Helena Schrader's Historical Fiction

Dr. Helena P. Schrader is the winner of more than 20 literary accolades. For a complete list of her awards see: http://helenapschrader.com

Helena is represented by Laurie Blum Guest at the Re-Naissance Agency.

For readers tired of clich├ęs and cartoons, award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader offers nuanced insight to historical events and figures based on sound research and an understanding of human nature. Her complex and engaging characters bring history back to life as a means to better understand ourselves.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Chivalry and Balian d'Ibelin: Prowess

Prowess or physical courage is probably the most ancient of all manly virtues; one need only think of Achilles and Hector. It was admired in men long before and long after the Age of Chivalry, and it is deemed the prime adornment and most important asset of men in nearly every culture from the native American indians to Japan and from the Norsemen to the highlands of Ethiopia. The romances of the age could be summarized as tales of "brave knights and fair ladies."

Balian’s courage is one of the few chivalrous virtues for which we have ample evidence. Even the Arab sources mention his military prowess, starting with the Battle of Montgisard. He is also credited with fighting his way out of the encirclement at Hattin – according to some interpretations with Raymond of Tripoli, according to others breaking out in the other direction. At all events, he fought his way out after hours of being in the thick of the grueling engagement.  When he took command of the defenses of Jerusalem, he did not remain behind the walls, but first conducted dangerous foraging sorties into the surrounding area controlled by the enemy in order to capture necessary food supplies. After the siege began, he led a nearly suicidal assault on the Saracen camp.  Balian d’Ibelin had physical (as well as moral) courage in abundance.

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