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Chevalerie et christianisme aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles

Martin Aurell
Catalina Girbea

Deuxième partie. Paradoxes et compromis : les tensions entre Église et chevalerie

Piety and Independence in Chivalric Religion

Richard W. Kaeuper

Texte intégral

1In the third act of “Der Rosenkavalier” (by Ricard Strauss, with libretto by Hugo von Hofmannstal) the Marschellin frankly says of Baron Ochs “Er ist, mein’ich, ein Kavalier? Da wird Er sich halt gar nichts denken.” Her stark, sweeping, and comic claim can readily pose an important question for all who investigate chivalry, or even a set of questions. Did the medieval knighthood think much or deeply along religious lines? What was the origin of their ideas, the authority validating them? And how, in fact, did the knights shape their religious ideas in the midst of the complex and violent world in which they lived?

  • 1 M. Bloch, Apologie pour l’histoire, ou métier d’historien, Paris, 1949, p. 76-77.

2Piety, as all might agree, is a challenging compound of elements (perhaps the chemists would insist we term it a mixture): behind formalized acts and a range of actions taken in the world must stand more or less abstract ideas. Yet the linkage is often difficult to discern and the elements sometimes appear contradictory. Obviously we must exercise caution. Many years ago Marc Bloch warned against separating the human subjects of our research into Latinized boxes labeled homo religiosus, homo œconomicus, or homo politicus. As an example, he asked rhetorically if the medieval merchant (who daily violated economic ethics elaborated by rigorous canon law) did not with genuine piety kneel before a statue of Our Lady that same evening. With equal justification he could have selected the knights and expressed doubt that their evident piety surfaced merely when they gazed fearfully toward death and the judgment to follow.1 Such wise warning leads me, on one hand, to deny any goal of closely calibrating the depth of genuine spirituality in a large group of men over a vast span of time and space. It would prove difficult even to attempt such calibration for particular individuals. Paraphrasing the first Queen Elizabeth, I can happily disavow a belief that I can open windows into men’s souls collectively or individually. Yet, equally important, seeing the knighthood in the flesh and in the round surely requires understanding their undoubted religiosity. I think that we can—indeed, should—analyze the connective tissue that bound chivalry and religion in an organic whole. This effort will require us to use all available evidence, including legislation from governing institutions both lay and ecclesiastical, chivalric biography, vernacular manuals, and (I am convinced) imaginative literature, along with confession manuals for priests, and the great and under-utilized mass of exempla and sermon stories aimed at knights and heard and read by them

3Granted, our most obvious evidence comes from formally pious acts. A plenitude of evidence still exists in the landscape no less than in libraries and in archival fonds: Foundations and endowments of religious houses; tomb monuments and brasses, the chapels that seem a requirement for every château or maison forte. To these we can quickly add collections of relics and, in time, devotional books as well; and we will think of pilgrimage and, of course, the armed pilgrimage of crusade; or the suppression and fearsome elimination of heretics by knightly hands that were as willing as they were strong.

  • 2 British Library Additional MS 21147, folio 24.

4All such evidence cannot be swiftly discounted by stating the obvious fact that knightly behavior deviated, often dramatically, from some ideal religious principles. On such a hard standard for behavior, few lay folk, and only a slightly larger minority of clerics, would qualify as truly religious in any age known to historical inquiry. Conservative medieval clerics agreed. One of my favorite sermon exempla specifies that of 30,000 people who died a single day in the twelfth century, only St Bernard of Clairvaux and the Dean of Langres were admitted directly to heaven; three other faithful believers were sent to be cleansed in the sulfurous fires of purgatory, and the remaining 29,995 went straight to hell.2

  • 3 Though the fact of knightly anticlericalism is often noted, few systematic studies exist. But see (...)
  • 4 Discussed in R. Kaeuper, Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry, Philadelphia, 2009, p. (...)

5The cleric who penned this uncompromising moral tale—and many of his fellows—would have worried about knightly anticlericalism which, it is true, remains an undoubted and well documented fact of life. Tough and critical views of clerics undoubtedly animated many knights, at least occasionally, if not continuously.3 This reflex may seem almost automatic: when given an admonitory rap on the knee by the clerical doctors of their souls, the knights kicked. Yet does not this reflexive anticlericalism so often stem from competition between ordinees? May it not even be attributed, in fact, to disappointed piety? However vigorous, moreover, rivalry between the clerical and knightly orders never reached mutual non-acceptance, and seems so seldom to have resulted from stark disbelief or unconcern for religious issues.4 As a rule, anticlericalism thus stopped well short of antisacerdotalism. To be sure, the sensitivities of a clerical elite remained touchy on the fundamental importance of their mediatory and directive role. Yet sharp anticlericalism so often mingled characteristically and companionably with staunch piety and a broad acceptance of the essential role of the clerics.

