Medieval Women

Throughout the Middle Ages, many women made a dramatic impact on medieval society. These include rulers, saints and scholars. Here are some articles about interesting and famous medieval women:

Brigit of Kildare, Irish saint, 6th century

The True Patron of Ireland: Saint Brigit and the Rise of Celtic Christianity

The festival of Brigit the Holy Woman

Birgitta of Sweden, saint, 14th century

“I am the Creator”: Birgitta of Sweden’s Feminine Divine

Birgitta of Sweden and the Divine Mysteries of Motherhood

Catherine of Alexandria – saint, 4th century AD

Masolino’s Saint Catherine of Alexandria: Mystic Saint or Female Role Model?

Catherine of Siena, saint, 14th century

Marie d’Oingies, Hildegard von Bingen and Catherine of Siena: Female Mystics of the Medieval Christian Tradition


Anorexia and the Holiness of Saint Catherine of Siena

Wolves in Lamb’s Clothing: Redeeming the Images of Catherine of Siena and Angela of Foligno

Christina Mirabilis, holy woman, 13th century

Spirituality and Self-Representation in The Life of Christina Mirabilis

Christine de Pizan, writer, 15th century

Constructing a Vantage Point from which to regard Women and History: Christine de Pizan and the Querelle de Femmes


A Medieval Gateway to Feminist Education: Christine de Pizan’s Subversive Revision of Boccaccio

Christine de Pizan’s City of Ladies: A Monumental (Re)construction of, by, and for Women of All Time

Christine de Pizan’s Advice to Prostitutes

Christine de Pizan and the Querelle de la Rose: Combating Misogyny with Morality

Christine de Pizan: A Fifteenth Century Champion of Women

Eirene Doukaina, Byzantine empress, 12th century

Eirene Doukaina, Byzantine empress, A.D. 1067-1133

Eleanor of Aquitaine, French and English queen, 12th century

Do We Know What We Think We Know? Making Assumptions About Eleanor of Aquitaine

The Outlandish Lioness: Eleanor of Aquitaine in Literature

Eleanor of Aquitane and the Quarrel Over Medieval Women’s Power

Heloise d’Argenteuil, French nun, 12th century

Heloise’s literary self-fashioning and the Epistolae duorum amantium

Authority, Authenticity and the Repression of Heloise

Hildegard von Bingen, abbess, 12th century

God Our Mother: The Feminine Cosmology of Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen

Marie d’Oingies, Hildegard von Bingen and Catherine of Siena: Female Mystics of the Medieval Christian Tradition

Please Don’t Talk about Hildegard and Feminism in the Same Breath!

Kingdoms and Beasts: The Early Prophecies of Hildegard of Bingen

Process Thought, Hildegard Of Bingen And Theological Tradition

Hildegard of Bingen:  Upholding the Status Quo through Innovation

A Catholic Antigone: An Episode in the Life of Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard’s Medicine: A Systematic Science of Medieval Europe

Hildegard on Trial: A Note Regarding the Narrow Reception of a Medieval Abbess-Composer

Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, canoness, 10th century

Hrotsvit of Gandersheim: Her Works and Their Messages

Hypatia of Alexandra, mathematician and philosopher, 5th century

The Beauty of Reasoning: A Reexamination of Hypatia of Alexandra

Isabeau of Bavaria, French Queen, 15th century

The Queen as ‘social mannequin’. Consumerism and expenditure at the Court of Isabeau of Bavaria, 1393–1422

Joan of Arc, French military commander, 15th century

Jeanne d’Arc: Morale, Spiritual Authority, and Gunpowder

Spiritual woman warrior : the construction of Joan of Arc in contemporary children’s literature

The Reel Joan of Arc: Reflections on the Theory and Practice of the Historical Film


The schizophrenia of Joan of Arc

The Use of Gunpowder Weaponry by and Against Joan of Arc During the Hundred Years War

Julian of Norwich, English mystic, 15th century

God Our Mother: The Feminine Cosmology of Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen

The Writings of Julian of Norwich as Accomodation and Subversion

Madonna Bellina

Madonna Bellina, ‘astounding’ Jewish musician in mid-sixteenth-century Venice

Margaret of Bromfield, Welsh noblewomen, 13th century

Medieval Welsh Noblewomen: The Case of Margaret of Bromfield

Margery Kempe, English writer, 15th century

Mysticism, Meditation, and Identification in The Book of Margery Kempe

“[S]che was evry aferd”: Pilgrimage and Medieval Women in the Book of Margery Kempe

The Alleged Illiteracy of Magery Kempe: A Reconsideration of the Evidence

Margery Kempe: Madwoman or Mystic – A Narrative Approach to the Representation of Madness and Mysticism in Medieval England

The enigmatic threatening Margery Kempe

Marie de France, poet, 12th century

Courtly Love and the Representation of Women in the Lais of Marie de France and the Coutumes de Beauvaisis of Philippe de Beaumanoir


The Influence of Marie de France and Chretien de Troyes in Medieval Romance and Story-Telling

Marie de France in the Synagogue

Marie de France’s Yonec: Sex, Blood and Shapeshifting in a Twelfth-Century Verse

Rethinking Marie

Marie d’Oignies, Beguine, 13th century

Marie d’Oingies, Hildegard von Bingen and Catherine of Siena: Female Mystics of the Medieval Christian Tradition

Matilda, Countess of Perche, 13th century

Matilda, countess of the Perche (1171-1210): the expression of authority in name, style and seal

Matilda, Anglo-Norman Empress, 12th century

The Two Matilda’s: Treatment of Captives and Ideals of Queenship

All the Queen’s Men: Perceptions of Women in Power

Olga, ruler of Kievan Rus, 10th century

Grand Princess Olga: Pagan Vengeance and Sainthood in Kievan Rus

Olympia Morata, Italian scholar, 16th century

An Introduction to Olympia Morata, a Forgotten, Feminist Voice from Sixteenth Century Italy

Qasmuna bat Ismail, poet, 11th century



Shajar al Durr, Sultana of Egypt, 13th century

Shajar al-Durr: A Case of Female Sultanate in Medieval Islam

Theodora, Byzantine empress, 6th century

The Unknown Empress: Theodora As a Victim of Distorted Images

The Female Desire for Imperial Authority in Byzantium: The Case of Zoe and Theodora

Umiliana de’Cerchi, Italian Saint, 13th century

The Lives of Umiliana de’ Cerchi: Representations of Female Sainthood in Thirteenth-Century Florence

Wu Zhao, Empress Regent of China, 7th century

Wu Zhao: China’s Only Woman Emperor