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Andreas Capellanus and the Rules of Love

Andreas Capellanus (&quote;Andre the Chaplain&quote;) is a 12th century author, presumed to have been a cleric of the Countess Marie of Champagne, daughter of King Louis VII of France and the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the patroness of Chretien de Troyes. He is known solely through his treatiseDe amore(&quote;On Love&quote;), or in English asThe Art of Courtly Love.

De Amorewas supposedly written at Marie's request sometime between 1184 - 1186, and was a subject of poetic debate among late 12th and early 13th century troubadours. Long considered a serious description of the &quote;rules&quote; of courtly love, many scholars now see it as a satiremocking the conventions of courtly love and court literature, and the name &quote;Andreas Capellanus&quote; may itself be anome de plumefor a clerical or university-based author. The idea of Capellanus' treatise as an ironic satire would be particularly fitting, since the troubadours drew a great deal of inspiration from Ovid, and his three satirical works on love,Ars amatoria(Art of Love),Remedia amoris(The Cure for Love), andAmores(Amours). Yet whether viewed as an instructional treatise, satire of the same or merely a piece of High Medieval court literature, it provides a window into the romantic beliefs, if not the actual practices, that were the foundation of the romantic tradition in Western literature.



[The Art of Courtly Love], Book Two: On the Rules of Love

i. Marriage is no real excuse for not loving.
ii. He who is not jealous cannot love.
iii. No one can be bound by a double love.
iv. It is well known that love is always increasing or decreasing.
v. That which a lover takes against his will of his beloved has no relish.
vi. Boys do not love until they arrive at the age of maturity.
vii. When one lover dies, a widowhood of two years is required of the survivor.
viii. No one should be deprived of love without the very best of reasons.
ix. No one can love unless he is impelled by the persuasion of love.
x. Love is always a stranger in the home of avarice.
xi. It is not proper to love any woman whom one should be ashamed to seek to marry.
xii. A true lover does not desire to embrace in love anyone except his beloved.
xiii. When made public love rarely endures.
xiv. The easy attainment of love makes it of little value; difficulty of attainment makes it prized.
xv. Every lover regularly turns pale in the presence of his beloved.
xvi. When a lover suddenly catches sight of his beloved his heart palpitates.
xvii. A new love puts to flight an old one.
xviii. Good character alone makes any man worthy of love.
xix. If love diminishes, it quickly fails and rarely revives.
xx. A man in love is always apprehensive.
xxi. Real jealousy always increases the feeling of love.
xxii. Jealousy, and therefore love, are increased when one suspects his beloved.
xxiii. He whom the thought of love vexes, eats and sleeps very little.
xxiv. Every act of a lover ends with in the thought of his beloved.
xxv. A true lover considers nothing good except what he thinks will please his beloved.
xxvi. Love can deny nothing to love.
xxvii. A lover can never have enough of the solaces of his beloved.
xxviii. A slight presumption causes a lover to suspect his beloved.
xxix. A man who is vexed by too much passion usually does not love.
xxx. A true lover is constantly and without intermission possessed by the thought of his beloved.
xxxi. Nothing forbids one woman being loved by two men or one man by two women.



  • Andreas Capellanus: The Art of Courtly Love, trans. John Jay Parry. New York: Columbia University Press, 1941. (Reprinted: New York: Norton, 1969.)
  • Duby, Georges. The Knight, the Lady, and the Priest: the Making of Modern Marriage in Medieval France. Translated by Barbara Bray. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983. (ISBN 0-226-16768-2)
  • The Medieval Sourcebook
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