This digital map is presented in support of the central objective of the project ‘Troubadours and European Identity: The Role of Catalan Courts’, namely the analysis of the circulation of troubadour poetry via courts and manuscripts, with particular focus on the role of the Crown of Aragon. As well as a tool for providing information about troubadour culture —the raison d’être of the Trob-Eu website—, it is also hoped that this digital map will be used as a research tool.

The idea of creating a map of the troubadour world has notable precedents, such as the one Martí de Riquer included in his anthology Los trovadores (1975). The overall aim is to establish the geographical coordinates of troubadour poetry, both with regard to the authors’ origins (which often feature in the vidas) and the location of the events or place names mentioned in various compositions. Moreover, maps included in publications on troubadours show the importance of the interpretative framework in which each one was conceived and of the more or less conscious decisions regarding the content and geographical scope of the maps. So, for example, some are limited to the territories within the linguistic domains of Occitan, which does not reflect the reality of the cultural continuum through which troubadour poetry spread and which spanned both the Pyrenees and the Alps. Many ambiguities also arise when the territories are depicted without taking into account the numerous geopolitical changes that took place between the late 11th century and the beginning of the 14th. Finally, several maps lack a single criterion that determines which locations are included.

This project has benefited from the contributions of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and, in particular, the emergence of software that allows for a more complex approach to cartography than the one afforded by the traditional paper format. This has led to greater precision in the placement of locations, the capacity to combine various layers of information and to update data, and even to offer presentations with a certain degree of user-interaction. Nevertheless, unavoidable challenges still remain, such as the problem of combining the variables of time and space on a single plane, as can be seen by the use —to date limited— of  GIS’s tools in the field of the so-called ‘digital humanities’ and in research in which the historical perspective is foregrounded.

In the light of these circumstances, a digital map has been drawn up the main aim of which is to present data on the troubadours on a historical map with a special emphasis on the domains of the kings of Aragon, their successive courts and those of their vassals. So, as well as territories in which troubadour poetry spread in four chronological stages (1150, 1200, 1250, and 1300), information is also included on troubadours who were born in the Crown of Aragon, and others with connections to Catalan-Aragonese courts, as well as those courts with which they maintained ties. It also features a layer with all the place names of this area cited in the corpus of medieval Occitan poetry.

further reading

  • Miriam Cabré, Sadurní Martí and Albert Reixach, «Un nouveau projet numérique sur la contribution des cours médiévales à l'héritage des troubadours: le cas catalano-aragonais», XII Congrès de l'AIEO (Albi 2017), in press.

  • Miriam Cabré and Albert Reixach, «Para un mapa de las cortes trovadorescas: el caso catalano-aragonés», Avatares y perspectivas del medievalismo ibérico, ed. Isabella Tomassetti et al., S. Millán de la Cogolla, Cilengua, II, 2019, 1587-1598.

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