A history of their own [1] 0060158506

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Table of contents :
I. TRADITIONS INHERITED
ATTITUDES ABOUT WOMEN FROM THE CENTURIES
BEFORE 800 A.D.
1.Buried Traditions: The Question of Origins 3 Archaeological Evidence — Biological Evidence — Psychological Evidence — Anthropological Evidence — Written Evidence
2. Inherited Traditions: The Principal Influences 24
3. Traditions Subordinating Women 26 Women 's Approved Roles — Women 's Dishonorable Roles: Slave, Prostitute, and Concubine — Misogyny
4. Traditions Empowering Women 52 Worship of Goddesses — Women Warriors — Women in Power: Queens and
Empresses — Women of Wealth — Educated and Artistic Women
5. The Effects of Christianity 67
Beliefs and Practices Empowering Women — Beliefs and Practices Subordinating Women
II. WOMEN OF THE FIELDS
SUSTAINING THE GENERATIONS
I. The Constants of the Peasant Woman's World: The Ninth to the Twentieth Centuries 87
The Life — The Landscape — The Year's Activities - Children and
Nurturing — Threats to SurvivalVI CONTENTS
2. Sustaining the Generations 119
The Family and Marriage — Access to the Land - Additional Income —
Impossible Choices — Survival Outside the Family — Giving Value
3. The Extraordinary 151
Joan of Arc — The Witchcraft Persecutions
4. What Remains of the Peasant Woman's World 174
III. WOMEN OF THE CHURCHES
THE POWER OF THE FAITHFUL
1. The Patterns of Power and Limitation: The Tenth to the Seventeenth
Centuries 181
2. Authority Within the Institutional Church 183 The Great Abbesses and Learned Holy Communities — Reformed Religious
Orders: The Twelfth and the Thirteenth Centuries — The Cloistered Life of the Nun — Mystics: The Ecstatic Life
3. Authority Outside the Institutional Church 214
Challenges to Established Dogma and Established Orders — The Virgin Mary — Exemplars, Tertiaries, and Beguines — Heresy: The Limits of Power Through Faith
4. Authority Given and Taken Away: The Protestant and Catholic Reformations 228
Religious Enthusiasm Reborn: The Sixteenth and the Seventeenth Centuries —
Queens, Princesses, and Noblewomen — Protesters, Proselytizers, Unorthodox
Nuns, and Martyrs — Limiting Roles: The Woman 's Proper Place
5. Traditional Images Redrawn 253
The Female Nature — The Christian Family
6. The Legacy of the Protestant Reformation 264
IV. WOMEN OF THE CASTLES AND MANORS
CUSTODIANS OF LAND AND LINEAGE
1. From Warrior's Wife to Noblewoman: The Ninth to the Seventeenth
Centuries 269
2. Constants of the Noblewoman's Life 272 War - Marriage — Land, Faith, and ChildrenContents vii
3. Power and Vulnerability 297
Wives and Daughters in the World of Feudalism: The Ninth to the Twelfth Centuries — Courtly Love and Codes of Chivalry — Wives and Daughters in the World of Centralized Monarchies: The Thirteenth to the Seventeenth Centuries — Widows and Mothers: The Ninth to the Seventeenth Centuries
4. Tlie New Flowering of Ancient Traditions 332
In Literature — In Law and Practice — The Ideal Woman
V. WOMEN OF THE WALLED TOWNS
PROVIDERS AND PARTNERS
1. The Townswoman's Daily Life: The Twelfth to the Seventeenth Centuries 353
Alleyways, Streets, and Squares — The Poor — Guildswomen — Merchants' Wives
2. Dangers and Remedies 378
Natural Disasters and War — Disease and Childhearing — Faith in God,
Repentance, and the Saints - Prayers to the Virgin Mary
3. The World of Commercial Capitalism: The Thirteenth to the Seventeenth Centuries 392
Protected and Provided For — The Business of Marriage and Charity — Old
Crafts — New Professions: Art and Medicine — Capitalist Entrepreneurs
4. TTie Invisible and Visible Bonds of Misogyny 431 Old Tales Retold — Sumptuary and Adultery Laws - Abuse of Women:
Violence and Ridicule — The Ideal Marriage and the Perfect Wife
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Andersony Bonnie S. A history of their own : women in Europe from prehistory to the present Bonnie S« Anderson 9 Judith P. Zinsser* 1st ed« New York Farpcr 6 Row. clS88. 2 V. ill. 24 cm. Bibliography: v. 1, p. [5311-552; v. 2, p. [433]-534. Includes indexes. #8383 Ballen $27.50. #8384 Ballen $29.45. ISBN 0-06-015850-6 (v. 1) 1. Woccen Europe History. 2. Feminism Europe History. I. Zinsser Judith P. II. Title





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——

02 FEB 90

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A history of their own

NEWCxc

women in Europe^

HQ1587 .A53

Anderson, Bonnie S. NEW COLLEGE OF CALIFORNIA (SF)

20241

87-11933r89

GRNIA

NEW CO 5'-

SAN FRANC i^.-^--

(415)626-4212

ilA

94102

THE LIBRARY

NEW COLLEGE Or CALIFORNIA

50 FELL STREET SAN FRANCISCO. CALIFORNIA 94102 (41S)626-42'«2

Digitized by the Internet Archive in

2009

http://www.archive.org/details/historyoftheirande

A

HISTORY OF THEIR

OWN

A HISTORY OF THEIR OWN Women

in

Europe from Prehistory to the Present

BONNIE S. ANDERSON JUDITH P. ZINSSER

VOLUME

I

ML 1817

HARPER & ROW, PUBLISHERS, New

York

Cambridge, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington

London, Mexico

City,

Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney

Illustration credits follow the Index.

A HISTORY OF THEIR OWN,

VOLUME

All rights reserved. Printed in the

reproduced

in

Copyright

© 1988 by Bonnie

United States of America.

No

S.

Anderson and Judith

part of this

any manner whatsoever without written permission except

tions

embodied

Inc.,

10 East 53rd Street,

&

I.

in critical articles

in the case of brief quota-

and reviews. For information address Harper

New York,

P. Zinsser.

book may be used or

N.Y. 10022. Published simultaneously

in

&

Row,

Publishers,

Canada by Fitzhenry

Whiteside Limited, Toronto.

FIRST EDITION Designer: Sidney Feinberg

Copy

editor:

Ann

Indexer: Auralie

Finlayson

Logan

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Anderson, Bonnie

A

S.

history of their own.

Bibliography:

p.

Includes index. 1.

Women — Europe— History.

HQ1587.A53 1988

ISBN ISBN

2.

Feminism

—Europe—

305.4'094

0-06-015850-6

88 89 90 91 92

0-06-091452-1 (pbk.)

88 89 90 91 92

History.

I.

Zinsser, Judith P.

87-11933

HC HC

10 9 8 7 6

5

4

3 2

1

10 9 8 7 6

5

4

3 2

1

II.

Title.

.

Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction

I.

ix

xiii

TRADITIONS INHERITED

WOMEN FROM THE CENTURIES

ATTITUDES ABOUT

BEFORE 1

800

Buried Traditions:

A.D.

The Question of Origins 3 — Biological Evidence — Evidence — Written Evidence

Evidence

Archaeological

Anthropological

The

2.

Inherited Traditions:

3.

Traditions Subordinating

Women

's

Traditions

Women

Approved Roles

and Concubine 4.

Principal Influences



Psychological

Evidence



24

26

— Women

's

Dishonorable Roles: Slave, Prostitute,

Misogyny

Empowering

Women

52

Worship of Goddesses — Women Warriors — Women in Power: Queens and Empresses — Women of Wealth — Educated and Artistic Women 5.

The

Effects of Christianity Beliefs

67

and Practices Empowering

Women —

Beliefs

and Practices Subordinating

Women II.

WOMEN

OF THE FIELDS

SUSTAINING THE GENERATIONS I.

The Constants tieth

Centuries The Life Nurturing

of the Peasant

Woman's World: The Ninth

to the

87

— The Landscape — The — Threats to Survival

Year's Activities

-

Children and

Twen-

CONTENTS

VI

2.

Sustaining the Generations



Impossible Choices 3.

The

Extraordinary Joan of Arc

4.



What Remains

WOMEN

III.

119

— Access

The Family and Marriage

Land - Additional Income —

to the

Survival Outside the Family



Giving Value

151

The Witchcraft Persecutions

of the Peasant

Woman's World

174

OF THE CHURCHES

THE POWER OF THE FAITHFUL 1.

The

Patterns of Power and Limitation:

Centuries 2.

The Tenth

Authority Within the Institutional Church

183

The Great Abbesses and Learned Holy Communities

and

Orders: The Twelfth

of the 3.

to the Seventeenth

181

Nun —

the Thirteenth Centuries





Reformed Religious

The Cloistered Life

Mystics: The Ecstatic Life

Authority Outside the Institutional Church Challenges to Established

Mary — Exemplars,

Dogma and

Tertiaries,

214

Established Orders

and Beguines





The Virgin

Heresy: The Limits of

Power Through Faith 4.

Authority Given and Taken Away:

The

Protestant and Catholic Reforma-

228

tions

Religious Enthusiasm Reborn: The Sixteenth and the Seventeenth Centuries

Queens, Princesses, and Noblewomen

Nuns, and Martyrs 5.

Traditional Images

— Limiting

Redrawn



The Female Nature 6.

The Legacy IV.



Roles: The

Woman

's



Unorthodox

Proper Place

253

The Christian Family

of the Protestant Reformation

WOMEN

Proselytizers,

Protesters,

264

OF THE CASTLES AND MANORS

CUSTODIANS OF LAND AND LINEAGE 1.

From

Warrior's

Centuries 2.

Wife

to

Noblewoman: The Ninth

269

Constants of the Noblewoman's Life

War -

Marriage



272

Land, Faith, and Children

to the Seventeenth

Contents

3.

Power and Vulnerability Wives and Daughters



Centuries

vii

297 World

in the

of Feudalism: The Ninth to the Twelfth

Courtly Love and Codes of Chivalry

World of Centralized Monarchies: The ries — Widows and Mothers: The Ninth 4.

Tlie

New

V.

to the



WOMEN

In

Law and

Practice



Wives and Daughters

in the

Seventeenth Centuries

Flowering of Ancient Traditions

In Literature



Thirteenth to the Seventeenth Centu-

332

Woman

The Ideal

OF THE WALLED TOWNS

PROVIDERS AND PARTNERS 1.

The Townswoman's

Daily Life:

The Twelfth

to the Seventeenth

Cen-

353

turies

Alleyways,

Streets,

and Squares



The

Poor



Guildswomen



Merchants'

Wives 2.

Dangers and Remedies Natural Disasters and

378

War —

Repentance, and the Saints 3.

The World

of

Crafts 4.

Prayers to the Virgin

and Provided For

— New



Professions: Art

Tales Retold



The Business of Marriage and Charity — Old and Medicine — Capitalist Entrepreneurs

431



- Abuse of Women: The Ideal Marriage and the Perfect Wife

445

Bibliography

Index

to the Seven-

Sumptuary and Adultery Laws

Violence and Ridicule

Notes

Faith in God,

392

TTie Invisible and Visible Bonds of Misogyny

Old



Mary

Commercial Capitalism: The Thirteenth

teenth Centuries Protected

Disease and Childhearing

-

531

553

Illustrated sections follow pages

6,

92, 186, 276,

and

358.

Acknowledgments

This work

—the present book and

years to create.

groups and individuals In tional

the forthcoming

Volume

II

—took ten

During that time, we were encouraged and supported by

common, we

whom

it is

are in debt to

now a pleasure to thank. many outstanding women and two

excep-

men. Without the women's movement, which provided the courage

and confirmation necessary audacity,

we

even to contemplate a project of

for us

could not have written this history. Without Murray D.

this List,

we would never have had such a successful partnership. He envisioned more for us than we dared to hope for ourselves. Hugh Van Dusen, our editor and publisher, never faltered in his trust

and support

for the project.

Without

his

quiet assurance over the years, and the help of his able assistant, Stephanie

Gunning, our

task

would have been much harder. The

rest of

our thanks are

separate.

Bonnie S. Anderson As a woman who came I

to

work

in

women's

history in the early 1970s,

have been fortunate to be part of the supportive and sustaining networks

make New York City such a marvelous place to be. The Curriculum Committee of the Columbia University Women's Liberation Movement enabled me to become a feminist; the CCWHP (Coordinating Committee of Women in the Historical Profession), New York City branch, enabled me to become a feminist historian of women. There met of feminist scholars that

I

Joan Kelly, whose vision and energy were inspiring. She supported this project she nurtured so many other endeavors in women's Her scholarship helped shape my own and I have missed her deeply. The New School of Liberal Arts and the Women's Studies Program at

in its early stages, as

history.

Brooklyn College

first

provided

me

with an academic

home

in

which

I

could

teach women's history and meet with other feminist scholars. During the

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

X

writing of this book,

I

belonged to the Columbia University Seminar on

Women

and Society, the Women's History Group of the Institute for Research in History, and the German Women's History Study Group. All provided the encouragement and support of other women scholars as well as the fun and excitement of shared learning.

The

and Board of Higher Education of the a much-needed year of full-time writing through their Faculty Research Grant and Scholar Incentive Award. My colleagues in the History Department at Brooklyn College have been generous in allowing me to teach the history of women in Europe and in granting Professional Staff Congress

New York

City University of

funded

me the leaves necessary to write. In particular, Renate Bridenthal, also in European Women's History, has been an ideal colleague. Honest, intelligent, generous, and humorous, she has always been supportive and enlivening. She read and commented valuably on a number of sections of this book. Dorothy Helly, whose unswerving support lightened my way, read and made extensive and valuable comments on Part VII, as did Abby Wettan Kleinbaum. Claudia Koonz, whose tenacity and scholarship have been a model, enabled me to keep working on the difficult subject of feminism. Her thoughtful and extensive notes on Parts VIII and IX, as well as her good cheer, helped immensely. The German Women's History Study Group Renate Bridenthal, Jane Caplan, Atina Grossmann, Amy Hackett, Deborah Hertz, Marion read and disKaplan, Claudia Koonz, Molly Nolan, and Joan Reuterschan





cussed parts of two chapters;

many members wrote comments

as well. Special

thanks to this group for being so hospitable, intelligent, good-humored, and

Amy

Hackett for coming up with the title. and supporters sustained me along the way. They include Arthur A. Anderson, Nan Bases, Verna Gillis, Stephanie Golden, Enid and Paul Gorman, Linda Grasso, Stephen H. Levine, Stanley, Nadia, and Alisa lively,

and

to

Finally, friends

Malinovich, Alice Miller, Pixie and Charlie Piera, Jane Weissman, Jean

Raben and her

family, John, Alison,

Matthew, and

parents, Geraldine

my

also a writer,

in

and Robert Sour. Elizabeth Levy, gave special and steadfast encouragement

Katie,

my

sister

and

dear friend

my

who

is

numerous conversa-

tions throughout the years.

Judith

P.

Zinsser

Everything in

my

professional

life

began

at

Bryn

Mawr

College where

I

Over the years friends among the faculty, the administration, and the alumnae have always made me feel a valued, competent, independent woman. Katharine McBride, Caroline Robbins, Mary Maples Dunn, Phyllis Goodhart Gordan, and Barbara Thacher gave of their time and energy to help in the learned about scholarship, determination, and the

wisdom

of patience.

Acknowledgments

many

realization of

where expeditions to

who

scholars

and

Such

but the most recent and represents

is

debt to them and to the institution. to the Berkshire

find the

Conference of

trillium

first

can discuss the most esoteric

a daughter's

either.

This book

projects.

me repayment of a Bryn Mawr led me

for

xi

Women

Historians,

showed me the wonder of women point of their research one minute

behavior the next without diminishing the significance of

women

gave generously of their expertise and their time. Susan

Groneman, Mary Hartman, Man.'

Bastian, Kathleen Stassen Berger, Carol

Martin McLaughlin, Jane Schneider, Susan Mosher Stuard, and Gabrielle Spiegel identified sources, suggested questions, challenged ideas, and helped refine answers.

My

colleagues at the United Nations International School have always

supported

my

They helped

projects.

in

the completion of this book in

many

ways: everything from adjusting teaching schedules, to sharing the story of a great aunt's

after year

my

life,

to helping

students

me

find a picture of Christine

de Pizan. Year

the Americas classes heard about a mysterious

in

"book" and never doubted that

would be finished and ready

it

be auto-

to

graphed. Lisa Fuhrer, Carol Kessler,

them

chapters and turned I

and Nerieda

have two families to thank. Tliose

standards.

and stapled

my 62nd

in

Street family gave

me

would have an education equal to a man's and From them I gained a sense of personal and professional

the clear expectation that a fulfilling career.

\'idal took pasted

into clean manuscript.

The members

concern and were the

I

of

my

73rd Street family gave

to say that they

first

me

their loving

were moved by our vision of

a true

history of humanity.

