Cavalier
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

The term Cavalier () was first used by
Roundhead Roundheads were the supporters of the Parliament of England during the English Civil War (1642–1651). Also known as Parliamentarians, they fought against King Charles I of England and his supporters, known as the Cavaliers or Royalists, who ...
s as a term of abuse for the wealthier
royalist A royalist supports a particular monarch as head of state for a particular kingdom, or of a particular dynastic claim. In the abstract, this position is royalism. It is distinct from monarchism, which advocates a monarchical system of gov ...
supporters of King Charles I and his son
Charles II of England Charles II (29 May 1630 – 6 February 1685) was King of Scotland from 1649 until 1651, and King of King of England, England, Scotland and King of Ireland, Ireland from the 1660 Restoration of the monarchy until his death in 1685. Charles II ...
during the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists led by Charles I ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of Kingdom of England, England's governanc ...
, the
Interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next (coming from Latin '' ...
, and the Restoration (1642 – ). It was later adopted by the Royalists themselves. Although it referred originally to political and social attitudes and behaviour, of which clothing was a very small part, it has subsequently become strongly identified with the fashionable clothing of the court at the time.
Prince Rupert Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Duke of Cumberland, (17 December 1619 (O.S.) / 27 December (N.S.) – 29 November 1682 (O.S.)) was an English army officer, admiral, scientist and colonial governor. He first came to prominence as a Cavalier, Royal ...
, commander of much of Charles I's cavalry, is often considered to be an archetypal Cavalier.


Etymology

Cavalier derives from the same Latin root as the Italian word and the French word (as well as the Spanish word ), the
Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin, is the range of non-formal registers of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was ori ...
word '' caballarius'', meaning 'horseman'.
Shakespeare William Shakespeare ( 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's nation ...
used the word ''cavaleros'' to describe an overbearing
swashbuckler A swashbuckler is a genre of European adventure literature that focuses on a heroic protagonist stock character who is skilled in swordsmanship, acrobatics, guile and possesses chivalrous ideals. A "swashbuckler" protagonist is heroic, daring, ...
or swaggering gallant in Henry IV, Part 2 (c. 1596–1599), in which Robert Shallow says "I'll drink to Master Bardolph, and to all the cavaleros about London". Shallow returns in ''
The Merry Wives of Windsor ''The Merry Wives of Windsor'' or ''Sir John Falstaff and the Merry Wives of Windsor'' is a comedy by William Shakespeare first published in 1602, though believed to have been written in or before 1597. The Windsor of the play's title is a ref ...
'' (c. 1597), where he is called "Cavaleiro-justice" (knightly judge) and "bully-rook", a term meaning "blustering cheat".


English Civil War

"Cavalier" is chiefly associated with the Royalist supporters of King Charles I in his struggle with Parliament in the English Civil War. It first appears as a term of reproach and contempt, applied to the followers of King Charles I in June 1642: Charles, in the Answer to the Petition 13 June 1642, speaks of Cavaliers as a "word by what mistake soever it seemes much in disfavour". It was soon reappropriated as a title of honour by the king's party, who in return applied Roundhead to their opponents. At the Restoration, the court party preserved the name, which survived until the rise of the term
Tory A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy known as Toryism, based on a British version of Traditionalist conservatism, traditionalism and conservatism, which upholds the supremacy of social order as it has evolved in the English cul ...
.


