Romantic and Courtly Love


"Courtly love" began to emerge during the 1100s starting in southern France. This was a code of behavior made popular through Romance literature, defined then as any prose written in one of the Romance languages. This term later evolved to include any tales of knights, chivalry and courtly love. Troubadours went from village to village telling these stories that were later written down by court scribes, musicians, clerics and aristocrats. Noble classes first used these stories for edification, but these tales found popularity among the masses. These romantic poems and prose extoled the ennobling power of love, and the concept of "passionate," or inextinguishable love. Romantic writing elevated the beloved woman to a superior position over her male suitor.