According to Greenberg the core of honor is the South was how you were perceived. To insinuate that someone was a liar was an invitation to a duel—if you were a peer, or a horsewhipping if you weren’t. The concept of "to give the lie to" was critical: a lie didn’t matter unless someone accused you of it. He cites one Southern gentleman who forgot about an invitation and met the unwanted guest with the statement "I am not at home."
The "language of honor" included many symbols: you demonstrated superiority by giving gifts, demonstrated your indifference to petty things like death or loss by willingness to duel or gamble, and your courage by standing up in battle (or in the hunt) in the face of attack and not running or dodging. (Which seems to have made baseball unpopular: run from a ball???)
To wear a mask was no shame for a man of honor; the horror was to be unmasked... A Southern gentleman could wear anything—even a dress or a lie—as long as he could prevent it from being removed.
A gentleman’s word was expected to be honored; a slave’s to be disbelieved. A gentleman was expected to be courageous and a slave a coward. A stranger didn’t fit in, and despite celebration of "Southern hospitality" was apt to find himself houseless. I wish Greenberg had gone farther describing the stranger’s role, and addressing the middle class and honor. Probably they shared the same values as the aristocracy, but it would be nice to have that explicit.
Gift-giving was very important, especially if you didn't limit the concept of gift to money or things. They regarded the food and clothing they gave the slaves as benevolent care: gifts.
You don’t have to admire the Southern aristocracy, but if you want to understand the past at all, you should understand them. Read the book.