One of a class of lyric poets and poet-musicians, often of knightly rank, that flourished from the 11th through the 13th century, chiefly in Provence and other regions of southern France, northern Spain, and northern Italy. They wrote in the langue d'oc of southern France (see Languedoc) and cultivated a lyric poetry intricate in metre and rhyme and usually of a romantic amatory strain reflecting the ideals of courtly love. Favoured at courts, troubadours had great freedom of speech and were charged with creating around the court ladies an aura of pleasant cultivation. Their poetry, often set to music, was to influence all later European lyrical poetry. See also trouvère.
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