We find in
several manuscript an illumination of a devil sitting on a tree. Every branch
of the tree reads one of his Ten Commandments. Additionally, a wild boar at the
bottom of the tree looks up at the devil and his commandments.
1 ~ Here is my
first Commandment: swear upon God’s name as often as you can.
2 ~ Grant
your body with as much delights as possible; there isn’t any other heaven.
3 ~ Come by
my house anytime: it is the pub and the brothel.
4 ~ If you
wish me to remember you, cover yourself with vain glory.
5 ~ Despise
all poor people and love nothing but gold and silver.
6 ~ If you
have nothing for yourself, take it from another, and give nothing back.
7 ~ Should
you father argue with you make him fear you.
8 ~ Use wine
for gambling instead of holy mass.
9 ~ Believe
and witchcraft and violence: your will shall be fulfilled.
10 ~ Would
you be short of money you shall take if from the Church.
Those Ten Commandments are given as Queen Ratio provides a moral and allegorical commentary of the wild boar which is depicted as a devilish creature. Furthermore, all of this is found, believe it or not, in a medieval hunting treatise.
It is called the Books of King Modus and Queen Ratio and reads as a long dialogue. Whereas King Modus teaches the hunting apprentice how to hunt the deer and other animals, Queen Ratio provides an allegorical reading of nature and its creatures.
If the wild
boar is a devilish beast, then the deer is a Christian one. Its noble antlers
are actually a figure for God’s own Ten Commandments. The deer protects itself
with its antlers as the good Christian shields himself with God’s Commandments.
The wild boar used to be considered as a brave and mighty beast in Germanic culture. Henri de Ferrières, author of the Books of King Modus and Queen Ratio, however, turns it into the most despicable creature of the forest. Would you want to know more about that cultural shift, I’d recommend Michel Pastoureau’s book on the subject. It’s quite the page turner!
Further readings: ~ Michel Pastoureau, Le Cochon. Histoire d’un cousin mal aimé (1999). ~ Les livres du roy Modus et de la royne Ratio, éd. Gunnar Tilander, Paris, Société des anciens textes français, 1932, 2 t.
Joan of Arc
never failed to be breezy and impertinent when faced with her social higher-ups.
That is one of her predominant character trait which makes her so charismatic.
She was blunt. She was fearless. She bowed to no one but the King. She was fine
damn ready to kick some ass and to admonish anyone whom she felt had crossed a
line. She certainly was one of a kind.
Joan Meets Jean de Metz
“Should I lose my feet I’ll walk on my knees.”
de Metz first met her back in Vaucouleurs, where her journey started, she was
wearing a threadbare red dress. “What are you doing here, darling?” he asked.
She answered in a straightforward manner: “I’ve come here to talk with the Lord
of Baudricourt, so that he would send me to the King. He won’t hear me, but I’ll
get there. Should I lose my feet I’ll walk on my knees. No one in the world,
nor any King, nor any Duke, nor any daughter of the King of Scotland, nor anyone
else, can take back the realm. The King shall have no succour but mine!” Jean
de Metz fell head over heels for Joan. He escorted her himself to Chinon after
he had her dressed as a man. He would then follow her for several months .
Joan riles the Duke of Lorraine
they left Vaucouleurs for Chinon, Jean de Metz went with Joan to meet The Duke
of Lorraine. The latter had invited the Maid to his court because he thought
she could be a healer of some sort. She candidly told the Duke to ditch his
mistress and be faithful to his wife. Then she went on to ask if René of Anjou,
the Duke’s future son-in-law, could accompany her to Chinon. The ten years old
prince belonged to the highest nobility. He was cousin to the King. Joan really
got some nerve. Yet her request was unabashedly denied .
Joan Flames A Theologian
“I speak better French than you”
eventually made her way to Chinon and met the King as she promised she would.
At that point she was requested to meet theologians to vouch for her visions.
Pierre Seguin was amongst those theologians and mighty doctors of the Church. He
asked Joan which dialect she spoke. “I speak better French than you”, she
replied, for he had a southern accent. He carried on to ask Joan to give a sign
that she was indeed sent by God. She came out as sharp as a knife. “I didn’t
come here to grant you tokens from God. Send me to Orleans. I’ll show you the
sign you’re looking for. ”
Joan of Arc Mocks Dunois
“I come by God’s own guidance, which is far safer and wiser than yours.”
on to Orleans. On her way over there, the French army rode up to the East of
the city to cross the river Loire. It pissed Joan, for John Talbot and his
troops were sitting West of Orleans. If there was ever a fearsome captain, it
was John Talbot. I found various occurrence of French armies avoiding him or fleeing
upon his arrival to avoid to face him. Yet Joan had wished to meet him head on.
