Antoran Chivalry is a system of various concepts that encompass the ideals, behaviors, and status of Antoran knights and gentlefolk. First popularized in 1149 with the writing of To Become an Ideal Cavalier (Convertirse en un Perfecto Caballero,) the proliferation of chivalric codes of conduct and social conventions across Antora was greatly helped by literature and the teachings of the Antoran Deus Church. Literary sagas such as The Great Deeds (Las Estupenda Hazañas) and Fifteen Virtues (Quince Virtudes) told the stories of knights performing acts of honor and great renown. Modern scholarship has suggested that most of the writings from this period on the matter are apocryphal and anachronistic, but did have a great impact upon the chivalry of the day.
The idea of chivalry in Antora traces its roots to the cavalrymen of the eastern principalities where the terrain was favorable to mounted combat. The day-to-day lives of these cavalry involved military proficiency, constant training as an individual, service to a higher authority, and battlefield control. As mounted combat become more culturally intrinsic and more ritualized, so too did the lifestyles of the cavalrymen. Concepts emerged that became central to combat of the day, such as it being forbidden for an infantryman to directly fight a horseman or vice versa. This was due to the common disparity in quality of training and equipment between the two, resulting on one hand an unfair match for the infantry, and on the other the potential shame of the cavalier if he lost, as many were landowners and nobles. The service of these self-equipped and trained soldiers became so important to the lords of the east that the formal office of knighthood was eventually created. Knights, as the most powerful individuals on a battlefield, became expected to become ideal people as well as warriors. The ideals of chivalry became codified in 1355 after several centuries of evolution as the Antoran Precepts of Honorable and Chivalric Life.
Chivalry is ingrained heavily into the culture of Antora. For much of its history its two constituent kingdoms were at war, and knights featured heavily in the militaries of both parties. There are five Chivalric Orders of Knighthood in the present day, three of which trace their heritage to the longest and bloodiest war between the kingdoms, the Thirty Years Bloodshed. So many knights were created during this war it is said that 80% of the population can trace their ancestry to one. In the modern era, chivalry has come to be accepted as a general social norm. 'Casual Chivalry' in contemporary Antora is a philosophy on living life which combines a knowledge of 'courtly' or high society manners, being true and honest with one's beliefs be they religious or otherwise, and the ability and capacity to defend oneself or others. These ideals combine into the moral and ethical concepts of Antoran honor and nobility, which all are generally expected via social contract to follow. People are expected to act honorably and selflessly, to perform good deeds on occasion, to respect and consider their neighbors. Antora’s populace remains one of the few in the world that integrates a written social code that is not politically designed nor religious into their everyday life. As a point of cultural uniqueness, the battlefield usage and practices of knighthood remain alive today in the Antoran military.
Terminology & Origins
The origins of the Staynish word 'chivalry' are disputed, but scholars have noted a relationship to the Impelanzan word 'caballero/a' which can translate to 'horseman,' 'cavalry,' 'cavalier,' or 'knight,' depending on context. As it was used in the Antoran principalities before the Twelfth Century, 'caballero' meant contextually 'a man, who either has been granted military office or has assumed one on virtue of owning land, who serves as a mounted combatant for his liege lord by the ability of his physical body and the equipment he possesses.' Such men were expected to act as officers of individual units known as 'lanzas,' or lances, and act as an example for the men under them. Similar to the concept of 'knights' being mounted armored soldiers who act with dignity in other parts of the world, the Antoran caballeros can be categorized as and indeed directly translate idiomatically and linguistically to knights.
As the caballeros became more and more pervasive in cultural understandings of war, the idea of formations of mounted soldiers spread from the coastal regions to the Antoran interior. While mountainous terrain did not provide as much room for ideal cavalry maneuvers, the principalities of the west saw the virtue in organizing forces of horse. These caballeros were used in skirmishing, flanking maneuvers, and scouting, taking on a slightly different connotation than their eastern cousins. While the heavy horse of the Antoran coastal states were designed as the mailed fist that crushed enemy formations and rode down routed soldiers, the lighter horse of the interior lords were better suited to locating, reporting on, and harrassing the enemy, preventing him from organizing efficiently while the main infantry moved into position and tore him apart while he was distracted. This resulted in the western caballeros being viewed less as paragons of leadership, virtue, and raw martial skill, and more of responsible guides; the men that led the army onto the path to victory rather than leading the army on the path. Due to the importance of the duties of scouting and skirmishing, they were no less respected, and the position was seen as just as indicative of status.
