Cercamon (Occitan pronunciation: [serkɔˈmun], fl. c. 1135-1145), whose real name, as well as any actual biographical data, is unknown, was one of the earliest troubadours. He was apparently a jester of sorts, born in Gascony, who spent most of his career in the courts of William X of Aquitaine and perhaps of Eble III of Ventadorn. He was the inventor of the planh (the Provençal dirge), of the tenso (a sort of rhymed debate in which two poets write one stanza each) and perhaps of the sirventes.
Most of the information we have about Cercamon's life is nothing but rumour and conjecture; some of his contemporaries credit him as Marcabru's mentor, and some circumstantial evidence points to him having died on crusade as a follower of Louis VII of France.
About 7 of his lyrics survive, but not a single melody; unfortunately, the work of his that most contributed to his fame among his contemporaries, his pastoretas or pastourelles, are lost.
Cercamon simply means "world searcher" in medieval Occitan.
- Alfred Jeanroy (1966). Les Poésies de Cercamon. Paris: Libraire Honoré Champion.
- Wolf, George and Rosenstein, Roy (1983). The Poetry of Cercamon and Jaufre Rudel. London: Garland Publishing, Inc.
- Biographies des troubadours ed. J. Boutière, A.-H. Schutz (Paris: Nizet, 1964) pp. 9–13.
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