Courtly Love:

Fin' amor

The various modes of love in the troubadour poems and in medieval literature of romance, from the 12th to the 14th century, have been designated by the single term: amour courtois or "courtly love," a term coined in 1883. It has since served most medievalists and literary historians to characterize the variety of concepts and modes of love illustrated in this love literature. However, the term “courtly love” has been criticized as ill-defined and misleading, and thus the proper term for defining the love of the troubadours is fin’amor (refined or pure love). 

So-called “courtly love” developed during the 12th-century in the South of France, Occitania, and became an ideal in courtly society, both literary and real, throughout Europe for the rest of the Middle Ages. It celebrated and intensely idealized form of sexual passion — the kind of falling in love with which every society in every age is familiar – in a highly elaborate, sophisticated, and aristocratic code of behavior. This code of love was known by the key concepts “chivalry” and “courtliness” (cortesia). Courtliness was the ethical and social ideal of chivalry,  a code of good manners and a guide for a gentleman. In romance literature, cultivation of the refined and ennobling emotions of fin’amor civilized the warrior knight into the courtier and gentlemen.


This sophisticated cult of love, with its emphasis on emotion and suffering, transformed the values of the existing aristocratic literature and medieval society in general. Its ideal of happiness (gai saber, “joyous science”) transformed common love into a more refined form of love dominated by the imagination. The concept of fin’amor has permanently influenced our culture and society and the way we think about romantic love.

"The Lovers"

"The Lovers"

"Young Love In Spring"

"Courting Couples" (Vinea)




"The Troubadour" (Vinea)

"The Trubadour" (von Zichy)

"Lovers" (Guillaume de Machaut)

Troubadour music-texts 




"The Gentle Music of a Bygone Day" (Spenser Hall)

The Jongleurs were often collaborators or assistants of medieval troubadours or minstrels, who performed the songs of the latter.  Jongleurs gained a reputation of itinerant entertainers. Their repertoire included extravagant skills in dancing, conjuring, acrobatics, and juggling. The Jongleurs also played a part in singing, and storytelling.