Meet author Nicole Zoltack and chat about Medieval Love today at the Book Boost!
Here's what she had to say...
When we think of marriage, we first think of love. Two sides of the same coin.
But this was not the same way of thinking back in the Middle Ages.
Women had no choice in who they married. Oftentimes, they married a total stranger, a man they had never met before they walked down the aisle.
The idea of arranged marriages is foreign to some of us today, even though it is still common practice in some parts of the world today.
I already mentioned that women had no choice; however (typical male-dominated society), there were some cases in which the man could decide his bride.
Sometimes, love found the couple after they were married as backward as that sounds to us. Many times, even if they did not grow to love each other, lasting friendships bloomed.
Marriage was done at a young age – the girls as young as 12, the boys 17 – and for financial, practical, or dynastic reasons.
The feudal relationship between a knight and his liege lord was the model for courtly love as well as the code of chivalry. The knight swears the same obedience and loyalty to his courtly lady that he would his liege lord. This ideal is taken from bards’ songs and hardly ever practiced. After all, most knights would not be submissive to their lady! However, his love for her was a source for inspiration, for courage, and power, to do great deeds, in order to win her favor, to be good enough for her.
Oftentimes, the knight fell in love with a married lady. Remember, most marriages were not born out of love. Courtly love was a means for the knights to show their affection despite the marital state of the lady. The most famous instance of this occurrence is Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere.
Now for some of the more defined rules of courtly love.
The Twelve Chief Rules in Love & the Art of Courtly Love
From The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus, a 12th century Frenchman:
1. Thou shalt avoid avarice like the deadly pestilence and shalt embrace its opposite.
2. Thou shalt keep thyself chaste for the sake of her whom thou lovest.
3. Thou shalt not knowingly strive to break up a correct love affair that someone else is engaged in.
4. Thou shalt not chose for thy love anyone whom a natural sense of shame forbids thee to marry.
5. Be mindful completely to avoid falsehood.
6. Thou shalt not have many who know of thy love affair.
7. Being obedient in all things to the commands of ladies, thou shalt ever strive to ally thyself to the service of Love.
8. In giving and receiving love's solaces let modesty be ever present.
9. Thou shalt speak no evil.
10. Thou shalt not be a revealer of love affairs.
11. Thou shalt be in all things polite and courteous.
12. In practising the solaces of love thou shalt not exceed the desires of thy lover.
The Art of Courtly Love
1. Marriage is no real excuse for not loving.
2. He who is not jealous cannot love.
3. No one can be bound by a double love.
4. It is well known that love is always increasing or decreasing.
5. That which a lover takes against the will of his beloved has no relish.
6. Boys do not love until they reach the age of maturity.
7. When one lover dies, a widowhood of two years is required of the survivor.
8. No one should be deprived of love without the very best of reasons.
9. No one can love unless he is propelled by the persuasion of love.
10. Love is always a stranger in the home of avarice.
11. It is not proper to love any woman whom one would be ashamed to seek to marry.
12. A true lover does not desire to embrace in love anyone except his beloved.
13. When made public love rarely endures.
14. The easy attainment of love makes it of little value: difficulty of attainment makes it prized.
15. Every lover regularly turns pale in the presence of his beloved.
16. When a lover suddenly catches sight of his beloved his heart palpitates.
17. A new love puts an old one to flight.
18. Good character alone makes any man worthy of love.
19. If love diminishes, it quickly fails and rarely revives.
20. A man in love is always apprehensive.
21. Real jealousy always increases the feeling of love.
22. Jealousy increases when one suspects his beloved.
23. He whom the thought of love vexes eats and sleeps very little.
24. Every act of a lover ends in the thought of his beloved.
25. A true lover considers nothing good except what he thinks will please his beloved.
26. Love can deny nothing to love.
27. A lover can never have enough of the solaces of his beloved.
28. A slight presumption causes a lover to suspect his beloved.
29. A man who is vexed by too much passion usually does not love.
30. A true lover is constantly and without intermission possessed by the thought of his beloved.
31. Nothing forbids one woman being loved by two men or one man by two women.
A Note from the Book Boost: Wow! Some of these are very interesting. I like this one: "Boys do not love until they reach the age of maturity." Ha! And then there's this one: "When made public love rarely endures." There may be some truth to this concept even all these many years down the road after all. Thanks for sharing Nicole. Please tell us more about your book.
Aislinn of Bairbhe dreams of becoming a lady knight to honor the death of her fallen brother. To her mother's horror, King Patrick grants Aislinn's wish and she begins her long years of training.
Despite the mockery of the other pages, and the disdain of Prince Caelan who also trains to be a knight, Aislinn commits herself to her dreams and embarks on a journey of self-discovery and bravery. Through the years, Aislinn and Caelan grow from sparring classmates to good friends. They both know that someday Caelan will marry for the sake of the kingdom, but even that cannot keep them from falling in love.
The threat of war with the Speicans is a constant threat, and one that grows more frightening as she and Caelan train toward their eventual knighthood. Aislinn has committed herself to serving Arnhem, and has promised herself as King's Champion when Caelan claims the throne. She is willing to give up everything... her childhood, her life, even her heart for Arnhem. No matter the pain it brings.
"Is there anyone else that you have feelings for, Aislinn? Is that why you don't want to be with Geoffrey?"
Aislinn blinked, thinking about his question. "I haven't thought about such things. I'm too focused on becoming a knight. That's all I'm worried about."
Caelan pushed back his chair and stood. With him on his feet, Aislinn had to tip back her chin to look him in the face, he had grown so much in the years since they'd first met. "There is no one else?"
She shook her head.
Caelan took a step closer to her, stepping so close he only had to whisper for her to hear him. "What if I told you that Geoffrey isn't the only one who favors your company?"
His closeness overwhelmed Aislinn and she tried to take a step back. Her shoulders bumped the bookshelf behind her and several books shifted, but none made enough noise to draw the attention of anyone else in the library. Caelan lay a hand against her cheek, his thumb beneath her chin, and with a gentle touched, forced her to look at him.
Her heart pounded hard in her chest like a caged bird and Aislinn caught her breath.
"Caelan," she whispered softly, but before she could say more, his lips covered hers.
Aislinn froze for a second as he held his mouth against hers, then heard herself sigh when he pressed closer and moved his lips. Aislinn's eyes fluttered closed and she raised her hands to lay them on his chest, feeling his heart pound as hard as her own. Then reality snapped at her and she shoved him away.
She pushed past the prince and rushed from the library, with several squires and younger pages turning at her escape. Aislinn ran to her room and slammed the door shut. She leaned against it and slid to the floor, her head in her hands.
How dare he kiss me!
But the worst realization was that she'd kissed him back. Even the memory now made her insides tremble and her hands shake.
Aislinn stared into the empty space of her chamber for several minutes, trying to push aside the memory that refused to leave before she finally stood. Completing her work would occupy her mind. She collapsed onto her bed and promptly fell asleep instead.
Want More Nicole?