Order of knighthood
The orders of knighthood appear at the 14th century. They affirm in their statutes their will to regenerate the knighthood. Their creation is explained as much by political reasons. So much from orders disappeared quickly, some whose Order of the Garter are still in force.
In spite of the invention of imaginary natures such as an alleged order of the Holy-Bulb that Clovis would have founded in 496, the orders of knighthood are a phenomenon of the end of the Moyen-âge. They partly fit in the succession of the military orders appeared at the time of the Croisade S and the Reconquista, they were then orders of monk-warriors. And it is in Spain that the first laic orders appear, precursory orders of knighthood, rewarding for the heroic actions for the defense of the Chrétienté then of the State.
The orders of knighthood are inspired in addition by the model of the Roundtable of the cycle arthurien.
Their creation also answers a political requirement. Vassalage had lost its exclusive aspect and in spite of an attempt at revival with the liege Hommage, much the noble ones concerned several suzerains. In their statutes, the orders of knighthood restored an exclusive fidelity towards the large-Master, who is always the creative prince or one of his successors.
On the model of the orders of knighthood, the European sovereigns reflect in place of the honorary orders as from the 17th century. Although these new orders are bodies to which the novel members must incorporate themselves, from where the name of order, they are distinguished from the orders of knighthood by several characteristics: they are treated on a hierarchical basis in several classes (whereas the orders of knighthood have only one class), do not reward only the noble ones and often have a field of specialization, honouring the soldiers or the diplomats… Several orders of knighthood evolved/moved in an honorary function of order, without to modify their structure: British orders of the Jumper and the Thistle and French orders of Saint-Michel and of the Holy Spirit in particular.
The majority of the orders of knighthood were at the same time monk and soldiers. It is with the birth of Christianity that it is necessary to defer the time of the foundation of these kinds. Most of the orders of knighthood are extinguished, because same circumstances which determined their creation and which ceased existing. Others, on the contrary, arrived to us, only stripped forms which were not any more harmonizes some with manners, the uses and the habits of our company. Such are the orders of Calatrava, of Malta,….
Go back to appearances of the various orders
- the Order of the Garter (England): 1334
- the Order of the Star (France): 1351
- the order of the Collar (Savoy): 1364
- the Order of Hermine (Brittany): 1381
- the Order of the Porcupine (Duchy of Orleans): 1393
- the Order of Saint-Hubert (Lorraine and Barrois): 1416.
- the Order of the Golden Fleece (Burgundy): 1430
- the Order of Cordelière (Brittany): 14th or 15th century
- the Order of Hermine and the Ear (Brittany): 15th century
- the Order of Saint-Michel (France): 1469
- the Order of the Holy Spirit (France): 1578
The membership of an order of knighthood is an often mentioned question. With XIXe and XXe century, many new orders were created, often with reasons charitable or satisfied - sometimes with mercantile or not very avowable goals (sectarian movement…) generating confusion in the spirits.
The general rules are: - Only members of the orders of knighthood " historiques" and " reconnus" can adouber of the knights members of an order. By history, one understands an order former to the XIX century, therefore the authority is uncontested and whose filiation is recognized. Obviously this definition is quite vague and prone to guarantee. Example: the Order of the Knights of Malta. - In France, the knighthood is purely honorary. She is not recognized by the official authorities. The blazon, which is not reserved for the nobility nor with the knighthood, is him property of a family. Technically, it is theoretically impossible to be armed knight out of an order, the nobility having disappeared. - The members of a chivalrous company decree an honorary recognition having value only in their eyes.
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