“Women Do Everything Here” : The Absence of Chivalry In The Byzantines

“So, just as the church had used its power of literacy and legitimacy to manage the Christian monarchs, they used the crusades and the myth of chivalry, to direct the energies of these professional warriors to productive ends.

This ethic of chivalry conveyed status upon those who served christendom. It codified service of others as masculine. It could be obtained through demonstrated action, and spiritual reflection, as well as daily posturing, rather than the more expensive requirement of land holding, and was therefore more widely available to retinues. It also provided a code of conduct that the aspring classes could imitate, making the ethics pervasive.

The need for commoners to rent land from land holders, participate as infantry, and to demonstrate their capacity for honorable hard work, before marriage and reproduction were possible, reinforced this set of chivalrous values – allowing laborers and craftsmen to also adopt the chivalrous ethic, and to demonstrate their status signals through conformity to it. THe corresponding delay of childbirth and consequential inclusion of women into the work force, as well as their possession of rudimentary property rights, worked along with suppression of the breeding of the lower classes to create the european universalist and commercial character.

This code of chivalric conduct does not exist here in the east among the men. Service is immasculine. It violates the primary principle of manliness which is independence from external direction. Whether that external direction come from service to an employer or service to the commons – society.

Manliness, and masculinity have not been hybridized. It is not even as mature here as it is among the peacock strutters of the mediterranean — even if it is less ignorant, brutal and barbaric than that of the Arabs, and less familial and hierarchical than that of the Asians. And while we will certainly argue that masculinity has been overly feminized in much of the west, so much so that lower class males are returning to their individualistic migratory roots, the ethic of masculinity through service remains — for now.”

More: http://www.capitalismv3.com/2012/10/11/women-do-everything-here-the-absence-of-chivalry-in-byzantines/

This piercing observation comes from Kyiv. I think masculinity is more inclined to peace of productive cooperation in L’viv for several reasons:

1. People are much more religious.

2. More people travel to Western Europe and witness civilized cooperation.

2. People here fondly remember the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the notion of aristocracy.

3. The Soviet Union had 60, instead of 80 years to obliterate morality, identity outside state-identity, and pride outside pride in the state. Western Ukraine was spared the particularly murderous 1920s and 1930s. Additionally, the Soviet Union and it’s barbaric caricature of reality was views, from bloody inception to collapse, as something foreign.