order of chivalry

order, confraternity or society of knights

An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic military orders of the Crusades (circa 1099–1291), paired with medieval concepts of ideals of chivalry. Since the 15th century, orders of chivalry, often as dynastic orders, began to be created in a more courtly fashion that could be created ad hoc. These orders would often retain the notion of being a confraternity, society or other association of members, however, some of them were ultimately purely honorific, consisting of a medal decoration. In fact, these decorations themselves often came to be known informally as orders. These institutions in turn gave rise to the modern-day orders of merit of sovereign states.
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