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Its essential character is devotion to woman and to honour.
The more closely we look into history, the more clearly shall we perceive that the system of chivalry is an invention almost entirely poetical.
Over time, its meaning in Europe has been refined to emphasise social and moral virtues more generally.
As a modern idea, it was pioneered by the French philosopher/sociologists Pierre Bourdieu and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, even though a precedent exists for the concept as far back as the works of Aristotle.
Crouch argues that the habitus on which "the superstructure of chivalry" was built and the preudomme was a part, had existed long before 1100, while the codified medieval noble conduct only began between 11.
At the present day [about 1810], we imagine we can still see chivalry flourishing in the persons of Du Guesclin and Bayard, under Charles V and Francis I.
But when we come to examine either the one period or the other, although we find in each some heroic spirits, we are forced to confess that it is necessary to antedate the age of chivalry, at least three or four centuries before any period of authentic history.