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Medieval Arts and

Literature
Music
• Gregorian Chant
(Plainchant)
– Established by Pope Gregory I
– Method of enhancing worship
– Monophonic (single,
unaccompanied melody line)
– Sung in unison
– One note for each syllable
– Highly conjunct (transitions)
– Subjects:
• Psalms or other scriptures
• Accompany the mass
The Mass – Presentation Order
Proper (changed daily) Ordinary (fixed)
• Introit
• Kyrie
• Gloria
• Collect
• Epistle
• Gradual
• Alleluia (or Tract)
• Evangelium
• Credo
• Offertory
• Secret
• Preface
• Sanctus
• Canon
• Agnus Dei
• Communion
• Post-Communion
• Ite missa est
Beyond Plainchant
• Melisma (about 800 AD)
– Featured voices
– More than one note per syllable
– Monophonic
• Organum (about 1000 AD)
– Polyphonic (multiple melody lines)
– Cantus Firmus
– Same text (chants)
– Flourished at Notre Dame
– Perotin
• Motet (about 1200 AD)
– Non-religious
– Addition of words to music
– 2 or more melodies with their own
texts (derivatives of chants)
• Ars Nova (about 1300 AD)
– Complexity in rhythm with each part
having a melody and rhythm
– Guillame de Machaut
Music Notation
• Guido d'Arezzo
– 10th Century
– Squares on a 4-line
staff
– Treble and bass clef
– Music terminology
• Crescendo, forte,
etc.
– Notes a to g
– Solimation (do, re,
mi, etc)
• Ut, re, mi, fa, so,
la
• Taken from a
hymn to John the
Baptist
Troubadour Poetry
• Trobar: “to sing poetry”
• Influenced by Arabs of Spain
• Began in 12th-13th Century
• Audiences were nobles
• Subject was usually love
• Accompanied by lyre or lute
• Established a non-religious
music tradition
Art in the Late Middle Ages
• Representational
• Depicted from God’s point
of view
– 2-dimensional
– Depicted God’s power and
authority
– God can see all therefore
in art everything was
obvious and open
Art in the Late Middle Ages
• Very little non-religious art
• Crucifixion and Madonna paintings
• Icons
– Doorway to approach God
– Special reverence themselves
Art in the Late Middle Ages
•Mosaics of Ravenna
•Frescos
•Decorated Manuscripts
Art in the Late
Middle Ages
• Giotto (1267-1337)
– Beginning of Realism
– Emotions represented
– Scene presented as it
actually might have
occurred
– Still much symbolism
and very little
perspective
– Lamentation
Art in the Late Middle Ages
• Use of realism
– Beginnings of portraits and landscapes
– Problems for church leaders
– Pagan themes
• Nudity
Medieval Literature
• Arthurian legend
– Lived in England in 5th C
– Writings:
• Geoffrey of Monmouth (1135)
• Crétien de Troyes (1135-1183)
• Mallory (1469)
• Other knight epics
– German knights (Die
Nibelungenlied)
• Siegfried
• Brunhilde
– Lohengrin, Tristan and Isolde
Courtly Love
• Books were entertaining
• Instructions for proper
behavior
• Pure love of a knight for
a lady
• Note the relationship to
Platonic love
Rules:
•Marriage is no excuse for not loving
•Made public, love rarely endures
•Jealously increases the feeling of love
Dante Alighieri
• Life in Florence
– Politics
• Dante’s family was exiled
• Returned when their party
returned to power
• Guelphs and Ghibilenes
• Blacks and Whites
– Well educated
– Intrigued by astronomy,
mathematics, numerology
– Deeply spiritual
Dante Alighieri
• Relationship with Beatrice
– Fell in love at age 9
– Married other people by arrangement
– Beatrice died in her early 20’s
– Book of poems was dedicated to Beatrice
• Dante’s family
– Married his promised wife
– 4 children
– Wife did not accompany when exiled
– Close to his daughter Antonia
Dante Alighieri
• Dante’s life in exile Ravenna tomb
– Tried to find ways
to regain position in
Florence
– Traveled through
Italy
– Court intellectual
– Taught and wrote
– Died in Ravenna
– Florence’s reaction
Florence "tomb"
Divine Comedy
• Dante’s travel through the afterlife
• Comedy means it starts sad and
ends happy
• Divine means perfection
• Epic poem
• Solidified the Italian language
• Combined several writing styles
and topics
• Assumed Catholic church was the
only truth
• Divided into:
– Prologue
– Inferno
– Purgatory
– Paradise
Divine Comedy
• Dante lost in the forest
– Spiritual crisis
– Mid-life
• Hell (inferno)
– Worst of the world
– Guided by Virgil
– Upper hell (Vestibule and 5
circles)
• Sins of incontinence
• Several sub-levels
– Lower hell (4 circles)
• Sins of intent and violence
• Several sub-levels
– Exit by going down to the
center of the earth
Inferno
Upper Hell (Incontinence)
• Region Sinners Punishments
• Vestibule Neutrals Run after banners
• Circle I Limbo Virtuous pagans – melancholy
• Circle II Lustful Blown forever by storm winds
• Circle III Gluttons Discomfort, all senses punished
• Circle IV Hoarders and wasters Push great rocks against others
• Circle V Wrathful/sullen Immersed in slime
Lower Hell, Malice (Violence and Fraud)
• Circle VI Heretics In burning tombs
• Circle VII Violent Lake of boiling blood, turned into
trees (suicides)
• Circle VIII Fraud (10 levels) Tormented by demons, in
excrement, etc.
• Circle IX Treason Buried in lake of ice
The Circle of Lust
• Love, which permits no loved
one not to love, took me so
strongly with delight in him
that we are one in Hell, as
we were above.
• Love led us to one death. In
the depths of Hell Caina
waits for him who took our
lives. This was the piteous
tale they stopped to tell…
• That book, and he who wrote
it, was a pander. That day
we read no further.
Divine Comedy
• Purgatory
– Repentance process has
begun
– Transitory place
– Guided by Virgil/Cato
– Mountain opposite
Jerusalem – closer to
heaven
– Participation in cleansing
– 10 levels—antechamber,
terraces
• 7 deadly sins
• "p" for peccato
Divine Comedy

