By Aldo Scaglione
Leading medievalist and Renaissance student Aldo Scaglione bargains a sweeping sociological view of 3 geographic parts that unearths a stunning continuity of courtly types and motifs: German romances; the lyrical and narrative literature of northern and southern France; Italy's chivalric poetry. Scaglione discusses a vast variety of texts, from early Norman and Flemish baronial chronicles to the romances of Chrétien de Troyes, the troubadours and Minnesingers. He delves into the Niebelungenlied, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, and an array of treatises on behavior right down to Castiglione and his successors.
All those works and Scaglione's more suitable scholarship attest to the long-lasting energy over minds and hearts of a mentality that issued from a small minority of people—the courtiers and knights—in critical positions of management and gear. Knights at Court is for all students and scholars attracted to "the civilizing process."
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Additional info for Knights at Court: Courtliness, Chivalry, and Courtesy from Ottonian Germany to the Italian Renaissance
Largueza, Fr. largesse ) and frankness (Fr. franchise, “frank bearing”). The key Old French words preud, proece > preudhomme, prouesse (Prov. pros, proeza; It. ” The main theme of the present study is that there was a logical as well as factual connection among curiality/courtliness, courtesy (including courtly love), and speculation on civilized manners—all the qualities, that is, of the knightly character and chivalric gentleman, later to be generalized into the civilized gentleman. It has been observed that the most famous treatise on courtly love, Andreas Capellanus's De amore (ca.
In the Renaissance, this elegantia morum became the distinguishing trait of a new, nonfeudal court nobility. The perception of the courtier's role is a chapter in the history of the ancient, medieval, and Renaissance debate on the relative merits of vita activa and vita contemplativa. A relevant text is a small treatise from the 1220s in the genre of education of princes, to wit Johannes of Limoges's Morale somnium Pharaonis. When Joseph fears that entering the king's service will cause envy and lead to worldly distractions, Pharaoh admonishes him: “Is it not worse for you to fear the loss of life than to fear the extinction of justice and fairness in the kingdom?
Odo of Cluny's Vita Geraldi (Life of St. ) similarly attributes to his subject affability, facetia, and good temper in adversity. What did such praiseworthy qualities mean in Ottonian Germany that they could not also mean in the Frankish-descended entourages of Flanders, Anjou, and Aquitaine? How exactly did personal virtues become social prerequisites?  Before one can argue for imperial origins, one has to take a close look at such French texts as Odo of St. Maur, Galbert of Bruges, and Flemish genealogies.