Chivalry and Courtesy by Danièle Cybulskie

Chivalry and Courtesy: Medieval Manners for a Modern World by Danièle Cybulskie
English | 2023 | History

A surprising look at how medieval etiquette can improve our lives today, from the author of the popular How to Live Like a Monk


Medieval people are often portrayed as having poor hygiene and table manners—licking their knives or throwing chicken bones on the floor. In the Middle Ages, however, such behavior was not tolerated. Medieval society cherished order in nearly every facet of life, from regular handwashing to daily prayer. There were consequences if you didn’t adhere to the rules of good behavior: you wouldn’t be invited to the lord’s next dinner, you wouldn’t win the battle, and you wouldn’t win the lady.

Author Daniele Cybulskie explores the world of medieval etiquette, encompassing table manners and interpersonal relationships as well as running a household and ruling a kingdom. With wit and insight, Cybulskie draws on a wide variety of primary sources, from handbooks for young knights to romantic poems. Though we may no longer need best practices for things like dueling or ordering about our servants, the principles of generosity, kindness, and respect still apply today. After all, it’s a good reminder to “not talk when you have food in your mouth” and “anything you say should be entertaining, polite, and sophisticated.”

Illustrated with original drawings by Anna Lobanova as well as eighty medieval artworks, Chivalry and Courtesy is full of good advice for everyone, whether you are a peasant or a knight, a student or a CEO, a king or a queen.

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