31 Rules of Love

Valentines day medievalItalians do not celebrate Valentine’s Day as a one day merchandising campaign because love is in the air all year long in Italy and has been for centuries. While we were busy developing the austere virtues of the Reformation, the Italians were relaxing in the inspiring glow of the Renaissance. And although we might want to identify the Italian style of love differently, Italians more often equate love with the concept of enchantment, charm or delight, innamorato.

Italians have been studying the concept of love for a longer time and in much more detail than we have. During the 12th century Andreas Capellanus wrote The Art of Courtly Love as a manual on how to conduct oneself in matters of the heart. Scholars have tried to analyze it as a treatise of Medieval thought, a handbook for the would be Lancelot or a political parody of love in the courts of the nobility.

His book is filled with dialogues, definitions and advice including 31 rules such as

1.Marriage is no excuse for not loving.
2. He who is not jealous cannot love.
3. No one can be bound by two loves.
4. Love is always growing or diminishing

He poses and answers questions such as What is the Effect of Love ? and  the answer he advises is a generosity of spirit that we can benefit from even today  –  Oh, what a marvelous thing is love, which makes a man shine with so many virtues and which teaches everyone to abound in good customs.

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