(2944 words)
  • Judith M. Davis (Goshen College )

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Although the word “troubadour” has become nearly synonymous with “singer”, scholarly opinion varies regarding the etymology of the word itself. Romanists hold that the noun derives from trobar, the Occitan verb for “to compose, invent, devise” or from the Vulgar Latin tropare “to say with tropes” or tropatorem, “composer of tropes” (Topsfield). Arabists, on the other hand, cite the verb caraba, “to sing” as the more probable source (Menocal). The question of etymologyas well as the importance of influences from Latin and Arabic, Celtic and liturgical songremain open to discussion.

The troubadours were composers of songs or poems who flourished from about 1100 to …

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M. Davis, Judith. "Troubadours". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 August 2005
[, accessed 28 September 2016.]