The codification of chivalry and the acts of caballeros into a hard set of rules began with the writing of To Become an Ideal Cavalier in 1149. Penned by the Tunesism scholar Guilliam de Cartevija, it was the first literary work to describe in detail the responsibilities and expectations placed upon a caballero and how he should act to accomplish them. With some obvious but not direct religious overtones, the work was generally accepted as a good guide on comportment. In 1203 it was joined by the Deusism-inspired Holy Actions of the Noble Man, written by Count Julían de Vries. de Vries is generally accepted to have drawn heavy inspiration from de Cartevija's work, but crucially added a list of commandments that he thought all caballeros should follow. It was the combination of these two texts that proliferated the idea of a universal social code for gentlemen and warriors.
de Vries Noble Commandments
Count de Vries text listed eight Noble Commandments which he believed all those of noble birth, great renown, or martial skill should follow:
- Thou shalt always be mindful that there is a higher power.
- Thou shalt never act contrary to the ideals of the higher power
- Thou shalt defend the sanctity of the world and those places of worship therein.
- Thou shalt be aware of thine own strength of body, spirit, mind, and status and use thine strength to better the world.
- Thou shalt obey thine liege be they good, just, and of sound mind.
- Thou shalt consider those of less status as no less important, and respect and defend them.
- Thou shalt act to thine foes and friends a just man, and never give thyself to lie, deceit, or treachery.
- Thou shalt observe the world and make effort to rid it of the unjust, the deceitful, the liars, and the treacherous.
Further texts, such as the 1297 work The Great Deeds, which chronicled the life of caballero Frederico de Largo and his efforts to always act with moral goodness, and the 1321 anthology Fifteen Virtues, a collection of fifteen poems about different knights and their triumphs over different obstacles, can be considered part of the courtly romance and romantic chivalry movement of Antoran literature. This saw the idea of caballeros rescuing, learning from, escorting, or courting women enter into mainstream practice as a way to entertain and add aspects to stories that ladies could relate to. The courtly practices in literature soon became reality in noble life across the region. This combination of honor, virtue, skill, and piety would combine to make caballeros into the true Antoran embodiment of the knightly concept.
As Tunesism fell out of use in Antora in favor of Deusism, aspects of its ideas could still be found in chivalric traditions such as certain colors being associated with certain aspects of caballeros. The color orange, for example, still is connected to martial strength in Antora. King Arturo Gael Andres, who founded Casilló in 1249, took orange as both his dynasty name (Naranza) as well as the official color of royalty. Most Antoran texts on chivalry after 1400 have all overt religious aspects relating to Deusism, however, and Tunesism remains largely in the minority of contemporary Antoran knights.
The Antoran Precepts for Honorable and Chivalric Life were written in 1355 by King Marius Ignatius II of Réal. The king was considered a scholar in his day and was a great student of philosophy. The Precepts were written as part of a larger effort by Marius Ignatius II to set standards for behavior in his court and on the battlefield. The entire text was unique at the time for its total disregard for religious doctrine and lack of theological content. The king argued that for one to act properly, one did not have to believe in any higher power, as he had seen many men who were avowedly atheist or of completely different religions act with more honor than some Deusist knights of his court. Marius Ignatius II would go on to use the Precepts as the measuring stick by which he measured his court; only those worthy of the office would be knighted and any who were found to have violated a Precept were stripped of their knighthood. This, while unpopular with many members of the Réoran nobility, would ensure that the corps of professional caballeros the king retained were so respected and so skilled they remain immortalized in Antoran culture as 'The Righteous Brotherhood.'
The Precepts are still used today as the code for the knights of The Precepts are still used today as the code for the knights of Antora, revised from the originals slightly:, revised from the originals slightly:
- As a knight, you will perform the duty required of you by your lord and your monarch, so long as the duty is Fair, Just, and Good.
- As a knight, you will only serve a lord and monarch who are Fair, Just, and Good, and if they not, make known their misdeeds if possible and remove them from office if not.
- As a knight, you will be in all things Fair, Just, and Good, as the expectations of your people, lord, and monarch are with you at all times.
