and May 15, 1855.
- On the Continent very elaborate ceremonies, partly heraldic and partly religious, were observed in the degradation of a knight, which are described by Sainte Palaye, Mémoires, i. 316 seq., and after him by Mills, History of Chivalry, i. 60 seq. Cf. Titles of Honor, p. 653.
- Dallaway’s Heraldry, p. 303.
- Even in 13th century England more than half the population were serfs, and as such had no claim to the privileges of Magna Carta; disputes between a serf and his lord were decided in the latter’s court, although the king’s courts attempted to protect the serf’s life and limb and necessary implements of work. By French feudal law, the villein had no appeal from his lord save to God (Pierre de Fontaines, Conseil, ch. xxi. art. 8); and, though common sense and natural good feeling set bounds in most cases to the tyranny of the nobles, yet there was scarcely any injustice too gross to be possible. “How mad are they who exult when sons are born to their lords!” wrote Cardinal Jacques de Vitry early in the 13th century (Exempla, p. 64, Folk Lore Soc. 1890).
- Sainte Palaye, ii. 90.
- Medley, English Constitutional History (2nd ed., pp. 291, 466), suggests that Edward might have deliberately calculated this degradation of the older feudal ideal.
- Being made to “ride the barriers” was the penalty for anybody who attempted to take part in a tournament without the qualification of name and arms. Guillim (Display of Heraldry, p. 66) and Nisbet (System of Heraldry, ii. 147) speak of this subject as concerning England and Scotland. See also Ashmole’s Order of the Garter, p. 284. But in England knighthood has always been conferred to a great extent independently of these considerations. At almost every period there have been men of obscure and illegitimate birth who have been knighted. Ashmole cites authorities for the contention that knighthood ennobles, insomuch that whosoever is a knight it necessarily follows that he is also a gentleman; “for, when a king gives the dignity to an ignoble person whose merit he would thereby recompense, he is understood to have conferred whatsoever is requisite for the completing of that which he bestows.” By the common law, if a villein were made a knight he was thereby enfranchised and accounted a gentleman, and if a person under age and in wardship were knighted both his minority and wardship terminated. (Order of the Garter, p. 43; Nicolas, British Orders of Knighthood, i. 5.)
- Gautier, pp. 21, 249.
- Du Cange, s.v. miles (ed. Didot, t. iv. p. 402); Sacchetti, Novella, cliii. All the medieval orders of knighthood, however, insisted in their statutes on the noble birth of the candidate.
- Lecoy de la Marche (Chaire française au moyen âge, 2nd ed., p. 387) gives many instances to prove that “al chevalerie, au xiiie siècle, est déjà sur son déclin.” But already about 1160 Peter of Blois had written, “The so-called order of knighthood is nowadays mere disorder” (ordo militum nunc est, ordinem non tenere. Ep. xciv.: the whole letter should be read); and, half a century earlier still, Guibert of Nogent gives an equally unflattering picture of contemporary chivalry in his De vita sua (Migne, Pat. Lat., tom. clvi.).
- It has been taken as the Latin word meaning “he bears” or as representing the initials of the legend Fortitudo Ejus Rhodum Tenuit, with an allusion to a defence of the island of Rhodes by an ancient count of Savoy.