Through its emphasis on courtly love, Medieval Europe was able to achieve a more romantic ideal of love. In European society, civil courtship was stressed as well as the high value placed on women. This can be seen through the works of Ulrich von Liechtenstein in his autobiography, In the Service of Ladies, where he writes “that the greatest honor and happiness for a knight lay in the service of a beautiful and noble woman (Reilly, 317).” In addition, for many male suitors “the quest is what kept [them] going. [Their] real reward was in the suffering and yearning (Reilly, 318).” These mindsets influenced the notions of Andres Capellanus, in his book, A Treatise on Love and Its Remedy, that “love [was seen] as a sickness (Reilly, 320).” Capellanus also asserts that “…there is no torment greater [than love] since the lover is always in fear that his love may not gain its desire and that he is wasting his efforts (Reilly, 331).” With this outlook, many males focused the majority of their time and effort in the servitude of thei...
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...ves. Courtly love was also only practiced in the upper class which meant that it was unconsummated. In India, love was associated with sex and religion. It was believed that the only way to attain the penultimate spiritual relationship with the god Krishna was to participate in poly-amorous relationships and orgies. Through this practice, class distinctions were nearly nonexistent. In contrast with India and Europe, Japan “invented stylized sex rather than romantic love (Reilly, 324).” There was a clear separation of social classes as well as numerous relationships being polygamous. All in all, the differing interpretations of love throughout Europe, India, and Japan directly influenced marriage and gender relations throughout the postclassical era.
Reilly, Kevin. Worlds of History: a Comparative Reader. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2010. Print.
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