- As a knight, you will maintain your physical and mental prowess, for you have earned this office in the expectation you will use your prowess when called upon.
- As a knight, you will exercise the prowess of which you posses upon the issues of your lord and monarch, be they enemies of the state or the dilemma of the debate floor.
- As a knight, you will never act with enmity towards those with less than you, even if they are criminal or enemy, for all people deserve respect.
- As a knight, you will use only commensurate force against those you are called to combat, and never cause undue or collateral harm.
- As a knight, you will learn and broaden your scope of knowledge, and not willfully become ignorant, to better understand and navigate the world.
- As a knight, you will assist the people around you to better their lives and to better your own understanding of life.
- As a knight, you will face many challenges and situations of difficult choice, so you must be prepared to make difficult choices.
- As a knight, you will encounter failure, so you must understand that failure does not mean the lessening of your worth, only the opportunity to continue to better yourself.
- As a knight, you will encounter success, so you must understand that you must not act with arrogance or boastfulness, as this will only diminish your ability to continue to truly succeed.
- As a knight, you will represent the heritage and ideals of your office, and endeavor to spread the knowledge and actions of chivalry wherever you go.
- As a knight, you will have the power to make those who embody the heritage and ideals of your office into knights of honor, so long as it is documented and recorded for your lord and monarch.
The courtly reforms were so successful that the royal knights of Réal quickly became made up of only the most skilled, moral, and responsible caballeros in the Kingdom. The common folk brought most issues before a royal knight to be judged rather than their own lords knights, which prompted the nobility to send their retainers for study at the court of the king. The royal knights also became highly desirable social matches for unwed ladies, which further prompted more gentlemen to attempt to live by the Precepts in hope of good marriage prospects. Marius Ignatius II is credited with transforming the Réoran feudal system from one with a strata of morals into one that was filled with lords and gentlemen who were always considerate, kind, generous, and welcoming. The lords of Casilló were so impressed by the manners of their longtime enemies they too adopted the Precepts, with one unnamed Count at the Arranzic court in 1371 remarking, "we all, gentlemen, have been willingly domesticated by the chivalry of the East."
Aspects of a Knight
According to tradition, there are several Aspects of knighthood that are essential for someone to function and be viewed as a 'true' knight.
First and most importantly is the actual act and record of being knighted, known as Creation. A person who possesses any chivalric title may dub another person as a Knight, through proper ceremony and paperwork. This involves tapping both shoulders of the dubbee twice with a sword, a sprinkling of olive oil across the forehead, and having them repeat each of the fourteen Precepts before reciting "I am a knight, and a knight I shall die, save if I dishonor they who have granted me this boon." This is considered the spiritual beginning of the new knight, though the dubber must fill out an official document, currently a legal form known as a C-180-k. This document requires an explanation for the knighting and must be cosigned by the dubbee and two witnesses. This document is then sent to the Ministry of Civil Services for archival and is then sent to the Monarch, who reviews and rubber stamps it. However, only the Monarch may grant a person the title higher than the basic Knight.
Second are the Arms of a knight, which involve the traditional military functions they are expected to perform. These are the Mount, the Armor, and the Weapon. Convention dictates that all these must be in good, functional condition and well taken care of. A knight who was found to be missing parts of his armor, or had no lance, or rode an old pony would be dismissed from the troop and if unlucky, stripped of his knighthood. While the specifics on the Arms are not set in stone, it was generally expected that a knight have at least a lance, a side arm of some kind be it sword, axe, or mace, armor that at least covered his chest, head, and hands, and a horse that was in good physical condition and of a certain size. The fashion of the Arms would change with the time period, most often due to advances in armor making. Modern knights can fulfill these Aspects through an armored vehicle of some kind, which they need only ride in and not necessarily drive, a long gun and a sidearm, and body armor. Some more traditional members of the chivalric school of thought will use body armor that is evocative of medieval designs and carry a sword or baton.
The third Aspect is the Gold. Knights would wear a set of gold spurs, a belt of gold plates, and often a collar of the same. They would traditionally receive these at their knighthood ceremony from the officiant or dubber, and be expected to wear at least the spurs while in armor and the belt at formal occasions, though it was up to the individual to decide what to wear, when. Lack of Gold is viewed as a sign a knight is an unsuccessful or failed soldier, as it implies they cannot fight well enough to either buy their own Gold or have the favor of a wealthy enough patron to provide them Gold. In a similar vein, official squires of knights would be given silver spurs by tradition, to trade in for gold once they reached knighthood. Today, most knights who follow tradition will use a single gold plate belt buckle and gold pins on their shoes.
