Women’s Devotional Bequests of Textiles in the Late Medieval English Parish Church, c.1350-1550

Medieval woman reading

My investigation is set within the context of the current high level of interest in the workings of the late medieval parish.

The medieval maiden: young womanhood in late medieval England

Young Man and Woman - British Library

This thesis takes in both the fields of studies of medieval youth, and of medieval women, in its analysis of representations of young womanhood in late medieval England.

The Fabulous Saga of Guðmundr inn ríki: Representation of Sexuality in Ljósvetninga saga

Ljósavatn, Iceland - Photo by Hansueli Krapf

Guðmundr, a powerful goði living in the late 10th and early 11th century, was subjected to sexual insults by his rivals Þorkell hákr and Þórir goði Helgason. These sexual insults described him as effeminate and cowardly, and the thesis shows that the Ljósvetninga saga text follows suit with these slurs.

Medieval Misogyny and Gawain’s Outburst against Women in “‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - from original manuscript, date unknown.

The view has been gaining ground of late that the Gawain of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a knight renowned as ‘Pat fyne fader of nurture’ (1. 919) and as ‘so cortays and coynt’ of his ‘hetes’ (1. I525), degenerates at the moment of leave-taking from the Green Knight, his erstwhile host, to the level of a churl capable of abusing the ladies of that knight’s household (11.2411 -28).

Caught in Love’s Grip: Passion and Moral Agency in French Courtly Romance

The art of courtly love

French royal courts in the late twelfth century were absolutely smitten with love. Troubadaours traveled from place to place reciting stories of knights and the ladies they wooed.

Kissing Cousins: Incest and Sex Change in Tristan de Nanteuil

Chansons de Geste

In this paper I re-examine Blanchandine‘s sex change in light of its relation to the issue of incest; as I will show, incest is directly related to the sex change and also punctuates the narrative at other points. Tristan de Nanteuil depicts two sexual and/or romantic relationships between cousins…

A Kiss Is Just a Kiss: Heterosexuality and Its Consolations in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Tolkien

The famous line from that modern romance- “A kiss is just a kiss”- is the message the Gawain-poet gave his listeners six centuries ago.

Man, woman or monster : some themes of female masculinity and transvestism in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

St. Mary of Alexandria, died 508, accompanied her father to a monastery and adopted a monk's habit as a disguise.

This dissertation discusses medieval and Renaissance clerical and cultural constructions of femininity and female masculinity, and it analyses the complex relationship between such conceptions and the literary representation of the transvestite woman.

Royal and Magnate Bastards in the Later Middle Ages: The View from Scotland

Medieval Children

Theory and Practice in Scotland and Elsewhere Medieval Scotland’s law on bastardy is set out in the lawbook Regiam Majestatem (c.1320)…In England things were different, as Michael Hicks has demonstrated. Admittedly, English heraldic practice eventually followed the French, and the formula ‘X bastard of Y’ is occasionally found for magnates’ bastards.

Medieval Widowhood and Textual Guidance: The Corpus Revisions of Ancrene Wisse and the de Braose Anchoresses

Medieval Nuns

In this article, I shall examine the lives of Loretta and her siblings as templates for the kind of audience imagined by the authors of the Ancrene Wisse Group and, in particular, by the author of Ancrene Wisse as he revised his original text.

‘Warrior-women’ in Viking Age Scandinavia? A preliminary archaeological study

Viking women - Artistic reconstruction of grave A505 from Trekroner-Grydehøj, Denmark - Mirosław Kuźma

This paper seeks to provide a new contribution to the debates on Viking Age women by focusing on a rather controversial notion of ‘female warriors’. The core of the article comprises a preliminary survey of archaeological evidence for female graves with weapons (axes, spears, swords and arrowheads) from Viking Age Scandinavia.

