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'Courageous' medieval knights may have suffered post-traumatic stress.

Washington, Dec 21 (ANI): Medieval knights, who are often considered to be courageous and cold-hearted killers, may have actually suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, a new study has revealed.

They were usually sleep-deprived, exhausted and malnourished. They slept outside on hard ground, irrespective of weather conditions. And their lives were full of horror and bloodshed as they frequently killed other men and watched their friends die. n reality, the lives of knights were studded with a litany of stresses much like their modern-day counterparts.

Faced with the trauma inherent in a life of combat, according to a new look at ancient texts, medieval knights at times struggled with despair, fear, powerlessness and delusions, Discovery News reported.

"As a medievalist, it's a bit irritating to hear people say that the Middle Ages were just populated by brutal and mindless thugs who just wallowed in warfare," said Thomas Heeboll-Holm, a medieval historian at the University of Copenhagen.

"I'm going for a nuanced picture of humans that lived in the past. They were people just like you and me, as far as we can tell."

To be diagnosed with PTSD, people must suffer from uncontrollable and intense stress for at least a month after a horrifying event. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, depression and hyperactivity.part from other documents, Heeboll-Holm also focused on three texts written by a 14th-century French knight named Geoffroi de Charny, who was also a diplomat and trusted adviser to King John II.

Although quite a few of these texts have already been thoroughly analyzed, Heeboll-Holm was the first to look between the lines through the lens of modern military psychology.

And while it is difficult to ever completely understand a culture that was so very different (and far more religious) than our own, Heeboll-Holm found a number of examples that would advocate at least the potential for trauma in medieval knights.

According to Heeboll-Holm, Charny did not indicate any signs of instability, but he constantly expressed concern about the mental health of other knights.

Richard Kaeuper, a medieval historian at the University of Rochester in New York, who has translated and written extensively about Charny's 'Book of Chivalry', asserted that there is no doubt that medieval knights suffered a lot. (ANI)

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Dec 21, 2011
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