Even at its best, war must always be an ugly and brutal business. But, owing to the ideal of chivalry, humanity in a war was possible in the Middle Ages in Europe. In those old days, a battle was a matter of personal hand-to-hand combat and was fought mainly by knights. A Christian knight was bound by the laws of chivalry. He had an ideal of conduct, set before him, and took solemn religious vows of devotion to God, loyalty to his king, personal chastity, courtesy to women, honor, truthfulness, and justice; and he swore to protect the weak and oppressed, and never to use his sword in an unrighteous cause. Such conduct was called “chivalrous”.
The need of humanity:
A true knight would, of course, fight bravely and fiercely in a battle against his foes, and would do his best to conquer or kill them. But he observed certain rules of honor in fighting. As a good sportsman observes the rules of the game he plays. These rules included the spring of noncombatants, mercy to a fallen foe, and courtesy towards and protection of the women of the enemy. No true knight would maltreat or insult women, or slay innocent citizens, or hit a man when he was down.