Germanic Women: Mundium and Property, 400-1000
Dunn, Kimberlee Harper (University of North Texas)
M.A. Thesis (Science), University of North Texas, August (2006)
Many historians would like to discover a time of relative freedom, security and independence for women of the past. The Germanic era, from 400-1000 AD, was a time of stability, and security due to limitations the law placed upon the mundwald and the legal ability of women to possess property. The system of compensations that the Germans initiated in an effort to stop the blood feuds between Germanic families, served as a deterrent to men that might physically or sexually abuse women. The majority of the sources used in this work were the Germanic Codes generally dated from 498-1024 AD. Ancient Roman and Germanic sources provide background information about the individual tribes. Secondary sources provide a contrast to the ideas of this thesis, and information.
Over the last several decades the field of women’s history has tremendously increased. Women’s rights, past and present, have become an important topic both politically and historically. As historians and others re-evaluate the definition of rights and what matters most in society, it seems that the possession of property and the limitations that her guardian might place on that property are the biggest factors in determining the quality of life that women experienced.