Questions from the Grave

armour-0711-mdn (2)At many of the training sessions for officers and sergeants of New Ulster Steel Fighting, we enjoy taking time to deal with some of the many questions posed by famed French knight, Sir Geffroi De Charny (c.1306-1356) pertaining to tournaments, jousts and war. We believe these questions are extremely vital to our growth as learners and practitioners of Historical European Martial Arts. To take the time to re-ask De Charny’s questions and contemplate, debate, and explore the possible answers together brings about some very critical thinking, and thus often deep discussion. What’s more, we find that some of the answer possibilities can apply to matters of integrity, and the exercise of good character in everyday life, and not just when undertaking martial activities.  Today at training we posed question #17 from his Questions on War. This is the question: “Charny asks: Because I do not know what kind of people are called preux  (valiant or brave), I ask what they should necessarily have done before they bear this name so that when they’ve done this they are able to have such an honorable name.  For I believe that he who does more is worth more.   But I ask what they should necessarily do at the minimum.”1

My purpose in this post is not to attempt to answer the question with my own, or any of the fine answers given by the membership of N.U.S.F., but to pose it to you, the reader. We want to engage you, our readers and we invite you to post your comments about what you think the answer, or possible answers to this question from Sir Geffroi De Charny. Let us hear from you.


1. Steven Muhlberger. Charny’s Questions. 2011. Accessed at August 17, 2013.


Mary Beth Griggs. Popular Mechanics. Medieval Knights on a Treadmill Put Historical Myths to the Test. July 21, 2011. Accessed at on August 17, 2013.

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