6Thus the knights hardly seem immune or hostile to religious ideas; they did not simply get on with fighting, chasing stags, boar, and women or concentrate exclusively on moving pieces on the chessboard of court intrigue, unencumbered by anything resembling serious religious ideas of their own. They considered themselves good Christians and with good reasons.

  • 5 Classic accounts of lay spirituality in general appears in A. Vauchez, The Laity in the Middle Age (...)

7If we can agree on this much, greater rewards—and greater dangers—lie along the path that leads toward understanding the content and origins of these knightly ideas about religion, particularly as they relate to clerical direction and control. It would be so easy to analyze a church composed only of clerics and a world of ideas generated by them alone!5 A point of view dangerously close to this line of thought would dismiss a quest for specifically knightly piety. It would ask: Were knights not simply “faithful sons of holy mother church”? Were their religious ideas not merely standard issue, the ideas of all medieval Christians? Did they not in an uncomplicated manner absorb their fundamental religious ideas passively, as these were dispensed by helpful if insistent clerics?

  • 6 Geoffroi de Charny provides an excellent case in point. See R. W. Kaeuper and E. Kennedy, The Book (...)

8My goal in this essay is to question such simplistic interpretations and at least to indicate evidence and argument pointing toward a chivalric religiosity that was more nuanced and complex, without, in the knightly view, any loss of genuine piety or orthodoxy. Knightly religion demanded specificity because knightly life involved specificity: it involved practices that edged dangerously close to moral dangers. Many knights recognized a specific need to valorize their hard profession—a framework that would satisfy themselves as well as others—and one that would justify their hard actions in a violent world and their elite status in Christian society.6 They necessarily lived and acted in a terrifying and tangible world in which moral absolutes shaded with disturbing swiftness into grey doubts. The degree of involvement of knights in imagining such a framework arguably varied with the mental and spiritual formation of particular figures, but the profession of knighthood in general must have subscribed to a broadly similar set of views, despite obvious and inevitable variations in individuals. Religious terms would naturally inform such a framework among men who assumed that they were good Christians. The resulting chivalric dimension of religion—a lived variety of lay piety—was surely more subtle and is happily so much more interesting a subject for study than reductive views would suggest.

  • 7 Full discussion of these views and presentation of the evidence for them appear in Kaeuper, Holy W (...)

9The key to a closer understanding of chivalric religion, I am convinced, is to be found in the intersection of three broad lines of evidence and interpretation.7 First, we must recognize the deep and even fierce sense of professionalism that characterized the knighthood. In their view, far from standing opposed by their religion, this professional practice enacted a crucial form of their active piety. Second, our analysis must likewise incorporate the sheer knightly confidence and independence that stands as a part of or a parallel aspect to their undoubted piety. Independence and confidence led them, to no small degree, to act on matters of crucial importance to them as authors of their own code, or at the very least, this independence allowed them to assume a right to draw upon ideas advanced by both clerics and lay reformers in a highly selective manner. In short they assumed a right to ignore some advice given them, some demands made of them; without violating the call to piety they could truly absorb only those ideas they found important and congenial. Ideas that contradicted or troubled their warrior professionalism and elite status could be piously disregarded. Third, it is crucial to recognize that the formation of chivalric religion took place within a cultural atmosphere obsessed with meritorious suffering and especially with bodily asceticism as a means of earning divine love and forgiveness for sin. If, medieval religion in general emphasized asceticism, meritorious suffering played a particular role in chivalric religious thought. Peasants were taught to bear their hard toil with patience and humility. The monks and clerics might at least claim the physical hardship of chastity. The merchants were left with very little in the way of physical or heroic asceticism. Significantly, these were the very qualities that knighthood proudly claimed for their own ordo. As we will see, their suffering, splendidly heroic in its achievements and intensely physical in its process, solved an essential problem for them: it gave major help in reconciling their violent lives with divine grace and forgiveness in a manner and to a degree completely foreign to other ordines.

