Courtly Love

Pure love (fin’amore) of troubadours is a spieces of love raised by physical and mental beauty of a woman. As an opposite to false, insincere and merely lascivious love, it leads the lover to grow in ethical and aesthetical qualities – natural goodness, merit and worth.

The essence of Courtly love is necessity of love for being a virtuous man. In fact, any act motivated by love cannot be immoral. Similarly, sexual pleasure means union of hearts rather than of bodies, and is not considered sinful.

The desire for spiritual and sensual fulfilment of love is kept inflamed by absence of physical possession, and drives the lover to overcome various obstacles and accomplish tasks. That is the key aspect of this phenomenon – personal ennoblement.

Courtly love is not conditioned by formal establishments, such as marriage or Christian regulations.

General features of Courtly love are secrecy, devotion to the loved one and distinction from sexual love. Other characteristics don’t apply universaly, and vary between authors.

The most systematic approach in defining fin’amore is found in a 12th century treatise “De Amore” (“On Love”) by Andreas Capellanus, which provides a set of rules of loving.

 It shoud be understood that the attribute “courtly” (courtois), when associated with literature or poetry, means belonging to a court, while the term “courtly love” represents the morally elevating pure love, and its usage has been criticized as confusing.

The existence, origin, and characteristics of Courtly Love are subjects to scholarly disputes to this day.

selection of theories about origins of courtly love

Proposed origins of Courtly Love

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