An Ode to Love - Medieval Europe

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Love. This subject has never lost its popularity throughout history and even up till today. But have you ever wondered how men and women went 'steady' during the Dark Ages, the time of Knights and other honorable things? For this last post, we'll look through how courtly love shaped relationships during medieval times, and listen to one of my favorite songs (of all time!!) that I personally think gives a modern interpretation of the old-fashioned way of love :) -

There are 9 stages in the art of courtly love.

  1. Attraction to the lady, usually via eyes/glance.

  2. Worship of the lady from afar.

  3. Declaration of passionate devotion.

  4. Virtuous rejection by the lady.

  5. Renewed wooing with oaths of virtue and eternal fealty.

  6. Moans of approaching death from unsatisfied desire (and other physical manifestations of lovesickness).

  7. Heroic deeds of valor which win the lady's heart.

  8. Consummation of the secret love. (*smirk emoji*)

  9. Endless adventures and subterfuges avoiding detection.

Even though #8 says that it's a "consummation", courtly love wasn't really about sex. It was more like a playground romance, full of giggles and adoration. Sex was considered to be something of a duty in a marriage.

Speaking of marriage, courtly love did not necessarily lead to marriage, nor did a marriage mean that you were in love with your spouse. Back then, marriages were arranged, and the prosperity of the marriage was based on the material wealth that both involved parties could get from matrimony.

But wait! Does this mean that infidelity was commonplace during these times? Well, yes. Since marriage was more for political gain, that didn't mean there was love present in this union. Why else would there be a stage #9 that required them to be discreet about their affairs? Ah... everything should click by now.

All in all, courtly love (as it was practiced) was a very passionate way of falling in love. The men faced an enigmatic balance between the pleasure of love and being in pain (which they felt because no matter how strong their feelings were for the woman, they could never have her). So now I'll bring you to one of my favorite songs of all time, Edge of Desire by John Mayer!!!

If you closely at the lyrics (it's at the bottom!), you'll notice that there are certain elements that I can personally relate to carry these same emotions that the people who practiced courtly love felt- the strong desire to want to be with someone, the intense emotions felt in the heat of passion... You get it. Alright, it's time to press play. Enjoy!

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[embed]https://soundcloud.com/johnmayer/edge-of-desire[/embed]

Lyrics

Young and full of running tell me where is that taking me? just a great figure eight or a tiny infinity?

love is really nothing but a dream that keeps waking me for all of my trying we still end up dying how can it be?

don't say a word just come over and lie here with me 'cause I'm just about to set fire to everything I see

I want you so bad I'll go back on the things I believe there I just said it I'm scared you'll forget about me

so young and full of running all the way to the edge of desire steady my breathing silently screaming I have to have you now

wired and I'm tired think I'll sleep in my clothes on the floor Or maybe this mattress will spin on its axis and find me on yours

don't say a word just come over and lie here with me cause I'm just about to set fire to everything I see

I want you so bad I'll go back on the things I believe there I just said it I'm scared you'll forget about me

don't say a word just come over and lie here with me cause I'm just about to set fire to everything I see

I want you so bad I'll go back on the things I believe there I just said it I'm scared you'll forget about me