  • 8 M. Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God, Berkeley, 2000; R. S. Appleby, The Ambivalence of the (...)
  • 9 That this issue was significant both to thoughtful clerics and knights is argued in Kaeuper, Holy (...)

10These formative lines of knightly piety did not, it is also important to recognize, operate without persistent tensions, complications and even contradictions. It could not be otherwise. Indeed, their very function arguably grew out of such disruptive tendencies in a set of ideas important to them. What had the religion of Christ (as formulated in the Sermon on the Mount) to do with a warrior code, with the virtual worship of the demigod prowess, with looting, killing, and vengeance? The knights subscribed to a religion whose founder had spoken powerfully of love, peace, meekness, and forgiveness, and who had also spoken hard words about the fate of those who live by the sword. How could these elite males nonetheless live by the sword and proudly construct a self-definition based on enthusiastic and skillful use of edged weaponry in the violent pursuit of honor, loot, and vengeance? The question is raised to investigate their formation of ideas, not their morality in the abstract. That the problem of violence and the sacred is unique neither to Christianity nor to the Middle Ages I take for granted. These intractable issues seem sadly common around the globe at all times and intrude themselves into our daily news broadcasts.8 Yet if the generality of these tensions makes the issue broadly significant, the specific intensity of the problem in chivalric religion gives our inquiry particular potential. Sometimes the omnipresent tension merely flits like a ghostly presence through medieval texts and is not even overtly recognized; at other times it is the elephant in the room. This tension will haunt (or lumber through) all three broad frames of chivalric thought whose intersection formed the religion of knighthood.9

  • 10 E. Auerbach, “Gloria Passionis,” Literary Language and Its Public in Late Latin Antiquity and in t (...)

11We can conveniently consider the third basic evidentiary and interpretive line first since the powerful role of asceticism may be the most immediately surprising force to shape chivalric religion.10 Generally, we associate a high regard for asceticism with the religious and think of the monks and especially those hermits and anchorites who distressed their bodies creatively in fervent hopes of thereby meriting God’s love. Such asceticism is not the topos we immediately associate with the proud and dominant chivalric layer in society which gloried in the physical strength and skill of their bodies which won them showy glory and reward. Yet the knights tirelessly emphasized their grievous bodily suffering on wearisome campaign and in hard-fought battle. This fixation fills much chivalric literature and so soon as the knights’own words reach us they speak plainly and constantly to the essential asceticism of their profession.

  • 11 E. g. La Chanson d’Aspremont; chanson de geste du XIIe siècle, ed. L. Brandin, Paris, 1919.

12Twelfth century chansons de geste intensely visualize their suffering. Line upon line, laisse upon laisse, present the heroes languishing from multiple wounds, fainting from hunger and thirst; often holding their intestines within their slashed bodies with their own hands while vomiting blood. And their closely detailed sufferings are rewarded by the Lord of Hosts. When the release of death finally arrives (the medium of opera comes once again to mind), it brings them the glorious crown of martyrdom and an honored seat in the banquet hall of heaven.11

  • 12 Numerous examples are provided in R. W. Kaeuper, “Chivalry and the “Civilizing Process” Violence i (...)

13Even romance, traditionally characterized as more cheerful, less stained in blood and gore, supplies blood and gore aplenty. The physical demands of quest generate vivid descriptions of pain and anguish as heroes struggle to triumph, even to survive.12 After hours of hacking with broadswords—this is not fencing—the ground is soaked with precious chivalric blood, while sparkling rings of shattered mail shine amid the red pools. Battles that surely qualify as epic still rage in romance, and they can put thousands of men’s bodies and lives at risk. To cross swords with a romance hero such as Lancelot is to risk his blade hewing off an arm or leg, or splitting a helmet and penetrating into the brain, to the chin or even the chest cavity. Objections may be raised that none of this is possible with the weaponry of the day; but of course the significance lies in a narrative that is not accurately anatomical but deeply ideological. Not all talk in romance is of love, though we naturally gravitate towards such talk as modern interpreters.

14And the point is strongly reinforced when we can analyze not only what was written for the knights but what was written by them. Even a casual reader of the Livre de chevalerie by Geoffroi de Charny, perhaps the most admired French knight of the mid-fourteenth century, gains an impression of the importance Charny places on the sheer sufferings of active knighthood. Although he constantly reminds French knighthood about the dangers, hardships and sufferings they must endure, he insists on perseverance with cheerfulness and bold confidence. Are all such sufferings not meritorious? In one remarkable passage he even claims chivalric victory in ascetic competition with the clerics, the supposed masters of the practices. The Lord of Hosts who gives the knights their strength and endurance fully appreciates and rewards their suffering.

