Warring Worldviews on the Field of Honor in late Medieval Spain
Around the start of the fifteenth century, Gutierre Díez de Games, standard bearer of the Castilian knight Don Pero Niño, wrote in his biographical chronicle of Niño about “How our Lord Jesus Christ desired for victors in battle to be honored, and he himself honored them with the palm [of victory] that he blessed.” Díez de Games referenced biblical warriors like Joshua and David fighting for the faith as well as notables of the more recent past like Charlemagne and Charles Martel as examples for contemporary knights. He further stated that “knights should place great value in fame and the honor of victory when the son of God gave such honor to the[se] victors” Though Díez de Games presented a clearly biased approach to reading the Bible, a more fervent religious justification of the warlike lifestyle of knights can scarcely be imagined. Díez de Games claimed God’s blessing of knightly activities. Our author was no Pope Urban II declaring an opportunity for warriors to remit their sins by going on crusade against enemies of the faith. Instead, while he emphasized the value of fighting against enemies of the faith, in the same breath he exalted fighting “for the honor of [one’s] king and kingdom,” a far more secular objective.