Troubadours and Pop Culture: Medieval and Modern Gynocentric Indoctrination of Men through Art, Music, and Literature or How Eleanor of Aquitaine and Her Courts of Love Shaped Modern Masculinity and Hijacked the Gender Narrative!
An ecerpt from "On the Origins of European Gynocentrism and its Symbolism"
Troubadours did not invent vernacular poetry. People have always sung in whatever language they spoke. What has new about the troubadours’ work was that they wrote and performed songs in the vernacular language for both kings, queens, other super-élites as well as the masses of ordinary people. Why was this new, all of a sudden, at the end of the 11th century? Before that time, sophisticated poetry written by educated people was written in a classical language such as Latin, Greek, Hebrew, or Arabic (depending on what part of Europe you were in). Songs sung in the languages that people actually spoke in daily life were everywhere (as they are now), but it was not the type of thing that was acceptable to perform at court, and even if it were no kings were paying poets to write down and perform original songs in French or Portuguese or Italian. Not until the troubadours. In the same name as under the Bogomil – Cathar heresy women as standing opposed to the masses of poor men were granted privilege of access to vernacular language of religious scripture and bible so entertainment – art, music and poetry – granted access to vernacular language aiming at socially and culturally subjugating men to women through political indoctrination and social engineering – much in the same way it is done today!
Anyway, a ot has been written and extensively researched on Eleanor’s years of reign over Aquitaine and Poitou and subsequently her "Court of Love". Anyway, the conception of “courtly love” was first developed in 1170 and step by step evolved into a full-fledged chivalric code by 1220. At the beginning, courtly love was different from place to place, but in all its expressions, knights were expected to worship a noblewoman and consequently all men including the knights to subjugate themselves in the service of women. Historians as Amy Kelly have correctly pointed out that during this period of time in Eleanor’s life she ruled her lands from a court where women acted as lords or the elite/upper class as a gender, judging the behavior of and creating etiquette book for the young men and women of the court. This assumption is not based on a perceived superficiality of southern France, as some feminism influenced researches may want to claim, but as we will see in the all pervasiveness of Eleanor's gender politics including the code of Pointevin, the establishment not only of her court of love but the courtly academy at Poitiers "to subdue civility" to men, the establishment of gender roles through the code of chivalry as well as the courtly love society achieved and finished by her daughter as well as and above all the high jacking the gender narrative in the hands of women,
Eleanor’s grandfather, William the IX, played of course a huge role in influencing and growing her fine taste for poetry, music and arts as we'll be discussing this immediately in details as he himself was both duke and the first troubadour. Since the court of Eleanor’s grandfather, a major influence in her childhood, was a sanctuary for artists and troubadours, she did become the patronage and the queen of the troubadour and the first to institutionalize the of arts. Moreover, Eleanor followed in the footsteps of her Grandfathers Mosarabic tradition in establishing her own court. As a child, Eleanor would have learned how to rule Aquitaine in the same manner her brother would have had he lived to inherit the duchy. Although Eleanor finally had control of her own lands, she was not simply a duchess who had taken her father’s place. Aquitaine and Poitou belonged to Eleanor by right and based on her family's heritage she she shaped the also in her own view and understanding. It was Andreas Capellanus whose patronage was Eleanor's daughter Marie who wrote of the court meetings in De Arte Honeste Amandi (The Art of Courtly Love). His work gave us the insight into the workings of the court of love established by Eleanor in Poitiers where she and the other ladies judged the behavior of courtiers, Knights and all men in general, issued decisions, and created a code of conduct for the members of the court. This work although being a true image of Eleanor’s court as explained by Amy Kelly in her treatise on the code of Pointevin bears also a criticism at the prevailing misandrist atmosphere and the gynocentrism as advanced by the queen.
