The thesis of this book is that chivalry in the 15th Century was not a fading code of conduct, or a universal ethic; chivalry was, above all, a political debate with legal foundations and social consequences. In order to understand chivalry, one cannot study the general trends or common ideas shared by different codifications; if one wants to understand what chivalry was for 15th century politicians, intellectuals, writers, and knights, one needs to delve into the myriad treatises in manuscript form that populated intellectual networks, libraries, and exchanges across Europe in many languages.
Once in the business of establishing the catalogue of these manuscripts (which the book does in the final pages), one also needs to see the points of divergence among the different ideas on knighthood and politics. The result won’t be a lineal history, but an essay in the creation and history of certain political concepts.
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