The Warrior Code Research Paper

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11/10/14 History of War Prof. Grimsley Midterm 2 - The Warrior Code The knight and the samurai, in their prime they were Europe’s and Japan’s elite warriors. Both these elite combatants were also loyal to their own specific sets of rules which governed their behavior. The knight followed the chivalric code which was developed to create rules by which the knight would live his life based on the morals valued by medieval Europe, which were mostly derived from Christian teachings. The samurai followed Bushido (the way of the samurai) which were 7 virtues derived from the teachings of Confucius. In many ways these two codes were designed to perform similar function but they were developed thousands of miles apart by very different cultures and…show more content…
Both codes seem to have a similar appeal in that they are both designed to instill a sense of honor within the warrior. The sense of honor is a powerful influence over both warriors as it gives them a feeling of higher purpose and value that goes beyond simple merits or earthly wealth. Honor is also important as it extends to varying aspects of life beyond combat including love, social behavior, sexuality, and religious or spiritual devotion. Although this motivation was common to both chivalry and Bushido it appears that the idea of honor was more pronounced by Bushido. In the chivalric oath in Le Morte d’Arthur honor is given very little detail “I will live my life with courtesy and honor from this day forward”. It could be argued that the entirety of the oath could be considered to be honorable but as far as specificity of honor that is all that is said in the chivalric oath. On the other hand in Bushido honor is one of specific 7 virtues. Honor to the samurai was where he derived his value and dignity and the fear of being labeled dishonorable was the greatest fear/motivator of all. The samurai also viewed dying with their honor intact to be…show more content…
The chivalric code demanded that women be treated with respect and that knights should never display or condone sexism of any kind. In contrast Bushido does not once mention behavior towards women. This doesn’t mean that the samurai was disrespectful towards women, the lack of a specific rule for the treatment of women could simply be a sign of the disparity in the culture. One of Bushido’s tenets was benevolence or mercy which would apply to women and men alike. It could be that in Europe women’s rights were a more discussed topic than in Japan which would be the cultural disparity mentioned above. Building on this topic of the attitude the codes took towards women is their respective attitudes towards marriage/faithfulness. The chivalric code teaches knights to be always faithful in love while the Bushido code makes no mention specifically to romantic love. Bushido once again however does seem to cover this issue indirectly with the tenets of honesty, loyalty, and self-control. Again a disparity in culture could explain why the importance of fidelity in romantic love was more pronounced in Europe than in

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