Anyway, Eleanor ruled the Court of Love not alone but together with her daughters and other noble women but without any single man. Eleanor herself was a favorite among the troubadours. Bernart de Ventadorn was a troubadour who was rumored to have fallen in love with Eleanor and composed a love poem likely about Eleanor. Geoffroi de Vigeois provides an account of what Eleanor’s court must have looked like. According to his chronicle, even the poorest among Eleanor’s court would not be seen wearing sheep or fox skin but rather wore clothes of rich cloth and slash or cut holes in their clothing to show the lining. The young men, he stated, wore long hair and pointed shoes while the women wore long tails that dragged behind them so that “you might think them adders.”
However, Eleanor’s court in Poitiers have been far from the romanticized version of love that the average person could have imagined it to be and it had a little bit to do with true love. Eleanor’s father trained her how to rule at a young age and she would have ruled her lands in the manner her father trained her. For a woman like Eleanor, brought up to rule and married to two kings who contributes more and more experience to her, aside to the common politics, chivalry and the courts of love were simply aiming at the subjugation of men and creating a preeminent class of female rulers over men where each and every woman will dominate her husband also in the everyday life of a relationship. Poetry, art, chivalry and everything in-between were only a mean to an end to achieve those gynocentric goals of her. Placing women in charge would achieve exactly this goals and send this message to men, especially the poor ones. The creation of the courtly academy was also aimed at the social engineering of men. During her time in Poitou, Eleanor performed all matters of state. She issued charters, letters, and writs, signed with her own seal. She also used her seal to confirm grants given by others under her rule, a definitive sign of her authority in Aquitaine and Poitou. She also used her time in Poitou to ensure the succession of Richard as Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitou. In naming him her heir instead of the Young King, Eleanor ensured the continuation of Aquitaine and Poitou as a separate political unit from Henry II’s lands in France and England.
Therefore, there is no reason to assume that Eleanor’s “Court of Love” were handled differently. Eleanor’s actual court in Poitou likely closely resembled the court of her father and grandfather. Not much is left describing their courts, though, as the chroniclers likely did not find the everyday dealings of the Poitevin courts exciting or worthy of writing down the most important evidence has survived namely the code of Pointevin. It this code that enable us to understand both the anatomy as well as the actual working of the courts including his legal frame and general mindset and that we will be discussing immediately. Additionally, walking in the footsteps of her father and grandfather as well as that of Henry II whose courts were an itinerant one which also although not remaining in the same place were the heart of their ducal power where the great lords of Aquitaine would gather and offer counsel to the duke, Eleanor had to travel around their territories to both nurture friendships with their vassals and preside over judiciary courts. The courts of her father and grandfather were quite sophisticated for the time, filled with art, literature, and music as well as influence by Muslim and Arab Spain. It is clear that growing up under the rules of William IX and William X would have greatly shaped Eleanor’s perceptions of how a court should be conducted. She might have incorporated influences from both Louis VII and Henry II in her ruling style, it is also clear that she incorporated the lessons she learned about ruling as a young child, following her father throughout Poitou and Aquitaine and that they would most likely have been the greatest influences in Eleanor’s governance stile of Aquitaine and Poitou but most important is her own contribution in terms of establishing the mixture of gynocentric culture and misandry that almost after a millennium gave rise to feminism.
However, at the very beginning and back in the 11th and 12th centuries when troubadour poetry first flourished, poetry still played a very different role from nowadays. These days we tend to think of poetry as some kind of rarefied activity that takes place in dusty libraries or snooty salon parties, or at its most accessible in live performances of slam poets at bars and coffee houses. In medieval Europe, court poets were more like high-profile media figures whose verses communicated political propaganda, shaped the habits of speech and thought of the upper classes, and were rewarded with salaries and bonuses comparable to those of a modern day business executive. They were like studio executives, Mad Men, and rock stars rolled into one. While today we might trot out a poet laureate once or twice a year to recite a few lines at a presidential inauguration or other ceremonial event, medieval troubadours were in the news constantly. They were celebrities. It is the very dynamic as is expressed today in Hollywood, in Entertainment, in the Pop culture and the music branch as well as of course the mainstream media.
