Courtly Love and Romance
A quick review
• Romance-when you hear the word, you
probably think about love; however, that is
not where the word originated.
• It was taken from the French romanz, and
referred to the Latin language spoken by the
• French and many other languages were
derived from the Latin, hence, romance
• The romance languages include French,
Italian, Spanish, Latin, and Portuguese.
• Romance literature became synonymous with
specific literature written in the French
vernacular language, commonly spoken at
court. It also reflected the culture of the court.
Women’s influence on romance
• This literature was written primarily for the
interest of the women in court, who were
interested in the roles of women in such
• Eleanor of Aquitaine:
Queen of France and
then of England, along
with her daughter Marie,
both had a strong
interest in music, poetry
and the arts. Eleanor of Aquitaine: Eleanor marrying Louis VII of France
• Troubador Poetry-written for the women of court
and depicted the style of courtly love they
preferred. Women were usually older than the
knight or lord who performed the deeds and the
love won was strictly plutonic.
• The knight was subjected and loyal to the king,
and in turn, was also expected to show the same
affections for the queen, ladies, and dames at
court. Unfortunately, this was only done in the
poetry, not in reality.
• The ladies of court would encourage the
knights to perform noble deeds and often
gave them tokens to herald them on to
complete the task, thus winning her “love”.
The grim reality
• The reality of the times was that marriages were not
performed or entered into because of love, but
rather because of strategic planning. Young women
were betrothed to the man who would bring her
status and security, and men would look to inherit
land, properties, and titles by marrying the woman.
• Women of the court may have been more
entertained by the thought of romantic love
due to the lack of it in their real lives. Some
theorize that it serves as a model for young
lords who are not yet married, so as to behave
in a way fitting their station in life.
Eleanor of Aquitaine: Eleanor marrying Louis VII of France, 1137. Photograph.
Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Web. 26 Mar.2011.
"Troubadours & The Beloved."Re-Vision Radio. The Gypsy Scholar, n.d. Web. 26 Mar.
2011. <www.revradiotowerofsong.org/9philosoquestromance.html >.