• Purgatory
– Pilgrim moves up the mountain
– Practices virtues to overcome
sins
– At each level a “p” disappears
– Learns how to live a virtue
– The climb gets easier
– River of forgetfulness
– Beatrice becomes his guide
Garden
– Cannot understand all things
Divine Comedy
• Paradise
– Best of all worlds
– 10 spheres
• 7 correspond to heavenly
orbits
– Beatrice represents Christ
– Final guide is Bernard of
Clairvaux (Crusader for
truth)
– Love of humanity moves
the sun, moon, etc
– Rise to meet God in the
empyrean (by Gustave
Doré)
Structure of Divine Comedy
Hell Purgatory Paradise
The Anteroom of the Ante-Purgatory:
Neutrals excommunicated, 1: Moon (Inconstant
lazy Faithful)
Circle 1: virtuous 2: Mercury (Service
pagans Terraces marred by ambition)
Circle 2: lascivious 1: proud 3: Venus (Love marred by
(lustful) 2: envious lust)
Circle 3: gluttonous 3: wrathful 4: Sun (Theologians)
Circle 4: greedy and 4: slothful 5: Mars (Just Warriors)
wasteful 5: avaricious 6: Jupiter (Great Rulers)
Circle 5: wrathful 6: gluttonous 7: Saturn
Circle 6: heretics 7: lascivious (Contemplatives)
Circle 7: violent against 8: Fixed stars (Church
others, self, God Triumphant)
Circle 8: fraudulent (ten 9: Primum Mobile (Angels)
classes) 10: Empyrean Heavens
Circle 9: treacherous (Holy Trinity)
(Satan at center)
Numerical Intricacies
• Rhyming pattern (ABA/BCB/CDC)
• Cantos (groups of verses)
• Vertical and horizontal reading
• Rationale for numerology
– Memory
– Made more meaningful
– Intricacies of God
• Other Medieval authors using
numerology
Numerical Intricacies
1= unity 10= perfection
2= duality of nature 12= tribes, trinity x the
3= trinity world
4= material universe 13= evil
5=wounds of Christ, 30= Christ started
books of Moses, wise preaching
virgins 33= Christ’s completion
6= completion age
7= rest, deadly sins, 35= apex of life
sacraments 40= days between
8= resurrection, baptisms resurrection and
9= angelic order, trinity x ascension, days in
itself wilderness, elder of
Israel
100= super perfection
Numerical Intricacies
• Organization of Divine Comedy
Overall:
Year 1300 when Dante was 35 (apex of life)
Sectional:
Hell= 9 circles + vestibule = 10 (perfection)
Purgatory= ante purgatory + 7 terraces + shore of
purgatory + after purgatory= 10
Paradise = 10 heavens

