Sunday, January 18, 2015

BW3: Women of the Middle Ages

Eleanor of Aquitaine courtesy of Medieval Life and Times
There has been quite a bit of discussion about balancing out our read of History of the Medieval world with some female authors or reads about females of the medieval time period.  Since the time frame runs from the 5th century with the collapse of the Roman Empire through the 15th century and the beginning of the Renaissance, we have a rather broad area to browse through.   Although the period was admittedly dominated male centric, there were quite a few powerful women not only behind them, but leading as well. I've highlighted a few as well as some books I discovered in my meanderings about the interwebz:

Notable women

Hypatia of Alexandria ( 370 - 415 ) Mathematician and Philosopher

St. Brigid of Kildair ( 451 - 525)  Founded the first nunneries in Ireland

Theodora ( 497 - 528)  Byzantine empress, wife and adviser to emperor Justinian

Irene of Athens (752 - 803)  Byzantine empress who, upon Leo IV death, become co-ruler with son Constantine VI 

Anna Comnena - (1083 - 1148) Considered 1st female historian and documented the reign of her father, Alexius I

Hildegard of Bingen (1098 - 1179) German prioress of Benedictine cloister of Disibodenberg

Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 - 1204) Queen of France 

Christine De Pizan (1364 - 1430)  Italian poet, writer and feminine activist

Joan of Arc (1412 - 1421) Lead French army to victory during 100 years war

Book discoveries

Most Wise and Valiant Ladies by Andria Hopkins

Goodreads Best Medieval History Books - nonfiction

I think that gives us a pretty good start and there are numerous historical fiction stories that will suffice as well, so be sure to check out Historical Novels which has quite a long list of reads.  Happy hunting! 


History of the Medieval World - Chapter 3 (pp 21 - 27)
Empire of the Mind (India 319-415)


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  1. so far, week 2 and 2 books read. Bit disappointed in Juliet, hoping for greater things next week!

  2. Starting off the reading challenge with Mythology.One book down.Three more to go before this month ends....

  3. Week 3 - 'The Life and Loves of a He Devil' by Graham Norton. The comedian and TV presenter is as hilarious (and rude!) as ever in this exploration of his loves and obsessions, such as dogs, Ireland and booze! No chapter on books, disappointingly!

  4. week 3 (i seem to have linking up a week ahead each time) No time to blog this weekend, and also a change in book. I read the non fiction The Night of the Big Wind by Peter Carr, the story of the storm which hit Ireland 6 Dec 1839. This was very interesting, the storm was terrifying and caused a lot of damage and loss of life and animal. It also affected the crops and trees which affected the following spring growth and autumn harvest. The devastation of the storm helped to bring into effect the Poor Law.

  5. Week 3: I completed three books. Sixty Black Women in Horror Writing by Sumiko Saulson which featured mini biographies of Black women who write in the horror genre; Jazz by Toni Morrison, a story based during the Harlem Renaissance, Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones, a book of poetry by a transgender author


Thank you for your kind comments.