Knights and ladies in medieval Europe lived by codes of chivalry and virtue. In their world, “romance” evoked much more than a feeling of affection or sexual love. Often these works by poets such as Petrarch and Dante emphasized the lives of the brave fighting knights, the popular heroes of the day. In this great “romance” literature, love is idealized and spiritualised. Its power inspires shining knights and melancholy young suitors alike to feats of fidelity and, usually, chastity. While not perhaps in keeping with Valentine's more amorous traditions, in medieval chivalry, the greatest love was one yearned for, yet unrequited.
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