Saturday, January 27, 2007

More for HIST 4505, Monday January 29

Why does Charny as this question in this way?

84. Charny asks:
Two men at arms find themselves afoot in the field, and they are enemies. The one is armed entirely as appertains to a man at arms and has his sword and knife. The other is unarmed in his tunic but he has, clearly to be seen on his hood, some precious stones that he was willing to put there, but no weapon nor any other armor. And there they are going to fight to the death. Which of these two would you rather be?


  1. The obvious answer is that I would prefer to be the armed man. I hesitate to think this is the correct answer because the pattern of Charny's other questions is to ask questions that are reasonably subject to debate; questions to which the answer is not obvious. For this to be a rhetorical question seems out of character for the author.

    I'm puzzled

  2. My reading of Charny's Book of Chivalry makes me think that in this case Charny was aiming at the obvious answer. He despised so-called men at arms who were not vigorous and brave, and I think he was trying to direct scornful laughter at slackers like this one. He may be flashily dressed but he is no man at arms.