The term chivalry usually implies a historical phenomenon that had emerged and lasted during the feudal era in Europe. If this phenomenon is analyzed in a narrow sense, and only from the historical point of view, this is true. However, taken in a broader sense, the phenomenon of chivalry represents a certain perception and understanding of reality, as well as acting in this reality, with all the auspice of the integrated ideological system. Taken this way, the phenomenon of chivalry represents a universal category, which is applicable in all circumstances, at all times and in all situations. Chivalry as a way of perceiving and affecting, both on the individual and social level, is more than necessary in the time we live in. In this sad time when all the civilization’s achievements are crumbling, in the time of great atomization of society and in the time of loss of meaning of any social or individual action.
Chivalry was founded between the eighth and ninth century in Europe, which were the politically and economically turbulent centuries after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. It was a time of strengthening of the caste of armed men, who had been increasing their possessions and social impact by providing their services as professional warriors to the rulers and to the church. Over time, the chivalry caste was gradually incorporated into the nobility, thus separating itself from the ordinary soldiers. The code of conduct, thought and action of this caste, as well as the caste of military aristocracy itself, define the term chivalry. Chivalry had reached its full bloom between the eleventh and thirteenth century, when the church made a decisive influence, by interweaving it with the spiritual, Christian contents. Chivalry experienced a gradual decline in the late medieval and early modern time, due to the development of new social and especially economic circumstances. However, the precious echo of chivalry can still be felt in various segments of the modern life – in certain political and ideological postulates, in theoretical systems with traditionalist denomination, in armies, in few surviving authentic orders of knights and others.
The circumstance that had largely dealt the final blow to chivalry is the creation and development of the new socio-economic conditions, that have gradually replaced the feudal social structure, which was one of the main pillars of the chivalry caste. In economic terms, it was the development of capitalist economic relations and the strengthening of the bearers of these relations – the class of merchants. The principle of quality, as a social paradigm, was replaced by the principle of quantity. The concept of truth was replaced by the concept of wealth. All the aspects of society have become just a decor for the flow of capital.
In brief, next are defined the basic starting points and the most common denominators of chivalry.