Medieval Queens and Queenship: the Present Status of Research in Income and Power

Medieval Queens and Queenship: the Present Status of Research in Income and Power

By Attila Bárány

Annual of Medieval Studies at the CEU, Vol.19 (2013)

This representation of Margaret of Anjou comes from Illuminations From the Books of the Skinners Company, AD 1422. It was entered in the roll of the fraternity of Our Lady in 1475.

Introduction: This paper presents some thoughts and conclusions on the state of a multidisciplinary field of Medieval Studies, queens and queenship, concentrating mainly on issues of income and power. I give an outline of knowledge on medieval queens’ wealth, income and finances, household structure and personnel, as well as their role in political patronage and the question of queens’ monetary situations. I put forward observations and draw conclusions about the emphases and foci of recent investigations into medieval queens and queenship. This paper also contemplates the most significant directions where current research in queenship studies is going or will hopefully go. I start from the problems Hungarian researchers have to face and most of my recommendations will be shown through Hungarian examples, initiated by the hardships of regional research. This article was originally prompted by the conference: “Medieval and Early Modern Queens and Queenship: Questions of Income and Patronage” held at the Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest in 2004.

Income is clearly linked to power, and to medieval queens’ wealth, income,and finances, household structure, and personnel as well as their role in patronage; queens’ monetary situations varied greatly. Money was a considerable “missing link” between personal and political motifs, affecting both political power and artistic patronage. Queens’ were patrons of the arts, learning, and ecclesiastical foundations. Reginal wealth and finances, sources on queens’ status and reginal possessions, e.g., marriage contracts, wills, reginal treasure and jewel accounts, provide information.

Queenship research is often presented first as a conference paper, sometimes at conferences dedicated to queens and/or rulership, but often at one of the important annual international conferences: The International Medieval Congress held at the University of Leeds or the Congress on Medieval Studies held at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. Many breakthroughs have been presented first as conference papers, later refined or amplified for publication. The collected papers from symposia often find their way into print as themed volumes.

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