There are two major influences that chivalry has had on Antoran culture: military and social. The long history of chivalry being a core component of Antoran military reality, the practice of knighting particular kinds of soldiers has been kept alive. This has largely been at the behest of the monarchy and nobility, who have seen that knighthood be preserved close to its original form for cultural and martial prestige. Since the development of Antoran culture has been hand-in-hand with the realities of local wars, the ideals of chivalry have trickled down from the caballeros to their families and the families upon their lands. Thanks to the large numbers of knights that fought in the Thirty Year's Bloodshed, nearly all regions of the country have people who can trace their family to at least one knight. This ancestry combined with the slow emulsion of court life into everyday life resulted in the general populace viewing 'chivalry' as a way all people should act, instead of only knights.
Types of Knights
There are different 'ranks' of knights in Antoran tradition, as well as several Chivalric Orders which have their own traditions, ranks, and codes.
The most basic type of knight is simple a 'Knight,' or Caballero. The rank is non-peerage, meaning the holder cannot be elected to the House of the Nobility and cannot be afforded the Privileges of a lord, and non-hereditary. A Knight is formally afforded the title of 'The Honorable' and may attach the suffix 'cb.' to their name. According to Staynish language conventions, Knights may use the alternative titles of 'Sir,' 'Dame,' or 'Cavalier' depending on their preferences. This rank is often used outside the military as an acknowledgement of an individuals service to the Antoran state, people, or identity, such as prominent musicians or scientists.
The next step up from a Caballero is a 'Knight Sergeant,' the Sargento Caballero. This rank is similarly non-peerage and non-hereditary. It does, however, afford the holder a small state pension. A King Sergeant is granted the title 'The Honorable Sergeant' and may use the suffix 'sc.' While having the same Staynish conventions, this level of knighthood is used for non-military award to politicians, humanitarians, and diplomats who have achieved great successes.
The next rank is known as the 'Knight Captain,' the Capitán Caballero. This rank is non-hereditary, but does grant the bearer the same Privileges as a Antoran noble of Baron. Knight Captains are able to be elected into the House of the Nobility as Bailiffs and receive a moderate state pension in lieu of tax funds from owned land. The formal title for a Knight Captain is 'The Honorable Captain,' and their suffix is 'cnc.' The Staynish titles knights at this rank are allowed to use are 'Honorable Sir,' 'Honorable Dame, or 'Honorable Cavalier.' This rank begins the of levels of knighthood that are not awarded to the general populace, only military personnel or members of the peerage.
Above Knight Captain is 'Knight Commander,' known as the Commandanté Caballero. It is a peerage rank equivalent to a Viscount, and holders can be elected as Bailiffs and recieve a more robust pension than Knight Captains. Knight Commanders are afforded the official title of 'The High Honorable' and use the suffix 'cmc.' As a Staynish title, Knight Commanders may use 'High Honorable Sir,' 'High Honorable Dame,' or 'High Honorable Cavalier.' Recipients of this knighthood are most often accomplished military officers or nobles who have performed an extraordinary service to the state or people.
The highest knighthood outside of the Chivalric Orders is the 'Knight Banneret,' otherwise known as the Banderado Caballero. Unlike all other ranks, it is both hereditary and peerage, elevating the recipient to the equivalent of a Count and granting them a small area of land for them to help administrate and receive revenue from. This allows them to be elected to the House of the Nobility as a Lord rather than a Bailiff. A rare title, only granted to those the monarch personally deems to be of the highest deed and moral fiber, it comes with the caveat that once someone inherits it, they must be tested by the reigning monarch to see if they are worthy of carrying on the knighthood. If they are not, the rank is downgraded to that of Knight Commander and the associated lands will revert to the Monarchy upon the knight's death. Knight Bannerets may use the title 'The Most Honorable Banneret' and receive the suffix of 'bc.' The Staynish name for the title is the same and has no gendered derivatives.