Historically, the first courts to support troubadours who wrote and sang in the vernacular on a completely institutionalized level, their gynocentrism, misandry and even the most primordial and primitive feminism, were in the south of France, in places like Aquitaine and the Midi. It was Eleanor of Aquitaine and her daughters who institutionalized gynocentrism by means of subjecting art, music, poetry and entertainment to political indoctrination of men and their social engineering, if necessary including through state violence. The ‘courts of love’, established by the queen, were the troubadour’s real audience, apart from his lady herself and where such indoctrination took place. Their most obvious expression was the tenso, a two-part song. In this, one troubadour would sing a stanza about a problem that his love had encountered, whereupon another troubadour would sing a second stanza giving his opinion, after which the performance would be repeated. Usually, neither could decide and they would then agree to submit to the judgment of some great lady. Following the Spanish tradition as we have described above, the courtiers of queen Eleanor’s unreal world at Poitiers dressed fantastically, as was fitting. ‘They have had clothes of rich and rare materials, in colors chosen to match their moods’, the chronicler Geoffrey of Vigé tells us, ‘they flaunt slashed cloaks and flowing sleeves like hermits. Young men grow their hair long and wear shoes with pointed toes’.
Moreover, like modern pop stars, the troubadours cultivated dynamic stage persona, penned autobiographies or had them ghosted by others (razós), and tended to embellish their personal lives in their songs. And much like our hip-hop artists, they matched wits in poetic battles (tensós) that often turned ugly and left participants with hurt feelings. It is not a coincidence that the first such poet was himself a nobleman of very high rank, William IX of Aquitaine, the grandfather of Eleanor. Eleanor court that embraced the Spanish Mosarabic tradition over her grandfather's heritage and intimate acquaintance with Muslim Arab culture of Iberian-Peninsula in this time was actually full of such poets, including such troubadours as Gaucelm Faidit, Rigaut de Barbezieux, Bertran de Born and her old admirer Bernart de Ventadour, and men from the north such as Chrétien de Troyes. It has been suggested that Marie of France also came over from England to Poitiers. There were tournaments, plays and feasting, and those romantic song contests over which Eleanor herself presided, which were later described as courts of love.
The principal entertainment at the court of Poitiers was of course the "gai saber" (joyous art) of the troubadours. It is important to understand what this meant in terms of human relationships. The troubadour’s exaggerated devotion of the knight to a high-born lady beyond his reach and in general for any woman for the wide masses for that instance. His service of love to a specific lady meant the servitude to women for all men including himself which had a clear analogy to the vassal’s loyalty to his overlord. There were four stages in the troubadour’s ritual courtship: first, that of the fegnedor (aspirant); second, that of the precador (suppliant); third, that of the entendedor(acknowledged suitor); and fourth, that of the drut (recognized lover). When he achieved the last stage, the troubadour sealed his fidelity by an oath and the lady her acceptance by a kiss. He then wrote songs about his beloved, whose identity was kept secret by a pseudonym, singing that she was so perfect that her beauty lit up the night, healed the sick, made the sad happy, and turned louts into courtiers. He complained how separation from her meant death and how his love for her had totally transformed him, and he threatened that if she would not love him in return he could not eat or sleep, but would soon die from misery.
Sometimes the queen’s place at these contests was taken by her eldest child, Marie of Champagne, who shared her mother’s tastes to a marked degree. Marie was an enthusiastic follower of the Arthurian cult and a considerable literary patroness in her own right; the troubadour Rigaut calls her ‘the gay and joyous countess’ and ‘the light of Champagne’. She encouraged Chrétien de Troyes to write his Lancelot, in which the great knight overcomes every danger to win queen Guinevere’s heart and submits to every humiliation with which she tests him. Finally, we can say with great certainty, that Eleanor of Aquitaine must have left her daughters not only a good impression in general but specific heritage allowing her daughters follow her in her footsteps: Marie also requested Andreas Capellanus to write a book called "The Art of Courtly Love", a social system developed at Eleanor's court in Poitiers. This led the ground not only specifically to the next gynocentric Millennium ending up with feminism but specifically the code of chivalry and the gender roles to follow which mirror not the patriarchal but the misandrist gynocentric environment as developed from the code of Pointevin – the legal and conceptual ground for Eleanor's courts of love!