Social perceptions

Cavalier was not understood at the time as primarily a term describing a style of dress, but a whole political and social attitude. However, in modern times the word has become more particularly associated with the court fashions of the period, which included long flowing hair in ringlets, brightly coloured clothing with elaborate trimmings and lace collars and cuffs, and plumed
hats A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safety, or as a fashion accessory. Hats which incorporate mecha ...
. This contrasted with the dress of at least the most extreme Roundhead supporters of
Parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
, with their preference for shorter hair and plainer dress, although neither side conformed to the
stereotypical In social psychology Social psychology is the scientific study of how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people or by social norms. Social psychologists typically explain human be ...
images entirely. Most Parliamentarian generals wore their hair at much the same length as their Royalist counterparts,Ashelford, 73 though Cromwell was something of an exception. The best patrons in the nobility of Charles I's court painter Sir
Anthony van Dyck Sir Anthony van Dyck (, many variant spellings; 22 March 1599 – 9 December 1641) was a Duchy of Brabant, Brabantian Flemish Baroque painting, Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England after success in the Sou ...
, the archetypal recorder of the Cavalier image, all took the Parliamentary side in the Civil War. Probably the most famous image identified as of a "cavalier",
Frans Hals Frans Hals the Elder (, , ; – 26 August 1666) was a Dutch Golden Age painter, chiefly of individual and group portraits and of Genre painting, genre works, who lived and worked in Haarlem. Hals played an important role in the evolution of 17t ...
' ''
Laughing Cavalier The ''Laughing Cavalier'' (1624) is a portrait by the Dutch Golden Age painter Frans Hals in the Wallace Collection in London, which has been described as "one of the most brilliant of all Baroque portraits". The title is an invention of the Vict ...
'', shows a gentleman from the strongly
Calvinist Calvinism (also called the Reformed Tradition, Reformed Protestantism, Reformed Christianity, or simply Reformed) is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John C ...
Dutch town of
Haarlem Haarlem (; predecessor of ''Harlem'' in English language, English) is a List of cities in the Netherlands by province, city and Municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality in the Netherlands. It is the Capital city, capital of the Provinces ...
, and is dated 1624. These derogatory terms (for at the time they were so intended) also showed what the typical Parliamentarian thought of the Royalist side – capricious men who cared more for vanity than the nation at large. The chaplain to King Charles I, Edward Simmons described a Cavalier as "a Child of Honour, a Gentleman well borne and bred, that loves his king for conscience sake, of a clearer countenance, and bolder look than other men, because of a more loyal Heart". There were many men in the Royalist armies who fit this description since most of the Royalist field officers were typically in their early thirties, married with rural estates which had to be managed. Although they did not share the same outlook on how to worship God as the English Independents of the
New Model Army The New Model Army was a standing army formed in 1645 by the Roundhead, Parliamentarians during the First English Civil War, then disbanded after the Stuart Restoration in 1660. It differed from other armies employed in the 1639 to 1653 Wars ...
, God was often central to their lives. This type of Cavalier was personified by Jacob Astley, 1st Baron Astley of Reading, whose prayer at the start of the
Battle of Edgehill The Battle of Edgehill (or Edge Hill) was a pitched battle A pitched battle or set-piece battle is a battle in which opposing forces each anticipate the setting of the battle, and each chooses to commit to it. Either side may have the o ...
has become famous "O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me". At the end of the First Civil War, Astley gave his word that he would not take up arms again against Parliament and having given his word he felt duty bound to refuse to help the Royalist cause in the Second Civil War; however, the word was coined by the Roundheads as a pejorative propaganda image of a licentious, hard drinking and frivolous man, who rarely, if ever, thought of God. It is this image which has survived and many Royalists, for example
Henry Wilmot, 1st Earl of Rochester Lieutenant-General (United Kingdom), Lieutenant-General Henry Wilmot, 1st Earl of Rochester (26 October 1612 – 19 February 1658), known as The Lord Wilmot between 1643 and 1644 and as The Viscount Wilmot between 1644 and 1652, was an England, En ...
, fitted this description to a tee. Of another Cavalier, George Goring, Lord Goring, a general in the Royalist army, the principal advisor to Charles II,
Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon (18 February 16099 December 1674), was an English statesman, lawyer, diplomat and historian who served as chief advisor to Charles I during the First English Civil War The First English Civil War too ...
, said: This sense has developed into the modern English use of "cavalier" to describe a recklessly nonchalant attitude, although still with a suggestion of stylishness. Cavalier remained in use as a description for members of the party that supported the monarchy up until the
Exclusion Crisis The Exclusion Crisis ran from 1679 until 1681 in the reign of King Charles II of England, Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland. Three Exclusion bills sought to exclude the King's brother and heir presumptive, James II of England, James, Du ...
of 1678–1681 when the term was superseded by "Tory" which was another term initially with pejorative connotations. Likewise, during the Exclusion Bill crisis, the term Roundhead was replaced with " Whig", a term introduced by the opponents of the Whigs and also was initially a pejorative term.


In arts

An example of the Cavalier style can be seen in the painting ''Charles I, King of England, from Three Angles'' by Anthony van Dyck.


Notes


References

* * * * * * * * * * * Attribution *


Further reading

*
Military science in western Europe in the sixteenth century
page 45)


External links

* {{wiktionary-inline English Civil War *Cavalier