Medieval Life

Courtly Love

Medieval ladies found glorification when a knight would select her to be his chosen one. For a knight, this could mean any lady, except his wife. According to the "rules" of courtly love, a knight had to promise to be ardent, secretive, and above all, courteous. No matter how long the love was unrequited, a knight had to be true.

Rules evolved-such as chosen women given a ring should wear it "on the little finger of their left hand, and always keep the stone hidden inside her hand." When writing letters, they refrained from using their proper names so their identities could never be revealed.

Church leaders were distraught with this new movement, fearing that knights would lose sight of their religious obligations. This stance was softened somewhat, when they learned that some of the best songs of courtly love were being written by monks and nuns.

A double standard existed within these rituals as well, for where knights might boast of their chosen lady, women, especially those who were married had to be quite cautious who learned of this relationship. If a man found out he was being cuckolded, he might repudiate his wife, and have the man castrated or executed. Fathers of the women might be exiled and their lands seized.

Copyright Notice
Copyright Notice Chivalry Life Literature Health History Famines Food Romance Courtly Love Poetry