Prowess and various topics (was: Re: Prowess- Is that all??)

Galen of Bristol pmitchel at
Thu Dec 12 22:04:22 PST 1996

> Did anyone take the time to read the introduction in the newest "Complete
> Anachronist", vol 88-- "Beyond Prowess"??
> I did. Found out that according to Maurice Keen in his book "Chivalry",
> prowess, skill at arms and strength of body, is only the first of six
> virtues necessary to become a knight.
> Very interesting. Subconsciously, I thing i knew this.  Made me rather
> curious though. Prowess is the only one mentioned. What are the other
> five?
> The Easily Distracted
> Lady Deirdre
> Curiosity Killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back...
> Resurrection? Been there, done that. Can you say "Isis & Osiris"?

Lessee...  I think it was:
Prouesse, Courtesie, Largesse, Humilitie, Piety, and something like "Glory", 
which is the showmanship and pomp that I think is so important.

This is off the top of my head, so I could be wrong.

While I'm here, I want to touch on a few things.

1.  No one who knows me would expect me to place winning above honor.  If 
someone told me of a fighter who never lost, I would interpret that as a 
fighter who never called blows.  But if you're not on the field trying to
win, there's no point.  Why defend, if survival isn't important?  Why strike,
if not to slay?  I agree with Sheridan, that making fighting a game, or
worse, a _sport_, makes it something in which honor and chivalry become
secondary.  As it is, honor is indispensible to our combat.  But seeking
to win is integral.  As Sheridan pointed out, losing isn't bad; in 17 1/2
years, I've only won a half-dozen or so tournies, and never a big one.
I much prefer to win, it's much more fun for me; I try my best.  But the 
fights I enjoy the most are the hotly contested ones; the ones where I
might win, but the other guy might as well.  That's where honor makes an
important difference, and saves the loser from being a _failure_.  The
fighters' respective skills and talents aren't so important.  But in a
tourney where only one can be the winner, and the rest must lose, I've 
often seen it where no one is a failure.  In period combat, courage meant
facing the real possibility of death.  For us, courage means facing the
real slim chance of injury, and the very likely probability of public
defeat; but defeat is not failure, unless our honor or our chivalry 
fails us.

2.  On grabbing spears and pole weapons.  This is a favorite thing of mine
to do.  I agree that it would be unchivalrous and Not Nice to attempt to
break the weapon, but to relieve an enemy of his offense in a melee seems
to me fair game.  BTW, if I've grabbed the haft of the weapon (the only
legal part to grab) it's highly unlikely that the striking surface will
contact any part of me with sufficient force to be a killing blow through
the armor I'm assumed to be wearing.

3.  Gunnora, you've reminded me of another fighting Laurel, Master Godwin.

That's enough for now.

- Galen

Viscount Galen of Bristol, KSCA, CSM, etc.
Paul Mitchell, pmitchel at / "noblesse oblige"

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