Medieval Orders II-IV: The Nobility, The Merchants, The Peasants

The Nobility (MR 90-101)

The Function of Knighthood" from John of Salisbury  &"The Chivalric Ideal" from Diaz de Gamez 

  1. How would you compare and contrast John and Diaz's view of the knightly ideal?
  2. What are the knight's responsibilities to others in the society?
  3. How realistic do you think this ideal was?

"The Murder of a Feudal Lord" from Galbert of Bruges

  1. How does the question of class status and freedom give rise to the count's murder?
  2. How does the provost's family and the people of Borsiard treat the other classes?
  3. How is piety described in this account?
  4. Do you think Galbert's perspective on the event is the correct one? Why and/or why not?

The Merchants (129-135, 139-148, 154-166)

"The Feet of the Commonwealth" from John of Salisbury  &"The Duties of Manorial Offices" from Seneschaucie

  1. Is the ideal described by John of Salisbury compatible with the virtues described by the author of Seneschaucie? Why and/or why not?

  2. Why are such virtues necessary to uphold manorial life?

"The Making of a Merchant" from Reginald of Durham

  1. How does Reginald seek to bring together Godric's piety with his business sense?

  2. Why does Godric eventually give up the life of a merchant?

"Advice to a Norwegian Merchant" from The King's Mirror

  1. How would you classify the various kinds of advice the father gives his son about being a merchant?

  2. Is it all good advice? Why and/or why not?

black and white drawing of a medieval house

"The Good Wife" from The Goodman of Paris & "Life in London" from Memorials of London

  1. How is the relationship of the husband and wife described?

  2. What did you find interesting or surprising about the life of either the wife or of London?

The Peasants (136-139)

"The Peasant's Life" from William Langland

  1. What things must an agricultural peasant do to survive/subsist?

  2. How does the poem describe the state of poverty and want among the peasants?