The Valentine’s Issue!: Love in the Middle Ages, Teutonic Knights, Tudor medicine, and much, much more!
Unlike modern friendship, its medieval namesake was anything but a free and spontaneous practice, and neither were its primary modes and media of expression.
The relationship between friendship and politics in medieval Europe can appear to be fundamentally different from that experienced in modern societies. Friendship has, for some time, been recognised by medievalists as having an integral place in the formation of social bonds and political groupings and as contributing to the creation and maintenance of political order…
We are well informed on the life of Stephen of Tournai and some of his work (97). Born in 1128, he grew up in the chapter of Sainte-Croix in Orléans, where he was educated in the artes liberales.
What kind of friend are you? A 13th-century writer looks at types of friends, most of whom you want to stay away from!
Scholarship on Amis and Amiloun has generally been divided into two critical schools. The majority of critics have read the work as an exemplar of perfect friendship, overlooking (or ignoring) any trace of homoeroticism, citing the possibility itself as anachronistic, or explaining away its presence by offering historical or theoretical justification for intimacy among medieval men.
At the same time, friendship has been shown, by medievalists working on many different regions and societies, to have been a widespread social bond often, indeed predominantly, cultivated outside personal, emotional attachments, and often explicitly as a form of allegiance, carrying concomitant expectations and obligations of mutual support; as such, it was central to political organisation.
My reflections are part of a broad stream of inquiries into the world of medieval rituals which has proved to be very fertile during the last two decades, but which also has its limits. For more than twenty years now, medievalists have discovered and analysed the importance of personal relationships for the organization of societies before the existence of states in a modern sense of the word.