Note: See also the files: courtly-love-bib, Chivalry-art, chivalry-msg, Rules-of-Love-art, beyond-favors-msg

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Information and discussion on the history and concept of courtly love.
NOTE: See also the files: courtly-love-bib, Chivalry-art, chivalry-msg, Rules-of-Love-art, beyond-favors-msg.

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at:
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Thank you,

Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous

Stefan at


From: szduchai at (Luisa Duchaineau)


Subject: Re: Courtly Love

Date: 15 Oct 1995 16:05:48 GMT

Organization: University of California, Davis
Shadowalker (roggenbk at wrote:

: I narrowed my paper down to Courtly Love...anyone got any good books or

: FAQ's to help me out? BTW, thanks to those who have already helped.
: -Karin A. Roggenbeck
Greetings, Karin:
Have you seen "The Book of Courtly Love: The passionate Code of the

Troubadours," yet? Andrea Hopkins is the author and the publisher is

HarperSanFrancsico, 1994. (Note: the publisher left out the spaces in

their name, not me. I just typed what I saw.)

Ms. Hopkins is a gratuate of Oxford, England where her thesis was on

penitence in medieval romance. This was later published under the title

"Sinful Knights" (publisher unknown). She also has a couple of other

books out on the subject.

Luisa at UC Davis

From: madweaver at (MadWeaver)


Subject: Re: Courtly Love

Date: 16 Oct 1995 18:41:54 -0400
Don't forget the original, _The Art of Courtly Love_ by Andreas

Capellanus. Mine is published by Columbia University Press, but I know

there are other translations.

Subject: Re: Courtly behavior (fwd)

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 15:17:06 -0600 (CST)

From: clevin at (Craig Levin)

To: atlantia at (Merry Rose)
AEdric the Grene:

> While I am all for courtesy and Chivalry (which co-developed with Courtly

> Love), I am very much NOT a beliver in Courtly Love. From what I've read

> and been taught, it comes across as something that I do not believe is part

> of the "Middle Ages As It Should Have Been". The crux of the problem is

> that I find it anti-woman while claiming not to be. Hardly an ideal I'd be

> at all interested in encouraging.
I've never liked the phrase "Middle Ages [aside: only English

puts the period into the plural, AFAIK. Neat, huh?] As They

Should Have Been." That aside, I'd note that amour courtois isn't

exactly a dominating influence on a great deal of the Middle

Ages, arising as it did in the 12th century, which means that the

period had, by our definition, only four centuries to go. I can

hardly imagine a Northman of the "Viking Age" taking its ideas

seriously-his outlook on the role of the sexes was different from

both our present one and that of his sixteenth century

descendants. See Lewis' Allegory of Love on this.

_However_, once amour courtois came into being, it didn't take

long for it to spread to most of western Europe (it took a bit

longer for it to get to eastern Europe, if it got there at all).

For most people's personae, amour courtois would have formed part

and parcel of their upbringing. Even the poor got to sample a bit

of it, because the cult of the Virgin and amour courtois

essentially are facets of the same gem. Some people do protest it

(for example, De La Tour Landry and De Pisan), but even they end

up giving it credit for a number of things.
> Without going into a long treatise with references to works, college class

> notes, and all, I'll try to sum up why I believe this. Men place women as

> the objects of desire and then expect women to follow these rules. In

> fact, what with the worship and acting as servants to them, they cage and

> bind the women into a circumscribed role that turns previous power into

> lessened influence, collapses a women's world into the sphere of love and

> breeding heirs, and generally takes away any power and authority they may

> have had previously.

Actually, I'd say that it empowered women. Poetry, before then,

was essentially epic. A man's world. Take Beowulf as a classic

example. Once amour courtois developed, women became sources of

patronage, if not authorship, in their own right (like Marie de

France and, paradoxically, Christine de Pisan). Also, if one

looks at the texts of the poems, it's the women who make the

decisions, not the men (with the exception of the poems of

Bertrand de Born and Guillaume, duc d'Aquitaine, for example).

> Thus, while I will support Chivalry (which fortunately has rules quite

> apart from Courtly Love), I will not particpate in a game that actively

> promotes (No matter how innocent or noble the intentions of those

> recreating it) inequality of women. Of course, one can argue that women

> can not be Chivalrous (not in Period, at least), but it is not inherently

> anti-women.

