WHAT IS COURTLY LOVE? A code of behavior that gave rise to modern ideas ofchivalrous romance. A relationship between aristocratic lovers in WesternEurope during the Middle Ages. Courtly Love required adherence to certain rules, butwas basically sanctioned adultery.
WHO PARTICIPATED? The man was a nobleman, usually a knight. The woman was married and of equal orhigher status. Frequently the woman was the wife of theknight’s Lord and the knight’s admiration of thewoman was a sign of loyalty.
WHY? Marriages in the middle ages were almost NEVER about love. Marriages were little more than business contracts Love may interfere with creating dynasties or brokering peace. Love was considered irrelevant to marriage.
HOW DID IT WORK? The knight would pledge hislove to the woman from afar,seeking to protect her honor andwin her favor. The woman would refuse hisadvances in public, but privatelyencourages him.
CHARACTERISTICS Associated with nobility (peasants could not engage in “finelove”) Secrecy Adultery Chastity – the passion could never be consummated due to socialcircumstances, thus it was a “higher love” unsullied by selfish, carnaldesires.
BENEFITS It was believed to improve men because theywould be more concerned with the concept ofhonor. The knight would win more victories intournaments The inspiration of the woman would curbarrogance and coarseness.