By the end of the fifteenth century, knights had lost their preeminence on the battlefield. Although heavy cavalry would remain useful militarily through the nineteenth century, knightly service was no longer necessary for national armies, and chivalry considered as strictly a military code was no longer necessary. From this perspective, Le Morte Darthur is an exercise in nostalgia. But chivalry was never an exclusively military phenomenon. It was also a way of imaging social relationships, and the longbow, pike, and gunpowder did not take this away. Chivalry’s ability to shape communities explains why interest in chivalry continued strongly into the seventeenth century.


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  1. 1.
    Louise Fradenburg, “Pro Patria Mori,” Imagining A Medieval English Nation, ed. Kathy Lavezzo (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), pp. 5–8 [3–38].Google Scholar

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© Kenneth Hodges 2005

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