Cantos:
1 Intro + 33 hell + 33 purgatory + 33 paradise=100 total
(super perfection)
Tercets—3 lines per unit of verse x 10 verses = 33 syllables
Divine Comedy –
Between sections
Inferno
• 1 = water (evil)
• 6 = politics of Florence
• 33 = stars
Purgatory
• 1 = water (good)
• 6 = politics of Italy
• 33 = stars
Paradise
• 1 = water (heavenly)
• 6 = politics in Europe
• 33 = stars
Numerical Intricacies
• Micro organizations
– Beatrice introduced in Canto 30 (10 x 3=10) having 145
verses (72+1+72=145) in verse 73 (7 + 3=10)
– In Canto 64 (6 + 4 = 10) she states her purpose
63 before + 1 + 36 after
6 + 3 + 1 = 10 1 + 3 + 6 = 10
“I am that I am Beatrice”

– Vergil born in 70 BC
• Announces birth in the 70th verse
– Central canto of entire work emphasizes AMOR (anagram of
ROMA)
Discussion of Divine Comedy

• Dante’s journey is like other epics


• Current and universal application
– Political
– We are all like Dante
• Truth is absolute
• Knowledge get us only so far
• Making choices determines our life
eternally (consequences)
Discussion of Divine Comedy

• People are what they do


– Personal responsibility for action
• Models
– Vergil, Beatrice, Bernard of Clairvaux
• Discovered exile was a blessing
• Purpose of the book
– Crusader for truth
– Others could learn from his experiences
Francesco Petrarch
1304-1374
• Secular writer
• Founder of the renaissance
• Multi-talented—
“Renaissance man”
– Self-taught
– Successor to Dante
– Wrote love poems to Laura
– Became widely known and
respected in his own time
Francesco Petrarch
• Collaborated with Boccaccio (Fiammetta)
• Promoted the classics
– Return to the glory of the past
• Coined the terms “Dark Ages” and
“Gothic”
• Strong Christian beliefs (but also accepted
pagan writers)
• Humanism
– Looked to the Classical past because of the
emphasis on humans and their interactions
– Inspired people to be better
– Supported a liberal (liberating) education
Humanism and thinking
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the
same God who has endowed us with
sense, reason, and intellect has intended
us to forgo their use.”