  • 13 A theme of R. W. Kaeuper, Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe, Oxford, 1999.

15That an insistence on meritorious suffering suffuses chivalric literature generally deserves emphasis: As we have noted, chansons, romance, and vernacular manuals all assume that knightly suffering brings divine approval. Warrior qualities, used well, carry out the will of God and enter positively into the economy of salvation. To recognize this fact is not to argue that no doubts and concerns about knightly fighting as a means of accumulating religious merit troubled the minds of clerical intellectuals or indeed reforming minds encased in iron helms. Debate and impulses for reform, no less than valorization, are a characteristic of chivalric literature. Even Geoffroi de Charny (writing in a time of crisis for French knighthood) worried about arms-bearers who do not live up to standards; romance is filled with what I have taken elsewhere to be topics for debate about proper chivalric behavior.13 Yet our evidence documents knightly assertion of virtue achieved through their hard practice of their profession; its known and dangerous consequences for knightly bodies in the world do not eliminate its even greater and more glorious consequences in the world to come.

16Yet the elephant in the room would trumpet disconcertingly. The entire set of knightly ideas, that is, did not coincide easily and harmoniously. How could chivalric ideology (a proud celebration of bodily strength and muscular triumph) combine so effectively with the intense cultural investment in asceticism that suffused a religion with underlying commitments to peace and forgiveness? For understanding we must turn to our remaining two major interpretive frames, chivalric independence and professionalism, and observe these forces shaping chivalric piety. They manage to quiet the elephant, so to speak, even if they could not push it quite out of the room altogether, silencing all doubts and misgivings.

17Knightly professionalism leads us at once to consider the ordines, those socio-professional groups originating in the divine master plan for the proper functioning of Christian society. Although their exact designation and number became rather fluid by the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the knighthood no less than the clergy always claim elite ranking on any list. In short, the warriors’ work no less than that of the priests was ordained by the Lord of Hosts who could be counted on to appreciate their good service. Scholarly doubts are sometimes expressed as to the seriousness with which knights identified with their ordo, but professionalism fused with manifest piety in the course of the twelfth century and by later medieval centuries the term itself (ordo, ordre or Hygh Ordre) appears almost reflexively on both sides of the Channel. Charny at mid-fourteenth century refers constantly to the knighthood as an order and Sir Thomas Malory in the late fifteenth century seems unable to write more than a few pages without the term and concept. Both were, of course, practicing knights no less than authors.

18Clerical intellectuals propagated the idea of a knightly order which obviously carried a prescriptive charge: the knights are being encouraged to behave according to a set of high standards. Yet even here I want to emphasize the degree of chivalric independence. The knights were selective in what they accepted and incorporated into their defining body of ideas and ideals. This degree of independence (in their view not antithetical to piety) is crucial. My strong impression is that they absorbed the high praise given to the idea of the High Order more readily than they bowed unhesitatingly to strictures on behavior; indeed, injunctions that impinged in any significant way on their professionalism were likely to fall on deaf ears. They enthusiastically continued to hold tournaments denounced by churchmen; they absorbed crusade propaganda creatively and selectively; they fought their fellow Christians on battlefields where they expected victory, even when papal emissaries stood between the two armies advocating peace. In their eyes pride could not be reduced to one of the seven deadly sins, always to be avoided.

  • 14 The full case for such an interpretation appears in Kaeuper, Holy warriors…
  • 15 See, for example, A New History of Penance, A. Firey (dir.), Leiden, 2008, and idem, A Contrite He (...)