She walked right to the man responsible of the coward itinerary, the Bastard of
Orleans himself. “Is it on your advice that we cross the river here and not
where Talbot and the English are?” The Bastard was rather startled to be addressed
in such a fashion. “Yes it was!” he boasted. Joan put him back to his place: “Know,
Bastard, that I come by God’s own guidance, which is far safer and wiser than
yours. Right at that moment, the winds which had been unfavourable to cross the
Loire turned and made the crossing possible. The Bastard couldn’t believe in
his own eyes. From that moment onwards he had faith in Joan .
Joan got captured in Compiegne, after she helped to liberate Orleans. Once
captured and faced with her enemies, however, Joan didn’t tune down.
Joan Knows What Awaits Her
“I know very well that the English will have me killed”
Back in the
15th century, the English already used to yell “God damn!” whenever
something displeased them. Therefore the French came up with a derisive and derivative
nickname for them: they called the English the “Godons”. Joan hated anyone to
call out the name of the Lord in vain, but she called the English Godons
herself. She did so, although imprisoned in a cell, right in front of the earls
of Stafford and Warwick, who ranked amongst the most powerful men of England. “I
know very well that the English will have me killed. Yet a hundred thousand Godons
couldn’t take the kingdom.” Stafford got so mad he draw his dagger with the
clear intent to kill her. Warwick through herself in front of Joan to protect
her. He would later protect her too from rape. You see, Warwick was of a sound state
of mind. He wanted Joan killed properly: on the pyre like a heretic after a due
trial to rob her from her mystical charisma .
Joan Faces Her Judges
“Should you tear my limbs apart…”
however kept a full grip of herself when she met her judges: an army of
theologians from the University of Paris who longed for her death. They tried
to catch her off guard with theological traps when asking her if she believed
she had received the grace of God. “I don’t know if God granted me his grace.
If he has, I pray that he keeps to do so. If he hasn’t, I pray that he extends
it to me,” she answered. Then they asked if Saint Michel was naked when he
visited her. She thought the idea utterly ludicrous: “Do you think Our Lord doesn’t
have clothes for him?” Eventually she was threatened with torture. She feared
nothing. “Should you tear my limbs apart or split my soul from my body, I
wouldn’t tell you otherwise. Should I tell you otherwise, then I would always
argue that you forced me to.” They ruled out torture. They went for entrapment.
At the end Joan was burned because she took on her male clothes after she swore
she would not put them on again. If there ever was a thin pretext to kill
someone, it was that one .
How Joan Ghosted Her Best Friend…
around eighteen years old when she went on her quest to rescue the King of
France. She was no more than nineteen when she died. She answered to the
powerful and the wealthy with nothing but confidence and cheek. Yet, there is
one person she didn’t dare to face, Hauviette. The latter said: “I’ve known her
since I was a child. We grew up together, you see. We had a fun sleeping next
to each other in the same bed when we were kids. Joan was good, pure and sweet.
She liked to go church. People often made remarks about it and she felt a bit
ashamed… She was like any other girl. She’d tend to her house and to her father’s
cattle. She could spin wool too. There was a big tree not far from the village.
We called it the tree of the fairies. We’d go there, with some bread and some
nuts, and we’d play. We never saw any fairies. There was none.” Then, she added:
“When Joan definitely left the village, she told me nothing. I only learned
afterwards that she was gone. I cried a lot. She was so good and I loved her so
much. She was my friend. ”
 Jules Quicherat, Procès de condamnation et de réhabilitation de Jeanne d’Arc. Paris: Jules Renouard, 1861-1869. Cf. t. 2, p. 436.  Ibid., t. 3, 87.  Ibid., t. 3, 204-205.  Ibid., t. 3, 4-5.  Ibid., t. 3, 122.  Pierre Champion, Procès de Condamnation de Jeanne d’Arc. Paris: Honoré Champion, 1921. Cf. t. 2, p. 42, 151, 252-253.  Quicherat (1861-1869), t. 2, 417-419.
Régine Pernoud & Marie-Véronique Clin, Jeanne d’Arc. Paris: Fayard, 1986 Philippe Contamine, Olivier Bouzy & Xavier Hélary, Jeanne d’Arc. Histoire et dictionnaire. Paris: Robert Laffont, 2012 (coll. Bouquins).