My dear to find the

Margot

each

friends,

freedom

way, gave

in their

me

needed to think and

I

their support

and helped

me

to write: Rosalind Cutforth,

Dorothy A. Lavington, John Lippmann, Florita RichardMaria Robbins, David Shapiro. Hilary Ainger made a special contri-

K. Jones,

son, Jane

bution to this endeavor.

When

I

was perplexed or disheartened,

I

knew

I

could draw on her wise counsel, her confidence, and her understanding. Finally,

whom

in

I

wish to thank

many ways

my

daughter, Sarah Katharine Lippmann, for

the book was written



that she will never have to borrow

when "A mother heavy in

heroes and a past from men's history as her mother did. She was seven she

made

her work. at

signs for

Do

my

door that always made

not disturb!

work." She believed

in

You may

me

smile.

see her at 6:30

the book, and

now

it

is

.

.

.

Signed, ... an author

done.

^

Introduction

Questions

At the beginning

of the fifteenth century, the

Christine de Pizan started her to a disparity

experience of

women

is

Book

between the image of

French courtier and writer

of the City of Ladies by calling attention

women

presented by

women. While the men concluded

inclined to

and

full

men and

her

own

that "the behavior of

of every vice," Pizan decided otherwise.

"Thinking deeply about these matters," she wrote:

my character and conduct as a natural woman, and, similarly, women whose company frequently kept, princesses, great ladies, women of the middle and lower classes, who had graciously told me of their I

began to examine

I

considered other

I

most private and intimate thoughts, hoping that I could judge impartially and good conscience whether the testimony of so many notable men could be true. ... I could not see or realize how their claims could be true when compared to

in

the natural behavior and character of

women.

This book arose from perceptions of a similar disparity

women and their total absence of women from

—the

disparity be-

tween our own growing knowledge of

activities

and present, and the almost

the pages of history

books.

To

rectify the adverse effects of centuries of vilification

and misre-

women and

chronicled

presentation, Christine de Pizan wrote a defense of

the

lives of

patron.

To

both past

the powerful and virtuous, from Eve to the

counter the subtly denigrating myth that

history" or have achieved

little

worthy of inclusion

Queen

women in

of France, her

either "have

no

the historical record,

written these two volumes: a history of women in Europe. These myths and false impressions were standard when we trained as European historians in the late 1960s. Then we did not think of questioning the traditional periodization, the accepted perspectives, and the masculine gender of the principal figures in history. Only the work and protests of

we have

INTRODUCTION

XIV

scholars

and

activists in

the 1960s and 1970s caused

community to reconsider the ways and delimited.

in

which history

many itself

in the academic had been defined

Gerda Lerner called attention to two had distorted women's past. women out and was structured so as to make

Historians like Joan Kelly and

important ways

in

which

traditional history

History, they argued, both left it

virtually impossible to include

them. Traditional periods reflected men's

when women's were different, they were deemed insignificant and omitted. The resulting history presented "the quarrels of popes and experiences;

kings," but

had "hardly any women

at all," as Jane Austen's heroine

plains in Northanger Abbey. Following Kelly

and Lerner's pioneering

com-

efforts,

many historians began to discover the history of women. Since 1970, research and scholarship on women in Europe has produced hundreds of works. We decided to synthesize this scholarship and write a narrative history of women in Europe. We began by asking questions, and these questions shaped the structure and content of these volumes. First, we wondered, what had ordinary women done as the "history" that excluded them unfolded? How had they lived? What tasks filled their days? What motivated their actions and determined their attitudes? Second, we questioned the startling contrasts between women's and men's lives in the same eras. How had women come to be, in the phrasing of the United Nations Decade for Women Reports of 1985, "the disadvantaged, invisible majority?"^ Why had laws, economic systems, religion, and politics excluded European women from the

How

had cultural attitudes evolved and placed them in a subordinate relationship to men? Why had men done this? And, perhaps even more importantly, why had women accepted or been forced to accept these limitations which devalued their activities, denigrated their nature, and subor-

most valued areas and which defined women

activities of life?

as innately inferior

men? we wondered about the commonality of gender. Did gender unite women? What, if anything, linked a peasant raising her children in

dinated them to Third,

all

twelfth-century France to a craftswoman selling her wares in fifteenth-century

Nuremberg

to a university graduate contemplating a profession in late

nineteenth-century England? Next,

women who had ries:

we looked

at the "exceptions"

—those

achieved prominence and were included in traditional histo-

Heloise, Joan of Arc, Catherine the Great, Florence Nightingale, Marie

Gurie.

Why

had these women gained recognition? Were they exceptions

because of their character or historical circumstance? Finally, we studied those women like Ghristine de Pizan who first became aware of women's disadvantaged and denigrated status. all

women's subordination?

How did

Why did some women come to question they

come

to identify with

women and

xv

Introduction

work

for

expanded opportunities

begin and where might

European culture and

it

lives in

Often

I

did feminism

question the basic values of

questions changed our entire view of European

the

German

feminist, wrote

when she

researched

the 1880s,

was so deeply upset by

And

calls into

it

society?

Our answers to these history. As Minna Cauer, women's

women? How and why

for

lead, as

it

[women's

history] that

I

did not want to read

seemed so wonderful, for told myself: if all that is beneficial and all that is horrible which women have done in the world were included as a factor in history, how different history must be and seem!' further.

then again,

all

I

Answers

The

central thesis of this

factor in shaping the lives of

seen as divided by

been viewed

first

class,

as

women

nation, or historical era,

women,

Trained

thesis reluctantly.

book is that gender has been the most important European women. Unlike men, who have been have traditionally

We

a separate category of being.

in traditional

European

history,

we

came first

to this

assumed

that differences between eras, between classes, and between nations would

be

as

important for

woman

women

as they

were

for

woman

men, that the

gulf

between

a

modern Europe, between a female aristocrat and a female day laborer, between an Englishwoman and a Russian woman would be as great as for their male equivalents. Our historical investigations proved this false. While differences of historical era, class, and nationality have significance for women, they are outweighed by the similarities decreed by gender. As the French socialist Louise Michel wrote in 1885, it has been "painful" for us "to admit that we are a separate caste, made one across the ages," but as we compared our findings from studies of different eras, classes, and nations, no other conclusion was possible. Over and over, we found constants based on gender shaping women's lives. Being born female is the first factor that defines women's experience, separates it in

medieval Europe and a

in

"*

from men's, and gives

a basic

commonality

to the lives of

all

European

women.

The second

factor key to

women

is

that, until very recently, all

were defined by their relationships to men. than

men

ters of

earliest

—remain

in

Many women

the historical record only as



women

many more men's women. The daughfar

Priam, Lot's wife, the mother of the Maccabees are but a few of the examples.

And

a

woman

is first

identified as her father's daughter, her

husband's wife or widow, her son's mother.

European

history,

what

No

their class or social rank,

matter what the era

what

in

their nationality or

INTRODUCTION ethnic group, most

dominated

family.

women

have lived their

Even those who

lives as

members

of a male-

joined religious orders were defined by

and were seen as the "brides of Christ." woman's primary functions and roles have been dictated by family. Child rearing and maintenance of the household have been seen as women's preordained, biologically appropriate tasks. Defining women's primary duties as care of the family and the home have not precluded other work. In all historical eras, the vast majority of European women have labored at other chores and assumed other responsibilities. They have worked in the fields. They have earned wages. They have generated additional income for their families. Weeding, reaping, sewing, knitting, their rejection of earthly marriage

As

a

member

of a family, a

cleaning others' homes, raising others' children, working in factories or offices,

women's

labor has

made

the continuance of their families possible.

home and earning additional income has characterized the lives of most European women and differentiated them from men. It is women, not men, who have these multiple responsibilities and must find work compatible with these duties or arrange for substitutes to care for their children and their household while they earn

This "double burden" of caring for a family and

income.

"women's work," whether in the home or outside of it, has less and considered less important than men's work. Raising children and maintaining the home have been taken for granted and have never been valued as much as labor that men perform, whatever it may be. Paid labor available to women has usually been less prestigious than men's, has traditionally required less formal training, and has been more vulnerable to fluctuations in the economy. As a result, when they have been paid for their work, women have consistently received between one half and two thirds of what men earn. Sometimes connected by scholars to different economic systems, this factor has always been present in European history. In reckonings of female and male worth in the Old Testament, in the manor rolls of noble households, in account books of sixteenth-century merchants, in wage In addition,

traditionally

been valued

receipts of nineteenth-

and twentieth-century

The amount which they are economic regulations may raise women's than men.

paid

factories,

may

women

received less

vary; labor shortages or

wages, but so

far,

they have rarely

equaled those of men. All of these factors shaping women's work have limited

European women's

lives

by curtailing their opportunities and resources. able to avoid these limits. A woman from a

Some women have been

propertied Christian family could join a religious order.

Wealthy and

aristo-

women to care for their children and to assist in running their households. Some royal women ruled as queens in their own right. A few talented women achieved as artists and writers. But cratic

women

traditionally hired other

Introduction

xvii

European women, whether queens or nuns, aristocrats or peasants, craftsto Euroor artists, were subject to yet another constraining factor pean culture's largely negative views of women. Considered innately flawed, less valuable, and thus inferior to men, all women were supposed to be subordinate to men. This subordination seemed part of the natural order. A woman who did rule over men, who held a dominant role, whether from a all



women

throne or within a family, was seen as "unwomanly," as dangerous to the

which made man come first. These cultural views, expressed in the earliest writings of the Greeks, Romans, and Hebrews, changed remarkably little over time. The biblical injunction to Eve that "your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Genesis 3:16) is repeated in every era and every European

universe's natural hierarchy



The view that "the best woman is she who is silent" first written down in ancient Greece reappears often in European men's writings about women. The assumption that only men are truly human that "a hen is not nation.



a bird

and

a

woman

is



not a person" as the Russian proverb puts

throughout European history. views completely.

Of

all

No woman

it

—echoes

could escape the impact of these

the factors that have limited women's

lives,

these

negative cultural traditions have proved the most powerful and the most resistant to change.

Despite these limits and restrictions, European

worked

to give value to their lives.

reproductive and nurturing

women, drawing on

women

Many

women

consistently

took pleasure and pride

role, in their tasks,

ing the generations with their labor. ity as

Many

however mundane,

claimed

spiritual or

moral author-

those religious or ethical traditions that

rather than subordinated them.

Most

in their

in sustain-

empowered

did not rebel, or their rebellion

left no traces in the historical record. For the ideology of women's inferiority was so deeply integrated into the fabric of both women's and men's lives that few questioned it. European women have not, however, been victims. Rather, unable to see beyond their culture's attitudes, they have mastered the strate-

gies of those in subordinate positions: manipulating, pleasing, enduring, sur-

Most European women took comfort in the institution of the maledominated family, which guaranteed them subsistence, gave them a partner for life, and provided them with a sense of being protected from forces viving.

beyond their control. But many also did more, giving beauty,

value,

and power

to their lives

despite the disadvantages of gender. In the process, they created magnifi-

Mary Wollstonecraft's women, Paula Modersohn-Becker's self-portraits. Sadly, much of women's creation has been anonymous and evanescent: the basket of willow cence: Sappho's poetry, Hildegard of Bingen's visions,

defense of

branches created to gather food, the weaving

in

hand-dyed wools that clothed

INTRODUCTION

XVlll

Europeans

in the early centuries, the lace tablecloth for a daughter's trous-

seau, the household objects

and more

pleasant.

and children's

toys designed to

make

life easier

And just as so many of the objects created by women

women's lives. Absent from the record and achievements, European women have never had a

have

vanished, so too have

of men's activi-

ties

history of their

Methods of Organization Undercounted and underrecorded, women have left far fewer traces than in the historical record. This is one of the most significant consequences of the negative cultural attitudes about women. For if history is defined as the deeds of men and little value is given to the actions of women, then women's lives become "ahistorical," lived outside of the world of masculine achievements. Women will seem to have no significance, and the record of their past will be lost. But women do have a history that can be pieced together once new categories have been framed and new research completed. In addition, we and other historians of women have developed a new perspective that includes women by definition. For example, to remind ourselves and

men

women

our readers that

are the focus of this history,

we have

reversed

We write of "women

and men," "queens and kings," "mothers and fathers." This simple step is but one way to counter the weight of a male-oriented past and male-dominant modes of expression. Changing the use of language was the start. More had to be done to give European women their history. When we searched for the facts of women's traditional patterns of expression.

lives in

the past,

we

discovered a wealth of material, whole

and research, subject matter material loses significance periodization, founded

women's

history

if it

new

areas of study

thousands of doctoral dissertations. But

for

is

this

simply placed within traditional historical

on the experience of men. "One of the tasks of schemes of periodization.

to call into question accepted

is

..." wrote Joan Kelly, "There was no renaissance for

women



at least,

not

during the Renaissance."^ Continuing to use the Renaissance as a historical period forced women's lives into male categories and distorted their experias lacking what men had or for not achievmen did. Such traditional historical periodization makes the vast of women disappear. Their lives become lost, and only the limits on

ence by defining them negatively, ing what

majority

them seem

To

a

place

fit

subject for historical discourse.

women

at the center

and make sense of

reconceptualizing European history so that

would be

like "if

it

we

were seen through the eyes of

values they define," as

Gerda Lerner

their experiences

meant

could understand what history

writes.^

women and

We

ordered by

used the concepts of

Introduction

women

"place" and "function" to see

in this

xix

way. Looking at women's place

we concentrated on women's Whole new categories of organization

within the geographic and institutional context, functions within European society.

emerged. Peasant women, for instance, became a group whose

European history outweighed

Women

centuries.

similarities in

their differences in circumstances or across the

within the Christian churches constituted another cate-

gory united across nations and time. In the modern era, these

new

categories

and function sometimes coincided with class: the experiences of middle- and upper-class women in the nineteenth century differed so markedly from those of working-class women that they constituted separate categories of women. We called them "Women of the Salons and Parlors" and "Women of the Cities," expressing our focus on place as well as function. The lives of working-class women in the cities differed greatly from those of of place

"Women

of the Fields," the peasants, so they

even though the same

woman may have lived

fell

into separate categories,

first in

the countryside and then

in the city.

Within these new

categories, the

same

historical event

may appear more

than once, viewed from the different perspectives of different groups of

women.

Industrialization affected working-class

differently



it

and middle-class women very

appears in both chapters as well as at the end of the chapter

on peasant women. The same

is

true of

numerous

events: the Renaissance

World Wars. As traditional historical periods and events receded in significance, others grew in importance. Factors often ignored in histories of men, whether itself,

the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the

contraception or clothing, diseases or the design of houses proved crucial in

women's

lives.

Use

of sources

changed

as well.

survived, especially in the earlier periods,

Since so few works of

we used women's poems,

paintings as sources as well as their wills, diaries, and letters.

women

plays,

and

We drew on the

work of anthropologists, folklorists, archaeologists, and sociologists as well as historians. This book could not have been written without the prior work of hundreds of scholars, most of them women, working to rediscover European women's history and their experience in the present. This research provides the foundation of our narrative.

Although we began

in prehistory,

of traditions pertaining to

from the ninth century

women,

examining the question of the origins

a.d. to the present.

We defined

terms of geography, not examining cultures

Middle

East.

made up

is on Europe "Europe" strictly in

the focus of these volumes

in Africa,

the Americas, or the

We present the lives of European peasant women

first,

for they

the vast majority of the female population well into the eighteenth

century. Part

II,

"Women

emphasizing the constants

of the Fields," surveys peasant in their

women's

lives,

experience rather than local differences

INTRODUCTION

XX

in

geography, patterns of landholding, or trade. Part

III,

"Women

of the

women within the Christian religion Christianity provided women with a unique environment

Churches," analyzes the experiences of

and

its

institutions.

best understood as a separate category. Part IV,

Manors," argues that the

lives of

"Women

of the Castles

and

Europe's noblewomen from the ninth to

the seventeenth centuries are connected because of their

elite status

and

their

While these women sometimes acquired power and acted in the place of men, they also remained vulnerable because of their gender. Part V, "Women of the Walled Towns," distinfunction as "custodians of land and lineage."

guishes urban

women

counterparts.

From

townswomen

participated in the significant

era,

of the twelfth to seventeenth centuries from their rural

the poorest day laborer to the wealthiest merchant's wife,

economic developments of

their

the formation of guilds and the evolution of commercial capitalism.

them from the constraints of circumstance and women's economic lives. Part VI, "Women

Neither, however, freed

attitude that traditionally limited

of the Courts," argues that the growth of dynastic monarchies

development of elaborate court

life

provided some

women

and the

with opportunities

to become educated, to write, to achieve political influence, and to rule. Royal and court women of the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries were united by their common environment of the court. Part VII, "Women of the Salons and Parlors," examines the lives of middle- and upper-class women from the late seventeenth century to the present. Despite attitudes, laws, and economic constraints that sought to confine these women to their homes, some overcame the obstacles and won new authority and new roles for themselves and others. Part VIII, "Women of the Cities," deals with the lives of urban working-class women in the same era, focusing on their participation in the economic and political movements of these centuries. "Women of the Cities" parallels "Women of the Fields." Together these sections examine the lives of the two most numerous categories of women: peasants and urban laborers. Placing their lives at the beginning and end of the volumes reflects our belief in the primacy and significance of these women, so often ignored

by conventional Parts sections.