19Even more significant for the role of confidence and independence in the creation of chivalric religious ideology, their advocates (and this must be a mixed set of clerics and knights) found ideological goldmines in a series of basic issues currently under debate by theologians. Their technique was to appropriate principles from both sides of these current arguments, in the process gaining double benefits. Three examples that have interested me can only be touched upon here.14 (1) Soteriology is basic: precisely how did Christ achieve salvation for humanity—by conquering the Devil who was seen as an opponent with legitimate rights over sinners who had traitorously become his vassals, or as the suffering servant of St Anselm’s famous scheme? Significantly, both views in fact persist throughout the chivalric centuries even if we moderns know that the formula of Anselm finally triumphed. And the knights claim the merits available from both explanations; they suffer like Christ the servant and they triumph as he did, as warriors. The Christus-miles link develops remarkably and—sadly (in the eyes of a modern progressive)—apparently without a touch of conscious irony. (2) Theologians were also at work interpreting the theological significance of human labor. Is labor imposed as punishment for sin, a view that resounded in the harsh decree of expulsion from Eden (and no doubt thundered from many a pulpit thereafter), or is it a natural human function through which faithful laborers can progress toward redemption in God’s great plan? Again both options appeal in chivalric thought. How fervently knights want their hard labor on campaign and in battle to counterbalance their grievous sins; yet how ideal to be a member of an ordo with such righteous labor assigned to them by God, who blesses the work and the doer. The hard labor of knighthood, in short, becomes a form of penance in an age that devoted much thought to penance. As all these lines of thought overlap and intersect we are led easily to the third point. (3) Confession and penance, central pillars of the ecclesiastical edifice of pious practice, were likewise under debate as chivalric ideology took shape. The historical taxonomy of these sacraments is changing under current scholarly investigation, but to state contrasts baldly, in an ancient form confession was highly infrequent and penance could be truly heroic in its intensity and physicality.15 By the thirteenth century some voices advocated a more spiritual understanding of the sacramental process, with at least annual confession (especially after the famous decree of the fourth Lateran Council). These thinkers wanted to reduce penance to acts that showed the sinner’s acceptance of the essential mediatory role of the church. Here the knighthood found much that was useful, as well as some need for resistance. The heroic interpretation of penance readily fit their warrior ideal: hard knightly labor on campaign and in battle counted as penitential. Yet they may well have shown much more reluctance for a regimen that formally expected them regularly to kneel before a parish priest and humbly whisper their sins into his ear, responding to a set of probing questions he asked them. This humbling process and these priestly queries touched a nerve: professionalism and status were at issue. Copious evidence is hard to unearth, but knightly resistance can be surmised from the number of exempla and miracle stories written for preachers (and put into books for the laity) that stress the need for compliance. In short, the knights are so urgently admonished to recognize the benefits and make regular confession that I am led to wonder if the clerics did not encounter resistance. Truly powerful knights, of course, could rely on their own chaplains; these confessors were members of their master’s household, wore his robes and took his fees. Confession to such men in private would significantly alter the dynamics of the process.

  • 16 W. James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, New York, 1961, p. 243-4.
  • 17 C. Bynum, Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages, Berkeley, 1982 p. (...)

20If the argument for appropriation of these major bi-polar theological issues is acepted, we can recognize at once what remarkable benefits descended upon the knightly order in medieval society. William James observed in The Varieties of Religious Experience that “the impulse to sacrifice” may be “the main religious phenomenon” and he describes “the undiluted ascetic spirit” as “the passion of self-contempt wreaking itself on the poor flesh.”16 Medieval asceticism usually involved giving up something truly important: clerics (in theory) gave up sex; the zealous among them renounced individual freedom and will, along with all physical comforts; women (as Caroline Bynum has taught us) sometimes gave up food.17 But the knights can have it both ways with regard to suffering and warrior violence. What chivalric ideology did with sacrifice and the poor flesh is surely a remarkable tour de force. They almost silence[d the elephant in the room and nearly managed to exclude it. Occupying the high ground on both sides of debated issues so close to the organizational heart of their society, they acquired significant ideological power, the power inherent in these competing ideals. Are they not both victors and victims? Self-exalters and self-abasers? Do they not practice the immitatio Christi in suffering and also in triumph? In so doing are they not storing up treasures in heaven? They could praise hands-on prowess as the glorious and even pious practice of their beautiful bodies, while, of course, they ensured their status, won foaming praise and glittering loot. They could groan over their sufferings in hard campaigns and battles in which their bodies might well be bruised, cut, and broken. The very exercise of their professional labor thus helped to secure the pardon for its inseparable wrongs. God himself gave them the great physical strength and capacity by which their dominance in the world was secured. Yet he was also appeased when they suffered meritoriously, in a good cause, as did his son on the cross at Calvary. Thus bodily superiority proved sword in hand and celebrated in both epic and romance literature with pride and style, stood alongside the sacrifice and suffering of hazarding the body, risking all, being on the receiving end of all that edged weaponry. The chivalrous were thus laying a claim to participate in the dominant religious paradigm of their culture, one based on suffering and bodily atonement, which was essentially clerical and specifically monastic in origin. At the same time they were enthusiastic practitioners of a warrior paradigm based on prowess, honor, vengeance and bodily exaltation (which seem to be staples of the eternal warrior code and specifically that originating for them in the early Germanic West).

