Violent Knights Feared Post-Traumatic Stress

  • The term and complaint Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was not formally recognized until as late as 1980 subsequent to a lot of research conducted out of the Vietnam War.  Yet, as I demonstrate on the PTSD CPD Module I present for the Institute of Clinical Hypnosis (ICH) (next being 28 Apr 12), the issue has been prevalent for many years before that. 

    Monty Python - Knights of the Round TableThis article – Violent knights feared post-traumatic stress, that appeared on the Science Nordic website in December (2011) last year takes an interesting look at how military personnel of medieval times were just as aware of PTSD symptoms as we are today.

    As the article highlights, the modern day perception of the medieval knight is that of a violent psychopathic cut-throat who loved nothing more than going to war, killing and a good scrap!  Obviously, we have modern films and gaming to thank for this perception.

    However, in studying surviving texts from the time and in particular those of Geoffroi de Charny, a knight in the 1300’s who wrote extensively on the subject of knighthood, researchers from The University of Copenhagen have found this modern day perseption to be far from the truth.

    De Charny actually describes many of the symptoms we have come to regard as common place in PTSD and even seeks to advise on the best ways to deal with them.  Of course, in studying these texts, we also have the benefit of modern day military psychiatry and understanding which acts as a filter to our perception of how violence was thought of in medieval times.  At the time, a knight’s training was usually started in childhood.  Violent childhood games were common as were deaths arising from them.  The only thing that actually did stop these individuals from becoming violent psychopaths was that they were given a cause to fight for, such as God, the monarchy or the hand of a fair lady (to whom they were also trained to be chivalrous and honorable).

    In the CPD Training I present on the subject, I take a brief look at the history of PTSD in an effort to show that it has actually always been with us.  I take a look at the other terms that have been used in the last century to describe it.  “Railway Spine” being one of my favorites and the RAF’s “Lack of Moral Fiber” perhaps the most negative.  But, this research looks far further into our pasts and successfully illustrates just how long this issue has been with us!



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