Unless you're using the old classification of Painter (whose

study has been cast in doubt by the works of Barber and Keen),

it's not really all that easy to tease the two apart. Certainly,

by the fourteenth century, when Froissart was writing his

_Chroniques_, a work as unlike a love poem as anything I've ever

read, the codes of amour courtois and knighthood are inextricably

> certainly we should expect equal Chivalry from all to the best of each

> gentle's abilities. If this seems improper for Period to you, then maybe

> you gain immediate insight into my argument above.
"From each according to his/her abilities, to each according to

his/her needs"? Sounds like Marxism to me...

Dom Pedro de Alcazar

Barony of Storvik, Atlantia

Drakkar Pursuivant

Argent, a tower purpure between 3 bunches of grapes proper


clevin at

Craig Levin

Subject: Re: Courtly behavior (fwd)

Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 15:54:56 -0600 (CST)

From: clevin at (Craig Levin)

To: atlantia at (Merry Rose)

AEdric the Grene:

> Ah, I think I realise we're talking at slight cross-purposes. I agree with

> everything you say for history. But, where I differ is in thinking that

> one need not go into doing the courtly love thing while doing the chivalry

> thing *in re-creation*. Even not doing that it seems that at least Diana

> Listmaker as far back as AS V (in an article in _The_Known_World_Handbook_)

> was suggesting a heavily modified form of Courtly Love in the SCA where

> one's greatest love was for one's actual love. (I may be misremembering as

> I can't currently check my copy, having loaned it to another SCA friend,

> but I seem to remember that being the upshot of it.) One can argue whether

> or not publishing it in the general-purpose SCA resource is an endorsement

> of the concept, but it seems like most people would go with it initially

> (at least until another pushed them otherwise or they did their own

> research). So, I guess what it comes down to is should one have to commit

> to the all-or-nothing marriage of Courtly Love and Chivalry as is

> historical? Or, are they seperable/modifiable for re-creation? I believe

> the latter.
I think Diana Listmaker's essay is in my new copy of the KWH.

It's not a bad concept (and, to be sure, I have no problem with

being in love in and out of the SCA with the same wonderful

woman!), on the face of it.

If anyone wants to do some research on courtly love and its

course through history and literature, I recommend The Allegory

of Love, by CS Lewis, who did a lot more than write the Narnia

books. Also, a book often quoted and cited by scholars of courtly

love, Andrew the Chaplain's On Courtly Love, is presently in

print. I think both Border's and Barnes and Noble sell copies.

As to the problem of what to do while recreating, as opposed to

researching, then I really don't know.



clevin at

Craig Levin

Subject: Courtly Love: Reprise

Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 11:40:01 -0500


To: atlantia at

Greetings from Caterina,

I heartily recommend to those interested (both pro and con) in the concept of

courtly love and in learning how and where it appeared in medieval life, that

you go to:
and read the truly excellent and enjoyable essay by Larry D. Benson "Courtly

Love and Chivalry in the Later Middle Ages"

This is the clearest, best written, and most amusing overview of the development

and evolution of Courtly Love I have ever seen.

Here are some tantalizing excerpts:
"The fact that prigs like Geoffrey de la Tour Landry and scoundrels like William

Gold could so easily use the language of courtly love was one of its problems; the noble art of love talking was all too open to abuse by clever scoundrels"

"By 1400 courtly love had become for many not just a way of talking but a way of

feeling and acting. Even in the 1340s,

Bradwardine tells us, French knights were actually laboring strenuously in

arms to earn the loves of their ladies, and Henry of Lancaster, so he confesses,

actually jousted to win the favors of those whom he seduced. A few years later,

Froissart reports, thirty English knights set off for the war in France, each

with an eye covered by a patch which he had sworn not to remove until he had

struck a blow for the love of his lady."

And, finally, the part that made me laugh out loud and read it to my coworkers:
"Henry VIII himself was trying to use the style of courtly love. Trying, but not

quite succeeding: his letter to Anne Boleyn starts out well enough, with protestations of love and service, but by the last line Henry is saying that

he wants to "kiss her duckies.""

Date: Mon, 22 May 2000 10:00:34 -0400

From: STIS Data Analyst

To: sca-arts

Subject: battle of the sexes, with roses
There is an ivory carved box in the Walters with scenes on all sides,

one of which is described as the battle of the sexes. It is a battle

scene, with men standing outside a castle, loading up a trebuchet

with roses to fling over the walls. Ladies are atop the walls

hurling roses down at the men, while cupid stands besides them shooting

his arrows.