Here we should mention that it is William IX of Aquitaine, Grandfather of Eleanor and the “first troubadour,” who is credited with writing the first verses of courtly poetry in the Romance vernaculars. This claim, made effortlessly by literary historians since the nineteenth century, is certainly disputable, given the pre-history of Romance kharjas and zajals in al-Andalus in the century prior to William IX’s innovation. Without going into a round of “who got there first” brinksmanship, the question arises (and has generated volume after volume of scholarly speculation and no little controversy) as to whether and to what extent the two phenomena might be related. The so-called thèse arabe posits that Andalusi poetic practice crossed the Pyrenees with William VIII of Acquitaine in the form of a troop of Andalusi qiyan —technically singer-slaves but in practice closer to indentured professors of music. The father of the first troubadour had crossed the pyrenees in the assistance of Sancho Ramírez of Aragon in the Siege of Barbastro (Huesca), then held by al-Muzaffar of Zaragoza. As part of the spoils of this successful campaign he brought back with him to Acquitaine a troop of Andalusi qiyan, who then introduced Aquitainian musicians, singers, and audiences to courtly strophic song in the form of muwashshahat and zajals (Nykl 1946, 371–411; Boase 1977, 62–75; Menocal 1987, 28–33; Robinson 2001, 295–299). As the story goes, young William IX, having been reared on such musical and poetic fare, simply followed the lessons of his father’s qiyan in composing the first verses of troubadour verse, thus converting himself into the Muqaddam of Cabra or Dunash ibn Labrat of the north. The poetic movement begun (according to tradition) by William IX soon spread southward into the Peninsula, where poets working in Provençal, Catalan, or Galician- Portuguese performed at the courts of Christian Iberian Monarchs. Even by the thirteenth century, Alfonso X “The Learned” was patron to many poets who performed troubadouresque poetry in Provençal and Galician-Portuguese. These Romance languages, as we have noted, still held pride of place in poetic practice, while Castilian was as yet not used for profane courtly poetry (though by the time of Alfonso X it was already a well-established language of prosaic learning and religious narrative poetry).
It is here that all of this culminated during the reign(s) of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor of Aquitaine (1137-1152) which is considered one of the most powerful and influential figures of the Middle Ages has inherited a vast estate at the age of 15 turning her into the most sought-after bride of her generation. She would eventually become the queen of France, the queen of England and the crusade to the Holy Land. As we have seen, together with her daughters she is also credited with establishing and preserving many of the courtly rituals of chivalry. “Courtly rituals of chivalry” refers to an actual court system, presided over by Eleanor of Aquitaine herself, her daughter Marie and sixty other women (but not a single man). They were known as “les cours d’amour” - “The Courts of Love.” This amounted to little more than state sponsored feminism writes John Davis. In this “court” system, Eleanor, a woman, and sixty other women were the sole arbiters of customs between men and women engaged in intimacy. If a woman felt aggrieved by her lover, she would bring her complaint to the court and either Eleanor, or Marie, or other high-born women would “resolve” the dispute, he describes in his book on the origins of modern feminism (in the KKK). The queen’s resolutions were enforceable by means of the queen’s command over state violence. They were also enforceable through severe social sanctions such as shunning. In addition, literary poets and troubadours of the time, spread gynocentric viewpoints of the powerful Queen Eleanor all across Europe and as we have seen at the vey court itself. The literary poets and troubadours were the “mainstream media” of the time as we have pointed out above. The gynocentric judgments of les cours d’amour (the courts of love), coupled with Eleanor’s political power as Queen of both France and England, insured that the gynocentric attitudes of the Poitevin Code [the courts of love were located in Poitiers in the South of France] became the law and the prevailing gender attitudes across most of Europe. What were the codes of the courts of love?
