Land, Family, and Women in Medieval Rome: Reassessing a Mentor’s Classic Article
Berman, Constance H.
Medieval Feminist Forum, 41, no. 1 (2006)
In summer 1999 a seminar in Rome inspired me to return to an early and much-cited article by David Herlihy, “Land, Family, and Women in Continental Europe,” and look again at some of the cartularies that he had used in that 1962 article from Traditio. What I gradually discovered is how little his conclusions may have had to do with “Continental Europe,” and how much with Italy and Rome. I certainly do not question his method of tracing indices of women’s power and authority, counting as he did various appearances of women in thousands of charters, but I must reiterate, as he himself told us in that article, that about seventy percent of his documentation came from Italy. I realized in revisiting those charters, moreover, that half of that seventy-percent (or 35 percent overall) came from Rome itself.