October 13, 2010


Prestwich, Michael, Knight: The Medieval Warrior’s (Unofficial) Manual (London: Thames & Hudson, 2010) ("Imagine yourself on a splendid charger, encased by gleaming armour, brandishing sword, lance and shield. Or picture yourself at court, renowned for your bravery and surrounded by beautiful damsels. Of course you want to be a knight. But this is not easy. . . . It is not just a simple matter of buying a horse and a suit of armour; there is much you must learn. Some books will teach you about the ideals of chivalry, but they do not provide the practical advice you need if you are determined to live--quite possibly die--for glory on the battlefield. That is what this manual will give you." Id. at 6. "It is hardly unreasonable to expect to be paid, whatever sort of knight you are. Being a mercenary, however, is more than just a matter of taking money. If you are willing to take money from any employer, and to change sides if the money is right, then you are a mercenary, and there are some good opportunities awaiting you. This is a career for professional soldiers, and you need to be aware that you are likely to gain notoriety as fame. . . . " Id. at 117. "Knights are not particularly good at sieges, for lance and sword are of little use when faced with walls of stone and ramparts of earth. Yet you will find that much of your time campaigning will be spent camped in front of a castle or town, awaiting its surrender. Alternatively, you may be a member of a garrison, defending the walls against attack. Siege warfare is for the most part slow and deliberate, as each side tries to cancel out the other advantages; there will be moments of explosive action, with an assault or a sally. . . ." Id. at 136. "You don't want to go to hell. If you end up there, you will find yourself wearing armour that you cannot take off, for it will be nailed onto you. You will be forced to take lots of baths, and to make matters worse, the water will be sulphurous and foul. Nor will you have amorous young women to embrace when you get out; instead, lustful toads will force themselves on you." Id. at 186. After reading this manual you may well decide not be become a litigator or trial lawyer, I mean knight. Certainly you may be reluctant to be a cause lawyer, I mean knight, as few causes are worth the risk. There is no disgrace in deciding that the better part of valor nudges you in the direction of becoming a law professor, I mean knight professor, instead. Let others dies in battle. Let others be bored to death during a siege. As a law professor, I mean knight professor, your responsibility is to instill in your students just enough knowledge so they fight the good fight and, then, they die well. Today, over 50 percent of law students are women. So, here are three special words of cautious for the budding female lawyers, I mean knights. Joan of Arc!).