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Eleanor of AquitaineQueen and Rebel$
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Jean Flori and Editions Payot

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748622955

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748622955.001.0001

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Eleanor and Courtly Love

Eleanor and Courtly Love

(p.239) 11 Eleanor and Courtly Love
Eleanor of Aquitaine

Jean Flori

Olive Classe


Eleanor of Aquitaine lived in an age and in places that saw the birth of one of the most innovative and characteristic features of Western society in the Middle Ages: courtoisie. The notion covers a set of attitudes constituting the court ethos that from the first third of the twelfth century gradually established itself in the milieu of aristocracy. These qualities reflected the emergence of a new sensibility and altered the theoretical norms governing relationships between knights and ladies of the court. They led to the concept of courtly love, praised by poets and blamed by moralists. Two major themes are found in practically all twelfth-century works of literature: chivalry and courtoisie. These clearly express the ethical preoccupations of the time, at least in lettered and aristocratic circles.

Keywords:   Eleanor of Aquitaine, Middle Ages, courtoisie, milieu, aristocracy, knights, ladies, court, chivalry

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