I

histories.

and IX mirror each other and provide

They

exist

a

framework

because of traditions pertaining to

found recurring throughout the centuries.

When

Europe emerged

rate entity in the ninth century, a wealth of traditions

relationship to

men had

for the other

women which we

about

already been established. Part

I,

as a sepa-

women and

their

"Traditions Inher-

Greek, Roman, Hebrew, Celtic, Germanic, and women. Examining the question of the origins of institutions and customs, it argues that the cultural legacy, the many traditions subordinating women, proved crucial in shaping the lives of European women of future generations. In the same way, once women began to quesited," surveys this legacy of

Christian traditions about

Introduction

tion these constraining institutions, customs, a tradition. Part IX, "Traditions Rejected,"

from the fifteenth century to the present.

is

xxi

and

attitudes, they also forged

a history of

Its thesis is

European feminism

that feminism origi-

nated as a rejection of traditions that limited women, and that this process

which

of rejection led to the creation of a feminist view of the world

is still

being elucidated and realized.

While volume

I

focuses on the centuries before 1600 and

those after, this division ple of this history of

women's

lives are.

of peasant I.

not

rigid.

women; the

Thus,

women's

"Women

is

is

volume

II

on

not the organizing princi-

categories of place

"Women

lives in

Chronology

and function demarking

of the Fields" ends with a consideration

Europe today, although

of the Courts," although

it

is

the

first

it is

located in volume

volume

section in

II,

considers the centuries before 1600 to explain the origins of the system of

monarchy and to describe the courtly world of Burgundy and RenaisThe two volumes complement each other and were designed to

absolute

sance

Italy.

be read together,

as a whole.

Choices

Even

in a

work of

this

scope and length,

attention to the diversities of European centuries, different nations,

and

we

could not give the same

women's experiences

in different

different patterns of development.

For

stance, in dealing with subjects like the growth of commercial capitalism its

importance

in

women's

lives,

the similarities in women's experiences, not

the different rates of change in different regions, have been emphasized.

same

is

true of such topics as the role of Christianity

tion, the

in-

and

growth of dynastic monarchies,

and

its

The

later seculariza-

class formation, industrialization,

and urbanization. Readers primarily interested

in these topics

should turn to

specialized histories.

While we have attempted to survey

tried not to all

women

emphasize distinctions, so we have not

in all nations in all eras. In dealing

with the

French Revolution, we examine Frenchwomen, in dealing with industrialization. Englishwomen. We focus as much as possible on the lives of ordinary

women, the women

of the people, the

women

of the masses. Familiar her-

oines also appear, but they are often used to illustrate the lives of

themselves. Joan of Arc

is

women

like

woman; Queen woman empowered by her

seen as an exceptional peasant

Mary Tudor, known as "Bloody Mary," as a faith. Some women's history could only be suggested because so much remains to be researched. For instance, the women who joined religious

Catholic

orders are only beginning to be studied systematically, and almost nothing has

been written about their experiences

We

in

the nineteenth century.

are aware of these gaps in the narrative, but they are for later

INTRODUCTION

XXll

historians to

fill.

Much

remains to be done.

unsatisfied, eager to learn

women

more,

full

We

hope

of questions.

to leave our readers

The

lives of

European

await further exploration and interpretation by this and subsequent

generations of historians.

Benefits

we hoped to find a "Golden Age" for when European women were not subordinated to and valued less than men. While the possibility of a matriarchal culture in prehistory cannot be completely ruled out, we discovered no era in the historical past In the course of our research

women,

a time

in which women dominated. In addition, the unequal relationship between women and men, present at the beginnings of history in Europe, intensified as time went on. The early nineteenth century marked the nadir of European

women's options and possibilities. In earlier centuries, alternative authorities and customs, as well as regional, governmental, and religious variations created a range of circumstances that enabled some European women to achieve relative independence and relative dominance. Gradually, however, changes in government, law, economy, and religion tending toward centralization, rationalization, and uniformity worked to limit women's lives further and deprive most of them of powers and opportunities available to some

women The

in earlier eras.

centuries from the Renaissance through the Enlightenment broad-

ened the

men, giving more men access to education and They did the opposite for women. New national law

possibilities for

choices in occupation.

codes denied

women

control of their property and earnings, gave primary

authority within the family to the husband alone, outlawed any efforts by

women sexes

the

and barred women from higher education During these centuries, the cultural ideals of the

to control their fertility,

and professional

became

woman

training.

The image of the "angel in the house," home and children, idealized women. The reality was different: most women

increasingly polarized.

happily limited to the care of her

a very restricted life for

continued to earn income, some "angels of the house" created paths out of the parlor and into the world, but the ideal remained for

and

in all

circumstances.

The

creation of

women

women's movements

of

all

classes

in the nine-

teenth century was in part a response to this perceived narrowing of women's

women's own

have changed the and technology have also widened women's options anew. While many limits still remain, most European women today enjoy full rights of citizenship, have access to educaoptions. In the twentieth century,

laws and institutions.

tion

and employment,

Some improvements

live longer,

efforts

in science

and face fewer

risks

from sexual

activity

Introduction

and childbearing than women

Gough Age in It is

observes, "It

in earlier ages.

As the anthropologist Kathleen

not necessary to believe myths of a feminist Golden

order to plan for parity in the future."^

our hope that this book

that parity.

The

is

xxiii

will

contribute to the further realization of

As Louise Otto-Peters, the German

history of

forgotten

For too long,

if

all

times,

and

feminist, wrote in 1849:

of today especially, teaches that

.

.

.

women

will

be

they forget to think about themselves.^

women

have had no written memory of themselves. There can

be no equality when more than half of humankind

is

without

a history.

This

European women, the acknowledged and the unrecognized, from prehistory to the present. In this way the most subtle of Europe's traditions about women the devaluing of women's lives, women's activities, and women's achievements can be challenged and dispelled. books details the

lives of





The benefits will be for women and for men. Learning the history of women changes irrevocably one's view of the past. "History" can never be the same again. Traditional approaches to history must be adjusted and augmented to include the female as well as the male. The result will be a retelling of the human past enriched and made complete, a retelling that will give us for the

first

time a true history of humanity.

I

TRADITIONS INHERITED •

ATTITUDES ABOUT

WOMEN FROM

THE CENTURIES BEFORE

800

A. D.



1

BURIED TRADITIONS:

THE QUESTION OF ORIGINS

One of the oldest

portraits of a

found at Dolni Vestonice 26,400

B.C.,

in

European woman

is

a carved ivory

head

present-day Czechoslovakia. Dating from about

the small carving depicts a female face topped by a bun of hair.i

head is that of an individand her nose has a small bump at the end. This head is unique among the many figurines, tools, and bones found so far at Dolni Vestonice, where a group of about 100 to 120 women and men had established a permanent settlement during the severest period of the last Ice Age. They lived in five or six large huts, each about 40 square

The woman's

features are delicate

Her brow and mouth

ual.

twist

and

up

meters, and hunted the large animals that

roamed the tundra around the

—woolly mammoth,

horses, reindeer

by permanent where meat was cooked and clay objects

site.

springs of water with indoor hearths,

were

singular; the

to the left,

They built

their houses

fired.

Thirteen years after the ivory head was found, a female skeleton was unearthed nearby whose skull had a defect on the left side which could have

produced the twist of the woman's face up to the

The skeleton may well be that of woman, estimated to have been 5

the

woman

left in

the ivory carving.

depicted in ivory. ^

feet 3 inches tall

and about

The

buried

forty years old,

on the western edge of the She was lying on her side, facing west, with her legs drawn up. Her body had been sprinkled with red ochre and two mammoth shoulder blades were placed on top of her, one with lines carved on it in irregular patterns. Her stone tools and an arctic fox's paws and tail were buried with her; the fox's teeth were in her right hand. The grave and the ivory carving

had been

carefully placed in a prepared grave

settlement.

are

all

that have endured of her

life,

and they provide

a fascinating glimpse

woman's existence tens of thousands of years ago. Such glimpses into human life in Europe before the invention

of a

have tantalized thinkers concerned with

human

nature and

of writing

human

society.

TRADITIONS INHERITED

Was

this

woman unusual? Probably. While the use of ochre and her burial common in this era, the mammoth bones were not. But what

position were

does the carving of her signify? Did she rule?

men

How

Was

her status high?

Was

she

and do their lives illumine our own? Are there patterns of human nature which have never changed? For the historian, the absence of written materials makes a sure subordinate to

her group?

in

answer to such questions

Yet the the

first

women

did these people

virtually impossible.

issue of the status of

women

in prehistory

written documents of the Greeks,

subordinated to men.

subordination has been

live,

made

The all

difficult

is

important because

Romans, and Hebrews show question of the origins of this

the more complicated by the tendency of

thinkers to formulate universal theories on very

little

evidence. Traditionally,

and prehistory were used to justify women's subordination; conversely, similar arguments came to be used by feminists to assert that such subordination was culturally imposed and should end. The debate took on a new dimension in the second half of the nineteenth century, when the application of evolution to the development of human society produced a series of works which argued that human society had evolved from arguments from nature,

religions,

a matriarchal past to a patriarchal present.

The most influential writers were J. J. Bachofen, Lewis Henry Morgan, and Friedrich Engels.^ A number of theories were advanced to explain the supposed replacement of female dominance (matriarchy) by male dominance (patriarchy). Bachofen speculated that "mother right," in which women controlled religion, property, and marriage, had fortunately been replaced by "father right," in which men rule, a male god is worshipped, and "the man's spiritual principle dominates."'^ Morgan connected a male-dominant monogamous marriage to the rise of "civilization" and the end of incest. Engels argued that the creation of private property controlled by the male head of the family led to "the overthrow of mother right" and "the world historical defeat of the female sex. "^ Others theorized that men's discovery of their role in

conception led to the end of both goddess worship and high female status

in prehistory. All these analyses

human

attempted to draw moral precepts from

evolution. Until the last few decades, thinkers differed

such evolution had been for good or universalist premise



that female

ill,

on whether

but they tended to accept the same

dominance had been replaced by male men had

dominance. Opposition came mostly from those who believed

always been dominant and that the evidence for matriarchy was deficient.

Recent work in archaeology and anthropology leads away from universal Both women's roles in early societies and the absence of male dominance in all societies have been explored.^ Attention has focused on the circumstances that make female subordination more likely rather than on explanations.

Buried Traditions: The Question of Origins

justifying

5

contemporary patterns by appealing to the distant past. The most female subordination is the development of intergroup com-

likely reason for

petition

and warfare, usually

Roman, and Hebrew

writings, because

But these writings appear

tures.

and

as a response to stressful ecological

circumstances. This can account for the subordination of all

women

in

social

Greek,

these cultures were warrior cul-

relatively late in

human development. To

search for the origins of female subordination, historians have turned to other

The most important in casting light on women and men in prehistory have been archaeology,

disciplines for answers.

between

relations

biology,

psychology, and anthropology.

Archaeological Evidence

human past. Although women have been found,

Archaeology examines the durable remains of the

many little

tions

fascinating objects depicting or pertaining to

can be currently deduced about their cultural significance, or the relabetween the women and men who produced them. For many years, for





was overusually performed by men instance, the importance of hunting emphasized, since weapons and bones endured and figured prominently in archaeological digs. Gathering, by which peoples who hunt procure most of carriers and the vegetables and Recent studies of the teeth of early humans show presumably gathered by the women that the bulk of their diet was vegetable of the group. But the status of these women gatherers cannot be known.

their food, fruits

was undervalued, since baskets and

gathered did not

last.



^7

Were

they highly valued because they provided most of a group's food, or taken for granted because they procured everyday sustenance rather than the exceptional supplement of animal protein? tion applies to objects, especially

if

The same problem

they are not obviously useful.

in interpreta-

The

and blades can be assumed, but the significance carving of the woman's head can only be guessed.

of axes, needles, like

the ivory

function

of objects

figurines found at Dolni Vestonice raise many questions but yield few answers. There were bone and ivory pendants shaped like breasts, vulvas, and penises. There were clay figurines of bears, rhinoceroses, lionesses, and humans. Of all these figurines, the one that has received the most attention

Other

from scholars

is

a small, red clay statuette of

an abstract female

figure.

The

naked and has no lower arms, feet, nose, mouth, hair, or genitals. Her arms, eyes, spine, navel, legs, and buttocks are marked out by sharp grooves. Four grooves also line her back, two on either side of the spine. She figure stands

is

fat,

with large, pendulous breasts and broad hips.^

This figurine in

is

but one of the scores of the so-called "Venuses" found sites from Spain to Siberia, all dated within a few

numerous European

TRADITIONS INHERITED thousand years of each other. ^

them, most

Many

speculations have been advanced about

view that allowed these figurines to be called

as facile as the

"Venuses." They have been described objects, although

as

pregnant

women and

called fertility

few are discernibly pregnant and gathering/hunting peoples

tend to limit their

fertility

it. They have been called no evidence of what the people who

rather than enhance

mother goddesses, although there made them believed. These objects

is

the historian very

tell

men in these early societies. Vestonice woman and the "Venus"

little

about

women

or their relationship to

The Dolni

figurines date

from

Europe's early Stone Age, twenty-odd thousand years ago. Until about 6000 B.C.,

humans on the continent

of

Europe

lived like their forebears at Dolni

Vestonice, by gathering and hunting as the climate

warmed and

the tundras

gave way to forests and woodlands. Other, later settlements yield equally intriguing objects.

One culture,

at

Lepensky Vir on the banks of the Danube,

placed carved yellow sandstone boulders in

with abstract designs, others carved into of female genitals incised

matic.

Other

on

early cultures

women, men,

it.

What

have

left

its

houses;

some were decorated one had the outline

fishlike creatures;

these boulders signified remains enig-

behind multitudes of

figurines: birds,

and unrecognizable objects. Attempts to classify and understand them remain speculatively Other evidence from cave paintings and carvings suggests that at least some of these early peoples on the European continent understood both the female and male roles in reproduction. Animals were grouped seasonally, showing copulation in the springtime and pregnant females in the summer. If women or goddesses were worshipped in early European cultures, this worship probably did not rest on women's supposed total control over reproduction, as was often assumed by fish,

abstract shapes,

earlier scholars. ^^

Women's

status

and relationship to men

who

also

remain mysterious

in

the

and hunting to farming and domesticating animals, a change that began about 6000 b.c. in Europe. Early farming communities in the Middle East show some evidence of goddess worship; early communities in Europe reveal neither the veneration of women nor their denigration. At Nea Nikomedia in northern Greece, for instance, people farmed, wove cloth, and made pottery. One large build-

archaeological remains of groups

ing in the

shifted from gathering

community contained two greenstone

axes, three blue-green ser-

women and two of men. Property may have been privately owned, a factor Engels and other Marxists have connected to the subordination of women. But the status of women at Nea Nikomedia can only be guessed at; there is no evidence of either women's dominance or their subordination. ^^ Just as farming has been used to explain the origin of female subordinapentine frogs, and seven abstract

human

figures, five of

1.

"Venus"

c.

26,400

figurine

from Dolni Vestonice

B.C.

2.

Woman

Greek

3.

Greek women spinning and weaving

cloth.

with a water jug leading a

little

boy.

vase, fifth century B.C.

Vase attributed

to the

Amasis painter

c.

540

B.C.

\

W

'

^^^^

6. "Flute Player," symbolizing dishonorable roles for women. "Flute girls" often served as prostitutes. Relief

from Ludovisi Throne

c.

460-450

B.C.

7.

Cleopatra of Egypt. Silver tetradrachma,

first

century B.C.

Relief of two Amazons fighting, commemorating the release from service of two

8.

female gladiators. Greek, tury A.D.

m^

'

I

first

or second cen-

9.

Eve, the Tree of Knowledge and the Serpent. Rehef from the Cathedral of Saint

Lazare,

10.

Autun

c.

1120

Mary Magdalen

relief

a.d.

at Jesus' feet,

from Semur-en-Auxois,

and

his follower

Martha

early thirteenth century a.d.

in

the background. Stone

Buried Traditions: The Question of Origins

tion, so has the rise of the state. in

what

is

now

But the evidence of the

considered Europe

with regard to women's

status.

1

These

state systems

first

— Mycenae and Crete—

is

also

enigmatic

early states built palaces, controlled

large surrounding areas, could support people with specialized occupations,

and invented writing, much of which remains undeciphered. Some of the translated Mycenaean tablets show that women workers in the palace received the same rations as men and that women were equally represented among the religious staff, which points to women having equal status to men.^^ But few Mycenaean objects portray women, and without more information to provide context, those that do have no clearer a meaning than the carved ivory head from Dolni Vestonice. For example, a unique small ivory statuette

from about 1500

b.c. depicts

two women and

a boy.

