The Rules of Love

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"The Rules of Love" by Master Giles de Laval.
NOTE: See also the files: courtly-love-bib, courtly-love-msg, beyond-favors-msg, p-customs-msg, p-marriage-msg, romance-today-msg, SCA-romance-msg.

This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set

of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at:

Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be

reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first

or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Thank you,

Mark S. Harris

AKA: Stefan li Rous

stefan at

The Rules of Love

by Master Giles de Laval.
Courtly love developed during the 12th century in France, and quickly became an ideal of courtly society throughout Europe for the rest of the Middle Ages. It described an intensely idealised form of sexual passion: the kind of "falling in love" familiar to every society in every age. The ideal of courtly love was embodied in a highly elaborate, sophisticated and aristocratic code of behavior that permanently influenced western culture and the way we look at romantic love.
The concept of courtly love originated with the troubadours of southern France who, rather than the more prevalent martial epics of the time, sang about love and the women they loved, inventing as they did so an almost religious "cult of love". This was proving revolutionary because it placed women, who were almost completely powerless in medieval society, in a position of complete dominance over their lovers.
Between 1184 and 1186 AD, the ethos of courtly love was codified and written down by Andreas Capellanus, who was probably court chaplain to Marie de Champagne, in his book De Arte Honesti Amandi (On the Art of Honorable Loving). It is now believed that Capellanus' book, which drew heavily on the Roman poet Ovid's satirical Ars Amatori (The Art of Loving), was intended as an elaborate intellectual joke, full of the outrageously distorted arguments and paradoxes so loved by medieval courtly society. Although we know that medieval people found Capellanus' treatise screamingly funny, we can not discount it: a parody can not exist without the object it parodies.
Examples from Book I of De Arte Honesti Amandi.
1. Flee from avarice like a noxious plague, and embrace its opposite.
2. You must keep yourself chaste for your beloved's sake.
3. You must not try to break up a love affair between a woman suitably joined to another man.
4. Take care not to choose for your love a person whom a natural sense of shame would prohibit you from marrying.
5. At all costs take care to avoid lies.
6. Do not have many people in the secret of your love.
7. Being obedient in all things to the commands of ladies, always study to be enrolled in the service of love.
8. When fulfilling and receiving the pleasures of love, always let modesty be present.
9. Speak no evil.
10. Never publicly expose lovers.
11. Show yourself in all things polite and courteous.
12. When you are engaging in the pleasures of love, do not exceed the desires of your lover.

Examples from Book 2 of De Arte Honesti Amandi.

1. The state of marriage does not properly excuse anyone from loving.
2. He who does not feel jealousy is not capable of loving.
3. No one can love two people at the same time.
4. It is well known that love is always either growing or declining.
5. Whatever a lover takes against his lover's will has no savour.
6. A male does not fall in love until he has reached full manhood.
7. A mourning period of two years for a deceased lover is required of the surviving partner.
8 No one should be prevented from loving except by reason of his own death.
9. No one can love unless they are compelled by me eloquence of love.
10. Love is accustomed to being an exile from the house of avarice.
11. It is unseemly to love anyone whom you would be ashamed to marry.
12. A true lover does not desire the passionate embraces of anyone but his beloved.
The Countess of Champagne was asked what gifts it was fitting for ladies to accept from their lovers. She replied "A lover may freely accept from her beloved these things: a handkerchief, hair band, a circlet of gold or silver, a brooch for the breast, a mirror, a belt, a purse, a lace for clothes, a comb, cuffs, gloves, a ring, a little box of scent, a portrait, toiletries, little vases, trays, a standard as a keepsake of the lover, and to speak more generally, a lady can accept from her love whatever small gifts may be useful in the care of her person, or may look charming, or may remind her of her lover, provided however that in accepting the gift it is clear that she is acting quite without avarice."

Andrea Hopkins, The Book of Courtly Love, Harper Collins, 1994.

John F. Nims, Sappho to Valery: Poems in Translation, Rutgers University Press,1971
Theresa Sheehan, "The Lovers Lesson" in Tournaments Illuminated Issue #118, N. Beattie ed., Society for Creative Anachronism, 1996.
Nigel Saul ed., The Age of Chivalry, BCA London, 1992.

Copyright 2001 by Mark Calderwood. . While permission for republication is usually granted, permission to republish this article, in part or in full, requires the explicit permission of the author.

If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.

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: courtly-love-bib, Chivalry-art, chivalry-msg, Rules-of-Love-art, beyond-favors-msg
CHIVALRY -> Note: See also the files: chivalry-msg, Chivalry-art, sca-the-Dream-msg, sca-romance-msg, romance-today-msg
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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