“Chivalry and Courtesy: Medieval Manners for Modern Life” by Danièle Cybulskie.
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 etiquette from the time of Chaucer to the court of Elizabeth I, 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 courtiers’ handbooks 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 “be companionable no matter who you are with” and to not “chew on bones because that is what dogs do.”
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.