As courtly refers to the way of life , that of the court of a monarchy equal. In particular, this is the name for the knightly social culture from the high Middle Ages (following the northern French model, it penetrated Germany towards the end of the 12th century ). The term was first mentioned in the imperial chronicle from around 1150 . Later the word “courtly” (originally as a minor dialect form) developed further into the word “pretty”, with a shift in meaning (from “courtly, usable for courts and knights, fine, of fine quality, faultless” to “beautiful, flawless, clean 'pretty') went along. The word “Höfisch”, Middle High German “Hövesch”, is probably not a loan translation of the French word “courtois”, but it goes back to its semantics .
The opposite of "courtly" is the Middle High German term "D address", which means something like "rural", "uncouth", "plump".
What is courtly?
The courtly ideal in medieval literature can be described by several factors. A man is considered courtly if he has a noble parentage, a noble disposition, good manners, physical beauty, knightly virtues and a pious character. If one of these attributes is not fulfilled, the person is not courtly. In Hartmann von Aue's work Poor Heinrich , the protagonist Heinrich loses his courtesy when he loses his physical beauty.
The ideal virtues of the courtly canon of values can be found in medieval literature in terms like manheit, mâze, zuht, müete, êre or milte .
- Norbert Elias : About the process of civilization , 2 vols. (About the development of politeness, manners and much more)
- Thomas Bein: German Medieval Studies , 2nd, edited and expanded edition, Erich Schmidt Verlag GmbH & Co., Berlin 2005, ISBN 978-3-503-07960-5
- Hermann Paul: Middle High German Grammar. 21st edition, provided by Hugo Moser and Ingeborg Schröbler. Tübingen 1975 (= collection of short grammars of Germanic dialects, A. Volume 2), § 55, note 4.
- German Dictionary IV / II, pp. 1851 f.