Chivalry and Courtly Love

    The Troubadours

    Chivalric or Courtly Love (known in medieval France as "fine love" or fin amour) originated with the so-called troubadours of the late eleventh century. Promoting a suave new form of paganism which they called Gai Saber (literally, "the happy wisdom" or "gay science"), these colorful figures from the Provence region of southern France effectively challenged and sought to redefine traditional Christian ideals of love, marriage, manhood, virtue, and femininity. Under the sponsorship of powerful nobles like Eleanor of Aquitaine and Marie de Champagne, their influence gradually spread throughout France and eventually into England and Germany. By the middle of the 13th century, the troubadour philosophy had become practically institutionalized throughout the courts of Europe, and "fine love" had become the basis for a glamorous and exciting new style of life.

    What is Courtly Love?

    Properly applied, the phrase l'amour courtois identified an extravagantly artificial and stylized relationship--a forbidden affair that was characterized by five main attributes. In essence, the relationship was

For further information on courtly love, please visit the following websites:

For images and information pertaining to Andreas Capellanus's "Rules of Courtly Love"
For a glossary of terms on Knighthood and Chivalry


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