21This degree of confident lay independence within an undoubted knightly piety is worth emphasizing because it did such major social and cultural work. Without this combination of attitudes (working within the ascetic atmosphere of meritorious suffering) how would the spokesmen for chivalry have managed to square the circle? How could they manipulate the malleable language of religious imagery, or imagine that looting, burning, cutting and killing, vengeance-taking (and prideful boasting over the results) could ever be considered to be a form of imitatio Christi, even when both sides in a fight were Christian? If the lay medieval elite were unquestionably shaped by religion, it is important to recognize how much masterful shaping of religion they practiced in their own interests.


1 M. Bloch, Apologie pour l’histoire, ou métier d’historien, Paris, 1949, p. 76-77.

2 British Library Additional MS 21147, folio 24.

3 Though the fact of knightly anticlericalism is often noted, few systematic studies exist. But see P. S. Noble, “Anti-clericalism in the feudal epic,” The Medieval Alexander Legend and Romance Epic, ed. P. Noble, L. Polak and C. Isoz, Millwood, NY, 1982, p. 149-58.

4 Discussed in R. Kaeuper, Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry, Philadelphia, 2009, p. 147-62.

5 Classic accounts of lay spirituality in general appears in A. Vauchez, The Laity in the Middle Ages, D. E. Bornstein (dir.), M. J. Schneider (trans.), Notre Dame, IN, 1993, and R. W. Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages, Harmondsworth, UK, 1970. Much of the vast scholarly literature touching on crusade could be cited to make similar points.

6 Geoffroi de Charny provides an excellent case in point. See R. W. Kaeuper and E. Kennedy, The Book of Chivalry of Geoffroi de Charny, Philadelphia, 1996. Cf.Kaeuper, Holy Warriors...

7 Full discussion of these views and presentation of the evidence for them appear in Kaeuper, Holy Warriors…, passim.

8 M. Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God, Berkeley, 2000; R. S. Appleby, The Ambivalence of the Sacred: Religion, violence, and Reconciliation, Lanyham, Md, 2000; O. J. Mcternan, Violence in God’s Name: Religion in an Age of Conflict, Maryknoll, NY, 2003; C. Selengut, Sacred fury: Religious Violence, Walnut Creek, CA, 2003; W. Hamblet, The Sacred Monstrous: a Reflection on Violence in Human Communities, Lanham, Md, 2004.

9 That this issue was significant both to thoughtful clerics and knights is argued in Kaeuper, Holy Warriors…, p. 1-37. John Baldwin masterfully discusses the intellectual wrestling of clerics with war and violence on the part of early thirteenth-century clerical reformers in Masters, Princes, and Merchants, Princeton, 1970, p. 205-228.

10 E. Auerbach, “Gloria Passionis,” Literary Language and Its Public in Late Latin Antiquity and in the Middle Ages, New York, 1965; E. Cohen, “Towards a History of European Physical Sensibility: Pain in the Later Middle Ages,” Science in Context 8, 1995, p. 47-74, and idem, “The Animated Pain of the Body”, American Historical Review 105, 2000, p. 36-68.

11 E. g. La Chanson d’Aspremont; chanson de geste du XIIe siècle, ed. L. Brandin, Paris, 1919.

12 Numerous examples are provided in R. W. Kaeuper, “Chivalry and the “Civilizing Process” Violence in Medieval Society, R. W. Kaeuper (dir.), Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK, 2000.

13 A theme of R. W. Kaeuper, Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe, Oxford, 1999.

14 The full case for such an interpretation appears in Kaeuper, Holy warriors…

15 See, for example, A New History of Penance, A. Firey (dir.), Leiden, 2008, and idem, A Contrite Heart: Prosecution and redemption in the Carolingian Empire, Leiden, 2009 and the works copiously cited in these book.

16 W. James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, New York, 1961, p. 243-4.

17 C. Bynum, Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages, Berkeley, 1982 p. 82-109.

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