The women They are

kneel side by side and one has her arm on the other's shoulders.

dressed alike, in elaborately ruffled skirts and intricate necklaces; one has long hair, the other's

is

bound

or short.

The

little

boy stands between them, and

who are these women and what do they signify? Are they human or divine? Do they represent Demeter and Kore (Persephone), her lost daughter, present in later Greek and Roman culture? Do they signal a high status for women in Mycenae? None of these all

the figures seem affectionate and serene. But

questions can be answered at present. ^^^

Though more extensive, the archaeological evidence of Cretan culture is no more enlightening with regard to women's status and relationship to men than that from Mycenae or earlier cultures. This has not stopped some from postulating the existence of a matriarchal Cretan society, which worshipped a peaceful mother goddess whose benevolent rule was overthrown by patriarchal Northern invaders. ^^ Such speculation is fascinating but unsubstantiated. From about 3000 b.c. to 1200 b.c, Crete produced writing and sophisticated and refined seal rings, vases, bronzes, figurines, and frescoes, many of which portray women. But women's role and status in Crete remains enigmatic. ^^ For example, archaeologists have reconstructed two small (34.2 centimeters, 20 centimeters) faience statuettes of elaborately dressed

holding snakes, but there

is

no way of

telling

of snake goddesses, or priestesses performing

with snakes. Although most Cretan

if

women

these were representations

some

ritual, or

simply of

seal rings depict animals, a

women

number show

large women with uncovered breasts, often surrounded by smaller females and males, animals and trees. Their significance is unknown. The famous bull-leaping fresco at Knossos shows one red and two white human figures on either side of a bull. The figures could be female or male.^'^ There is some evidence that agriculture was a male activity and weaving a female one: The Harvester Vase shows men carrying a variety of agricultural tools, and traces of looms were found in some quarters identified with women in the palaces.

TRADITIONS INHERITED But separate functions or men.

their relationship to tradition, for

activities It is

do not determine the

not even

and the male name "Minos"

known who

as

status of

women

or

ruled in Crete. Analogy,

King of Crete are the only evidence

male rulership.^^

indeed any European religion before deciphered writno light on the question of the status of women and their relationship to men. There is no clear evidence, as there is in contemporaneous cultures in the Middle East and Egypt, of powerful female goddesses or one omnipotent Great Mother. A study of 103 small human figurines found in Crete revealed that 37.3 percent were female, 9.2 percent male, 40.7 percent human with no sexual characteristics, and 12.8 percent so fragmented their sex could not be determined. ^'^ Even from such extensive urban sites, with so many kinds of archaeological evidence, no one can deduce with

Cretan

religion, or

ing, also sheds

certainty the roles of Europe's

women

in prehistory or

the origins of their

subordination to men. As the historian Sarah B. Pomeroy writes, "The question is open and may never be answered. "^^ To shed more light on this issue, historians have turned to evidence

from biology, psychology, and anthropol-

ogy pertaining to the roles and relationships of

women and men.

Biological Evidence In the past twenty years, biologists have stressed the differences between

humans and

primates, particularly with regard to the social relations between

females and males. a

The

evolution of both primate and

human

bodies reveals

wider and more complex range of behavior for both sexes than was previ-

ously thought.

males, not

all

While many primate species show females subordinated dominance are complicated: In a number

do. Patterns of

to

of

young males defer to both older females and older males. Primate evolution seems to have selected for females that are "highly competitive, socially involved, and sexually assertive individualists," as the primatolo-

species, for instance,

gist

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy writes. ^i Earlier, simplistic equations of humans to

differ markedly (like baboons, whose females been superseded by more sophisticated studies of a wider range of species. But little can be applied with certainty from primate behavior to human actions, because humans difiFer so markedly from

primate species where the sexes

are half the size of males) have

primates in key areas of sexual and social behavior.

Of

all

the primates, only

cycle. In estrus,

humans have

a menstrual rather

than an estrus

both female receptivity and male arousal are hormonally

triggered. Intercourse inevitably occurs at a fixed time in the cycle; the female

can become pregnant only then.

With

menstruation, there

is

no equivalent

compulsion, and humans, unlike other primates, have intercourse

when

their

— Buried Traditions: The Question of Origins

culture

deems

many more

it

appropriate. ^^

Human

9

become pregnant

females also can

times a year than primates, a prosurvival evolution. All

human

composed of the mother, the father or father-surrogate, and children. Primates show far wider variations. In some species, the husband/father role is nonexistent; in others, monogamy and male aid in child rearing is normal. Then, while primates share with humans societies are based

on

families, usually

"millions of years of natural selection for social intelligence," the

world

radically different

is

"human

because of

largely

Language and cultural variation have molded human beyond primate models. Primatology does not currently explain why women should be subordinate and men dominant in many human the

human

from that of other primates,"

behavior

brain. ^^

far

societies.

Neither does biology. Increasingly sophisticated studies of

omy and

human

anat-

physiology reveal no clear reason for either sex dominating the other.

Biological evidence does explain differentiation of function, but

many animal

In contrast to differences

little

more.

which there are dramatic anatomical

species in

between females and males



in coloration, size,

and strength

human females and males differ relatively little from each other. (See Table 1.) The organ which most distinguishes humans from other animals is the brain, and innate intelligence does not differ according to gender. ^^ Many of the character traits associated with to

one sex or the other have been shown

be the product of culture rather than biology.

identical

male twins, born

century, one of

whom

in

A

classic case involved

the United States in the middle of the twentieth

was accidentally castrated

as

an infant. Differential

upbringing alone produced a "girl" twin and a "boy" twin by age

five.

Since

these changes preceded hormonal production, they point to a great deal of

behavior being controlled by culture rather than nature. ^^

Women

bear children and

men do

not, but childbearing does not auto-

matically imply physical weakness or inferiority. In

females are the primary hunters; in

many human

many animal species the women, whether

societies

pregnant or not, perform the major share of heavy labor. Cultures tend to assign tasks to

one sex or the other not on the

compatibility with child care.

women

The female

basis of strength, but

on

capacity for lactation has led to

being primarily responsible for the care of nursing infants, but the

primary role of

women

in

parenting older children seems to be culturally

rather than biologically determined.

No

biological basis for a "maternal

Even

instinct" has

been found except immediately

mothering

largely learned rather than instinctive behavior. ^^

is

association with childbearing, nursing, cally lead to either social

dominance

and

after birth.

in

animals,

Women's

early child care does not automati-

or subordination.

Biology distinguishes four physiological differences between females and

Table

1.

SOME PHYSICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SEXES Male

Female Fetus XX

chromosome

chromosome More susceptible to sex-linked diseases Androgen production to change female ma-

xy

Less susceptible to sex-linked diseases No androgen production

trix

By

third

male

month, divergence of sexual structures, but organs are analogous

At Birth Development one month "ahead"

More

to

Development one month "behind" Less resistant

resistant to disease

boys than

die

in

1

st

more

year

Longer, heavier

Shorter, lighter

Larger hearts and lungs

Smaller hearts and lungs Higher percentage of body weight

is fat

Higher percentage of body weight

Shoulder and hip sockets, pelvic bones shaped

Ages

one-third

to disease:

girls

is

muscle

differently

1-8

Similar

hormonal production and

similar physical

development

Puberty hormonal production of estrogen and progestin starts, leading to men-

Cyclical

Noncyclical

production

starts, leading to

testosterone

of

the production of sperm

struation

Voice changes and body and

Breasts and body hair grow

Distinctive shoulder-pelvic

facial hair

grow

shape develops: / \ or \ /

Maturity

Capable

Capable

36% 10%

42% 10%

of gestation, birth, and lactation body weight is muscle shorter and lighter Lower metabolic rate Higher percentage of body weight is fat: greater endurance of extreme tempera-

of

of insemination

body weight is muscle taller and heavier of

Higher metabolic rate

Lower percentage of body weight is fat: less endurance of extreme temperature

ture

More endurance, but

less at

some heavy

physical exertion

Less general endurance, but more heavy physical exertion

Distinctive shoulder-pelvic shape:

Aging Decreased hormonal production leads

/ \

or \

to lessening of sexual differences

Menopause

"Male menopause'

10%

10%

longer-lived

/

shorter-lived

at

some

1

Buried Traditions: The Question of Origins

males which

may

determine

appearance.

its

1

contribute to female subordination, although they do not

women

will be,

men.2'7

Some women

If

conditions of diet, health, and exercise are equal,

on the average, 10 percent

shorter, lighter,

and weaker than

be stronger than most men; some

will

weaker than most women. But

in addition,

the

hormone

men

will

be

testosterone, pro-

duced exclusively by males from puberty on, has been associated with "a differential readiness to

aggression

dominance

may is

respond

lead to male

not universal

in

in aggressive ways.''^^

dominance

human

of

women

society,

Male strength and so: Male

but need not do

and male aggression

is

culturally

controlled in a variety of ways.

On if

women have the ability to give birth. In addition, women will be longer-lived than men, by a factor of

the other hand, only

conditions are equal,

10 percent. 29 Like male strength and aggression, female childbearing and longevity could lead to dominance. But such

because of their physiology alone ical

is

dominance by females

or males

neither inevitable nor universal. In biolog-

terms, either sex could dominate the other, but

it is

not determined that

Given this, how can the fact that in most societies women are subordinated to men, or at best, equal to them, be explained? Why are men more likely to subordinate women than women to subordinate men? While biology ofiFers no conclusive answers, psychology can shed some light on this question. either will, nor even that

one must do

so.

Psychological Evidence In contrast to archaeology

and biology, psychology

explanations of men's propensity to dominate over

oflFers

women. From

convincing its

earliest

days in the nineteenth century until the present, psychology has explored the psychic and social implications of sexual differences. While Sigmund Freud and many of his followers argued that women did not develop as completely as men and must "accept the fact of being castrated," later theories have stressed male fear and envy of women. Instead of seeing women as "castrated men," men have been viewed as "psychosexually frailer" than women. ^^ This "frailty" is seen especially in a boy's passage to manhood and in a man's sexual vulnerability. It may explain men's need to subordinate women. One consequence of female mothering virtually universal in human societies seems to be that girls have an easier time becoming women than boys have becoming men. A girl can naturally identify with her primary parent, the mother, and her passage to womanhood is made relatively easy by both this identification and a clear physical signal menstruation. The girl child's need to separate herself from her mother does not become tied up with establishing her own female gender identity, as the sociologist Nancy Chodo-







TRADITIONS INHERITED

12

row argues. ^^ The boy must break his initial identification with his mother and realign himself with the men of his group. Menstruation and her consequent ability to bear children give a woman an obvious function and value to her group;

men have no

natural equivalent.

Women

become women and

gain value by natural physical processes: menstruation, conception, child-

Men seem to have compensated by inventing analogous which mark their passage from boyhood to manhood. Frequently

birth, lactation. social rituals

and mysterious, these

painful

rites of

passage often involve symbolic equiva-

lents to menstruation or childbearing: bloodletting, scarification, the coura-

geous bearing of pain. In most cultures, the

forming deeds, by doing rather than being. ^^ envy and fear of

women more men are

In addition, adult not.

The male

genital injury or castration fears.

than female envy and fear of men.^^

genitally vulnerable in

is

Women

ways that

female's,

women

and male

are

fear of

many cultures. ^"^ Women seem to many societies, it does not seem

present in

While rape

exists in

to carry the negative psychological weight for

men.

passage to

usually

more exposed than the

genitals are

have no equivalent

likely

manhood is more become men by perSy^h difficulties may make male

ritual

Men

than the passage to womanhood.

difficult

women

that castration does for

can feign or hide sexual arousal; a man's arousal

quickly

is

evident and often beyond his conscious control. In sexual intercourse, a

woman

can experience multiple orgasms; a

capacity. Moreover, a

man may be

prevent him from inseminating. Even is

has a more limited orgasmic

if

a

woman

is

among

other things will

not sexually aroused, she

capable of intercourse, conception, and motherhood. Motherhood

still

woman

gives a

cultures.

more

man

impotent, which

value and a function; fatherhood

Women know

indirect proof of their paternity.

man

tion, a

is

far less significant in

that their children are their own;

cannot be positive of

Even when

his paternity.

clear

on

men must his role in

most

rely

on

concep-

As the psychologist Erik

Erikson has written, "Behind man's insistence on male superiority there

women who

an age old envy of

are sure of their

be sure of his fatherhood only by restricting the female. "^^ For all these reasons, many psychologists have argued that greater fear of

women

—and

thus,

resentment. "Boys and

mechanisms ward

to

men

it is

far

more

likely that

it

led to envy, fear,

a

than in in

and

develop psychological and cultural/ideological

cope with their

Nancy Chodorow. "They

off

men have

—women

Women's ability to give birth and greater ease may have led to male awe and worship of them

humanity's distant past, but

writes

need to dominate and control

have of men.^^

sexual performance

is

motherhood while man can

fears

without giving up

women

altogether,"

and poems that the dread by externalizing and objectifying women. "^^ Such psycho-

logical formations

account

create folk legends, beliefs,

easily for the greater

prevalence of female subordi-

Buried Traditions: The Question of Origins

nation in

human

and the devaluation of women found Romans, and Hebrews.

societies

writings of the Greeks,

These psychological formations may

Women's ability

to bear children

create in an area

human endeavor fighting,

13

also

may have

where men were

account

led to a

in

the earliest

in part for warfare.

male need to achieve and

clearly superior to

women. No

area of

provides this so fully as hand-to-hand combat. For in such

men's 10 percent advantage

in size

and strength becomes

crucial.

One root of the origin of warfare may be men's need to act in an area in which their superiority to women and necessity to society were paramount. ^^ The role of warfare in human society has primarily been studied not by psycholThere is also additional anthropological data women's subordination to men.

ogy, but by anthropology.

bears on the origins of

that

Anthropological Evidence Anthropology studies contemporary peoples and uses cross-cultural analy-

human

behavior. Extrapolating backward

sis

to attempt to explore patterns of

in

time to deduce the behavior of prehistoric peoples

known modern

is

problematic. All

been influenced by outsiders (even by the presence of the anthropologists collecting data), and modern ways of living cultures have

may not be the same as those of prehistoric peoples. But anthropologists have become aware of these problems, and in recent years, earlier generalizations about relations between the sexes have given way to more complex and sophisticated studies.

There have been attempts

to

compensate

for past biases

in

the collection and interpretation of data. As a result, female subordination

is

increasingly seen as a variable rather than a universal

While no

cultures have

been found where

women

human

condition.

dominate, there

is

ample

evidence of societies where the sexes are either "integrated and equal" or "separate and equal. "^^ Interest has turned from asserting or denying the universality of female subordination to studying those factors that

more

make

it

or less likely. Attention has turned especially to the implications of the

sexual division of labor. All

other.

human societies specify certain tasks as appropriate for one sex or the The division is not totally arbitrary. In all known human societies,

females have primary responsibility for early child care; males have primary responsibility for

big-game hunting. "^^ But the division of labor alone does not

mean that the labor of one sex is more highly valued than that of the other. The division of labor leads to female subordination only when societies are subjected to specific kinds of social stress. The most crucial factor automatically

seems to be pressure on the environment, which leads to competition within the group or with neighboring groups for diminished resources. Although the

TRADITIONS INHERITED

14

connection between diminished resources and female subordination was neither inevitable nor automatic, female subordination appeared only where

there was such ecological and social

stress.'*^

Basing her conclusions on a survey of 186 cultures, the anthropologist

Peggy Reeves Sanday hypothesizes that in the earliest human societies, before population pressure, women and men may have lived in a relatively egalitarian

numbers grew, and hunger, forced migration, or war became the means for the group's survival, the tendency to subordinate women became more likely. In such societies, female subordination was rationalized and justified. Women came to be portrayed as dangerfashion.

But

as their

against other groups

ous and in need of control. Menstrual taboos appeared, aimed primarily at protecting

men from

"contamination." Childbirth was treated as a handicap-

ping experience, and the group sometimes practiced selective female infanticide.

Males were supposed to be active and aggressive, females passive and

obedient. These traits were taught to children and

became

so accepted that

they were often seen as innate and natural to the two sexes.

