I believe it was when the Gauls had laid siege to Rome that an anonymous soldier snuck out in the night to assassinate the enemy commander, hoping thereby to end the conflict. Being discovered, he was stood by a blazing fire and told to give information about the defenses of his city, lest he burn. Having been given this ultimatum, he thrust his arm into the flames and said solemnly: “See how little one cares for his body when he thinks of only honor.” And with these words, he threw himself into the fire. Such are the ways of men. They care nothing for themselves, for they have already died to themselves. Rather, as the soldier put it, they care for honor, that is, they care for doing that which is becoming.
So I have spoken on what I conceive to be masculinity, and the basis of true manliness throughout all history, that is, what could be called “traditional masculinity,” that masculinity that has been handed down to us. It has nothing to do with the dominance of others; quite to the contrary, those who are most beautiful to our minds and praised for their masculine virtues are those who serve; and the more their service becomes a loving slavery, the more our hearts are touched by their works. The knight is the pinnacle of the male ethos in the West, and yet he is by definition a slave to his lord, for among the Saxons, the knight would vow: “I will to my lord be faithful and true. I will love all that he loves, and shun all that he shuns.” And as Ramon Lull demands: “It is the office of the knight to uphold and defend his temporal lord.”