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Bringing back the code of the knight. Medieval thoughts for modern life. Sun, steel, sacraments-- sonofchivalry@protonmail.com
4 Oct
St Francis & the Wolf of Gubbio

Thread--
In the early 13th century, the Italian town of Gubbio was terrorized by a wolf. Not only had it killed livestock, but it started devouring humans as well! Anybody who went out beyond the city walls alone was not likely to make it back alive.
St. Francis felt much pity for the townspeople, and he was known to have a special connection to animals, so he decided to go find the wolf. Against the advice of nearly everyone, Francis made the sign of the cross and went forth from the city.
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2 Oct
After the Crusaders conquered Jaffa, Saladin retreated to Jerusalem and contented himself with harassing Richard’s foraging parties.

In one case, a foraging party found itself outnumbered and Richard rode out with a party to aid them. Image
As they came upon the apparently hopeless scene, Richard’s men urged him not to join the fighting.

They said, “You will not succeed in rescuing them. It is better that they die alone than that you risk death in this attack, and so endanger the whole crusade.”
Richard could appreciate the argument, but he wasn’t made to sit on the sidelines while his men fought and died.

“I sent those men there,” he said. "If they die without me, may I never again be called a king.”

So he charged--and he and some of his men lived to tell about it.
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30 Sep
I’d rather not even acknowledge this rumor, but the prevalence of it, even among based people, requires a response.

It has to do with Richard The Lionheart’s supposed orientation.

Thread--
There are a few reasons why this accusation has gained acceptance, and all of them are pretty easily answered.
1) Richard did not have an heir.

His marriage to Berengaria of Navarre appears to have been strained. Some suggest that Berengaria was barren, especially since Richard did acknowledge at least one illegitimate son.
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29 Sep
I’ve been thinking about one of Faramir’s lines from The Two Towers.

He tells Frodo, “I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
There’s a lot to unpack here. At first blush, this sentiment seems beautiful and utterly reasonable. A real warrior doesn’t love fighting more than he loves what he fights for. It also makes perfect sense coming from Faramir, whose brother loved glory a bit too much.
Something about it, however, doesn’t sit right.

A man must first love the things that he fights for. But Faramir says that he only loves those things.

To deny that there’s something beautiful in the glory of the warrior about whom they tell stories is strangely clinical.
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17 Sep
As the world becomes increasingly grumpy, the courteous gentleman has the opportunity not only to make a difference in the lives of others, but also to distinguish himself.

Here are some thoughts (notes-to-self, really) on being that kind of man.
On greeting others with enthusiasm, like you're actually happy to see them--

On treating your conversations like they matter--

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16 Sep
Wise people have long understood that commercialism undermines masculine virtues.

In Herodotus’ History, Croesus gives Cyrus some absolutely savage advice on how to put down rebellions within his empire in advance:
This makes me think of the 13 virtues that Ben Franklin aspired to. They are the virtues of the shopkeeper, the virtues that will help a man make a lot of money in commerce. None of the virtues on here are bad, but his list is woefully incomplete.
What about honor? Strength? Courage? Faith? Generosity? Loyalty?

Cleanliness and tranquility are good and fine things--but the man who aspires to these rather than the aristocratic or martial or chivalric virtues is someone easier to rule.
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15 Sep
The Oriflamme was the sacred banner of the King of France, carried into battle by a chosen champion. So long as it was raised, the French warriors were to take no prisoners.

Thread--
The legends tell different accounts of its origins. It is mentioned in the Song of Roland, carried by Geoffry d’Anjou as Charlemagne’s forces marched to avenge the slaughter of the rear guard and Count Roland.
Some say that the color the oriflamme came from banner being dipped in the blood of St. Denis. In some the emphasis is on the lance itself, rather than the banner.
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13 Sep
Charles and St. Boniface--

As the Merovingian dynasty lost its way in the middle of the 8th century, Pepin the Short (father to Charlemagne) decided it was time for a change: he wanted to overthrow Childeric III. But before doing so, he sought papal approval.
So he sent an incredibly succinct message to Pope Zacharias: “Is it wise to have kings who have no power or control?” The Pope answered that it was not wise. Thus authorized, Pepin sent Childeric off to a monastery and assumed the throne himself.
My favorite detail about this event is the Pope’s choice of an official for Pepin’s coronation. It was St. Boniface, the man who cut down the sacred oak of Thor and converted the Germans!
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10 Sep
Of all the Arthur's knights who undertook the quest for the Holy Grail, Sir Percival was put to the greatest test.

