Last updated

The partimen (Occitan:  [paɾtiˈmen, paʀtiˈme] ; Catalan : partiment [pəɾtiˈmen] ; also known as partia or joc partit) is a cognate form of the French jeu-parti (plural jeux-partis). It is a genre of Occitan lyric poetry composed between two troubadours, a subgenre of the tenso or cobla exchange in which one poet presents a dilemma in the form of a question and the two debate the answer, each taking up a different side. Of the nearly 200 surviving Occitan debate songs, 120 are partimens and 75 are open tensos. [1] The partimen was especially popular in poetic contests. See also Torneyamen.

Related Research Articles

A genre of the troubadours, the planh or plaing is a funeral lament for "a great personage, a protector, a friend or relative, or a lady." Its main elements are expression of grief, praise of the deceased (eulogy) and prayer for his or her soul. It is descended from the medieval Latin planctus.

A tenso is a style of troubadour song. It takes the form of a debate in which each voice defends a position; common topics relate to love or ethics. Usually, the tenso is written by two different poets, but several examples exist in which one of the parties is imaginary, including God, the poet's horse or his cloak. Closely related, and sometimes overlapping, genres include:


The pastorela was an Occitan lyric genre used by the troubadours. It gave rise to the Old French pastourelle. The central topic was always the meeting of a knight with a shepherdess, which could lead to any of a number of possible conclusions. They were usually humorous pieces. The genre was allegedly invented by Cercamon, whose examples do not survive, and was most famously taken up by his (alleged) pupil Marcabru.

Alfred Jeanroy French linguist

Alfred Jeanroy was a French linguist.

A cobla esparsa in Old Occitan is the name used for a single-stanza poem in troubadour poetry. They constitute about 15% of the troubadour output, and they are the dominant form among late authors like Bertran Carbonel and Guillem de l'Olivier. The term cobla triada is used by modern scholars to indicate a cobla taken from a longer poem and let stand on its own, but its original medieval meaning was a cobla esparsa taken from a larger collection of such poems, since coblas esparsas were usually presented in large groupings.


Pistoleta was a Provençal troubadour. His name means "little letter (epistle)" in Occitan. He left behind eleven songs, comprising nine cansos and two tensos. Some of his pieces are assigned to an otherwise unknown Jordan de Born in the table of contents of chansonnier C, a fourteenth-century Occitan manuscript.

Bertran de Gourdon or Bertram de Gordon was the lord of Gourdon, a knight and troubadour.

Bertran Folcon d'Avignon or Bertran Folco d'Avinhon was a Provençal nobleman and troubadour from Avignon. He was a faithful partisan of Raymond VI and Raymond VII of Toulouse in Provence, and participated in the wars against the Albigensian Crusade. He was inside the city during the siege of Beaucaire in 1216. In 1226 Raymond VII appointed him bailiff of Avignon.

Isnart or Iznart d'Entrevenas or d'Antravenas was a Provençal troubadour, the son of Raimon d'Agout, a patron of troubadours, and husband of Beatrice, daughter of Jaufre Reforzat de Trets.

Pons de Monlaur or Montlaur was a Provençal baron and troubadour of the early thirteenth century. He was the lord of Montlaur-en-Diois and married Guida, sister of Hugh IV of Rodez, in 1235. Hugh was a patron of troubadours and Pons had a connexion through his wife also to Sordello, who addressed her in several poems under the senhals (epithets) N'Agradavit and Restaur. The French painter Adolphe Joseph Thomas Monticelli, during a stay in Montlaur, collected the local oral history and enjoyed retelling the legends of Pons de Montlaur.

Bernart de la Barta, also spelled Bernarnz Delabarta or Benart de la Barda, was a troubadour from La Barthe, the location of which is unknown. He wrote two tensos, a fragment (cobla) of a satire, and a sirventes, "Foilla ni flors, ni chatuz temps ni fredura", an attack on terms of the Treaty of Meaux (1229), by which Raymond VII of Toulouse surrendered to Louis IX of France, thus ending the Albigensian Crusade.

Bernart de Panassac was the minor lord of Arrouède and one of the last troubadours. He was a founding member of the Consistori del Gay Saber in Toulouse. He composed one vers in honour of the Virgin Mary and one canso. His work was analysed in the Gloza of Raimon de Cornet.

Arnaut Plagues or Plages was a troubadour probably from Provence.

Jaufre Reforzat de Trets, known as Jaufrezet, was the viscount of Marseille, lord of Trets and Forcalquier, and a man of letters. He was a member of the Baus family, the son of Raymond Geoffrey II of Marseille.

Arnaut Vidal de Castelnou d'Ari was a medieval Occitan author from Castelnaudary.

There were three troubadours named Isarn or Izarn, and who are difficult to distinguish completely today. The first has no surname and composed two partimens with Rofian around 1240. He has been confounded with the inquisitor Isarn.

Tribolet was an obscure troubadour, known only for one song, the obscene Us fotaires que no fo amoros. The song's rubric was read as t'bolet by Giulio Bertoni, who identified its composer as Tremoleta, but Alfred Jeanroy suggested the reading "Tribolet", which is widely accepted. He also suggested that the composition attributed to him is a parody of a piece now lost. The song is preserved in one chansonnier dating from the final third of the thirteenth century, the same period in which the song may have been written.

The jeu-parti is a genre of French lyric poetry composed between two trouvères. It is a cognate of the Occitan partimen. In the classic type, one poet poses a dilemma question in the opening stanza, his or her partner picks a side in the second stanza, which replicates the versification of the first and is sung to the same melody. Typically, the jeu-parti has six stanzas, with the two interlocutors alternating stanza by stanza. Many jeux-partis also have final partial stanzas in which one or both of the interlocutors appoint judges and call for judgement. The outcome, however, is virtually never given within the jeu-parti itself and would have been the subject of audience discussion after the jeu-parti's performance. The form was particularly associated with the Puy d'Arras. Over 200 examples survive, of which around 180 are in the classic form.

Chardon de Croisilles or de Reims was an Old French trouvère and possibly an Occitan troubadour. He was probably from Croisilles, but perhaps Reims. He is associated with the school of trouvères in and around Arras. Chardon wrote four chansons d'amour, two jeux partis, and one partimen.

In the Middle Ages, the rotrouenge or retroencha was a recognised type of lyric poetry, although no existing source defines the genre clearly. There are four conserved troubadour poems, all with refrains and three by Guiraut Riquier with music, that are labelled retronchas in the chansonniers. Six rotrouenges survive, but only one with music, and four of them are attributed to one trouvère, Gontier de Soignies.


  1. Matheis, Eric (2014). Capital, value and exchange in the Old Occitan and Old French Tenson (Including the Partimen and the Jeu-Parti). PhD Diss., Columbia University. p. 51.

Further reading