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9/27/2005

JUST WAR PART 6: CHIVALRY

PREVIOUS POSTS IN THIS SERIES:
JUST WAR PART 1: THE TIMES OF AUGUSTINE
JUST WAR PART 2: THE THEORY OF AUGUSTINE
JUST WAR PART 3: AQUINAS BUILDS
JUST WAR PART 4: UNDER THE INFLUENCE (Crusades)
JUST WAR PART 5: UNDER THE INFLUENCE (Natural Law)

Picking up where we left off with Augustine and Aquinas, the next major development in the evolution of Just War doctrine was chivalry - the code of conduct followed by the knights of the Middle Ages. Chivalry imposed upon warriors a set of regulations for the conduct of war(1). Since knights did not declare wars but simply fought them, chivalric code sheds no light on just cause for declaring or commencing a war but only how one is to be justly fought by soldiers once declared.

For instance, the code of the knights sought to end unrestrained violence by prohibiting certain acts such as attacking noncombatants. And this is possibly the greatest contribution the knight code of chivalry made to the development of Just War thinking. With chivalry the only legitimate target of an attack was considered by the knights to be another armed warrior.(2)

Theologians like Aquinas or Augustine mapped out the do's and don'ts of just cause and declaration of war hoping to avoid placing their souls in peril by erring and acting unjustly. But the knights concerned themselves with the rules of just combat for reasons having nothing to do with the soul or religion. Their motivations centered around personal honor and material gain. "Stated succinctly, it appears that knights had two important reasons for guaranteeing the protection of noncombatants. First there was NO GLORY in armed combat with a nonknight, for knights were professionals. Secondly, noncombatant serfs, peasants, artisans, and merchants were the SOURCE OF WEALTH for the knightly class."(3)

SOURCES:
1. Louis A. Manzo "Air Power History" vol 39, No 3 (The Air Force Historical Foundation, Fall 1992) p38.
2. Michael Howard, "War In European History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976)
3. Johnson, "Can Modern War Be Just?" p5

12 Comments:

Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Ohh Shaun are we gonna get to talk about courtly love?!

9/27/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

No. But finally, one comment. One stinkin' comment. No one appreciates good scholarship any more. I have a bibliography for crying out loud! How many blogs give you bibliographic information??? None. That's how many. And maybe for good reason.

Geesh.

9/27/2005  
Blogger GrovesFan said...

Shaun,
I'm sorry you're feeling unappreciated in your scholarly endeavors today. I personally think it's great that you provide a bibliography in your blogs!

If you'd like some current information on what today's US Military uses for Rules of Engagement (they change depending on the situation), the Code of Conduct (never changes), and the "Fighting Man's Creed (or something like that) please let me know and I'll get you copies of what I can find. I know I can get the Code for you. It's specific, but general enough to be used in any combat situation.

Beth

9/27/2005  
Blogger Fruitcake said...

I was wondering if you would post any more on "Just War." And bibliographies are great...I appreciate them so I can read more about the topic and research more info. Okay I feel kinda geeky having said that now.
FxC

9/27/2005  
Blogger Peanut Lost Souls said...

Whoa... chill... Sorry you feel unappreaciative...I would love to read and post lots and lots of comment on your blog but I have to work to survive. I try to come here and just read your blog and reflect what your writing and hopely come on back and comment it. But scheduling seems overwhelming at the moment. I have to admit... I don't normally post because...dude, you're so freaking intimidating... Heehee! Anyways, let me go read what you post and I'll get back to you. Thanks for the sources! It does help a great deal for independent studying! ( ;
Now go have a cold drink!

Peanut

9/27/2005  
Blogger Kathryn said...

wow. I'm sure that even if people don't leave comments, they still enjoy the posts. You don't post comments on my blog and i'm not upset. Comments aren't the 'be all and the end all'.

You always do a good job here. Thanx, I appreciate your blog.

9/28/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

I fear my sarcasm was taken seriously....again. I forget that to those without the gift of interpretation the gift of sarcasm can be perceived as pure mean-ness. IS that a word?

Thanks for the encouragement but I honestly don't mind if you don't post. Just glad you're here. Look around the place. Speak up if you'd like.

9/28/2005  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Good morning everybody! Went back re-read and carefully read the end of this Shlog. Amazing that knights took their wealth from those in need. Supposedly knights were warriors for God but even that's not accurate. For what kind of a God do you fight for if you gain your wealth by taking what other's need?

9/28/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

mustard, where'd you learn that - the taking from the poor thing? What's a source I could read?

9/28/2005  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

Okay maybe I took it a little far but from what I've learned in Western Civ during those times land was what made you rich not money. So knights would play "make a deal" with the pesants around the neighborhood saying "I'll protect you and your land if you give me some of your land." And usually the pesant would say "Hey not a bad idea sure thing." War times come around and the knight who said he'd protect the pesant and his family suddenly realizes that "Hey I can profit from the death of these pesants and gain their land by their deaths. I'll just happen to forget that a couple of knights are gonna be riding through there tomorrow night killing all who get in their way and gain the land of the dead."
And don't forget Shaun you did cite..."noncombatant serfs, peasants, artisans, and merchants were the SOURCE OF WEALTH for the knightly class." "Source of wealth"...hmm I don't know but to me that sounds as if the knights fed off of these noncombatants like a tick feeding off a dog. Promise Shaun, I do have some notes on this I just don't gott'em with me. I'll do more with this later...hopefully at home...where my western civ notes are.

9/28/2005  
Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Not doubting it's true. Just wanting to learn more.

9/28/2005  
Blogger Mustard Packet Pelter said...

So right about now it's...I'm wanting to say the middle of the High Middles ages which would be between 1000-1300 AD but around the end of the High middle ages knight hood would come to an end sure to the new weaponry. Okay I got sociology I gotta go!

9/29/2005  

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