Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: Courtly love

Courtly love

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

Reference URL
Knowledge Graph

Read more


Definition and History of Courtship Courtship is the period before marriage or committed relationships. It traditionally begins after a betrothal and ends with marriage. Courtship can be informal o...

Read more


General Information and Physical Properties of Corundum Corundum is an oxide mineral belonging to the Hematite group. Its chemical formula is represented by the repeating unit. It is classified und...

Read more