The troubadours / Los trobadors
Don’t hang on to the image of the troubadour wearing crakows, singing underneath the window of his chosen one. This image is far too simplistic to describe the movement which was responsible for the birth of modern European poetry by opening up new ways of relationships between men and women.
The troubadours (in Occitan: trobador) were medieval composers, poets and musicians, actors in an authentic cultural revolution: the writing took place in the spoken language and no longer in Latin, the praises of women (la dòna) and love (amor) were sung. They were invited at the courts of lords and Kings all over Europe, and their songs were interpreted by minstrels, also called ‘jongleurs’ (joglars).
They developed subjects which were at the basis of medieval Occitan civilization and, to this day, remain topical:
cortesia : the rules of social life and of the relationships between men and women
larguesa : a sense of generosity, of being open-minded
lo melhorament : lifting oneself up through love (amor)
mercé : compassion
pretz : personal merit, value recognized by others
convivéncia : being able to live together with others, despite differences ; tolerance
paratge : one’s merits judged by his acts and not his birth certificate