A new chivalry

A brief account of the life and ways of Christ’s knights, of how they conduct themselves in battle and at home, of how they behave in public, and how greatly Christ’s chivalry and the usual sort differ from one another. First, Christ’s knights have discipline and never disdain obedience, for as Scripture attests, the undisciplined son will perish, “restiveness is as the sin of witchcraft and refusal to acquiesce is like the crime of idolatry.” . . . They are wary of all excesses in food and dress; they concern themselves only with necessities. They have a joyous and sober life in their community  . . . You could say that all their multitude has but one heart and one spirit, to such an extent does each of them strive, not to fulfill his private desires, but rather to obey his master.

When battle is at hand, they arm themselves with faith within and steel without, rather than with gold, so that when armed, rather than prettified, they instill fear in their adversaries rather than incite their greed.  . . . They attend to battle rather than display, to victory rather than glory, and concern themselves to inspire fear rather than wonder. They are not unstable or impetuous, and do not behave as if driven headlong by heedlessness; rather, they order themselves and dispose their forces for battle considerately and with every caution and provision, as we read that the Fathers did. True Israelites go forth to war at peace. But when they have come to the point of battle, it is as if they say: “Should I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and be disgusted with your enemies?”  . . . as the sentence of Maccabees states: “Many can be closed in the hands of a few, and in the sight of heaven’s God there is no difference between bringing freedom by means of many and few, for victory in battle comes not of a multitude of armies, and might is cue gift of heaven.’ . . . What can be said, but that this is the Lord’s work and a miracle in our eyes. God has elected such men to Himself and gathered them together from the ends of the earth, from among the mightiest of Israel  . . .  all bearing swords and well taught in the ways of war. – De Laude Novae Militiae (1128-1131)