The authority to make a knight rests ultimately with the monarch, who according to the First Constitution is afforded the power amongst those that deal with managing armory and nobility. The Constitution states that "all chivalric deeds and titles are derived from, and source authority from, the Monarch, who retains the ultimate ability and right to dispense the acknowledgement of chivalry in the form of titles and grants." However, in medieval times, any Antora knight was allowed to knight another individual. This came with the expectation that any such even would be recorded and justified, then submitted to the knight's liege lord and then the monarch for ratification. This allowed for a form of battlefield promotion to reward and encourage worthy soldiers in the monarch was not present to do the deed. This system still survives in the modern day.
Chivalric Antoran Orders
The Chivalric Antoran Orders are six official Orders of knighthood. Five survive from the middle ages: three were created in Casilló, two in Réal. The last was founded in 2022 as a reformation of the Royal Corric Guard. The Orders are managed by the Monarchy. The Réoran Orders were absorbed into the Antoran crown along with the Arranzic Orders in 1589. The reigning monarch automatically becomes the Grand Master of each Order upon their coronation, and is afforded the title 'Grand Master of the Chivalric Antoran Orders.' While individuals can apply to certain Orders, it is the monarch's prerogative on admission. Membership within the Orders grants a small pension and unique titles. However, none of them at present grant any Privileges of a peer nor land.
The Order of the Golden Eagle
The Order of the Golden Eagle is the oldest Order. It was created in 1298 by Queen Lidia Carmen of Casilló, and bears the heraldic familiar of the House of Naranza as its sigil. This Order was intended to be a show of favor to the Queen's favorite knights and lords, and can only be granted at the discretion of the monarch through special ceremony. Those who were granted the honor of being inducted into the Order were said to be "elevated by wings of gold." Such knights were usually the Queen's champions at tournaments or in disputes. It is thought that many of the first members of the Order were Lidia Carmen's paramours after her husband died. Subsequent Arranzic monarchs treated the Order as simply a great honor for knights of renown, and members were not given special personal treatment besides the monarch's favor of them for their military skill. Today, it is viewed as the most difficult Order to be inducted to, reserved for the highest achieving individuals in Antoran society. Consequently, members are shown much deference and often become minor cultural icons for their day.
The ranks of the Order are unique in that they give the bearer military authority over knights of a similar rank. Contemporary members of the Order must be military servicemembers for this authority to apply. There are three: the Golden Knight (Caballero Dorado,) the Golden Captain (Capitán Dorado) and the Golden Banneret (Banderado Dorado.) The fourth rank, Master of the Golden Order (Maestro de la Orden de Oro) serves as the administrative head of the Order, but has not been used since the 17th century as the Order became more ceremonial.
The Order of the Sepulchre
The Order of the Sepulchre was created in 1424 by King Victor of Réal. A more military Order than the Golden Eagle, it was designed to provide defense for the various Antoran Deus churches across Réoran territories. These churches were often broken into and stolen from by criminal elements or disgruntled members of other religions. Knights of the Sepulchre were charged with living with the clergy of their assigned church, nunnery, abbey, or monastery. This way, they could learn piety while also being available to defend the clergy. Larger religious institutions were assigned more knights; the largest monastery would likely include twelve fully-fledged Knights of the Sepulchre and their associated retinues. Over time this Order would be intrinsically linked with Deusism in Réal, and many members were simultaneously frocked clergy and knights.
In the modern day, Knights of the Sepulchre continue to protect Antoran Deus Church property. Every security guard hired by the Church for its larger and important locations are inducted into the Order once they pass three months of service. The Church security also uses the Order's rank structure as its own. The ranks are: Knight of the Sepulchre (Caballero del Sepulcro,) Defender of the Sepulchre ( Defensor del Sepulcro,) Sergeant of the Sepulchre (Sargento del Sepulcro,) Captain of the Sepulchre (Capitán del Sepulcro,) Commander of the Sepulchre (Commandanté del Sepulcro,) and Paladin of the Sepulchre (Paladín del Sepulcro.) The Order is also awarded to members of the general clergy who have achieved noteworthy successes. The rank reserved for these members is Steward of the Supulchre (Mayordomo del Supulcro.)