I really wanted to answer to that question on the AskHistorians subreddit. For two reasons: first, the scene referred to in the question really struck my feelings when I watched it because of how well acted and written it was; second, I had the knowledge and the necessary books at my disposal to answer in a fashion that would respect the AskHistorians community rules and expectations. Enjoy!
The Very Short Version
answer is that any knight could dub a squire to elevate him to knighthood. The
long answer offers more contrast. The dubbing ceremony came into fashion in the
11th century. Originally it constituted in very little: a lord gave
arms and armours to his vassals to help him into battle. This would also serve
as a rite of passage into adulthood and to some extent, we can trace that rite
all the way back to Germanic tribes (Keen, 1984, 66-67).
Early Mass Promotions to Knighthood
In the 12th
century we observe ceremonies of mass promotions to knighthood. Therefore the
knight becomes really distinct from the vassal. The dubbing ceremony gains in
complexity and the multiplication of knights give them the feeling to belong to
a social order apart from the rest of society. The techniques of warfare would
however evolve drastically from the 13th to the 15th
century. Crossbow became deadlier and firearms made their introduction. The
knights therefore improved their physical protection and adopted the plate
armour, which kept on being improved generation after generation.
Only the Best and Wealthiest
To be made
a knight became a very pricy thing. Moreover the idea of knighthood was the
object of more and more sophisticated theories. The behaviour expected from a
knight, in and out of the battlefield, was codified to an extent that made it
impossible for anyone to be randomly dubbed. At this point, I’d like to quote
the Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval
Warfare and Military Technology (2010, vol. 2, p. 468-469):
All knights were warriors, but not all warriors were knights. […] The concept of the knight as a distinct elite group of warriors began to emerge in the eleventh century. The words used to designate members of this group indicate that the origins of this class lay with the armed and mounted servants who formed a lord’s entourage, or comitatus. The latin word used for a knight from the eleventh century on was ‘miles,’ which in classical Latin meant a soldier and by the tenth century a servant. […] As church attitudes toward violence changed and certain sorts of warfare became theologically acceptable, the warrior rose in status, provided he fought for the right cause. Kings and other rulers made increasing use of knights as administrators. […] Knights regarded knighthood as a separate order in society. Knightly status became a sort of institution, with its own literature, ideals of behaviour, and rituals, such as the tournament and the ceremony of dubbing into knighthood. Initially, dubbing was simply a ceremony in which the lord presented his warriors with weapons and armor, but during the twelfth century the ceremony expanded to include a blessing of the new knight’s sword. […] As the defining characteristics of knighthood developed, the numbers of those entering this elite class of men declined. By the mid-thirteenth century in England and northern France, warriors of lesser means could no longer afford to undergo the public ritual that would make them knights. The social expectations of knights and the public responsibilities that they were expected to take on exceeded their means. Knighthood became an exclusive caste, limited to those who were descended from knights and had the means to maintain the status.
A Knight Always Pays his Debts
became a capital requirement for anyone to be elevated to knighthood. In a 15th
century manuscript that describe how emperors and kings must be enthroned to
power, we also find a paragraph on the making of knights (Paris,
BnF, MS fr. 5930, f. 3r-4v):
Comment se doit faire ung chevalier
Escuier quant il a bien voyagie et esté en plusieurs fais d’armes et qu’il a bien de quoy maintenir | son estat ou qu’il soit de grant hostel et de riche et qu’il se tienne en une rencontre ou bataille doit adviser le chief ou ung vaillant chevalier de la compaignie et lors doit venir à luy et lui demander et requérir chevalerie ou nom de Dieu et de saint Gorge. Et celui doit tirer son espee et le doit faire chevalier en disant : « Je te fay chevalier ou nom de Dieu et de saint Gorge, pour la foy et justice loyaulment garder, et à juste querelle soustenir loyaulment à ton povoir, en gardant l’Eglise, femmes, veusves et orphelins. » Et s’il advient qu’il soit noble homme ou vaillant et qu’il soit povre, le prince ne le doit laisser estre fait chevalier s’il ne lui donne de quoy il se puisse vivre honnestement pour l’onneur de l’ordre de chevalerie
How to dub a knight
When a squire has travelled much and been part of feats, if he has enough to provide for himself or if he is part of a great and wealthy house, he must advise his commander or a valiant knight at the beginning of a battle and request to be dubbed in the name of God and saint George. The latter must then draw out his sword and say: “I elevate you to knighthood in the name of God and Saint George, so that you would loyally defend the faith, fight honourable causes, and protect the Church, women, widows and orphans.” If the squire is a noble or valiant man but has no money for himself, the prince must not let him be elevated to knighthood unless he grants him enough to live a decent life.
