MEN have always admired some qualities as virtues and deplored others as faults. The nature of ideas of this sort in any society is governed by various forces-- tradition, environment, and exposure to alien influences. In two later chapters I shall discuss the ethical ideas which outside groups, the clergy and the ladies, attempted to impose on the feudal warriors of France, but here my concern is with those that grew out of their cultural tradition and actual function in society. As these ideas developed in the mind of the noble, the miles or chevalier, and represented his conception of the perfect knight, they have a peculiar right to be termed chivalric. The fact that most of the qualities which this ideal demanded were those which best fitted a nobleman to perform his functions in the feudal system moves me to call these same ideas feudal. Hence I have adopted the term feudal chivalry to describe the set of ethical conceptions to be discussed in this chapter. The ideal knight of feudal chivalry was the lineal descendant of the heroes of Germanic legend and the ancestor of the modern gentleman. In both these capacities he is of interest to the social historian as an important stage in the history of masculine ethics.
The cultural tradition and the environment of the eleventh-century noble combined to instill in him an