I think I've also seen an illuminated scene similar to this, but I can't

remember where. Can anyone tell me where I could find a painting or

manuscript with this scene? I would really appreciate any references.

Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 02:45:03 EDT


To: sca-arts at

Subject: Re: battle of the sexes, with roses
gonnella at writes:

> Ladies are atop the walls

> hurling roses down at the men, while cupid stands besides them shooting

> his arrows.


> I think I've also seen an illuminated scene similar to this, but I can't

> remember where. Can anyone tell me where I could find a painting or

> manuscript

> with this scene? I would really appreciate any references.
I have a book of days, "The Medieval Woman, A Book of Days", researched and

edited by Sally Fox, that has such an illumination in it. The painting is a

castle being defended by four women. Two are firing bows (one long bow, one

crossbow) that are firing flowers. The other two women are throwing handfuls

of flowers. It does not show, however, what they are defending the castle

against. The notes on the illustration say:

"Women defending castle with bow and crossbow

Walter de Milemete, De Nobilitatibus, sapientiss, et prudentiis regum.

MS. CH. CH. 92 f. 4r. English, 1326-7

By kind permission of The Governing Body of Christ Church, Oxford."

I've been trying to work up the nerve to turn this into a scroll. My

inability to draw is holding me back...

Ealasaid nic Suibhne

Kingdom of Atenveldt

Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 08:02:56 -0700

From: "Laura C. Minnick"

Subject: Re: SC - Stefan!!!
Elaine Koogler wrote:

> What about something having to do with Eleanor of Acquitaine's Courts of Love?

> and the whole concept of "courtly love"?


> Kiri
The whole 'Courtly Love' thing, while attractive, has its own drawbacks.

The academic community is far from united on whether or not the 'Courts

of Love' actually existed. They are a common literary trope, but that

does not mean that they were in actual practice any more than something

in Margaret Mitchell's imagination means that it was common to make a

ball gown out of your mother's velvet drapes...

There are two main trains of thought (based on the work I did a couple

of years ago in seminar): first, that the concepts of Courtly Love and

Courts of Love (which may or may not be a totally different

manifestation) were invented and held as an ideal in an attempt to put

some 'civilization' into the fighting class. One of the enduring

questions for that approach is what to do with the alleged courtly love

relationships- which if carried out (young man and his lord's wife)

would be immoral, illegal, and undermine the fabric of the society as it

was structured in the 12th century- still mostly built on bonds of faith

between lords and vassals.

The other approach is that it was a pleasant pasttime and largely

play-acting, something like the highly formalized courtship patterns we

see in Jane Austen's novels, or in the upper middle class in the

Victorian era. With either appraoch, the cynicism level is pretty high.

It must be noted that: while there are a handful of literary references

to Courts of Love, there is no actual historical evidence that Eleanor

was involved in one. There was, however, evidence that she was widely

believed to be, which is the long run may be roughly the same thing when

you are talking about popular concepts. Certainly the National Enquirer

of the day (writers of lais and Troubadours) thought that she was the

very center of the movement. even though she spent most of the time

concerned in close confinement...

And if you really read Andreas Capellanus' _Art of Courtly Love_, it is

pretty cynical itself. And there are elements that I don't want to see

re-created, such as the ideas that a man of a higher class has the right

to demand sexual favors of a woman of a lower class- essentially because

it is a breach of social order for her to say no. Some things are best

left in the past.


Directory: files -> CHIVALRY
files -> Understanding Diversity What is Diversity?
files -> Sscg: 16 Unit 7: Judicial Branch
CHIVALRY -> Note: See also the files: knighthood-msg, chivalry-art, fealty-msg, fealty-art, armor-msg, chainmail-msg, 2Squire-r-Not-art, Fealty-n-t-sca-art
CHIVALRY -> Note: See also the files: chivalry-msg, Chivalry-art, sca-the-Dream-msg, sca-romance-msg, romance-today-msg
CHIVALRY -> The Rules of Love
CHIVALRY -> Chivalry and courtly love
CHIVALRY -> Chivalry Is Still Alive and Well
CHIVALRY -> Note: See also these files: Chivalry-art, chiv-orders-msg, courtly-love-msg, knighthood-msg, squires-msg, fealty-art, fealty-msg, 25-years-late-art, courtly-love-bib
CHIVALRY -> Note: See also the files: squires-msg, Chivalry-art, chivalry-msg, chiv-orders-msg, fealty-art, fealty-msg, 25-years-late-art, Fealty-n-t-sca-art

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