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troubadours(tro͞o`bədôrz), aristocratic poet-musicians of S France (Provence) who flourished from the end of the 11th cent. through the 13th cent. Many troubadours were noblemen and crusader knights; some were kings, e.g., Richard I, Cœur de Lion; Thibaut IV, king of Navarre; and Alfonso X, king of Castile and León. Of the more than 400 known troubadours living between 1090 and 1292 the most famous are Jaufré Rudel de Blaia, Bernart de Ventadorn, Peire VidalVidal, Peire
, fl. 1180–1206, Provençal troubadour, b. Toulouse. He spent much of his career in S France and traveled widely in Italy, Cyprus, Hungary, Spain, and Malta. Richard I (Richard Cœur de Lion) was one of his patrons.
..... Click the link for more information. , Raimbaut de Vaqueiras, Folquet de MarseilleFolquet de Marseille
, 1150–1231, Provençal troubadour. He took orders, rose to be archbishop of Toulouse, and became notorious as the chief prosecutor in Provence of the Albigensian Crusade. Dante awarded him a place in Paradise.
..... Click the link for more information. (archbishop of Toulouse), Bertrand de BornBertrand de Born
or Bertran de Born
, c.1140–c.1214. French troubadour of Limousin. Some of his 40 surviving poems (in Provençal) tell of his part in the struggles between Henry II of England and his sons.
..... Click the link for more information. , Arnaut Daniel, Gaucelm Faidit, Raimon de Miraval, Arnaut de Mareuil, and Guiraut Riquier. Of lower birth were the jongleursjongleurs
, itinerant entertainers of the Middle Ages in France and Norman England. Their repertoire included dancing, conjuring, acrobatics, the feats of the modern juggler, singing, and storytelling. Many were skilled in playing musical instruments.
..... Click the link for more information. who performed the troubadours' works and perhaps assisted in their composition. Troubadour lyrics were sung and accompanied by instruments that probably duplicated the melody (all the music preserved is monophonic). The poems were written in the southern dialect called langue d'oc. The most common forms were sirventes (political poems), plancs (dirges), albas (morning songs), pastorals, and Jeux-partis (disputes); the favorite subjects were courtly love, war, and nature. After the Albigensian Crusade (see AlbigensesAlbigenses
[Lat.,=people of Albi, one of their centers], religious sect of S France in the Middle Ages. Beliefs and Practices
Officially known as heretics, they were actually Cathari, Provençal adherents of a doctrine similar to the Manichaean dualistic
..... Click the link for more information. ), in which many troubadours were caught up because their noble patrons were either sympathetic to the heretics or heretics themselves, Provençal culture declined. The influence of the widely traveling troubadours spread to central and N France, where their counterparts were the trouvèrestrouvères
, medieval poet-musicians of central and N France, fl. during the later 12th and the 13th cent. The trouvères imitated the troubadours of the south.
..... Click the link for more information. . In Germany they were imitated by the minnesingersminnesinger
, a medieval German knight, poet, and singer of Minne, or courtly love. Originally imitators of Provençal troubadours, minnesingers developed their own style in the 13th and 14th cent.
..... Click the link for more information. . The tradition was also carried to Spain and Italy. In France annual festivals known as the Jeux FlorauxJeux Floraux, Académie des
[Fr.,=academy of floral games], one of the oldest known literary societies. It was founded (c.1323) at Toulouse, France, by seven troubadours to uphold the traditions of courtly lyricism. It promulgated (c.
..... Click the link for more information. were established in the 14th cent. to revive troubadour art.
See H. J. Chaytor, The Troubadours (1970); R. D. L. Jameson, Trails of the Troubadours (1970).