Chronicle of Knights in Armor

Description

This book on the proper mode of conduct for a knight was written in French in around 1410 by Christine de Pisan, Europe's first prolific and respected female author. It was translated into English and printed by William Caxton (1422?-91) in 1489 at the behest of Henry VII, who wished to make it available to English soldiers. The book contained not only rules of conduct, such as how a victorious knight should treat a prisoner of war, but also practical information that Pisan had gleaned from several classical texts, such as how to choose the best site to pitch one's tent and how to prevent one's castle from falling under siege. Caxton was the first English printer. He translated from French many of the works that he printed, often adding prologues or epilogues, demonstrating his erudition as well as his skill as a printer. This work is an example of an incunabulum, a term from the Latin meaning 'from the cradle' that is used by librarians and bibliophiles to refer to books printed in Europe before 1501.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

William Caxton, Westminster

Language

Title in Original Language

Boke of the Fayt of Armes and of Chyualrye

Place

Type of Item

Physical Description

144 leaves : 28 centimeters

Notes

  • Largely a compilation from the works of Vegetius, Frontinus, Valerius Maximus, Honoré Bonet, and a contemporary anonymous authority on sieges. Books 3-4 are based on Bonet's L'arbre des batailles.

Last updated: January 10, 2014