-Galileo Galilei

(Said many years later but typical of the ideas of


the Humanists)
Solidifying Middle English
• Chaucer was the key person
The Development of the
English Language
• Old English (Old Anglo-Saxon)
– Germanic language (Dutch similarities)
– Kenning and word endings (not word order)
• Zustershelpvereniging (relief society)
• Avondsmaalsvergadering (sacrament meeting)
– Alliteration for rhyming
• When to the sessions of sweet silent thought, I
summon up remembrance of things past
(Shakespeare)
• The fickle finger of fate (Laugh-In)
– Short words with strong consonants
• Latin-based words tend to be polysyllabic and use soft
vowels
– Nordic influence from about 800AD
• Enriched vocabulary
The Development of the
English Language
• Middle English (strong French
influence)
– French-speaking royalty from 1066
– French language integrated gradually
into English but often referred to royal-
related terms
– Eventually (about 1300) several rule
changes became accepted which
created Middle English
Middle English
• Why Middle English occurred when it did
(1300)
– England was more interactive with Europe
(hundred years war, trade, etc)
– Peasant revolt awakened the royalty to the
need to interact more with the peasants and
so a common language was needed
– English became the language of the court and
the peasants adopted the words for prestige
and economic reasons
“...The English language has three characteristics
that can be counted as assets in its world state.
First of all, unlike all other European languages,
the gender of every noun in modern English is
determined by meaning, and does not require a
masculine, feminine or neuter article...The
second practical quality of English is that it has a
grammar of great simplicity and flexibility.
Nouns and adjectives have highly simplified
word-endings. Nouns can become verbs and
verbs nouns in a way that is impossible in other
languages... Above all, the great quality of
English is its teeming vocabulary, 80 percent of
which is foreign-born.”

McCrum, et al, The History of English


Middle English
Added words from other languages
(especially from French)
(Words entered because of class superiority)
English (German Origin) English (French Origin)
• House (Haus) • Mansion (Maison)
• Cow (Kuh) • Beef (Boeuf)
• Calf (Kalb) • Veal (Veau)
• Swine (Schwein) • Pork (Porc)
• Stool (Stuhl) • Chair (Chaise)
• End (Enden) • Cease (Cesser)
Tri-lingual English
• Just as the second estate (nobility) added
to English, so too did the third estate
(clergy)
• The nobility added French words
• The clergy added Latin words
• Example: In the marriage ceremony, the
husband and wife were asked to
– Love (Anglo-Saxon)
– Honor (Latin)
– Cherish (French)
• All three words meant the same thing
Middle English
Sound of language changed in part because of
the addition of Parisian French Words in English
(Richness of Dialect)
Norman used hard “c” Parisian used “ch”
• Castle • Chateau
• Cattle • Chattel
• Cap • Chapeau
Norman used “w” Parisian used “gu”
• Warden • Guardian
• Wiley • Guile
• War • Guerre
Middle English

• The interactions of the languages


stimulated changes in grammar
• These changes were toward
simplicity rather than preservation of
purity
Middle English
and Old English
Similarities Differences
• Eliminated linguistic
gender
• Alliteration rhyming
• Eliminated declining
nouns and adjectives
• Short words with • Added words from
strong consonants other languages
rather than making up
words (i.e. kenning)
• Sound of the language
changed
• A language of word
order
Middle English

English Eliminated Linguistic Gender

German Example French Example

• Der Wagen (the car) • La maison (house)


• Das Auto (the auto) • Le château (castle)
Middle English
English Declining of Nouns and
Adjectives

Examples from German (like Old English)


Nominative Case Dative Case
• The father (der Vater) • He gives the father
is old. (dem Vater) a book.
• The child (das Kind) is • Give the child (dem
small. Kinde) a book.
Words for special domains
• Religious (French/Latin-derived)
– Sacrament, prophet, saint, miracle,
paradise
• Courtly (French-derived)
– Prince, game, poor, rich, master, court,
prison, prove
• Lifestyle (French-derived)
– Castle versus timberhall (note kenning)
– Chivalry (from French for horse)
Common words versus
richness of language
• Anglo-Saxon words are the most
common
But
• French-derived words add richness

