HIST 204 Lecture Outline (Spring 2017 – Week 11)

Week 11: Tuesday


Beginning of Cantar de mio Cid (Old Castilian, 12th cent.), introduced and sung by Emiliano Valdeolivas (2007, 2:35 min.):
(also, La canción del destierro, 4:40 min.):

Beatritz, countess of Diá, female troubadour who wrote in Occitane (the language of S. France) c. 1175:
“A chantar m’er de so q”ieu no voldria” (8:24 min.):
“Estat ai en greu cossirier” (6:11 min.):

Bernart de Ventadorn (1125-1195), “Can l’herba fresch” (9:41 min.):

Literary genres that flourished between 1000 and 1300 included:

Epic poetry: vernacular chansons de gestes (“songs of great deeds”) such as The Song of Roland (French) and The Song of My Cid (Spanish) celebrated great heroes, military brotherhood, and feudal loyalty
Lyric poetry: male and female troubadours celebrated courtly love and sang of the longings and tribulations of lovers
Romance: prose tales of courtly heroism mixed with fantasy, such as the stories of King Arthur and his Round Table, and celebrating the knight’s love for his lady over his loyalty to his lord
Allegory: didactic prose or verse tales, in which abstract concepts are represented by personifications such as Charity, Jealousy, or Love. Example: The Romance of the Rose, by William de Lorris (d. c. 1145), continued by Jean de Meun (d. 1305).
Fabliaux: urban-centered short, crude, satyrical poems that mocked conventional authority and morality.
Fables: brief allegories of medieval society that mock authority and chivalric ideals, using animals as the characters (e.g., Renard the Fox, Noble the Lion, etc.).
“Mystery” (guild) plays: plays based on religious themes, produced beginning in the 13th cent. by urban trade and craft guilds (“mysteries,” from Latin ministeria).

Architectural styles, 1000-1300:

Romanesque (c. 1000-1150): heavy, solid buildings emphasizing grandeur, unity, and stability, and featuring small windows, barrel vaults, and round arches, supported externally by wall buttresses

Gothic (beginning c. 1150): airy, soaring buildings emphasizing height and light, and featuring huge windows, cross-ribbed vaults and pointed arches, braced externally by flying buttresses

See also examples of stained glass windows:



Thibaut, count of Champagne, “Dame, ensinc est qu’il m’en covient aler” (5:02 min.):

Guillaume IX, duke of Aquitaine, “Ferai un vers pos mi sonelh” (6:26 min.):

The 12th century saw a rise of vernacular literature, both courtly and popular. French vernacular poets of the 12th century include:

  • Thibaut IV, count of Champagne: love poetry and songs
  • Marie de France and Chrétien de Troyes: Arthurian romances
  • Rutebeuf: poems and songs of daily life

Professional scribes copied texts onto parchment leaves, which were bound into books. Students and scholars often rented or borrowed books to copy themselves. Students took lecture notes and scholars drafted texts on wax tablets — all in Latin — and made a clean copy later on parchment.

Click here to see:

Religious plays in Latin and vernacular languages were performed in open spaces and in large churches to celebrate certain holy days, such as Christmas, Easter, and the new feast of Corpus Christi (click here to see a 15th-century painting by Jean Fouquet of the play of the martyrdom of St. Apollonia including a detail of the stands and of hell-mouth).

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