The Chivalric Order of Eleçeron
The Chivalric Order of Eleçeron was created in 1563 by King Marius Sancho of Réal. Intended to bolster the ranks of knights during the Thirty Year's Bloodshed, the Order is the first Antoran Order to allow application for membership. It also was the first Order made to grant knighthood directly rather than being an Order for already-existing knights. It takes its badge from the Cross of Santo Abrosius, a common Antoran Deusism symbol. Marius Sancho needed a continuous supply of talented fighters with military authority to lead smaller-scale expeditions of troops. To secure this, he created the Order and allowed anyone who wished to join the chance to apply in the city of Eleçeron. The Order, open to both women and men, selected the most skilled, cultured, and militarily-inclined applicants and provided them a knighthood, enabling them to command levied troops in the field. Many notable commanders of Réal's forces during the war were members of this Order, such as Jaquelin of Santo Juan and the Blue Knight.
The ranks of the Order are very limited: only two could be achieved, Knight and Knight-Sergeant. Due to this Order being open to the peasantry, it only had ranks that were felt necessary to military operations.
In the present day, the Order still accept applications as a form of secondary education testing, akin to a junior officers program. Applicants are put through a rigorous training assessment of physical and mental capabilities. If they pass they are permitted to enroll in the Descarai Combat Academy, the nation's premiere military school, and receive the rank of First Lieutenant upon graduation as opposed to Second Lieutenant. Graduation from DCA also automatically earns them the rank of Knight in the Chivalric Order. The rank of Knight-Sergeant is awarded to Knights of the Order if they retire from the military with at least the rank of Major.
The Chivalric Order of Santa Claudia
The Chivalric Order of Santa Claudia was created in 1565 by King Félipe I of Casilló. In direct response to the Order of Eleçeron, this Order was not as restrictive in its skill criteria, but it did have a major difference - it was only open to women of noble birth. With a large portion of the male population fighting the war on the front lines, there were gaps in the defenses of the Arranzic heartland which began to be exploited by knights of the Order of Eleçeron. To combat this, Félipe I created the Order of Santa Claudia, which used nearly the same badge as its rival: a Cross of Santo Abrosius, except red instead of green. Open to any lady who was able to display leadership qualities and could equip herself as a knight, the Order of Santa Claudia was charged with building fortifications, training militias, and serving as a military authority in territories whose lords and knights were already in the field. The Order was a resounding success, with many members becoming respected community leaders and, in the case of Marta Lilía of Conzelaña, performing so well as a militia commander that her unit was inducted into the Royal Arranzic Armed Legions.
The rank structure of the Order was designed to provide a chain of command for rear-line defensive troops. The first rank was the Maiden Knight (Caballera) who organized small patrol units, and reported to a Maiden-Sergeant (Sergenta Doncella) who was responsible for overseeing the security of a particular area. These Maiden-Sergeants would in turn be subordinate to a Maiden-Captain (Capitana Doncella) who was the highest military authority in the fief if the lord was not present. This structure worked much the same as regular military security, but provided the women the authority to command the peasantry they would lack if they remained unknighted nobles.
In the modern era, the Order of Santa Claudia is traditionally awarded to women who have achieved something noteworthy like a scientific breakthrough or foreign policy deal. Members of any branch of the Royal Antoran Defense Forces may apply for membership, based on the merits of their service record. This is usually done when a soldier is transitioning from active service to a staff or flag role. For non-women members of the Order, the ranks instead progress from Knight to Captain of Santa Claudia.
The Chivalric Order of Málama
The Chivalric Order of Málama was created in 1566, also by King Félipe I. Over the course of the Thirty Year's Bloodshed, the territory between Réal and Casilló became a war-torn frontier. This region was travelled across and battled over thousands of times, changing hands back and forth. Félipe I decided to create another Order of knights to help hold the territory in Casilló's name. The Order of Málama took its badge from the Málama Cross, a popular Deusist symbol shaped like a sword. The membership was, like the other Orders of this time, open to application. All one needed to join was a sword, a set of armor, and a horse, and one was knighted and sent off to take and hold frontier territory. Knights were given the authority to administer whatever territory they took in the king's name, and were generally allowed to do whatever they wished so long as they paid tribute back to Félipe and ensured no Réoran raids were successful. The rather unscrupulous nature of this system lead to many knights of the Order being termed 'Muddy Knights' due to their equipment's dubious origins and need of repair, as well as their general reputation as warlords. However, the Order was highly successful in seizing towns and strategic areas along the frontier, and is credited with holding the line against Réoran counterattacks during the final Arranzic offensive strategy.