Once

in place,

female subordination seemed both correct and inevitable. In addition,

it

was

powerfully reinforced by the appearance of warfare.'^^

As resources necessary to survival diminished, groups competed both and externally for them. It is probably under such conditions that early warfare developed. In early warfare, weaponry was simple and it was the weapons of the hunt that became the weapons of war. Most societies teach weapons skills only to their male children. Male monopoly of these weapons and the skills to use them can easily lead to male dominance of women, either through action or the threat of force. "^^ No culture is known in which women are trained to be as warlike and aggressive as men, and in most warlike internally

cultures only males are urged to

submissive and obedient to

be aggressive. Females are trained to be

males.'^'*

Not all cultures, even those who "Whether male dominance is

nance.

war, develop a system of male domipart of the solution to stress depends

on the previously prevailing configuration of culture," writes Sanday. But many cultures move from participation in warfare to male dominance to the creation of a warrior culture.'*^ In such cultures, war was the most important male

activity. In war,

the male risked his

life for his

thus had a valued function. "^^ In warrior cultures,

family and group and

women

are subordinated

and are valued less than men. But women have accepted such subordination and devaluation. Women have rarely sought to be warriors or to fight to the death. ^'7 Instead, they have depended on the protection of male warriors. Once male warfare is present, a woman needs protection from other male warriors, especially if she is pregnant or caring for young children. The price

Buried Traditions: The Question of Origins

for

such protection has often been her subordination, but

must be paid

The

for her

own and

evolution of warfare and the development of

War

Mycenaean

existed

it

is

a price that

her group's survival.

warrior cultures explains the subordination of Europe's writing occurs.

15

among Europe's

objects found, for instance, are

some

societies into

women

by the time

prehistoric societies:

weapons or portray

warriors.

Most

Once

became an almost inviolable system. It ensured become a hostile world. Its values were passed generations and came to be seen as both natural and inevitable.

a warrior culture developed,

it

the group's survival in what had

on to future

A

group's beliefs, stories, and religions justified and glorified war and male

The earliest writings of European culture do Homer (written down in the eighth century B.C.),

The Greek

warriors.

this.

of

the Twelve Tables of

Ancient

Rome

down between

(c. c.

450

1 1

B.C.),

50 and

c.

and the Pentateuch of the Hebrews (written 250 b.c; primarily known today

books of the Old Testament of the Bible) the subordination of

women

epics

is

all

as the first five

portray warrior cultures in which

well-established.

Written Evidence

Romans, and Hebrews form the and Odyssey, the laws of Rome, the first five books of the Bible, shaped the views of later European generations. These writings remained revered and even sacred long after the Greeks, Romans, and Hebrews had ceased to dominate their regions. Through these writings, Greek, Roman, and Jewish views of women and their roles would be transmitted throughout the centuries to later eras, where they had a powerful and far-reaching influence in European history. The images they provided, the morals they drew, the values they embodied became traditions inherited by European women up to the present day. Earlier Mycenaean and Gretan writings had little later influence because their writings became indecipherable; slightly earlier Middle Eastern texts from Egypt, Sumer, and Babylon had virtually no influence on later European culture. But the Homeric epics, Roman laws, and Hebrew Bible did, and they transmitted the views of warrior cultures in which women are valued less than men and are subordinated to them. These were the values later generations of European women and men inherited. The basic premise of a warrior culture is that men are intrinsically more valuable and more important than women. Thus, women are supposed to be subordinate to men, and this subordination is rationalized and justified in a variety of ways. Women are supposed to be less powerful than men and so. These

early writings of the Greeks,

matrix of later European culture.

The

Iliad

TRADITIONS INHERITED

16

women

(and in the Greek and is supposed to be subordinate to the most powerful god. As in heaven, so on earth: Powerful mortal women of high rank and status are shown, but they are usually subordinate to an even more powerful man. While women were honored if

although these writings often portray powerful writings, goddesses), even the

most powerful goddess

is

they remained within the relatively few roles allowed them

widow, and

in

Greece and Rome,

priestess

—they

are



wife, mother,

overshadowed by males

and their concerns. The first writings of each of these ancient cultures have a male content and focus. War is a major topic, and there is little material on women. What there is portrays some powerful women and goddesses, but they are ultimately controlled by male figures. Still, the existence of any powerful female is important, and their existence has led historians of antiquity to argue that women's status overall may have been higher in these early warrior cultures than in the societies that followed them.^^ of

women

in early

Greece, Rome, and

Israel did

The

actual status

not endure, but the images

and values presented in Homer, Roman law, and the Hebrew Bible did. Although images of some powerful women were transmitted by these writings, their overall message was that if women were not subordinated to men, danger and even chaos would result. In the writings of Homer, the need for female subordination can be seen even in the portraits of powerful and attractive goddesses. While each goddess is important and while goddesses compose half the Greek pantheon, there

is

no goddess who is the equal of either Zeus or Apollo."^^ More limited more restricted in their sexuality, the goddesses probably

in their attributes,

mirror the accepted view of

men's

fears that unless

human women

female power

is

as well.

Their images embody

controlled by a male principle,

women

be dangerous to men. The images of these goddesses: Hera (Juno), Aphrodite (Venus), Athena (Minerva), Artemis (Diana), Hestia (Vesta), and Demeter (Ceres) in their Greek and later Roman forms continued to be significant centuries later in European culture, long after their worship had will

ended.

The

desirability of their ultimate subordination

can be clearly seen

in

the portrait of Hera in the Homeric writings. ^o Figuring prominently in the

Iliad,

Hera

joins

with Aphrodite

in

supporting the Greeks against the

Trojans, and her vindictiveness leads to the total destruction of Troy.

goddess of

fertility

and motherhood, Hera

is

The

the patron of marriage. Both

is portrayed as beautiful but nagging. Zeus comhe can keep her "but barely in my power, say what I will.'''^ She embodies female beauty and sexual power, which she uses when she decides to seduce her husband so as to influence the war. Making an alli-

Zeus's sister and wife, she plains that

ance with the gods Sleep (Hypnos) and Love (Aphrodite), she dresses

for

Buried Traditions. The Question of Origins

17

many European women would

the occasion, seeking, as so

in later ages, to

succeed by her beauty: Hera,

having anointed

all

her graceful body,

and having combed her hair, plaited it shining in braids from her immortal head. Then she hung .

.

.

mulberry-colored pendants in her eadobes,

and

shone round her.

loveliness

white as the sun she took to

A new

veil

headdress

her glory,

and on her smooth feet tied her beautiful Exquisite and adorned from head to foot she left her chamber. ' 2

sandals.

Helpless before this beauty and sexual power, Zeus, "the Father,"

is

"subju-

gated by love and sleep. "^^

But Hera's victory

only momentary.

is

tormented by

his wife,

handed work,

eternal bitch!"

it

is

While the

clear that ultimate

power

father of the gods is

his.

is

"Fine, under-

he threatens, reminding her of

his superior

physical power.

Do

you forget swinging so high that day? weighted both your feet with anvils,

I

lashed both arms with golden cord

you couldn't break, and there you dangled Under open heaven and white cloud.

,

Some

gods resented

this,

but none could reach your side or

Zeus's aflfection

Most

is

set

you

free.^^

reserved not for his wife, but for his daughter, Athena.

especially Zeus's child, she

is

born of no mother, but from

his

own

combining elements considered both masculine and feminine in these early cultures. The goddess of war as well as of weaving, she often wears male garb. In the Odyssey, she takes the form forehead. She

of a

man

is

partly

male

(Mentor), and

her robe and puts on a

in nature,

when

Iliad,

she casts of?

golden helmet.

The goddess

she goes into battle in the

shirt, breast

armor, and

a

costume suggests both sexes. She is usually male breast plate, helmet, and spear. Like a male in many ways, she is seen as the goddess most beneficent to men. Like her sister goddesses Artemis and Hestia, she is a maiden, remaining

wisdom and shown wearing

of

virginal in

all

agriculture, her

a

woman's

dress with

the legends told of her.

Her opposite

is Aphrodite, sometimes considered the child of Zeus, sometimes born from the sea foam. The goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite's power is the power of sexual attraction and erotic madness. Even the

TRADITIONS INHERITED

18

gods cannot withstand her order and hierarchy

is

when she chooses

to use

it,

and

its

power

to disrupt

graphically portrayed. Aphrodite gives her "pieced,

brocaded girdle" to Hera to enable her to seduce Zeus: "Her enchantments

came from

this

allurement of the eyes,/ hunger of longing, and the touch of

wisdom from the coolest men."^^ Nor are women immune: Helen's flight to Troy was inspired by Aphrodite, and her influence on both mortals and immortals was seen as irresistible for good or ill. Artemis, Hestia, and Demeter appear hardly at all in the Iliad and Odyssey; however, they are the subjects of Homeric hymns and figure in early lips/ that steals all

Greek art. Artemis the huntress is Apollo's twin, but she has far fewer powers and attributes than he. Virginal and childless herself, she presides over menstruation and childbearing. Associated with the moon and the bear, she embodies a wild female power. Hestia is the opposite: Represented only as a flame, she is the center and spirit of the home. "She has her place in the center of the house to receive the best in offerings," says the Homeric hymn to her. 5^ The Homeric Hymn to Demeter shows the power of "fair-crowned Demeter" as both the goddess of grain and a mother. Able to win her daughter back from Hades, the king of the underworld, for two thirds of the year, Demeter embodies the power of fertility and motherhood. Goddesses needed priestesses to lead their worship, and in both Greece and

Rome

them was

a

few

women

served as priestesses, although the preferred role for

and mother. Those few might possess a great deal of power. The six Vestal Virgins, mentioned in the oldest laws of the city of Rome, were exempted from the male guardianship applied to all other women. The priestesses of Vesta (Hestia), they guarded the city's sacred that of wife

flame, spending thirty years of their lives as virgins in the service of the

goddess and acquiring influence

among

also served as priestesses to goddesses like

the city's leaders. ^'^ Greek women Athena and Hera. But the Hebrews

worshipped one male god, and masculine pronouns are used with "God" the original texts.

exception Israel in

—the

figure of

God

Miriam, Moses' is

sister.

Miriam

crossed, but

when

leads the

women

of

she later challenges

punishes her with leprosy. ^^

preferred and most

slave in these Greek,

in

served exclusively by male priests with one possible

is

song after the Red Sea

Moses' authority,

The

He

common

role for all

Roman, and Hebrew

women

above the rank of

writings was that of wife

mother. As a warrior's wife, mother, or daughter, a

woman had

a valued

and and

role, so long as she remained within the family and marriage. In Homer's Odyssey, Penelope, the faithful wife, who remains loyal to Odysseus

honored

even after twenty years of separation,

and mother. She

is

is

extolled as an ideal daughter, wife,

Buried Traditions: The Question of Origins

19

a valiant wife!

True

to her husband's

honor and her own,

Penelope, Ikarios' faithful daughter!

The very gods themselves will for men on earth mistress of



sing her story

her

own

heart,

Penelope! 59

Penelope's steadfastness in resisting her numerous and importunate suitors is rewarded by a happy reunion with her husband. They both weep for joy and spend the night talking and making love. Odysseus himself extols the

glories of marriage:

"The

best thing in the world"

is

"a strong house held in

where man and wife agree. "^^ Even in the Iliad, which concenon war rather than home, the marriage of Hector and Andromache is

serenity/ trates

match and provides a counterweight to the Hera and Zeus. the goddesses, women were supposed to be ultimately subor-

consistently presented as a love

marital discord of

But

like

dinated to men. Honored

if they remained within the duties allotted to wives and mothers, they were chastised if they ventured beyond them. The most famous scene between Andromache and Hector takes place on the ramparts of Troy, where she urges him not to risk his life and her future by leading an attack beyond the walls. "Lady, these many things beset my mind no less than yours," he replies,

But

if

like a

nor

am

how

to

coward I

I

moved

I

should die of shame

men and noblewomen

before our Trojan

,

avoided battle, to.

Long ago

I

learned

be brave, how to go forward always and to contend for honor. Father's and mine.^^

Andromache to leave war to him; she should At first, this passage may seem to imply separate but equal roles for women and men: She spins at home, he fights abroad. However, this is a situation where Andromache's own life is at stake. Regardless of a happy marriage, her opinion is dismissed, and she is told to tend to her woman's work. The situation and even the words are paralleled in the Odyssey, when Telemachus dismisses his mother Penelope from the crucial conHector concludes by

telling

return to her spinning.

test

with her

suitors:

Return to your own hall. Tend to your spindle. Tend your loom. Direct your maids at work. This question of the bow will be for men to settle,

most of

all

for

me.

I

am

master here.^^

TRADITIONSINHERITED

20

woman

in Homer's works. Even she is suborwhere her life and interests are directly involved (if a suitor wins, she will be forced to marry him). Honored if they remained within the relatively small territory of home and family, women in

Penelope

the most admired

is

dinated to her son in a

vital issue

warrior cultures were also confined to that territory.

In

Hebrew

writings as well,

women

are defined in relation to

men and

book of Genesis in the Bible, Adam calls Eve "bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh" and it is stated that a man "cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh. "^^ Abraham's wife Sarah is "a woman beautiful to behold. "^'^ Abraham's son, Isaac, "loved" his wife Rebekah, who "alighted from the camel" when she first saw him; Isaac's son Jacob serves fourteen years to win the "beautiful and lovely" Rachel, and they seemed but a few days because "whom he served seven years for are seen as the objects of male desire. In the

.

he had

of the love

for her."^^

.

.

Eg^h

of these

women

is

described in terms of

dependent on God, who has the power to "open" their wombs and enable them to conceive. Eve is given her name by Adam because it means "mother of all living." Sar'ai her maternity, but their ability to birth children

when God

(Sarah) laughs

tells

is

her she will bear a son at ninety, but

it

happens,

and she becomes as God predicted, "a mother of nations." Isaac's prayers that Rebekah conceive are fulfilled with twin boys; Rachel's plea, "Give me children or I shall die," is answered with a son, Joseph. ^^ Barrenness was a woman's failure. When Rachel conceives, she says, "God has taken away my reproach." Gonversely, mothers were supposed to be respected. One of the Ten Commandments given Moses is to "honor your father and your mother."^'^

Despite such precepts, less

than men.

"Women"

applied to cowardly men.^^ cant.

The

women is

in warrior cultures

an insult

in

were inevitably valued

the Iliad and the Old Testament,

Even within the family, women were less signifiHomer and the Old Testament rarely give

lengthy genealogies in

the names of mothers and present lineage solely through the male

just

line.

In

Roman

custom, only boys were given individual names; girls bore the family name and were distinguished from each other by nicknames.

traditional

A

law attributed to Romulus, the legendary founder of the city of Rome, compelled citizens to rear "every male child," but only "the first-born of the females. "^^

Being valued dination. In

less

Homer's

contributed to and supported a system of female suborwritings, in

Roman

law, in the

Old Testament, women

men, and this relationship is justified in a variety of ways. The fourth of the Twelve Tables of Rome is called Paternal Power and gives the father sole and absolute authority over his children. In the fifth table, it is specified that "because of their levity of mind" all women (except are explicitly subordinated to

— Buried Traditions: The Question of Origins

21

the six Vestal Virgins) shall be under a man's guardianship; both guardianship and inheritance passed through the male line to male relatives. Paterfamilias, the father of the family, was an important legal concept in ancient Rome; there was no female equivalent materfamilias was an honorary title given to the father's wife, but carried no power or rights^^ In the Old Testament, a woman's word stands only if her husband or father

do not disagree with

of females

and males

her; otherwise, their views prevail. In a valuation

higher: 3 shekels for a girl baby, a

5 for a

boy; 30 shekels for a

man. In the story of Lot, Lot's goodness

refusal to give

males are consistently valued

at various stages of life,

two male guests

is

mob; he

to an angry

woman, 50

for

by

his

demonstrated

in part

offers his

two

virgin

daughters instead. "^^

Although two versions of the creation of human beings are given

God

Genesis, the more egalitarian one, in which

image

.

.

.

who

is

"man

in his

male and female created he them" tended to be ignored

of the fuller, older version. There,

she

created

Eve

is

created from

Adam's

"beguiled" by the serpent into disobeying the Lord.

basis for female subordination will greatly

I

in

is

rib,

The

in

own

in favor

and

it is

principal

given in God's punishment of her:

multiply your pain in childbearing;

pain you shall bring forth your children,

yet your desire shall be for your husband,

and he

God

punishes

Adam

and so broke God's of good and evil.'^'

shall rule over you.'^^

"because you have listened to the voice of your wife"

rule

about not eating the

Female subordination behavior allowed

fruit of

also expressed in the

is

women and men. The women

double standard of sexual

practices of these early warrior

cultures catered to male sexuality. Normally, the

were slaughtered and the

the tree of knowledge

enslaved.

men

These

of a defeated group

slave

women were

then

used by the victorious warriors as concubines and servants, and male sexual

woman was

taken for granted. The precipitating cause of Agamemnon's decision to take Achilles' slave girl, replacement for his own Chryseis, who had been ransomed by

use of any slave

action in the Iliad Briseis, as a

her father. But slave

is

women were

themselves not allowed such freedom. In

the Odyssey, Telemachus hangs the slave ope's suitors; their crime

is

women who had

sex with Penel-

seen as disloyalty as well as unchastity.^'*

In the Laws of Rome and the Old Testament, women were condemned and punished for behavior allowed men. Laws attributed to Romulus specified that a husband could kill his wife for adultery or wine drinking, and a Roman

history of that early period states that

when Egnatius Metellus "took a cudgel

TRADITIONSINHERITED

22

and beat his wife to death because she had drunk some wine, not only did no one charge him with a crime, but no one even blamed him."'^^ Another Law of the Kings stated that wives were not allowed to divorce their husbands, but that husbands could divorce wives "for the use of drugs or magic on account of children or for counterfeiting the keys or for adultery." The Twelve Tables mention only the husband's right to repudiate his wife7^ In the Old Testament as well, only the husband has the right to divorce, and a divorced woman is described as "defiled. "'^'^ There is an elaborate test called "the law of the jealousies," which allowed a husband to check if his wife had been faithful.