On his journey, he came to a castle and discovered that it was the property of a woman he had loved in his youth, and who had loved him.
But she, when young, had been married off to a nobleman, and Percival had gone to Camelot.

Now the nobleman was dead, and all wealth belonged to Percival’s love. And she still loved Percival as she always did.
She asked him to stay and offered herself and all her riches to him. She told him he was the greatest of all knights. He could have been Arthur in those lands. What more can a knight want?
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10 Sep
Is “What do you do?” a poor question to ask a new acquaintance?

My favorite etiquette guru says yes--a good conversationalist can do better. Here are a few reasons:

Thread--

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1 - Almost everyone asks. It’s not at all creative, subtle, or savvy. Asking it suggests we doesn’t have the ability to leave the most well-trodden path of small talk.

The man who refrains from the most obvious question becomes more intriguing in the eyes of others.

2/
2 - The question is reductive. It buys into dumb elite notions of professional hierarchy--that a person is what they do, and that everyone who is someone has an interesting sounding job.

3/
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24 Aug
Bad posture suggests to the world that a man is tired, timid, demoralized, overly comfortable on the couch, insufficiently eager to make a mark on the world, or just not concerned about developing personal dignity.

Thread--
That may sound harsh. The good news is that good posture can be attained and carries the exact opposite effects.

Good posture suggests that a man is a force to be reckoned with.
I sympathize with those who want better posture but have difficulty. Modern life (desk jobs, smartphones, etc) constantly draws our shoulders and head forward, whether we like it or not.

The man who would stand up straight must overcome these.
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24 Aug
Everyone who follows this account already understands what I'm about to say, but I’m going to preach to the choir anyways:

What you wear to church matters.

Thread--
I posted this tweet yesterday, expressing the obvious opinion that men should dress better for Mass than they'd dress for Wal-Mart:

A tedious and self-impressed man apparently disagreed. He called me "pietistic" for suggesting that a man should wear a blazer to mass, rather than a tank top.
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22 Aug
BAP and John Wayne--

The most challenging idea in Bronze Age Mindset is BAP's notion of "owned spaces." When men faced something wild, open, dangerous, and winnable out there, they were alive. But once civilization triumphed, we became citizens of an "open-air zoo."

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Safety and comfort and the lack of possibilities undo us. They rob us of our highest faculties. People used to post that meme with a manly man juxtaposed against a pajama boy, asking "What happened to men?"

I doubt they're prepared for the honest answer to that question.

2/
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance shares BAP's concerns, though more subtly. Before the lawyer Jimmy Stewart arrived, bringing his legal books with him, Shinbone was a dangerous frontier town where bandits and cowboys vied for the soul of the place.

3/
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21 Aug
In the past week I’ve listened to both Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Song of Roland on audiobook.

I now understand better why the ancients & medievals were so much manlier than us. To hear heroic epic told with a hearty voice activates something deep inside you.

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Reading books silently is good and fine, of course, but it's a solitary exercise and can lend itself to cold anti-social nerdery--whereas a skilled oral performance hits you on another level, from the bard's voice to your heart, and draws you into a shared experience.

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Audiobooks are certainly not the same as listening to Homer or a troubadour recite around a fire, but they can be a reminder, a technological shadow of the oral tradition we've lost.

3/
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19 Aug
Sir Gawain's famous shield that he takes to his meeting with the Green Knight--"that shone all red, with the pentangle portrayed in purest gold." Image
"Each line is linked and locked with the next for ever and ever."

The "endless knot" of the pentangle captures the "five fives":
- five senses faultless
- five fingers never failing
- five wounds of Christ on the Cross
- five joys of the Virgin
- five knightly virtues of Gawain
As for Gawain's five knightly virtues, they are: "beneficence boundless and brotherly love and pure mind and manners, that none may impeach, and compassion most precious." Image
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