Property, Propriety, and Patriarchy: Abduction, Assault and Housebreaking in the Court of Common Pleas, 1399-1500

medieval assault -Yates Thompson 13   f. 177v   Miller and hermit

The purpose of this thesis is to examine how pleas of assault, housebreaking, and abduction cases in the Court of Common Pleas were shaped by social visions of gender hierarchy, and the personal conduct expected of persons as members of households and governors of households

Making a difference in tenth-century politics: King Athelstan’s sisters and Frankish queenship

Eadgifu of England/Wessex

In the early years of the tenth century several Anglo-Saxon royal women, all daughters of King Edward the Elder of Wessex (899-924) and sisters (or half-sisters) of his son King Athelstan (924-39), were despatched across the Channel as brides for Frankish and Saxon rulers and aristocrats. This article addresses the fate of some of these women through an analysis of their political identities.

BOOK REVIEW: “Defending the City of God” : A Medieval Queen, the First Crusades, and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem, by Sharan Newman

Defending the City of God - Sharan Newman

This is my review of Sharan Newman’s latest book, Defending the City of God: A Medieval Queen, the First Crusades, and the Quest for Peace in Jerusalem.

The Cross-dressing Women of Medieval London

Cross dressing in medieval London

Women going around dressed as men, wearing men’s hats, and even having their hair cut short, was not an acceptable practice in medieval society. However, in late medieval London there were at least 13 cases of women accused of doing just that.

The soldier’s life: martial virtues and hegemonic masculinity in the early Byzantine Empire

Armed-horseman - Late Roman Empire

This dissertation argues that martial virtues and images of the soldier’s life represented an essential aspect of early Byzantine masculine ideology. It contends that in many of the visual and literary sources from the fourth to the seventh centuries CE, conceptualisations of the soldier’s life and the ideal manly life were often the same.

She Shall Be Saved in Childbearing: Submission,Contemplation of Conception, and Annunciation Imagery in the Books of Hours of Two Late Medieval Noblewomen

Medieval Books of Hours in the Public Library of Bruges

In this piece, I suggest that such books were also constructed with the intention of instilling certain virtues within the young and newly-married woman—namely, submission and a humble desire for motherhood.

Call for Papers: Moving Women, Moving Objects (300-1500) (ICMA CAA 2015)


CFP: Moving Women, Moving Objects (300-1500) (ICMA CAA 2015)

Childbirth Miracles in Swedish Medieval Miracle Collections

childbirth medieval

The chance of dying in pregnancy or childbirth was very real for medieval women, and still is in many Third World countries. In Medieval Catholic Western Europe, including Scandinavia, these risks, and the absence of medically schooled persons who could give efficient help, led many women to turn to the saints for intercession.

Queenship, Nunneries and Royal Widowhood in Carolingian Europe

Richilda of Provence

Fulk‟s letter therefore introduces us to some central aspects of Carolingian thinking about the appropriate behaviour of laywomen especially, and serves as a way into the principal themes of this article. In particular, it is noticeable that the archbishop highlighted his expectations of Richildis in two roles: her supposed misdemeanour was concerned specifically with a failure to meet her obligations as a widow and as a queen.

BOOKS: The Feuding Families of Medieval and Renaissance Italy

The House of Medici - Its Rise and Fall

Put down the Godfather, turn off the Sorpanos, and check out the real Italian families of Medieval and Renaissance Italy!

Virgins, mothers, monsters : late-medieval readings of the female body out of bounds

Julian of Norwich 2

This dissertation examines representations of female corporeality in three late-medieval texts: the Pseudo-Ovidian poem, De vetula (The Old Woman); a treatise on human generation erroneously attributed to Albertus Magnus, De secretis mulierum (On the Secrets of Women); and Julian of Norwich’s Showings, an autobiographical account of visions she experienced during an illness in 1373

The Meek And Mighty Bride: Representations of Esther, Old Testament Queen of Persia, on Fifteenth-Century Italian Marriage Furniture

Florentine 15th c. wedding chest

Cassone and spalliere panels depicting the Old Testament Book of Esther were produced by a number of Florentine artists during the fifteenth century.

BOOKS: Daily Life in the Middle Ages


Ever wonder how monks, women and Vikings lived their day to day lives in the Middle Ages? These books will give you a glimpse into their world.

Gunnhildur and the male whores

Icelandic Saga

Queen Gunnhildur is one of the most evil Norwegian female characters in the Middle Ages. She appears in many old stories where she is usually the female agent for ill in the sagas; she is wicked, promiscuous and very often skilled in magical arts.

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