The wife was given

the "water of bitterness that brings

and nothing happened, she was considered innocent; if "her body shall swell and her thigh shall fall away" she was considered defiled and "a curse among her people."''^ There was no reciprocal test of a husband's fidelity. While the Hebrews were unusual among warrior cultures in calling for the death of both adulterers, woman and man, female unchastity was more severely punished in some instances. If a woman were not a virgin, she could be stoned to death; if a man raped a virgin, he could make the curse"

if

she drank

it

by paying her father and marrying her.^^ In the early books of the Old Testament marriage demands fidelity from the wife, but not the husband; the husband commits adultery when he has sex with another man's wife, not when he has sex with another woman. There are numerous instances of respected patriarchs having two wives or a wife and a concubine. Abraham has intercourse with Hagar because his wife Sarah is barren; Jacob marries Leah and Rachel and takes two of their maids as concubines as well.^° This double standard is embodied in the language used to describe husband and wife; the husband is the baal or master of his wife rather than just her restitution

husband. ^1 In

Greek and Roman law

not the

men who

Roman

law from about 700

as well as the

B.C.

some

ultimate abuse, and to death, especially

if

but

inferiors.

A

century B.C. excluded prostitutes from

Old Testament, there

"Whore" and

are both slave

"harlot" are used as terms of

be burned no condemna-

biblical verses called for prostitutes to

they were priest's daughters. ^^ There

men who bought

In addition, the ritually

fifth

religious cults. ^^ i^ the

concubines and prostitutes.

tion of the

prostitutes,

forbade a "concubine" to touch the altar of

Juno, and Athenian laws from the

many women's

Old Testament,

used them, were condemned as outcasts and

is

their services.

Old Testament

classified all

impure when they menstruated. In

bodily discharges, menstruation

is

healthy adult

women

as

and "her impurity" and makes a

a section dealing with disease

described as

woman and everything she touches or sits on unclean for seven days. (Ejaculation, in contrast, rendered a man unclean only until the evening of the day

Buried Traditions: The Question of Origins

it

occurred.)

with her, he cally

If a is

man

touches her, he

unclean for seven days;

if

man

he has sex

if

woman

automati-

she has other bleeding or discharge from her

with a bodily discharge caused by disease,

unclean until seven days after

it

ended. ^'^

woman

If a

is

gives birth to a son,

unclean for seven days and cannot go to the temple for thirty-three

is

days;

unclean until evening;

unclean for seven days. Her period makes a

vagina, then she, like a

she

is

23

she gives birth to a daughter, she

if

cannot go to the temple

is

unclean for fourteen days and

for sixty-six days.^^ "Y\x[^ ritual impurity turns

both

menstruation and childbirth, especially of a daughter, into contaminating

These laws have the

events.

menstrual taboos were not so

women

effect of devaluing

widespread

strict or

in

are described in the writings of early scientists like

Historians of

women

Greece, Rome, and

have noticed

Israel

that,

and

although the

earliest writings of

women

in general.

That came

the Greek poetry of Hesiod and Semonides, writing in the seventh

sixth centuries B.C.; in the satires

Rome;

Although

contain and justify female subordination, they are

not misogynist; they do not express a hatred of later: in

as well.

Greece and Rome, they Aristotle and Pliny. ^^

in

and poetry

of

first

century a.d. Imperial

Jewish and Christian interpretations of the Old Testament ranging

from the second century

be stigmatized

B.C. to

as innately evil.

a.d.^'^ Then women would woman would be seen as a

the third century

The

creation of

punishment for man, and woman would be identified as the enemy of both men and civilization. She would be seen as the source of disease and trouble, be equated with various despised animals, be described in the most disgusting of terms.

Female subordination, with

its

lesser valuation of

to such misogyny. Exceptional circumstances

images for women. Imperial

Rome

also

women,

might favor other

led easily roles

and

saw the achievement of great female

power; some Jewish and Christian authorities stressed women's equality; century after Hesiod's diatribes against for her verse.

women,

But female subordination remained

most important tradition inherited by coalesced in the ninth century a.d.

a

the poet Sappho was honored is the first and European culture

in place. It

women when

a truly

INHERITED TRADITIONS:

THE PRINCIPAL INFLUENCES

A

DISTINCT European culture emerged with the coronation of Charlemagne

in

800

and

A.D.

and

artists,

his creation of

an empire

in the early ninth century.

prescriptions about

women and

perpetuated or revived ancient views of

women. This new Europe drew on Greek, Roman, brew, and Christian sources for cally,

Writers

philosophers and theologians used ancient sources and texts for

uneven

its

attitudes

and

Celtic,

Germanic, He-

institutions.

in their influence, these ancient sources

Used

ahistori-

continued to shape

European culture and society for centuries.^ Greek images and beliefs about women were both preserved and transformed by the Romans, who carried them to the outer reaches of their vast empire. Roman attitudes toward women, chiefly in the form of laws and in Europe long after the collapse of the Roman Empire in the course of the fifth century. The new invaders, the Celtic and Germanic peoples, learned writing from the Romans and Christian missionaries and eventually recorded their own laws and epics in which women

customs, remained influential

figured.

The Hebrews, scattered throughout the Mediterranean world in the Roman period, continued to influence the new European

diasporas of the culture

and

its

writings as the initially

views of

women

Old Testament

favorable to

women

but

century on. Persecuted by the

through the acceptance of their sacred

of the Christian Bible. Christian influence, later restrictive,

grew unevenly from the

Roman Empire

in

first

the third century a.d.,

became the Empire's preferred religion in the fourth century. Between then and the ninth century, it spread by conquest and conversion across the continent and the new Europe of the ninth century identified itself as Christian. Christianity both perpetuated old traditions about women and Christianity

added new customs. Before the advent of Christianity, women's experience varied greatly within different cultures. Greeks of the

fifth

century B.C. contrasted the

Inherited Traditions: The Principal Influences

circumscribed

A

wealthy

without

a

lives of

of the

male guardian, bore

woman living had little in common Jewish

nium

Athenian wives with the

Roman matron

earlier.

in

first

little

freer life of Spartan

women.

centur\' ad., able to transact business

resemblance to her

cosmopolitan Alexandria

in

with her biblical counterpart

Celtic carvings and

25

Germanic grave

own

slave

woman.

A

the second century a.d.

in pastoral

sites reveal

Judea a millen-

wealthy, power-

ful women absent from the dry paragraphs of the law codes. The lives of women in these early cultures have been pieced together by historians. While much of their experience did not endure and had no influence on later European culture, many traditions concerning women were preserved and

perpetuated. Despite differences of culture, law, and circumstance, the

Greek, Roman, Celtic, Germanic, and Hebrew traditions about

more

similar than they are different.

The

women

are

bulk of the pre-Christian traditions

women subordinate and limit them, seeing women as inferior and dependent on men. Some of these pre-Christian traditions, however, consist of images and eras in which women's equality, power, and independence flourished. Never totally erased, they too form part of the legacy of inherited about

to

Europe's women. Christianity, largely because of believers

and

its

its initial

emphasis on the equality of

divergent views about sexuality,

these earlier traditions about

women. Within

came

to

Christianity

change

itself,

a

all

few of

women

were

allowed a far wider range of activities in the early years of the religion than in its later centuries.

the Christian

wider roles for

Although women's

Church became

roles

were severely restricted when

institutionalized in the fourth century, the

women mentioned in the New Testament remained The pattern of freedom followed by

the European cultural heritage. tion, set in the early Christian

actions regarding It is

a

model

for later

restric-

Church

women.

these sources

—which

Church, provided

part of

—Greek and Roman,

Celtic and Germanic, Jewish and

European women when Europe coalesced in the ninth century. Many of them, whether restrictive or liberating, remained part of European culture for many centuries, and in some cases, until the present. They are the foundation of attitudes and circumstances that governed most European women's lives; they form the basis of customs and laws; they lay behind the views which both subordinated and empowered women in the succeeding centuries. These traditions comChristian

furnish the traditions inherited by

prise the rest of this section. Since the sources for societies before the ninth

century are limited and uneven, the focus is

to

in

the remainder of this section

women in each culture, but rather on those traditions pertaining women that shaped European women's lives in the ninth century and

not on

beyond. 2



TRADITIONS

SUBORDINATING WOMEN

The

earliest, and in

Christianity

—the

many

cases,

most sacred writings of the cultures before

Greek, Roman, Hebrew, Germanic, and Celtic



en-

shrined female subordination. As the centuries passed, belief in female subordination endured and acquired the authority of hallowed tradition. Female

subordination limited women's roles and function;

nature and the proper use of their bodies.

pean culture, which emerged

in the

It

Greek wrote

in the fifth

century

defined their essential

new Euro-

ninth century.

"All men's thoughts have been shaped by a

it

passed intact to the

B.C.,

and

Homer from this

the beginning,"

remained true

in future

Egypt between the fourth and fifth centuries b.c. were Homeric works or commentaries on them. Homer's epics continued to influence Europe's culture.^ Roman law was based on early centuries. Close to half the papyri

found

in

Germanic peoples Lombards wanted laws written down, he investigated "the old laws of the Lombards known either to our self or to the old men of the nation," and this corpus was added to in the following centuries. ^ For the Hebrews especially, military defeat and colonization by Greece and Rome led to increased reliance on "the book," which distinguished them as a people, so that both the Old Testament and the commentaries that developed on it built on the basic ideas about women precepts and cited precedents as justifications. Celtic and

did the same. In 643 a.d.,

when King Rothair

of the

expressed in the Pentateuch. In each case, the basic premises of female

— women were by nature dependent on and —were repeated and As time went on, these premises came

subordination

men

to have the

inferior to

that

elaborated.

power of axioms: They seemed natural, inevitable, and in some Each of these cultures argued that woman's physical body

cases God-given.

her menstruation, her uterus, her ability to give birth her from war, law, government, and

woman's body necessitated

much

—by

of religion.

definition excluded

Each argued

that

that she be confined to the protected sphere of

Women

Traditions Subordinating

home

the

possible.

if

Each gave the men

of her family (or male guardian)

authority and power over her, and each saw her

connected to the family. Each valued

much

27

women

less

almost exclusively

life as

than men, sometimes so

more boys were raised than girls. Each excluded women from deemed most important, whether it was warfare, philoso-

so that

the activities they

phy, or the study of sacred books.

The premise even by thinkers

of

women's innate

who

by nature superior, and the female is

ruled," stated the

inferiority

was hardly ever questioned,

questioned other basic premises of

and the one

inferior;

Greek philosopher

"This principle of necessity extends to

life.

rules

"The male

is

and the other

Aristotle in the fourth century B.C.

all

mankind." This inequality

is

"per-

manent" because the woman's "deliberative faculty" is "without authority," like a child's.^ Adapted by later Jewish and Christian thinkers, Aristotle remained the scientific authority for Europe into the sixteenth century. Like the Greek philosopher, Roman jurists stood by traditional premises where "^

women were concerned.

In the

of their weakness of intellect"

first

century

women

all

B.C.,

Cicero argued that "because

should be under the power of male

guardians; in the third century a.d., Ulpian asserted that guardians were

necessary for

all

women "on

account of the weakness of their sex and their

ignorance of business matters. "^ In Celtic Ireland, law codes ranked

women

and drunks.^

as "senseless," like slaves, prisoners,

Jewish thinkers built on the same premises about the female's inferior nature. In the

first

century a.d., Philo, a Jewish philosopher influential

among

both Jews and Christians, commented on Genesis:

The

soul has, as

Now

it

were, a dwelling, partly women's quarters, partly men's

men

where properly dwell the masculine filled with freedom and boldness, and kin to wisdom. And the female sex is irrational and akin to bestial passions, fear, sorrow, pleasure and desire from which ensue incurable weakness and indescribable diseases. quarters.

for the

thoughts [these

are] wise,

there

is

sound, .

.

a place

just,

prudent, pious,

.

"^

same era, the Jewish historian Josephus stated that in the eyes of Jewish "The woman ... is in all things inferior to the man."^ In Hebrew law,

In the law,

this inferiority implied incapacity.

together and flighty,

women were

minds. '"^ By the

prayers thanked

Women,

children,

and

slaves

were classed

forbidden to testify "because they have first

God "who

female prayer was to thank

century

has not

God

a.d.,

Jewish

men

in

their

light,

i.e.

morning

made me a woman." The equivalent having "made me according to thy

for

will."io

In the Mishnah, the collection of Jewish legal commentaries, there are two sections which deal specifically with females, one on women and one on

TRADITIONSINHERITED

28

menstruation.il viticus,

The

remained

classification of

menstruation as unclean, based on Le-

fully in force in later centuries

and was the subject of

commentaries, which elaborated the rules about contamination from men-

women. Women's periodic "impurity" was further reason for exthem from religious duties within the temple. The belief that healthy women become contaminating once a month, because of a natural process struating

cluding

that cannot be controlled, inevitably contributes to the view that women are by nature inferior to men. Other cultures offered their own evidence that women's menstruation

men and their unfitness for male roles. Bo Cualinge {The Cattle Raid of Cuchulainn, seventh or eighth century). Queen Medb (Maeve) of

demonstrated their basic

inferiority to

In the Celtic epic, Tain

written

down

Cruchan

is

the

in

A

presented as a powerful, beautiful, and wealthy woman.

formi-

dable warrior and general, she seems an equal opponent for the hero Cuchulainn, until the climactic end of the epic. Then, while in battle, gets "her gush of blood"

and has

to leave her

war chariot to "relieve

Cuchulainn, the hero of the epic, comes up behind her captures her.

The

scene of the defeat

"is called

Medb

herself."

at this point

and

Fual Medba, Medb's Foul

Place, ever since," states the epic.^^

Greek and Roman

scientific

tion as a mysterious, dangerous,

cians

and medical texts often described menstruaand contaminating event. The male physi-

whose writings formed the

influential Hippocratic

Corpus

(largely

from

fourth-century B.C. Creece) described the menses as blood which might

wander through the body; it might cause consumption if it entered the lungs. 1^ The Corpus tended to assume that menstruation was controlled by the moon and that all women menstruated at the same time of the month, a belief perpetuated by Aristotle. ^"^ All manner of supernatural powers were ascribed to menstrual blood. Aristotle wrote that a menstruating

could

make

woman

a clean mirror "bloody-dark, like a cloud" because the menstrual

blood passed through her eyes to the surface of a mirror. ^^ Aristotle also believed that

women had

fewer teeth than men, and such glaring errors

in

the work of a normally careful observer point to Aristotle's prejudices about

women Roman

overriding his evidence.!^ Pliny the Elder, the authority on natural history, wrote that

heavily every third month. strual fluid,

some

Contact with die, seeds in

it

of

He

women

also perpetuated popular beliefs

which would remain current

turns

first

new wine

sour, crops

gardens are dried up, the

century a.d.

menstruated more about men-

for centuries in

touched by

it

become

fruit of trees falls off,

Europe:

barren, grafts

the bright surface

which it is merely reflected is dimmed, the edge of steel and the gleam of ivory are dulled, hives of bees die, even bronze and iron are at once seized by rust, and a horrible smell fills the air; to taste it drives dogs mad and infects .^'^ their bites with an incurable poison. of mirrors in

.

.

Traditions Subordinating

The

Women

persistence of such beliefs in the face of

29

ample evidence

contrary effectively denigrated those processes and organs unique to

to the

women.

Beliefs about the uterus and reproduction were even more derogatory. Greek and Roman men who wrote on science and medicine took the male as the standard and saw the female as an inferior variant. "The female is as it were a

deformed male," asserted

menstrual discharge

is

on reproduction, "and the

Aristotle in his treatise

semen, though

an impure condition;

in

i.e., it

lacks

one

constituent, and one only, the principle of Soul.''^^ Galen, the eminent

physician of the second century a.d., argued that outside

The

in.

of "perfection"

were "smaller,

ovaries

compared

women were men

turned

and woman's lack man was explained by the need of the species

to

less perfect testes"

to reproduce. 1^

Taking the male organs

as

standard and viewing the female organs largely

by analogy, these ancient writers enshrined the dered" around the body

and masterful,

like

like

is

them

womb

"wan-

an animal disobedient to reason, and maddened with the

sting of lust," wrote the fourth-century the same

belief that the

an "animal." As the penis becomes "rebellious

the case with the so-called

Greek philosopher

womb

or matrix of

Plato,

women;

the animal

and when remaining unfruitful long beyond its proper time, gets discontented and angry, and wandering in every direction through the body, closes up the passages of the breath, and, by obstructwithin

is

desirous of procreating children,

ing respiration, drives

them

to extremity, causing

This theory of the "wandering

number

womb"

all

varieties of disease. ^^

proved remarkably persistent.

