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Guilhem IX (1071-1126). The earliest troubadour whose work has survived, as duke of Aquitaine Guilhem was one of the most powerful men in Europe as well as a gifted poet. Twice married, he had a long-term adulterous affair for which he was excommunicated (1114), invaded Toulouse twice (1097 and 1113), embarked on a disastrous expedition to Palestine (1101-2), and more successfully fought the Moors in Spain (1120). Chroniclers portray him as an impulsive yet shrewd statesman with a taste for high living and a marked irreverence for the Church.

His small corpus of extant poems seems to reflect this personality: there are obscene but witty boasting poems, a humourous, though similarly ribald, narrative poem, a congé, and love lyrics which appear to herald the conventions of fin'amor. His songs affirm his poetic and sexual superiority, metaphorically linking his prowess with power in a manner which was to become typical of the courtly lyric. Because of his apparent position as the first troubadour, Guilhem has fascinated modern critics, despite being somewhat marginal in the manuscript tradition. He seems, however, to have been an influential figure for subsequent early troubadours like Marcabru and Jaufre Rudel, perhaps because he made the Poitevin court such an important cultural centre. (

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current02:47, January 19, 2014Thumbnail for version as of 02:47, January 19, 201405:21480 × 269 (17 KB)Zpentecost (wall | contribs)created video


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