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Book of the Order of Chivalry

This short treatise upon the moral and religious values connected with the practice of arms, was written between 1274 and 1276 in order to strengthen the Christian ideals of the military caste of the 13th century, and has had a considerable literary success. Joanot Martorell, for example, imitated the prologue to this work in Tirant lo Blanc in order to connect the adventures of William of Warwick to those of the protagonist. The medieval French translation of the work inspired an English version, printed by William Caxton in 1484.

The Book of the Order of Chivalry consists of seven chapters dealing respectively with: the origins and nobility of chivalry; the description of the role of the knight; the examination of the person who aspires to be a knight; the dubbing ceremony; the symbolism of offensive and defensive weapons; the customs proper to the knight and the honour due to him.

Ramon Llull proposes a moral reform of chivalry (fidelity to the monarchy, the defence of the faith, and respect towards the lower estates of society) which can be seen from his contemporary writings on this matter, thus compensating for the scant enthusiasm towards the military estate presented in Chapter 112 of the Book of Contemplation, devoted to the comparison of ‘celestial chivalry’, which was open to the works of the spirit, with ‘earthly chivalry’, which was busy with political, military and social tasks.

The Book of the Order of Chivalry sets out to build an ideological system which was complete, subtle and, above all, appropriate to the real situation of European states, such as the Crown of Aragon or France, in the 13th century.

See: Albert Soler i Llopart, “ “Mas cavaller qui d’açò fa lo contrari”. Una lectura del tractat lul·lià sobre la cavalleria”, Estudios Lulianos, 29 (1989), pp. 1-23, 101-24.