The literature on medieval sainthood is substantial, rich and varied, but on one point it is almost unanimous: sexuality, and in particular virginity, was of far greater significance to female saints than to their male counterparts.
The Valentine’s Issue!: Love in the Middle Ages, Teutonic Knights, Tudor medicine, and much, much more!
In our latest issue: Celebrating Mother’s Day. Mothers Who Weren’t: Wet Nurses in the Late Medieval Mediterranean
Motherly advice from the ninth century, Sex in the Roman Empire: In Bed with the Romans! Feast, Famine, and Food in Medieval Russia, Books: A trip through Welsh past in Mysterious Wales and much, much more!
Medieval Readers! Today, we’re hosting day 3 of Conor Byrne’s Book Tour and running an international contest to give away a copy of his latest novel: Queenship in England: 1308-1485 Gender and Power in the Late Middle Ages Want a chance to win it?
The paper I will be presenting is a small selection of the results of my doctoral thesis, in which I studied a 14th-century pastoral visitation to the Urgell diocese in the northwest of Catalonia.
This essay investigates the question of how women were used as scapegoats for male impotence during the Witch Craze.
Court records that record witness testimony are a rich source for attitudes if not for actual behavior; they provide first-person accounts from people who are otherwise silent in the medieval record.
During the Middle Ages a woman’s virginity was highly prized. A lady was expected not to have sex until she was married, and that her wedding night would be a kind of test to show that she had remained ‘pure’. However, if she did have sex before, was there a way she could cheat on this test?
For medieval people, success meant succession. Heredity was at the centre of law and order, from the king down through the ranks of society. As a result, the moment children reached marriageable age – and sometimes even before that – everyone’s focus was on their fertility.
Chastity belts have been the subject of schoolroom and music hall humour for as long as most of us can remember. But did they really exist and for the purpose suggested?
Gawain’s reputation as a philanderer precedes him; the best known example is the comment of Bertilak’s wife in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, whose disbelief that the famous and courteous Gawain could be alone with her and not crave a kiss is notorious
Late 16th century Venice, where a woman can be a nun, a wife or a courtesan. For Veronica Franco, the free spirited girl scorned by because of her lack of wealth, the choice is an obvious one…
Franco was a published author, a poet, and counted the King of France among her lovers.
Its narrative of cross-dressing, male prostitution, gay sex, clerical promiscuity and the like seems to offer a rare window onto late medieval sexuality and sexual mores.
Is Cersei a collection of bad medieval stereotypes? Have nerds gone mainstream? Were American cowboys a modern retelling of the medieval knight? Put down that comic, put away your bag of dice, and indulge your inner nerd.
Although it is now widely accepted that Lady Godiva never mounted her horse ‘bareback,’ the infamous Domesday Book documented she was indeed a landowner in Coventry. In isolation, this tale is a pleasurable story of risk-taking.
Over a thousand years before Viagra was invented, medieval men were looking for ways to treat erectile dysfunction. We take a look at the prescriptions offered in one of the most popular medical textbooks from the Middle Ages.
If you follow the advice of Caterina Sforza, ‘you will see that thing become so narrow that you yourself will be in admiration.’
Marie Kelleher will discuss the medieval roots of gender and sexuality in Spanish colonial law, beginning with the written law (both secular and ecclesiastical) and how it defines the parameters of respectable female behavior.
This thesis is an historically based inquiry into the aesthetic function and moral significance of the themes of marriage, fornication, and adultery in Chaucer’s poetry about sexual love
Using medieval western art to speak of female sexuality is difficult.
A brief look at how the medieval world viewed the Intersex individual.
It’s that time of year again – the mad scramble for the perfect Christmas gift for the historian, nerd, avid reader on your list. Here are a few suggestions for you – new releases for December and January!
In a letter written as part of his work for the Irish Department of the Ordnance Survey in 1840, Thomas O’Conor recorded his reaction to a “Sheela- na-gig” sculpture—the image of a naked woman shown exposing her genitalia (fig. 1)—that he saw on the old church at Kiltinane, Co. Tipperary.