Our speaker was a contemporary troubadour, who not only discussed Occitania’s origins; the influences that shaped it, and the reason for its importance today, but also took us back in time by performing some of its songs!
Occitania (today southern France) had a radically different culture from the rest of twelfth-century Europe and in some ways was more advanced than many contemporary societies. Powerful lords built impregnable castles, yet townspeople governed themselves, and those of lowly birth rose up to fame and fortune. At its foundation was the concept of paratge — a code of ethics that was practiced as well as preached — combined with the troubadour’s theory of Fin’Amor. So brilliant and sophisticated was this society that the Renaissance might well have begun here had it not been for a dreadful event.