Courtly love

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A code of love-making which flourished during the Middle Ages in the literature of Aristocratic, chivalric society and presumable reflects actual social conditions  at the great feudal courts like those of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her daughter Marie de Champagne. The system derived ultimately from three principal sources: from the socio-economic environment of feudalism; from a literary traditional influence by Ovid, Arabic poetry in Spain, and the Lyrics of Provencal troubadour; and from Christianity, particular the veneration of the Virgin Mary. As developed by the French poet of the 12th century ( e.g. in the Chretien de Troyes’ the knight of the Cart, the love were the  devotion of the lover to the Ideal of womanhood and his abject humility, complete loyalty, and veneration of the beloved. As Sir Kenneth Clarke has said: “Where there was marriage without love, it is not surprising to find love without marriage”. The code required that the lovers must not be married to one another and therefore that the relationship must not be secret. Their love was sensual, illicit, and adulterous. Yet it inspires the lover to selfless and noble deeds requiring the greatest courage and strength.



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