The only rank besides the Grand Master is that of Knight-Mayor (Alcalde Caballero, or Gobernador Caballero.) Knights of this Order were given legal administrative control over whatever land they could hold against the enemy, and commonly set policies and tax rates for the settlements in their purview. This had some problems, especially with several of the larger Knight-Mayor polities turning to banditry after the war. However, most Knight-Mayors had only a few dozen to a hundred soldiers in their command and generally fortified and defended a single town or castle, and the surrounding region.
Modern use of the Order is to provide a special status to the administrators of towns or provinces. While being a Knight-Mayor does not confer any actual administrative powers, it does carry prestige and influence and often can see members of the Order elected to higher offices such as the Popular Assembly.
The Chivalric Order of the Red Eagle
The Chivalric Order of the Red Eagle is the youngest order. It was created in 2022 by King Sebastián II together with his brother, Prince-Emeritus Astolfo. The Prince-Emeritus had recently re-entered public life after being believed dead for over thirty years. He had built himself as the leader of the world's most prominent mercenary company under a false identity. His exposure of corruption and treason within the government led to wide-sweeping reforms, including that of the Royal Corric Guard. The King agreed to include the most skilled and trusted members of Astolfo's Company of the Quill alongside the Guard to create an organization that not only protects against threats to the Monarch, but to Antora as well, even if said threat is the Monarch themselves. The Order of the Red Eagle is the most militant of any current Order, maintaining a standing force of elite soldiers independant of any other organization. Membership is highly exclusive and is an appointment given only to those soldiers who have proven their fitness, skill, wit, and loyalty to the nation and its people. A special review board for addressing personnel needs and vetting candidates exists within the Order to limit the influence other government departments have over membership.
The rank structure is divided between three branches: The Silver Band, which assumes much of the duties of the Royal Corric Guard by guarding the members of the royal family and their residences, as well as important government officials and locations. This Band is contrasted by the Red Band; a special enforcement, defense, and emergency situation unit that deals with matters of domestic security and special assignments not suitable for the armed forces, and the Black Band; an investigative security unit that operates in parallel with the various Cabinet intelligence agencies: the Department of Investigation's Special Questioning Unit, the Department of Public Security's Domestic Integrity Office, and the Department of Interconnectivity's Office of Special Representatives. Within the Silver and Red Bands, ranks mirror that of the regular Armed Legions and range from OR-4 Knight-Corporal (Cabo Caballero) to OF-3 Knight-Commander (Comandanté Caballero.) The Silver Band also has the unique ranks of Warden of the Royal Household, Sentinel of the Royal Blood, and Paladin of the Royal Body. These are ceremonial positions that denote the position of soldiers within the Band; most are Wardens, carrying out whatever duties are required, few are Sentinels responsible for the safety of the royal family and their personal property, and fewer still are Paladins with the distinct honor of serving as personal, permanent guards of members of the royal family. The Black Band, meanwhile, possesses a rank system more in line with an intelligence agency.
Members of the Order of the Red Eagle are granted substantial benefits along with their title of knighthood, though functionally all possess a rank within the peerage equivalent to that of a Knight-Sergeant, making them ineligible for political or land privileges. Upon admission, a Band-appropriate colored metal badge is issued to distinguish members from each other.
Knightly Orders of Antora
Distinct from the Chivalric Antoran Orders, the Knightly Orders of Antora are independant organizations that do not draw authority or patronage from the Monarchy. In structure, they are mostly identical to the Chivalric Orders. Each has a series of ranks and responsibilities for members as well as individual traditions. None can claim the history or prestige of the Chivalric Antoran Orders, however; the oldest, the Order of the Oak Arrow, was founded in 1855. The Knightly Orders are geared more towards traditional chivalric values and action than the Chivalric Orders, which exist today as more of a system of status and accomplishment. Each Knightly Order manages their own members, funds, and operations. The Monarchy allows them to operate on their own in exchange for Oaths of Honorable Fealty that prevent the Orders from acting against the interests of the Antoran state, people, or the Monarchy itself.
