What characteristics of the courtier are still present in today's society from The Book of the Courtier?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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According to Castiglione, the courtier is essentially a master at pleasing, entertaining, understanding, advising, and speaking. He (for women were not given the same worth at court) is charismatic, appealing to the eye, and versed in both arts and athletics. Yet, he always remembers his position at court, and never tries to overshadow the higher-ranking aristocrat that he is expected to serve in a variety of ways: as a political advisor, as a social networker, as a counselor, as an entertainer to a point, and sometimes even as a friend. 

To find those qualities in today's society you would probably have to observe any work environment where there is a hierarchy in place. From observing that, you would know whether the "courtiers" of today abide by the same guidelines of loyalty, or if they actually possess a true ability to serve in a multidisciplinary manner. 

The closest approximation to a modern-day courtier would be the advisor of someone who truly holds power in an organization. It could be a business consultant, a vice-president, or just a commonplace sycophant who knows how to play the system and tap into the emotional needs of a weak leader. 

Yet, some people who hold steady to a code of honor and who believe in loyalty and usefulness would show the basic qualities of the courtier in their everyday lives:

  • resourcefulness
  • ethical behavior
  • charisma
  • a sense of humor (a lighter side)
  • a positive attitude
  • an ability to guide and lead
  • excellent conversation skills
  • empathy
  • respect for self and others
  • goal-oriented
  • ability to multi-task
  • multitalented
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