• In some important domains of


interest such as law and politics, the
French words are critical
“Computer analysis of the language has shown
that the 100 most common words in English are
all of Anglo-Saxon origin. These roots are
important. Anyone who speaks or writes English
in the late twentieth century is using accents,
words, and grammar which, with several
dramatic modifications, go all the way back to
the Old English of the Anglo-Saxons. There is an
unbroken continuity from here to there. When,
in 1940, Winston Churchill wished to appeal to
the hearts and minds of the English-speaking
people it is probably no accident that he did so
with the plain bareness for which Old English is
noted: ‘We shall fight on the beaches; we shall
fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the
fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the
hills; we shall never surrender.’ In this
celebrated passage, only surrender is foreign –
Norman-French.”
McCrum, et al, The Story of English
English is easy??
• The bandage was wound around the wound.
• The farm was used to produce produce.
• The dump was so full that it had to refuse
more refuse.
• We must polish the Polish furniture.
• The soldier decided to desert his dessert in
the desert.
• Since there is no time like the present, he
thought it was time to present the present.
• The buck does funny things when the does are
present.
English is a crazy language
• There is no egg in an eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
• Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which
aren't sweet, are meat.
• Quicksand works slowly.
• Boxing rings are square.
• You park in the driveway but you drive on the parkway.
• You ship by truck and send cargo by ship.
• Your house can burn up as it burns down.
• You fill in a form by filling it out.
• An alarm goes off by going on.
• When the stars are out they are visible but when a light
is out it is invisible.
• To shut down your computer you have to hit Start.
Language psychology
• French, German and Spanish view
their language as pure and not to be
adulterated
– When new words are needed, they are
invented from previous French, German
or Spanish words
• This practice is like kenning in Old English
• English views its language as
something to be used and whatever
communicates best, regardless of
origin, is the preferred word
Geoffrey Chaucer
• Life
– Son of London merchant
– Good education
– Involved in court life
– Capture and ransomed during 100 years war
– Traveled widely
– Expert in physics, medicine, astronomy, Latin
– Wrote poetry
– Used classical allusions (only known to the
upper class and royalty)
Geoffrey Chaucer
Canterbury Tales
• Written in Middle English
– Innovative but risky because he
wrote for a French-speaking class
• Legitimized Middle English
– Similar to how the Bible and
Shakespeare legitimized Modern
English
• Used many dialects
• Rhymed and metered
(pentameter)
• Wide vocabulary
• clever phrases
• Basis for other writers
Geoffrey Chaucer
Canterbury Tales
• The General Prologue
– Reading in Middle
English gives a feeling
for the language
– Literary beauty (form)
• Wide angle view of
nature
• Moves to specifics of
plants
• Then moves to specifics
of people
Here bygynneth the Book of the Tales of Caunterbury

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote


The droghte of March hath perced to the roote
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;

Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth


Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,

That slepen al the nyght with open eye –


(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages);
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes
Top ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;

And specially from every shires ende


Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for the seke
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seeke.
Here begins the Book of the Tales of Canterbury

When April with his showers sweet with fruit


The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;

When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,


Quickened again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun
Into the Ram one half his course has run,
And many little birds make melody

That sleep through all the night with open eye


(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage) –
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.

And specially from every shire's end


Of England they to Canterbury wend,
The holy blessed martyr there to seek
Who helped them when they lay so ill and weak.
Geoffrey Chaucer
Canterbury Tales
• Why Chaucer used
French terms
– Meter
– Rhyme
– Meaning
– Dialect
– Gave flowery and elevated
feeling
– Part of the language by
then
Geoffrey Chaucer
Canterbury Tales
• The story
– 30 pilgrims on their way to
Canterbury
– Tell tales to pass the time (contest)
– Insights into Medieval life
– Tales related to the person telling
the tale
• Knight—chivalrous romance
• Miller—wife cheating on her husband
• Wife of bath—husbands trying to
squelch wives
• Prioress—wants to impress people
• Reeve—administrative agent,
“simpleton”
• Canon Yeoman–deception
Thank You