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The Image before the WeaponA Critical History of the Distinction between Combatant and Civilian$
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Helen M. Kinsella

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449031

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449031.001.0001

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Martial Piety in the Medieval and Chivalric Codes of War

Martial Piety in the Medieval and Chivalric Codes of War

(p.24) 2 Martial Piety in the Medieval and Chivalric Codes of War
The Image before the Weapon

Helen M. Kinsella

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes what is generally considered to be the first manifestation of the principle of distinction as it appears in the early Christian texts of Thomas Aquinas and Augustine. It concentrates specifically on the formulation of the principle of distinction in Christian canon law and the chivalric codes of the High to Late Middle Ages (eleventh to fifteenth centuries). By rereading the original works of Thomas Aquinas and Augustine, and of Christine de Pisan and Honoré Bonet, the chapter deconstructs the paradigmatic history of the laws of war put forth by contemporary writers. It demonstrates how discourses of gender, innocence, and civilization worked in various ways and at various times to secure the distinction between combatant and civilian. A central finding of this chapter is the significant role of the Christian virtues of mercy and charity in informing the distinction.

Keywords:   Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, Christine de Pisan, Honoré Bonet, mercy and charity, Christian virtues, laws of war, Christian canon law, chivalric codes

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