An idealised set of behaviours for knights first developed in France during the twelfth century, collectively called chivalry both then and now. From France these ideals quickly spread to the rest of western Europe, where they influenced both knights and great nobles. Although one sometimes sees references to a ‘code’ of chivalry, the expectations of chivalry were never a tidy list of ways to behave, and indeed the term was used for contradictory goals. Originally the term chivalry meant battlefield virtues, courage and fighting ability, but it soon took on other meanings, especially proper behaviour at court, gentle attention to women, and Christian virtue, not all of which could possibly be carried out at the same time. Only at the end of the Middle Ages, when cavalry fighting became increasingly irrelevant, did treatises appear trying to set out explicit guidelines for a chivalrous knight to follow.