Men-

Corpus of the fourth century B.C., it was strenuously restated by Aretaeus of Cappodocia in the second century a.d., who wrote that "on the whole, the womb is like an animal within an animal" because it roamed about the body but could be attracted to its tioned a

of times in the Hippocratic

rightful place with sweet odors. ^i In

both Greece and

Rome

the symbol of

the erect male organ signified good fortune and was often placed before

homes and

in gardens;

the symbol for the female genitals identified brothels.

Seeing the uterus as a revolting "animal within an animal" contributed to the denigration of woman's role in conception, also a common feature of Greek and Roman writings on reproduction. In Aristotle's writings and the

Hippocratic Corpus, the role

woman

and yet her contribution

is

seen almost exclusively in her reproductive

to reproduction

is

usually considered far less

important than that of the man, whose "strong sperm"

will produce a boy and "weak sperm" a girl.^^ Barrenness was the woman's fault, however. These views that men were primarily responsible for conception contributed to and were often connected by ancient authors to women's innate inferiority. Plato began his section on the "wandering womb" by explaining that men were

created

first;

women were

the offspring of those

men "who were cowards

or

TRADITIONSINHERITED

30

and were thus

led unrighteous lives"

human

A

race.^^

semen," an

symbol of the degeneration of the

a

female was a female because of her "inability to concoct

inability Aristotle

ture." Menstrual fluid

thought came from the "coldness of her na-

was deficient semen;

to supply only the "matter" of a fetus, to

woman was

a deficient

man, able

which the superior male contributed

"form" and "soul."^^

The belief that women were "cold" and "moist" while men were "hot" and "dry" came from Hippocrates; as in Aristotle, "cold" was seen as inferior and was used to prove the female's inferiority to the male. "The female is less perfect than the male for one, principal reason," wrote Galen in the second century

Valued In Greece

Rome

and

than boys.

"because she

a.d.,

women

than men,

less

colder. "^5

is

survived less often to adulthood than men.

especially, there

The normal

is

ratio of girls to

evidence that fewer

boys at birth

is

girls

were raised

100 to 105. In both

the city of Athens and the Roman Empire, there are population figures which show the ratio skewed far to the male side. Ancient Greek censuses, lists of citizens and gravestones show a far larger number of males than females, and a recent estimate

Athens were not

argued that 10 percent of the female babies of the city of raised

by

their families. ^^

Even taking

into account under-

Roman Empire of women greatly outnumbered by men: in Roman Egypt, 100 women to 105 men; in Roman Spain, 100 women to 126 men; in Rome itself 100 women to 131 men; in Roman Italy and Africa, 100 women to 140 men.^^ reporting of female births and deaths, censuses from the

the second to fourth centuries a.d. show

Infants were rarely killed outright; rather, they were "exposed"

on garbage heaps or

outside,

in public places, in

might rescue them. Brothel owners collected infant be is

prostitutes. 28 In direct.

From

father to raise

Rome, evidence

as early as the

all

his sons,

early third century a.d.,

females"

among

more boys than care of the

you," a

the

girls

luck to you!

—you bear

raised

them

far

to

female infants

in

a

the

more males than

nobility of Augustus' era, the practice of raising

was taken

and

left

Twelve Tables, which required

of the

which remarks that "there were

Roman husband

and

but only one daughter, to a history written

Roman

little child,

girls

for the routine exposure of

Law



the hope that a passerby

as

for granted. 2*^ "I

soon as

we

wrote his wife,

offspring,

if

it is

beg and beseech you to take

receive wages

Alis, in

a

male

Egypt

I

in

will 1

send them to

B.C. "If

let it live; if it is a

—good female,

and women were assumed to need less to eat than boys and men, and so they were usually given less. In the fourth century B.C., Xenophon wrote that outside of Sparta, Greek "young girls who are destined to become mothers and considered well brought up are stinted in their basic diet and eat as little as possible of other expose it."^o In both Greece and Rome,

girls

Traditions Subordinating

foods. "^^ In

Rome, food

Women

was provided

assistance

31

far

more often and

for

and women. The Roman bread dole was only for men, and the records of a typical fund in northern Italy of the second century a.d. show 246 boys aided, but only thirty-five girls. ^2 Even where the effort was made to support equal numbers of girls and longer periods of time to boys and



men

than

girls

in the second century a.d. by the wealthy Macrina girls' grants were between 20 and 40 percent less than boys and ended two years sooner. ^^ These practices and the hazards

boys

fund established

as in a



heiress, Caelia

women

faced in childbirth shortened women's

under conditions of

relative equality

women's

percent, throughout antiquity shorter than a man's. ^'^

women

of

The system

life

expectancy.

tend to outlive life

men by

expectancy was

While women a factor of

five to

10

ten years

of female subordination deprived

some

life itself.

Outside Greece and Rome, infanticide and exposure were condemned, but

girls

and

women

continued to be valued

less

than boys and men. Both

the Hebrews and the Celts set monetary equivalents for their people to serve as a

measure of compensation

in case of injury or death.

females lower than those for males.

Of

the

Germanic

Both

tribes,

set values for

the Lombards,

women equally with men of the same Among women, variations came because of the ability to bear children.

Burgundians, and Anglo-Saxons valued status.

For example, among the Salian Franks, the wergild (valuation) of a girl before menarche and a woman after menopause was a third that of a menstruating

Women

's

Approved Roles

Those women who grew

found in place a which assumed they would function only in their approved roles of daughter, wife, mother, and widow. Women were defined by the family and, within the family, by their relationship to the men of the group. Life within the family protected and supported a woman. Laws rewarded and institutionalized her dependence and subordito maturity in these cultures

complete system of values and

nation.

Each

institutions,

of these early cultures explicitly excluded

women from

activities

outside the family, activities these cultures valued most. Powerful cultural this division of roles and activities, excluding women from the important areas assigned to men: warfare, government, philosophy, science, law, and in some cases religion. In classical Greek culture, the male

messages reinforced

was identified with

civilization, reason,

emotion, and chaos.

Men

to control

emotion and

needs. ^6 Although

and order, the female with nature,

could be expected to apply reason and logic to

instinct;

women would

give in to impulse

and

life,

selfish

some Greek playwrights created sympathetic and powerful

TRADITIONS INHERITED

32

women in their dramas, classical scholars still debate whether Athenian women were even permitted to watch these plays. Most often, the notion of a woman attempting to assume male roles was considered intrinsically humorous, as in Aristophanes' cles'

comedy The Congresswomen

famous Funeral Oration,

in

women that the greatest glory men whether for good or for

bravery and pursuit of glory in war, advised "will

be hers who

is

(Ecclesiazousae). Peri-

which the Athenian leader extolled male

least talked of

among

the

bad."57

Roman

culture similarly disapproved of

tinued to base

becomes

a

itself

on the power of the

women

in

men's

roles

and conAeneas

father. In Vergil's Aeneid,

hero and a worthy founder of the city of

Rome

in part

by

resisting

the temptation posed by Dido, a powerful foreign queen. Instead he chooses the docile and obedient Lavinia as his wife. She

is

appropriately silent, in the

manner urged on Greek and Roman women, and never utters a word in the epic. The expansion of elite Roman women's economic and political power during the early Empire (first century b.c. to first century a.d.) became a major criticism of the Empire itself; only a degenerate government, argued

women such power. '^ woman from the study of the

the historians Livy and Tacitus, would have allowed

Among

the Hebrews, her sex excluded a

Torah and the Talmud (the Pentateuch, its commentaries, and the laws), which was a primary religious obligation of Jewish men. Although Rabbi Ben Azzai argued, around 200 a.d., that a father had an obligation to teach his daughter Torah, subsequent practice supported the opinion of Rabbi Eliezar that "whoever teaches his daughter Torah is in effect teaching her lasciviousness."^'' The Palestinian Talmud argued that it was "better the words of Torah were burned than put into a woman's keeping" and the Babylonian Talmud asserted that "There is no wisdom in woman except with the distaff" [used to spin yarnj.'^o Women's function was to keep a home which abided by Jewish law and to pass traditional practices on to their children. Mothers educated daughters until they were married and sons until they reached the age of seven and went on to men's schools. But even within the home, a Jewish woman was subordinated to the male's dominance in religion. Able to light the Sabbath candles, a woman was forbidden to say the prayers blessing the bread she had baked or the wine she had poured. The Talmud says "cursed be the man who lets his wife recite the blessing for him on Friday night."^!

Celtic and

honored male that

if

a

Germanic activity.

woman

cultures excluded

One Lombard

warfare, the

participated in a brawl, no penalty fine need be paid

women. "^^2

i^ the Celtic epic,

most if

she

manner dishonorathe Tain Bo, Queen Medb's beauty,

were injured, since "she had participated ble to

women from

law of the seventh century specified

in a struggle in a

Traditions Subordinating

leadership,

made

and heroism

in battle

Women

33

cannot override the fact of her womanhood,

When

graphic by her menstruation.

she has been defeated, she speaks

with Fergus, up to that point her loyal lieutenant:

"We have had shame and shambles here today, Fergus." "We followed the rump of a misguiding woman," Fergus said.

"It

is

the usual

thing for a herd led by a mare to be strayed and destroyed."'*'

Excluded from the public powers reserved to men, women in these early had their own proper roles and functions. Defined in relation to men, women were categorized primarily by their sexual activity with men. From cultures

the earliest writings of these cultures, there

women and bad women daughter.

When

she lost her virginity

option only for the tiny she

ity),

tute



a

became bad

number

either a wife

sexually active



is

of priestesses

good

a

woman.

between good

a strict division

A

good daughter was a virginal (and remaining virginal for life was an

this regard.

in

A

whose

service required virgin-

sexually active

woman



or a prosti-

wife had sex with one man, which

defined her as chaste, a prostitute with many, which defined her as wanton.

"A woman's

greatest virtue

is

to second century B.C. Italy, cultures. ^"^

A

chastity," stated a Pythagorean text

and

this

sentiment was repeated

major inherited tradition of European

from third

in all these

women was

that they

good or bad, proper or improper, respectable or outcast, because of their sexual connections with men. Virginity and chastity were seen as inextricably connected to obedience.

would be defined

as

girl to be obedient, especially to her father, would ensure that she would maintain her proper behavior within the family as a virginal daughter and later as a chaste wife and mother. Laws institutionalizing her subordination to men set the pattern of restrictions for the European culture to come. Within the family, a woman had little more authority than a child. She was

Training a

always subject to her nearest male relative,

and property. Marriage meant the to another.

"No

free

woman who

who had

authority over her person

transfer of this authority

lives

from one male

according to the law of the Lombards

... is permitted to live under her own legal control, that is, to be legally competent" went the seventh-century Lombard law stating this. "But she ought to remain under the control of some man or her king."'^^ Typical of laws in all these early cultures, guardianship of women was assumed to be the

way of maintaining order in the family and society. The ideal woman subordinated her feelings, instinct, and judgment to her father, husband, or

best

male guardian. The

ideal

woman

in all these early cultures

willingly subordinated herself to the

Other laws and legends sought

men

was

a

woman who

of her family.

to ensure a daughter's obedience.

Greek

dramatists saw the conflict between a daughter's obedience and ethical behav-

TRADITIONSINHERITED

34 ior as tragic: fleet;

Iphigenia must die as a sacrifice to raise a wind for her father's

Antigone must die

if

she

is

to

kill

his

daughter

was the focus of

if

he thought

number of

a

demands

true to the

buries her brother against her uncle's order. it fit.

Roman

Not used

of her rehgion

and

law gave the father power

in historic times, this po\yer

legends. Livy recounted the tale of Horatia,

who

mourned the death of her brother's enemy. He killed her, and the murder was upheld when their father stated in court that Horatia deserved to die."^^ Hebrew scholars focused on Eve's disobedience in eating from the tree of knowledge as the source of evil. Lombard law stated that if a daughter opposed her father or brother, he could do whatever he wished with her property.

Most Hebrew,

of the writings

and legends about daughters

and Germanic cultures focus on the

Celtic,

Homer's Odyssey, Princess Nausicaa, an

ideal

in

Greek, Roman, virginity.

girl's

young woman,

tells

In

Odysseus

that I

myself should hold

for

any

girl

it

to flout her

shame

own

dear parents,

taking up with a man, before her marriage. "^^

Solon, the lawgiver of sixth-century B.C. Athens, forbade into slavery except the sale of a girl virginity

who had

lost

her

all sales

virginity."^^

of children

A daughter's

was inextricably connected to her family's honor, and intercourse

without her guardian's approval tainted that honor. "Virginity

not entirely

is

wedding hymn by Catullus, the Roman poet of the first century B.C. "One third your father owns, one third your mother,/ one third alone is yours: Don't fight with two/ who've sold a son-in-law their rights to yours,"

went

you.""^^

Roman

a

before marriage;

law called for the death of a daughter

Hebrew law allowed the death

her virginity to a

who

lost

her virginity

of a betrothed daughter

who

man

other than her fiance before the marriage; she could be stoned to death for "playing the harlot in her father's house. "^o Both lost

Roman and Hebrew

law sought to distinguish between cases where a

could have avoided rape by crying for help without risking her

life,

girl

and those

where she could not be expected to save herself. In the latter case, she was seen as an innocent victim and not punished; in the former, she could be executed. 51 Both Roman and Hebrew writers used the wanton daughter as a symbol of their culture's decline; in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament, for instance:

The Lord

said:

Because the daughters of Zion are haughty

and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes,

Traditions Subordinating

mincing along

as

Women

35

they go,

tinkling with their feet;

the Lord will smite with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion,

and the Lord

Germanic laws

fined the

will lay

man who made

warrior's daughter. Like Greek, loss of virginity

bare their secret parts.^^

sexual advances or gestures to a

Roman, and Hebrew

laws, they

viewed the

outside marriage as an injury to the guardian, not to the young

woman. The compensatory

fines

should she be so "corrupted" went to him.^^

woman negated the fine-^"^ The few fragments of ancient writing by women which deal with

Willingness on the part of the young

virginity

Temple dedications, especially to Artemis, show that Greek women regularly made an offering just before their marriage. Often this included the toys of her girlhood, which would end when reveal their acceptance of these attitudes.

she married and lost her virginity legitimately: Timareta before her wedding has dedicated to you, Artemis of the Lake, her tambourine, her pretty ball and the caul that upheld her hair, her dolls too, and their dresses: a virgin's gift, as is right to a Virgin. Artemis, hold your hand above the

girl

lose

in

has a bride ask, "Virginity

you?"

A

O

my

ideal

Where

virginity/

second voice answers "I'm

from. "56 Another fragment reads

The

her purity. ^^

wedding hymn by Sappho, the Greek poet of the seventh century

Part of a B.C.,

and purely preserve her

"Do

ofT to a place I

still

I

long for

will

shall

my

you go when

never

I

come back

virginity?"^^

daughter would be beautiful as well as obedient and

virginal.

Descriptions of youthful feminine beauty are remarkably uniform in Greek,

and Germanic writings. The ideal features included fair hair, and red lips. Found in Greek novellas, Roman poems, and Germanic epics, such descriptions echoed the following one, which is Geltic:

Roman,

Geltic,

pale skin,

The after

color of her hair was like the flower of the it

has been polished.

.

.

.

White

as the

iris

snow

in

summer

or like pure gold

one night were her hands, Her the mountain foxglove. of

and her lovely cheeks were soft and even, red as eyes were as blue as the hyacinth, her lips as red as Parthian leather. High, .^8 smooth, soft and white were her shoulders, clear white her long fingers. .

.

.

.

Beauty was honored

in itself; in a

daughter,

it

would aid

in

making

a

.

good

match.

The in

expected goal of

all

women who were

both ancient Greek and Hebrew, the word

not slaves was marriage, and

for

"woman" was

also the

word

They went together in all these cultures. Menarche, the start of menstruation, meant the girl was ready for marriage, and in the ancient for "wife."

world, as throughout European history,

menarche

usually occurred

between

TRADITIONSINHERITED

36

twelve and fourteen years. Families with property were eager to

make the

alliance marriage created with other families as soon as possible. ^^ Various

when the bride was under twelve; an eighth-century Lombard law specified that the date should be at the end of her twelfth year "because we know there have been many controversies over this matter, and

laws forbade marriage

it

appears to us that

years. "^'^

ages of the couple. far

more

girls

are not mature before they have completed twelve

Among the elite of these

cultures, there

was often

a disparity in the

Women's deaths in childbirth ensured that men

always be far older than the bride.