John Davis continues and writes, "the most accurate statement comes from a scholar writing in 1937 in a well-respected journal article. Writing in Speculum: A Journal of Mediaeval Studies (January, 1937), Amy Kelly writes: “In the Poitevin code, man is the property, the very thing of woman.” Chivalry, therefore, had little or nothing to do with equality between men and women. Chivalry became modern feminism, in which men are merely “disposable property and things,” for women who want to “have it all.” This “Court of Love,” and the Poitevin code, evolved over the ensuing 800 years into what we now know as the “system of family courts.” Although there are many male judges presiding over our system of “family courts,” those males have been subjected to 800 years of gynocentric conditioning and modern feminism. As a result, current “family courts” isolate most Fathers from their children, strip the Fathers of their assets and income (through alimony, property distributions and child support) and routinely seize children to be placed into the “foster home” or adoption system of the State pending the award of sole custody to the mother. Nothing could be more pleasing to modern feminism than this wholesale destruction of the nuclear family by the state. To quote one modern feminist, Linda Gordon: “The nuclear family must be destroyed, and people must find better ways of living together.... Whatever its ultimate meaning, the break-up of families now is an objectively revolutionary process Families will be finally destroyed only when a revolutionary social and economic organization permits people’s needs for love and security to be met in ways that do not impose divisions of labor, or any external roles, at all.”8 However noble chivalry may have been considered in medieval times, what is clear is that modern feminism has used the obligations men feel to be “chivalrous” in a way that imposes only burdens and responsibilities on men, and bestows lofty rights and privileges on women. The concept of chivalry has now evolved (or corrupted) to impose unwarranted and unnecessary privileges upon women, solely at the expense of men.
Additionally, Amy Kelly’s still popular 1956 book, "Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings", also provides a unbelievable portrayal of Eleanor's of Aquitaine endeavors in founding an academy at Poitiers to ‘subdue to civility’ to the boisterous young Poitevin knights of her court which gives us more and more in-depth insight both into Eleanor's misandrist perception of men as well as the all-pervasive nature of her indoctrination of men which included not only the subjugation of art, music and poetry in the service of social and political engineering of men but also their educational conditioning. In many ways and on many levels it reminds us of the modern feminist indoctrination of men through severe emasculation both in schools as in university campuses as depicted for example Christina Hoff Sommers's book "The war Against Boys" or mandatory courses on consent which depict all men as rapists or courses which portray masculinity as disease and offer an alleged "solution" to "heal" from it. Those are also the fields like school education and/or social worker who aim at emasculating and subjugating men.
Although conceptually originating among other sources from Mosarabic Spain in the Iberian-Peninsula, the troubadour style later spread from the south of France north into Germany (minnesingers) over Italy, a dynamic I have discussed in another chapter, and backwards into southern direction into the Catalonia and Castile regions of what is now modern Spain (trovadores). As Eleanor was also the Queen of England those same principles traveled to the British islands and influenced English Literature too. Some 150 years after the whole troubadour style got started, a number of troubadours from France, Spain, and Portugal found their way to the court of Alfonso X, The Learned’ of Castile. Alfonso was a prodigious patron of the arts and sciences who himself was an accomplished poet who composed some 200 songs in praise of the Virgin Mary in Galician-Portuguese dialect. At the time of Alfonso’s reign, Castilian (aka Spanish) was used for a lot of things. There were law books, scientific manuals, philosophy books, and works on astronomy, for example. However, when it came to lyric poetry such as love poetry, the languages of choice were Galician-Portuguese and Provencal. Because of this, all the poets at Alfonso’s court, and even Alfonso himself, wrote and performed their work in these languages instead of in Castilian, which was the language of nearly everything else that went on at court.
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Biographies and Memoirs, The Courts at Poitiers
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A Hebrew Troubadour in Spain
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María Rosa Menocal’s Ornament of the World, courtly poetry, and modern Nationalism
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Ziyad ibn ‘Amir al-Kinani: Popular Andalusi literature and the Arthurian tradition
Women of the Clan: Foundation of Modern Feminism
Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings
Ralph. V. Turner
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HUMBLE QUEEN OF ENGLAND: AN ANALYSIS OF ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE’S ROLE IN THE GOVERNANCE OF THE ANGEVIN EMPIRE