Code of behavior
Courtly Love, code of behavior that defined the relationship between aristocratic lovers in Western Europe during the Middle Ages. The Idea of courtly love developed among the higher classes of Europe during the late-1100s. The idea of courtly love was that a man passionately devoted himself to a lady who was married or engaged to another man. Because medieval marriges were made up of little more than business contracts, courtly love was dubed as the only true romance in the lives of many Europeans. Knights used courtly love as a way to rember their home land and to give them a reson to get back to there land. Knights were not the only ones that believed in courtly love. Medieval artists, troubadors, and authors used courtly love as a bas or a theme in much of their work. Influenced by contemporary chivalric ideals (see Chivalry) and feudalism, courtly love required adherence to certain rules elaborated in the songs of the troubadours (see Troubadours and Trouvres) between the 11th and the 13th centuries and stemming originally from the Ars Amatoria (The Art of Loving) of the Roman poet Ovid.
According to these conventions, a nobleman, usually a knight, in love with a married woman of equally high birthor, often, higher rankhad to prove his devotion by heroic deeds and by amorous writings presented anonymously to his beloved. Once the lovers had pledged themselves to each other and consummated their passion, complete secrecy had to be maintained. Because most noble marriages in the Middle Ages were little more than business contracts, courtly love was a form of sanctioned adultery, sanctioned because it threatened neither the contract nor the religious sacrament of marriage. In fact, faithlessness of the lovers toward each other was considered more sinful than the adultery of this extramarital relationship.
Literature in the courtly love tradition includes such works as Lancelot, by Chrtien de Troyes; Tristan und Isolt (1210), by Gottfried von Strassburg; Le Roman de la Rose, by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun; and the Arthurian romances (see Arthurian Legend). The theme of courtly love was developed in Dante Alighieri's La vita nuova (The New Life) and La divina commedia (The Divine Comedy), and in the sonnets of the Italian poet Petrarch. Troubadours and Trouvres (Provenal trobar,"to find" or "to invent"), lyric poets and poet-musicians who flourished in France from the end of the 11th century to the end of the 13th century. The troubadours, who were active in Provence in southern France, took their inspiration from the ancient Greek conception of the lyric poem as a vocal composition (see Lyric). Written in the Provenal language (see Occitan), the lyrics of the troubadours were among the first to use native language rather than Latin, the literary language of the Middle Ages. These poems incorporated new forms, melodies, and rhythms, either original or borrowed, from the informal music of the people. The earliest troubadour whose works have been preserved was Guillaume IX of Aquitaine (1071-1127). Of the more than 400 troubadours known to have lived, the majority were nobles and some were kings; for them, composing and performing songs was a manifestation of the ideal of chivalry. Troubadour music gradually disappeared during the 13th century as the courts of southern France were destroyed in the religious wars that ended in the defeat of the Albigenses by the papal power.
Originally, the troubadours sang their own poems to their assembled courts and often held competitions, or so-called tournaments of song; later, they engaged itinerant musicians, called jongleurs, to perform their works. The subjects included love, chivalry, religion, politics, war, funerals, and nature. The verse forms included the canso (stanza song), tenso (dialogue or debate), sirvente (political or satirical canso), planh (complaint or dirge), alba (morning song), and serena (evening song). The musical accompaniments were generally played on stringed instruments such as viele (medieval fiddle) or the lute. The notation of the songs indicated pitch but not time value or rhythm. About 300 melodies and about 2600 poems of the troubadours have been preserved. The music of the troubadours is considered one of the major influences in the development of medieval secular music (see Music, Western).