Identity and Posthuman Medievalism in Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy (sonsofanarchyonline.com)

The medievalism of the FX television series Sons of Anarchy (2008-2014) is not inherently obvious. Set in Northern California, the series follows a fictional outlaw motorcycle club (MC) modeled on real gangs including the Hells Angels. Critics, fans, and creators alike discuss the series as an extended adaptation of Hamlet, and the broad narrative of the series is indeed a family tragedy.

Civic Knighthood in the Early Renaissance: Leonardo Bruni’s De militia (ca. 1420)

Statue ofe Francesco Ferrucci (1489-1530), Florentine condottiere

Leonardo Bruni’s aim in the De militia (ca. 1420) was to co-opt the most glamorous of medieval ideals, the ideal of chivalry, and to reinterpret it in terms of Greco-Roman ideals of military service.

Conception of Knighthood and Fifteenth-Century Chivalric Manuals

Chauser_knight_from_prologue

Chivalric writings like chronicles, romances and military handbooks, either in manuscript or in print, were popular and widely read in the latter half of the 15th century.

Meet the Real Ulrich von Liechtenstein

Ulrich von Liechtenstein in the Codex Manesse

If you’ve ever seen A Knight’s Tale, you’ll know that the titular knight takes on the name of Ulrich von Liechtenstein in order to joust on the tournament circuit and win the hand of his lady fair. What you may not have known is that there seems to have been a real thirteenth-century knight named Ulrich von Liechtenstein, who spent his youth jousting to win the heart (and body) of a capricious lady, and then wrote a book about it.

Henry V, Flower of Chivalry

Henry V depicted in A Chronicle of England: B.C. 55 – A.D. 1485 (1864)

Kingship and chivalry were not separate constructs in late medieval didactic works, chronicles and biographies which praised ideal qualities like loyalty largesse, honour and above all prudence that were essential for both kings and knights.

Five Medieval Minutes with Steven Muhlberger

combat of the thirty

Formal deeds of arms were an opportunity for one group of people to show off their skills – particularly their horsemanship – and for other people to appreciate how bold and daring they were.

Genre Medievalisms: Geek Goes Chic!

Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in HBO's, 'Game of Thrones'. Photo courtesy of blastr.com (TV Guide)

Is Cersei a collection of bad medieval stereotypes? Have nerds gone mainstream? Were American cowboys a modern retelling of the medieval knight? Put down that comic, put away your bag of dice, and indulge your inner nerd.

Conflicting Perspectives: Chivalry in Twelfth-Century Historiography

Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Division occidentale, Français 226, fol. 256v, Bataille de Tinchebray (1106)

Historians have found the task of defining medieval chivalry to be an elusive task.

The Anglo-Saxon War-Culture and The Lord of the Rings: Legacy and Reappraisal

The Lord of the Rings - Aragorn

The literature of war in English claims its origin from the Homeric epics, and the medieval accounts of chivalry and the crusades.

Nicolette : action transvestite, or, who and what is the heroine of Aucassin et Nicolette?

Aucassin and Nicolette, 19th-century oil-on-canvas by Marianne Stokes

In this paper, I will show how Nicolette is constantly, deliberately, changing, in appearance and identity, from the beginning of the story, and how she is thus Izzard’s action transvestite.

Medieval Misogyny and Gawain’s Outburst against Women in “‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - from original manuscript, date unknown.

The view has been gaining ground of late that the Gawain of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a knight renowned as ‘Pat fyne fader of nurture’ (1. 919) and as ‘so cortays and coynt’ of his ‘hetes’ (1. I525), degenerates at the moment of leave-taking from the Green Knight, his erstwhile host, to the level of a churl capable of abusing the ladies of that knight’s household (11.2411 -28).

Caught in Love’s Grip: Passion and Moral Agency in French Courtly Romance

The art of courtly love

French royal courts in the late twelfth century were absolutely smitten with love. Troubadaours traveled from place to place reciting stories of knights and the ladies they wooed.

The Physicality of Service in German Ideas of Knighthood, c.1200-1500

German Knight - Jörg (Georg) von Ehingen

Jörg’s memoir is a particularly informative example of how one knight understood his own calling to knighthood and his practice of it. The medieval knight had a voice, and although precious few memoirs like Jörg’s exist, knightly perspectives inform a considerable breadth of primary materials.

A Kiss Is Just a Kiss: Heterosexuality and Its Consolations in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Tolkien

The famous line from that modern romance- “A kiss is just a kiss”- is the message the Gawain-poet gave his listeners six centuries ago.

The American Dark Ages and the Terrorist Witch in Season of the Witch

Season_of_the_Witch

In this article we argue that medieval films are not to be analyzed according to their faithfulness to the known historical sources, but that they can only be fully analyzed by understanding medievalist codes, traditions and (filmic) intertextuality.

Chivalry comes to the Getty Museum

A Royal Wedding Feast; An Unsuitably Dressed Guest  Cast into Darkness, 1469. Follower of Hans Schilling  (German, active 1459 - 1467) and from the Workshop of  Diebold Lauber (German, active 1427 - 1467).The J. Paul  Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig XV 9, fol. 88v

The J. Paul Getty Museum’s newest exhibition Chivalry in the Middle Ages, which begins on July 8, 2014 at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, demonstrates how manuscripts of a variety of genres, ranging from romances to hunting treatises, played a central role in promoting the tenets of chivalry.

‘Protecting the non-combatant’: Chivalry, Codes and the Just War Theory

Medieval War - Royal 16 G VI f. 427v Civil war in England - image courtesy British Library

The concept of chivalry, a traditional code of conduct idealised by the knightly class relating to times of both peace and war, dominated the medieval period and many of the scholars who contributed to the principle of jus in bello were in fact writing about chivalry.

Stains on shining armour: Perceptions of chivalry during the reign of Edward III, 1327-1377

Harley 4379 f. 99 Knights

How did chivalry influence the life of a knight in the fourteenth century and how were the ideals of chivalry reflected in practice?

Knightly Bird Vows: A Case Study in Late Medieval Courtly Culture

Medieval Birds

In the late Middle Ages, there was a series of instances wherein knights vowed upon birds.

Crusading as a Knightly Deed

Battle of Mansura

How far do the works of Jean of Joinville and James I of Aragon depict crusading as an integral part of chivalry in the thirteenth century?

The “Discrete Occupational Identity” of Chaucer’s Knyght

Chaucer’s Knyght - knights

Popular critical opinion favors reading the pilgrim Knyght of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales as the representative of the idealized chivalric knight; however, the pilgrim Knyght bears the hallmark of the early professional soldier that began to evolve as early as the eleventh century.

Christian warriors and the enslavement of fellow Christians

Detail of a miniature of a battle during the Civil War in England.  -   Click on the image for the maximum size view. Royal 16 G VI   f. 427v  British Library

In this paper I shall argue that this most striking innovation was fundamental to the emergence of an effective notion of non-combatant immunity, itself widely regarded as the key norm in modern discussions of ius in bello.

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