Definition and Origins of Courtly Love
- Courtly love emphasized nobility and chivalry in medieval European literature.
- It began in the ducal and princely courts of Aquitaine, Provence, Champagne, ducal Burgundy, and the Norman Kingdom of Sicily.
- Initially a literary fiction for the nobility, it later spread to popular culture.
- A game of love developed around courtly love as a set of social practices.
- Loving nobly was seen as enriching and improving.
- Traced back to Arabic literature of the 9th and 10th centuries
- Developed by Ibn Sina in the early 11th century
- First developed into a doctrine in European literature
- Contacts between Spanish poets and French troubadours were frequent
- Metrical forms used by Spanish poets resembled those used by troubadours
Influence on Literature and Music
- Troubadours, trouvères, and Minnesänger frequently used courtly love in their works.
- Major writers such as Dante, Petrarch, and Geoffrey Chaucer also explored courtly love.
- Gaston Paris popularized the term 'courtly love' and defined its characteristics.
- C. S. Lewis further solidified courtly love as a specialized form of love in his book 'The Allegory of Love.'
- Historians have debated the term's origins and influences.
Courtly Love in Practice
- Courtly love involved idolization and ennobling discipline.
- The lover accepted the independence of the mistress and aimed to prove their worthiness.
- Ordeals and tests were undertaken to demonstrate ardor and commitment.
- While sexual attraction played a role, courtly love was not purely platonic.
- Humility, courtesy, adultery, and the religion of love were key characteristics.
Courtly Love in History
- Courtly love developed in the castle life of Aquitaine, Provence, Champagne, and ducal Burgundy.
- Eleanor of Aquitaine brought courtly love ideals to the courts of France and England.
- Troubadours, including William IX, Duke of Aquitaine, expressed courtly love in their poetry.
- Courtly love allowed for social advancement based on character and actions, appealing to poorer knights.
- It provided an outlet for expressing love not found in arranged marriages.
Andalusian and Islamic Influence on Courtly Love
- Hispano-Arabic literature and Arabic influence on Sicily influenced the early troubadours of Provence.
- Similar views of love as both beneficial and distressing were expressed in Arabic poetry.
- European contact with the Islamic world likely influenced courtly love practices.
- Islamic practices similar to courtly love were prevalent in Al-Andalus and other parts of the Islamic world.
- The influence of Islamic culture should be considered in the development of courtly love.
Courtly love Data Sources