Eastern Kentucky University

Poster Title

War Crimes in Late Medieval Literature

Institution

Eastern Kentucky University

Abstract

Our project took as its starting point the assertion that there was not yet a notion of "war crimes" in the chivalric literature of the late Middle Ages--texts like Chaucer's Knight's Tale and Malory's La Morte D'Arthur. Rather, chivalric communities--and the aristocracy--judged inappropriate behavior in wartime according to hierarchies that ranked such behavior as more or less "worthy." However, by the sixteenth century, there was the notion that a soldier--even a "knight"--could behave not just badly, but criminally during wartime. Each student in our group worked through a selection of primary texts-- both historical and literary—that provided evidence for when the transition from a hierarchical to a legal categorization of wartime behavior took place. They reported their findings in the form of a combined annotated bibliography, and a set of cross-indexed position papers which interpreted their collective research.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

War Crimes in Late Medieval Literature

Our project took as its starting point the assertion that there was not yet a notion of "war crimes" in the chivalric literature of the late Middle Ages--texts like Chaucer's Knight's Tale and Malory's La Morte D'Arthur. Rather, chivalric communities--and the aristocracy--judged inappropriate behavior in wartime according to hierarchies that ranked such behavior as more or less "worthy." However, by the sixteenth century, there was the notion that a soldier--even a "knight"--could behave not just badly, but criminally during wartime. Each student in our group worked through a selection of primary texts-- both historical and literary—that provided evidence for when the transition from a hierarchical to a legal categorization of wartime behavior took place. They reported their findings in the form of a combined annotated bibliography, and a set of cross-indexed position papers which interpreted their collective research.