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Author Topic: Geoffroi de Charny  (Read 3785 times)

Sir Edward

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Geoffroi de Charny
« on: 2008-01-28, 16:20:47 »
So I just got my hands on the writings of de Charny this weekend. I can't believe it took me this long. :)  I've seen references and excerpts before, but didn't have a copy.

It's very cool to see writings on knighthood and chivalry written from the standpoint of an actual medieval knight. He lived slightly after the period I'm going for with my 13th C kit (1306?-1356), but he describes things as being very well established, coming from "ancient times".

He was a French knight, not English. I'm guessing that things were at least very similar between the two countries since they interacted heavily, and this period is roughly the beginning of the Hundred Years War.

I haven't read much yet, but I did look at the knighting ceremony right away. I believe this is one of the only period references that includes the white belt that the SCA uses as their symbol of knighthood. In the book, it's used as one of many symbols in the ceremony but doesn't contain any mention of it being used beyond that.

It's pretty cool reading from the point of view of a knight from nearly 700 years ago.

« Last Edit: 2008-01-31, 21:13:29 by Sir Edward »
Sir Ed T. Toton III
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Re: de Charny
« Reply #1 on: 2008-01-29, 01:53:33 »
Oh yes, here's the detail on the version I have:

A Knight's Own Book of Chivalry
Geoffroi de Charny
Introduction by Richard W. Kaeuper
Translation by Elspeth Kennedy

(c) 2005 University of Pennsylvania Press

ISBN: 0-8122-1909-0
Sir Ed T. Toton III
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Re: Geoffroi de Charny
« Reply #2 on: 2008-02-23, 16:10:47 »

I'm reading this book very slowly (a couple pages here and there), and I'm nearing the end. It's only 107 pages, and the first third is the introduction. The intro was quite informative, setting the scene of when and where this was written, and the state of France at the time.

The book was written by Charny to help invigorate a new generation of knights and men-at-arms in an age when France was getting its ass handed to it by the English. The Hundred Years War was underway. Charny spends an enormous amount of time describing what is worthy of praise and honor, and what isn't. He compares knighthood to priesthood, and makes it clear that he doesn't like people falling into fashion trends, and being distracted by luxuries when there's important work to be done. He goes so far as to complain about those who wear clothes so close-fitting and short that one can't sit down without showing one's "shame" in the front or the rear. :) He complains about those who would rest on their laurels, earn themselves a big gut, and then try to hide it by wearing tight-breastplates that no longer allow them to breath or sit down.

At a time when the clergy felt that a knight should be chaste, he instead says that the love of a woman can inspire men to great deeds, so he basically says to love the ladies, but be discreet. No boasting or bragging.

It's a very interesting read, to see his thoughts on how one should conduct oneself in a life of arms.

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Sir Martyn

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Re: Geoffroi de Charny
« Reply #3 on: 2013-07-17, 22:06:13 »
I've also been reading this (did you finish Sir Edward?  Any ensuing off-line discussion with others here about it?) and have found it quite enlightening.

It seems to me that de Charny was making a call in his time not unlike what MC is doing now - reminding those willing to listen of the need to uphold/defend ideals of enduring value.  I was also struck by the fact that he put as much emphasis - if not more - on prowess (or skill in combat) as much as any other value in genuine chivalric code.
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Sir Edward

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Re: Geoffroi de Charny
« Reply #4 on: 2013-07-18, 03:22:09 »

I did, but it was 5 years ago, so I'm forgetting the details. I might need to read it again. :)
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Sir William

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Re: Geoffroi de Charny
« Reply #5 on: 2013-07-19, 13:27:02 »
I just ordered this book last week- should've been delivered on Wed but they refused to leave it on the porch like everything else so...should get it tomorrow.
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Re: Geoffroi de Charny
« Reply #6 on: 2013-07-19, 15:18:09 »
It can read a bit heavy at times but given the period I've found it on the whole quite readable and the introduction/explanatory notes quite insightful.

For a complimentary if sightly different - shall we one understandably if more favorably disposed toward the English side of the story :) - it dovetails nicely with part 1 of the BBC series "Chivalry and Betrayal" you guys were discussing in another topic.
« Last Edit: 2013-07-19, 15:20:34 by Gareyth »
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Sir Gerard de Rodes

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Re: Geoffroi de Charny
« Reply #7 on: 2013-10-21, 10:01:02 »
Just started reading this myself, looking forward to reading de Charneys own writings.
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Re: Geoffroi de Charny
« Reply #8 on: 2013-10-21, 15:04:33 »

I need to re-read de Charney. It's been several years, so I probably need the refresher. Thankfully it's short, since he falls into the very typical medieval writing style of being extremely verbose and wordy.
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Re: Geoffroi de Charny
« Reply #9 on: 2017-02-09, 16:21:07 »
I have the book and from one reading I felt I needed to read it again, after a second reading I would say this is a highly recommended read and a manual in which we can base our commitment to the ideal of chivalry on. Not to say that we act like we are in 14th Century England or France but rather to take in the moral/ethical instruction as presented in the book and apply to our personal lives.
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