Knightly Order of the Oak Arrow
The Knightly Order of the Oak Arrow is the oldest Knightly Order, founded in 1855 in Cartevedra. Created by a group of merchants, craftsmen, foresters, and lower nobles, this Knightly Order is distinct in their admission of any who wish to join. The Order's mission statement is the preservation, care, and protection of the nations' natural environment, expanded in 1917 from the original which was concerned mainly with large areas of forest. Members of the Order belong to 'Troops' based in their local area and perform a variety of tasks for ecological upkeep depending on their Troop; some will run fundraisers and public outreach programs, some will proactively repair degraded ecologies, and some act as law enforcement officials for protected areas. Ranks within all Troops follow the same model: Fellow, Trustee, Guard Second Class, Guard First Class, Corporal, Sergeant, Captain, Commander, and Paladin. While mostly modeled after other knightly ranks, the Order of the Oak Arrow does not adhere to traditional chivalric military standards. Rather, advancement of rank is dependent on a board of an individuals peers and superiors which reviews acts of community service and protection of the environment. As a whole, comparisons have been drawn between the Order and 'scouting' type organizations in other nations. As Knightly Orders can be categorized as militias, fraternities, extensions of the government, and nonprofit organizations, these comparisons are relatively surface level.
Knightly Order of the Southern Sun
Knightly Order of the Sapphire
Knightly Order of the Gear
Knightly Order of the Scroll
MilitaryRoyal Antoran Defense Forces. All tank crews and aircraft pilots and copilots are knighted upon their formal posting. In this practice, it is believed that the old traditions of noble cavalry will survive to enrich Antoran culture and provide a morale boost to the soldiers. Such postings are highly coveted and competitive in training, which ensures only the best performing individuals make the cut. To avoid demoralization, the Antoran military also grants the title of Squire to all soldiers who train for a knightly position but do not achieve it, and the title of Man-at-Arms to all vehicle crewmembers. These hold no privileges, pensions, or formal titles, but recipients are allowed to use the suffix 'cv.' for 'chivalry.
The Royal Antoran Armed Legions organization still uses the system of caballeros and lanzas: the most basic unit of troops, which would be called a squad in other nations, is called a lance. A platoon, meanwhile, is called a file, usually containing three to four lances. A collection of files is called a band or squadron, rather than a company. Companies instead are battalion-sized units. Above the company is the regiment, and above that is the legion, which are functionally identical to army divisions. This structure can also be seen in non-government organizations like Antoran Youth Scouts or security forces such as the Company of the Quill, both of which mirror the lanza system for their hierarchies.
Chivalry has become part of the general Antoran social norms. Chivalry and its Precepts were seen throughout the 14th through 18th centuries as the core principals by which Antoran society functioned. Due to the relatively small size of the nation, many lords and knights interacted with the populace on regular occasions. Common folk were so enamored with the stories and prestige about the knights they knew, and for many, the knights they were descended from, that it became fashionable to emulate the lifestyles and mannerisms of the upper classes. Treating all people with respect and bettering oneself were also found commonly in Deusist scripture, which for many people in the middle ages was their only exposure to education and literature. By the mid-1600s, nearly everyone in the nation accepted the fact that being chivalrous was simply the 'correct' way to act.
There exists a concept known as 'casual chivalry' in Antoran philosophy circles. Created to describe the attitudes of the Antoran populace, casual chivalry is defined by a codified social norm that draws from military and feudal heritage that has spread to the general population, one that distinguishes itself through ethical thoughts and actions, a predisposition towards respecting others despite disagreements or differences, and a collective animosity towards concepts such as deception, injustice, and moral wrong. While the Precepts do not inform the actions of the people, indigenous derivates of them do exist in some form. Many people of Antoran background will cite a desire to 'move past failure and get better' as being a central part of their worldview.
For ethnically Corric people, honor remains a deeply important part of their culture. One of the less-altered concepts of chivalry, honor can be argued to be a component of chivalry, and chivalry a component of honor. Regardless of specifics, honor is generally viewed as the willingness to act fairly, justly, and equitably and to represent ones self and the position one holds with good standing. Allowing an opponent to pick up a dropped weapon in a fight is seen as honorable, while conversely goading an enemy into a fight and then having another person shoot them is seen as dishonorable. This concept has translated into an economic and social view of honor as well. Companies that lay off domestic workers only to outsource labor are seen as extremely dishonorable, especially when the foreign workers have drastically worse pay and conditions.