THE IDEAL OF CHIVALRY

the connection between religion and that system of social and military ethics and etiquette denoted by the term " chivalry " was particularly close. Not only was the code of chivalry, with its theoretical reverence for womanhood, much influenced by the cult of the Virgin, but also the actual orders of knighthood (Templars, Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Teutonic Order) were religiouscrusading indeed in origin. What the ideals of knighthood were appear in the pages of Malory's Morte d'Arthur, and their more mystical side particularly in the legends of a Parsifal or a Galahad. Chivalry also provided a system of education as well as an aristocratic ideal, for the young squire was supposed to learn playing, singing, versifying, and possibly even reading and writing, as well as etiquette and jousting. In the unsurpassed medieval portrait gallery of Chaucer's Prologue to The Canterbury Tales we have a superb description of the " verray parfit gentil knight," who had done doughty deeds against the infidel, yet was in his bearing " as meeke as is a mayde," and of his son, the "yonge squyer," the apprentice in chivalry who carved " biforn his fader at the table."

The romantic side of knighthood must not, however, make us lose sight of the fact that primarily knighthood meant an often tiresome military obligation to a feudal superior, and that its chivalric side was an offshoot. The medieval mind was, indeed, apt to be niggling in matters of legal obligation for the conduct of business within the town, and dealt diplomatically with the corresponding Gilds of other towns, which were regarded as " foreign " and treated as such in the matter of tariffs and restrictions, except possibly at the time of the fair if one was held, for fairs were of great importance in the Middle Ages. At some of the greatest, such as that of Novgorod, produce borne by caravan or ship with infinite trouble and danger from all parts of the known world changed hands.

Just as commerce was largely controlled by the Merchant Gilds, so was industry (such as it was) by the Craft Gilds, which arose somewhat later than the former. For each trade or " mystery " in each town or city there was a Craft Gild consisting both of employers and employed, between whom there was little economic difference in an age of small-scale manufacture. The Craft Gilds made ordinances regulating prices, hours of work, apprenticeship (which may be viewed as another form of medievaleducation), and the quality of workmanship; and also acted as friendly societies for their members, as well as possessing religious functions, one of the most interesting of which was sometimes the production of Biblical plays. As time passed, the Merchant Gild tended to become identified with municipal government, while the growth of a social distinction between masters and men broke up the unity of the Craft Gilds, which split up into Livery Companies of the employers and Yeoman Gilds of the employed, before ceasing to be of any practical importance in the sixteenth century.