Courtly Love


Courtly Love
A term first used by Gaston Paris in 1883 article to describe the 'culture' of love and system of love and adoration developed in Northern France during the late 12th century. Under this system, the lover, who pursued his illicit and passionate love relentlessly, was ennobled by the experience. Some writers claimed that the search itself was enough to improve the character of the lover, while others maintained that he would be a fool to pursue such a venture without recompense, be it a smile or a look or perhaps more intimate conclusion. In general courtly love took place outside the boundaries of marriage, which is one of the reasons that the medieval church took such strong objections to it.
Andreas Cappallanus, Chrètien de Troyes and Marie de Champagne are three names inextricably twined with the movement, but the effect of the movement was to draw the attention of the knights away from the battlefield and crusade or religious duties and add conceptions of courtesy, generosity, defense and respect for women to the extant religious and military virtues. In this manner the courtly love movement strongly impacted with accepted way that women were treated and defended in our own culture even to the present day.

Medieval glossary. 2014.

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