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Maria de Ventadour (b. 1165)

Maria de Ventadour (b. 1165)

Literary patron and poet of France . Name variations: Marie de Ventadorn. Born 1165 in Turenne; died after 1221 in Ventadour; daughter of Raimon II of Turenneand Helis de Castelnau; married Ebles V, viscount of Ventadour, around 1183 (separated 1221); children: two sons.

A patron of the Provençal troubadours, Maria de Ventadour also composed poetry herself. She was the daughter of Raimon II of Turenne and Helis de Castelnau . She was about 18 years old when she married Viscount Ebles V of Ventadour, himself the descendent of a literary family. Maria supported several important male troubadours at her court, among them Gui d'Ussel.

During this time, Maria turned her own hand to composing the highly stylized love poems favored by the troubadours. Only one of her works has been preserved; it is a verse dialogue (tenson) between herself and Gui d'Ussel, in which they discuss whether a suitor should have as much authority over his lady as she has over him; Maria maintains that it is the lady who should be served by her lover as a superior, not as an equal. In 1221, Maria's husband took vows to become a Cistercian monk, leaving his wife and their two sons. No records of her life after this time exist.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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