Women 12th century

History Compass: Volume 5, Issue 6, pages 1921–1941, November (2007)


Arguing that scholars should follow methods of analysis developed by historians of women in the early Middle Ages and must confront problems in the so-called ‘Duby thesis’, this article shows how anachronistic analytical categories and insufficient source criticism have masked our appreciation of the extensive political activities of non-royal aristocratic women in France during the eleventh to thirteenth centuries. Emphasising the domestic context of lordship and political action in this period, as well as the multivalence of gender as an explanatory category, it reveals strong continuities between women’s powers in the early and central Middle Ages and shows that female lords were a routine and acceptable part of the medieval French political scene.

By discussing important approaches to the study of women and gender in the light of the growing stream of largely document-based studies devoted to prominent noble women and aristocratic society in medieval France, I outline in this article certain fundamental structures, both socio-political and conceptual, that routinely produced politically prominent ruling women and ‘explained’ their apparently anomalous status. My main point is that aristocratic women legitimately participating in ‘public politics’ and exercising authoritative lordly powers – i.e., the same powers as male lords (domini) – were widespread enough to be unremarkable in the ordinary course of affairs in France during the eleventh to thirteenth centuries. I do not suggest that aristocratic women ruled as often as elite men; nor do I deny that their gender could make them vulnerable as politically active female lords (dominae). But I do argue that being anatomically female did not render women incapable of ruling and wielding authority over men, in either law or practice. This is to say that being a woman did not, ipso facto, constitute a legal incapacity to lordly rule in this highly patrimonialised society, in which political and economic powers were exercised largely within social structures rather than through impersonal, bureaucratic institutions; and when social rank, personal lord-follower bonds and customary inheritance practices often weighed more in determining a person’s politico-economic status than office-holding and any legally stipulated rights or disabilities.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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