Who’s Knighting Who?
also confirms that any knight could dub a squire. However, as Keen notes, “We
have noticed in many early texts the anxiety of aspirant knights to receive
knighthood at the hands of some lord of particular distinction or repute. In
the later middle ages a still more particular dignity was associated with
receiving knighthood at the hands of one who had established a name for himself
as a knight of prowess by deeds recognised as outstanding.” (Keen, 1984, 77) My
personal favourite promotion to knighthood is the one held for Philip the Good,
Duke of Burgundy. Since his father had passed away, he turned to the most
skilled, feared and respected knight of his court: John of Luxembourg, lord of
I will translate Chastellain directly on that one: “The Duke required the order of knighthood to John of Luxembourg while riding next to him, showing no emotion and talking in a cold manner, handing to the latter his sword: ‘Dear cousin, in the name of God I ask of you to grant me the title of knight.’ The foresaid Luxembourg received the request as a high mark of honour. He dubbed him, saying: ‘My Lord, in the name of God and Saint George, I elevate you to knighthood; may your Grace therefore become a knight as you and all of us will need you to be.” (George Chastellain, Oeuvres. Edited by the Académie royale de Belgique. Brussels: F. Heussner, 1863, p. 259) Afterwards, Philip the Good went on his way to dub other valiant squires in his ranks.
A Dubbing Was Pretty Much a Christening
We tend to
forget however that the Church could also dub knights. Monstrelet’s son was
dubbed knight of the Order of Jerusalem by the canons of Cambrai in 1444; read J. B. Dacier, « Mémoire
sur la vie et les chroniques d’Enguerrand de Monstrelet » (1826). Keen
addresses that matter quite extensively in his chapter “The ceremony of dubbing
to knighthood”. He explores as to why and how the Church became the sole
institution to anoint kings and emperors, but failed to monopolize the dubbing
of knights. Yet, he observes: “The fact that so often knights were dubbed in church impressed on all minds that
knighthood was a Christian calling, imposing broad obligations of Christian
observance and morality, whether it was given in a church or not. Under the church’s influence, crusading,
the martial pilgrimage, established itself firmly as the highest mode of
expression of the chivalric virtues of courage and endurance. Ecclesiastical
teaching also gave definition to the idea of chivalry as an order, possessing,
as every order should, its rule of life, and instructed the knight about how he
should view his individual discharge of his office as a Christian duty.” (Keen, 1984, 76)
When is it Good to be Knighted?
Any knight could therefore dub another knight, but the prerequisites to become a knight made it impossible for any “insane knighting inflation” to ever happen. Matters of wealth, moral code and lifestyle strictly limited the access to knighthood, more and more so from the 12th to the 15th century.
I’d like to end this post as it should with a last observation made by Keen: “A number of late medieval sources mention three normal occasions for receiving knighthood. It may be given, they say, when the emperor or a king holds a solemn court, or at his coronation; usually the ceremony will take place in a church, after the bath and vigil, and the prince himself ‘or some other lord who is a knight’ will gird the aspirants. […] The second occasion for taking knighthood that they mention is on pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre, the rise of which practice we have also traced. The third occasion for taking knighthood that they all mention is on the eve of battle, or of the storming of a city, when men seek knighthood ‘in order that their strength and virtue may be greater’. From the latter part of the thirteenth century on, this became a very common occasion for the taking of knighthood. […] In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the making of knights became almost a regular feature of the eve of battle, and the pages of such chronicles as Froissart [and Monstrelet] are in consequence full of references to such creations.” (Keen, 1984, 79-80)
Literature on Knighthood:
Bernard of Clairvaux, In Praise of new knighthood (1129) Ramon Llull, The Book of the Order of Chivalry (1279-1283) Honoré Bonet, The Tree of Battles (1382-1387) Christine de Pizan, Livre des fais d’armes et de chevalerie (1410)
Modern Studies on
Peter Coss, The Knight in Medieval England, 1000-1400. Stroud, U.K.: Alan Sutton, 1993. Georges Duby, The Chivalrous Society. Translated by Cynthia Postan. London: Edward Arnold, 1977. Maurice Keen, Chivalry. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1984. Malcolm Vale, War and Chivalry. Warfare and aristocratic culture in England, France and Burgundy at the end of the Middle Ages. Liverpool: Duckworth, 1981.