The

remarried

groom would almost

often; at his second or third marriage, the

marriage of a

with a

girl

was her senior by a number of years was often considered

man who

desirable. It

both

mirrored and perpetuated the ideal of wifely subordination within the marriage. Aristotle said

a

groom

the ideal marriage was between a bride of eighteen and

"my master"; fhe husband would guide and

of thirty-seven. ^^ Jewish wives called their husbands

"my

husbands called their wives

daughter. "^^

teach his wife; the wife would bear healthy children for her husband.

The arrangements

transfer of authority over a bride's family

Hebrew,

come. There was nothing casual about the

young woman from one man

and the groom or

concern that the young especially in

daughter in these early cultures

for the marriage of a

set the pattern for the centuries to

woman

Celtic,

to another.

his family negotiated the marriage.

not be forced to marry against her

and Germanic

The

There was will,

cultures. ^^

In addition to the transfer of authority, marriage involved the exchange of gifts, compensation to the bride's family for her loss, in the

new

and provision

for her

some came to the marriage with a portion of her Greece and Rome, the bride's family gave her a dowry,

relationship with her husband. In the wealthier classes of

of these early societies, the bride family's wealth. ^^^ In

which would be returned

to her or her

through divorce or death. ^^

Among

male guardian

if

the marriage ended,

the Hebrews, the bride received a pay-

ment from her husband on marriage that was written into the marriage document (ketubah) specifying her husband's obligations to her.^^ Geltic and Germanic custom usually also involved a gift from the groom to the bride, to be used for her support when he died. These cultures also provided a gift from the groom's family to the bride

became her

property. In

as well. Increasingly, this "bride gift"

Lombard law

father retained the gift; a century later,

it

of the seventh century, the bride's

was

largely hers.^^

Germanic

brides

received a third payment, the morgengabe or "morning gift," given to her

by her husband a queen, the

after the night

instance, the Merovingian cities of

on which the marriage was consummated. For

morgengabe could be

substantial. In the sixth century a.d., for

King Ghilperic

I

gave his queen, Galswintha, the

Limoges, Bordeaux, Cahors, Beam, and Bigorre

as a

morgengabe. ^^

Women

Traditions Subordinating

37

All these cultures expected the bride to bring personal possessions to begin

her

new household:

linens, clothing, kitchen utensils

—and

in royal or

monied

these could be lavish and substantial.^^

circles,

Both the betrothal (the occasion of the agreement on the marriage conand the marriage (the joining of the couple) were considered events

tract)

worthy of celebration, and feasting and drinking followed the ceremonies.

Each culture had fertility to

and symbols thought

rituals

many

the union, and

good fortune and

to bring

passed later into European culture. For

instance, the custom of placing a ring on the third finger of the bride's left hand came from Rome; it was believed that a nerve ran directly from that finger to the heart. Though marriage was viewed first as a social and economic union, these early societies passed on to European culture the expectation that the wife and husband would find affection and pleasure together. Love might not be expected, but even in an arranged marriage it was hoped for, and a number of Greek and Roman epitaphs testify to love between wife and husband. "Theodorus, my husband," reads one from an Athenian colony, "I pray that late though it be, you will come and 1 shall meet you and we shall share our bed, so that we shall forget our misfortune. '"^^ A plasterer in Roman Lyons raised a tombstone "to the eternal memory of Blandinia Martiola ... his wife incomparable and most kind to him." She died at eighteen and had married at thirteen. "You who read this," the epitaph ended, "go bathe in the baths of Apollo as I used to do with my

wife



I

wish

I

still

could. "^^

Epitaphs and funeral tributes give evidence of a wifely deceased

women were

said to

have

fulfilled.

"Praise for

ideal,

all

which some

good

women

is

simple and similar, since their native goodness and the trust they have

maintained do not require mother's funeral in the

My

dearest

a diversity of

first

century

mother deserved greater

words," stated a

praise than

all

propriety, chastity, obedience, woolworking, industry

in virtue,

whom

handsome and reputable

century

Book

others, since in modesty,

and honor she was on an place to any woman

wife causes her husband's "property to grow and increase, and she

grows old with a husband a

son at his

women, nor did she take second work and wisdom in times of danger.'^^

equal level with other good

The good

Roman

a.d.:

b.c.'^'

A

similar,

of Proverbs in the

A

who loves her, the mother of poem from Greece of the sixth tribute comes from the Hebrew

she loves and

family," declared a

but more detailed

Old Testament:

good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

TRADITIONS INHERITED

38

She does him good, and not harm, all

the days of her

life.

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands.

The wife's work

is

described further: She provides food for her household and

gives her servants their orders; she buys a field, plants a vineyard, a profit; she spins

and makes clothing, some

for her household,

and makes

some

for sale.

Strength and dignity are her clothing,

and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also and he praises her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all."'^'^

The Celts and Germans emphasized

the wife's role as the warrior's supporter.

In the epics, mothers of heroes like Ness of the Tain

legend protected their warrior sons. told

how

An

Bo

or Frigga in Norse

eighth-century Anglo-Saxon riddle

the "loyal kinswoman" cared for the warrior: [She] "wrapped

in clothes

and kept and cherished me,/ enfolded

As kindly

as she did for her

own

children.

.

.

me

."^^ Warriors' wives

expected to celebrate victories, as the Danish queen

Beowulf does by providing

a lavish banquet.

mourn the death of her spouse; mean her enslavement or capture. to

A

me

in a protective cloak/

in

were

the Germanic saga

warrior's wife

was expected

as in earlier centuries, his defeat

could

In these early cultures, the ideal wife was expected to be sexually faithful

and bear healthy children, preferably boys, to its duties herself, and to support her husband's military endeavors. Always seen in relation to her husband, her life was expected to be spent ministering to his needs. All of these early cultures decreed that, just as a daughter should be virginal, so a wife must be chaste. Just as a daughter's loss of virginity to her husband, to

be

fertile

manage the household

or perform

dishonored her father, so a wife's

infidelity

dishonored her husband.

Of

becoming pregnant by another man and her passing off the illegitimate child as her husband's. "She gave me children just like myself," was a common tribute in wives' epitaphs from Roman husbands. All these early cultures used both coercion and praise to ensure the wife's fidelity. Adultery remained primarily a woman's crime; a man could commit it only by having sex with another man's wife, not with greatest concern was the chance of her

Traditions Subordinating

Women

39

another woman. All had harsh laws to punish a woman's sexual

infidelity. In

Athens, the male seducer was also

him and

"The

out the offending wife.

guilty; the

husband could

kill

lawgiver seeks to disgrace such a

cast

woman and

make her life not worth living," explained an orator in the fourth century Hebrew law gave the husband the right to kill both the woman and Roman law became less harsh as the centuries passed; initially the the man. B.c.^^

'7'^

penalty was death, later

it

changed to

exile, later still to loss of

property to

compensate the dishonored husband. '^^ Celtic and Germanic laws allowed murder or execution of the offending wife or, as in the case of the AngloSaxons, allowed the husband to discard her and to collect her monetary value (wergild) from her lover. Thus, the

Wifely chaste

fidelity

was

also

husband could negotiate

encouraged by cautionary

women. The Roman legend

in future centuries.

Both

stories

new

wife."^^

which extolled

in

and the Hebrew tale of European art and literature

were remarkably

similar. In each, a beautiful

of Lucretia

Susannah and the Elders figured prominently

young wife

for a

fables,

man

men) who threaten

to lie and say had sex with them in order to force her to give in to their sexual demands. Susannah proclaims her innocence and is saved by divine is

imperiled by an

evil

(or

that she has already

intervention. Lucretia,

—her

who

yielded after being threatened with a dishonora-

he would show her family her corpse bed together redeemed herself by suicide, an honorable death in Roman culture. Even though innocent, she dies rather than "provide a precedent for unchaste women to escape what they deserve."^^ The moral was clear: A virtuous wife should die before being ble death

and that of

a

royal antagonist declared

male slave



in

unfaithful to her husband.

This

fidelity

and

exclusivity did not apply to the husband.

Except among

the Hebrews, where a husband's infidelity was disparaged in the centuries after

800 b.c,

a

double standard prevailed, and husbands were routinely

expected to have sex not only with their wives, but with slavewomen and prostitutes.^^

"We

[male citizens of Athens] have courtesans for the sake of

pleasure, concubines for the daily care of the body,

and wives

to breed

legitimate children and be a trustworthy guard of possessions indoors," stated

the orator Demosthenes in the fourth century b.c.^^

The

wife's duty to breed legitimate children

remained one of her most

important functions. All these cultures assumed that childlessness was the

woman's

fault,

A

and

all

allowed a husband to divorce her for her supposed

woman was a pathetic figure in cultures that valued and in Greece, Rome, and Israel, barren women sought divine aid: praying and sacrificing to goddesses associated with fertility in Greece; par-

barrenness. ^^

barren

fertility,

ticipating in fertility rituals in

Israel.

Since

fertility

and

cults in

Rome; beseeching God

for children

was associated with divine approval, the barren

TRADITIONS INHERITED

40

woman was

used to provoke her sorely, to

"rival

the Lord had closed her

womb,"

states

Samuel

I

in

even her husband's attempt to comfort her, asking, than ten sons?" could not console In

all

especially

irritate her,

the Old Testament, and

"Am

I

not more to you

men to obtain, The tradition

these early cultures, divorce was relatively easy for

on the grounds of the

Europe. In

classical

Roman

wife's adultery or barrenness.

Church sought

to

end

last

divorce in

all

Athens, divorce was usually initiated by the husband. ^^

Women

law gave the right to divorce only to husbands.

divorce by the

as well

because

her.^"^

prevailed even after the Christian

Early

women

doubly disfavored and was looked down upon by

men. Hannah's

as

century b.c, but there

is

could

evidence that such divorces were

often engineered by the wife's father. Easy divorce primarily benefited in

the family,

women

who

of their

sought to establish

allies. ^^

new

political alliances

men

by marrying the

Divorce remained unequal throughout

Roman hisman to

law of the Emperor Constantine allowed a

tory; a fourth-century

divorce his wife for adultery, procuring, or poisoning; he could also divorce

her on "light grounds"

two

for

years.

The

he agreed

if

poisoner, or a grave robber, but

Among

deported. ^"^

to give

up her dowry and not remarry who was a murderer, a

wife could divorce a husband if

she acted on any other grounds, she was

the Hebrews, divorce was the sole prerogative of the

man.^^ In addition to being faithful and fruitful, the wife had a third responsibility to

her husband. She must see to the household. These early cultures

passed on to European society the traditional standard that a good wife saw to her family's basic needs,

member

of a

Germanic

her household garden. Early cultures freed their male

even

most exalted

in the

vise their slaves

ing wool."^^

"the .

.

.

silver

she

basket/

is still

women were

Helen

is first

rimmed

in

elites

expected at

clan working

from work, but least to super-

traditional labor, spinning

and "mak-

seen in the Odyssey, her servant brings in

hammered

gold, with wheels to run on.

and cradled on it/ the distaff swathed in wool."^^ Her yarn and tools are royal, her distaff is golden, but

heaped with

dusky violet

families,

and perform woman's

When

Roman matron

whether she was the wealthiest

supervising her slaves or the poorest

fine

spun

stuff,

expected to spin yarn

like a

poor woman,

whom Homer

in a simile in the Iliad:

Think

of an honest cottage spinner

balancing weight in one pan of the scales

and wool yarn on the other, trying

to earn

a pittance for her children: evenly poised as that

were these great powers making war.^^

invokes

Traditions Subordinating

Women

41

Throughout antiquity, cloth making was always women's work, so much European cultures, the "distaff side" signified the females of [and] the work considered a family. Spinning is "the work they understand most honorable and suitable for a woman," stated the fourth-century B.C. so that in later

.

.

.

Greek historian, Xenophon.'^^ Roman epitaphs for wives used the statement "She kept the house and worked in wool" so often that it became a routine and expected tribute.''^ The Jewish housewife in the Book of Proverbs "puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. "^^ By the late Roman Empire, women were so often associated with textiles that the word gynaecea (women's places) was used

in legal contracts to designate

weaving,

Qf all this labor, what remains is only "Of the millions of yards of stuff woven

spinning, and dyeing establishments. ^^

the tradition of

women making cloth.

our period covers," write the authors of Art of the

in the thirteen centuries

Ancient World, "only

no

a

few square inches survive so that we have practically

what they were

direct information of

The

like."^^

women in these European women was

vast majority of

cultures

worked the

land.

One

would be paid less than men when they worked for wages, even when they performed the same labor. As early as the eighth century B.C., the Greek poet Hesiod advised a farmer on how to save money. In winter, he should "let go the hired man; hire a tradition inherited

by

childless girl."^'^ In addition,

"The

bands.

women were

poor, not having any slaves,

that they

expected to cater to their hus-

must employ both

their

women and

children as servants," wrote Aristotle in the fourth century b.c.^^ In the cities, women performed a wide variety of activities to earn income. Women's "double burden" performing housework and childcare and earning extra income tures.

Most



is

of these

Women

as well.



another tradition which dates back to these early

means

of earning

sold food, clothing,

became and

cul-

traditional female occupations

trinkets in the public markets

and

They provided food and lodging. They managed brothels and worked prostitutes. They hired themselves out as wet nurses (wealthy Greek and

streets.

as

Roman women They

also

often hired poor

worked

as

women

to suckle their children for them).

midwives; throughout the centuries, European

women

by other women. The presence of a trained midwife was sought after. Male doctors were only called in for dire emergencies or to supervise births in the wealthiest families. By the second century a.d., the Roman doctor Soranus specified the characteristics of a good usually gave birth at

home,

assisted

midwife:

She

will

be unperturbed, unafraid

in

danger, able to state clearly the reasons for

her measures, she will bring reassurance to her patients, and be sympathetic. .

.

.

She must love work

who

in

order to persevere through

ail

vicissitudes (for a

wishes to acquire such vast knowledge needs manly patience).^*'

woman

TRADITIONSINHERITED

42

Soranus described

throughout

European

technique which

another

later centuries:

midwives used

measuring the dilation of the cervix with their

fingers.

Women

worked

at

such occupations only

families sought to ensure their daughters'

the poorer classes; wealthy

in

freedom from such labor by provid-

ing her with a dowry. In addition to managing her husband's household, a

wife was expected to be a political and dynastic link between families. In

when

times

small

numbers

of noble families or a particular dynasty ruled,

marital alliances to bolster or protect political

power became common. Most

often in such cases, the man's needs were dominant, and he could take

wives (either divorcing the old or adding to his previous necessary to preserve his political interests.

Seleucid dynasties of the fourth to so did the powerful (the

first

Roman

The Macedonian, Ptolemaic, and women this way;

centuries b.c. used

families of the late Republic

centuries b.c. and a.d.). Ambitious

unmade betrothals and allegiances. Julius

was

first

men

and

Empire

early

of that era

made and

marriages to mirror and confirm their shifting political

Caesar broke a childhood engagement to Cossutia when he

because she did not belong to the

fifteen,

new

he deemed

tally) as

politically

powerful equestrian

him with her powerful father, L. Cornelius Cinna, who had been consul in Rome. After Cornelia's death, class.

His

first

marriage, to Cornelia, allied

Caesar married Pompeia, the daughter of another powerful consul, but vorced her for his

when

numerous

make another

she was suspected of adultery. (Caesar himself was affairs

with both

women and

political alliance; his third wife,

men.) This

left

him

di-

known free to

Calpurnia, was the daughter

of another important consul. Caesar sealed his political alliance with

Pompey

—she became Pompey's fourth

wife.^o^

by marrying

Of

his

daughter

him

Julia to

the Germanic cultures, the Franks forced alliances and acquired

wealth by abducting

women and

marrying them. Charlemagne, emperor of

the Franks in the eighth and ninth centuries, had four wives successively

chosen and discarded either for reasons of state or because he disliked them. His grandsons each married a

empire he was to

inherit.

woman

to help in controlling the third of the

Lothar took an heiress of Alsace, Pepin a wife from

the Chartres area, and Louis a kinswoman from East Austrasia.^^i Occasionally, powerful this

women

of these cultures attempted to manipulate

system of dynastic alliances for their

marriages into bids for power, sons, or brothers.

But

a

if

own

ends.

They

parlayed their

not for themselves, then for their husbands,

woman who attempted

to

do

this

moved beyond the

allowed limits. She was acting contrary to her culture's role for her and was subject to the severest criticism

and punishment

if

her hold on power faltered.

The tradition the lives of such women transmitted was the danger of letting a woman seize political power. This legacy can be clearly seen in the life of

Traditions Subordinating

Agrippina

(15-59

II

a.d.),

the

Roman

both the achievements and Hmits of

The daughter

II

43

empress whose career demonstrates

this sort of

power.

Roman Emperor

of a granddaughter of the

adopted grandson, Agrippina

his

Women

was raised

Augustus and

the highest pohtical

in

circles.



him a son the future Emperor Nero when she was twenty-seven. That same year, her brother became the Emperor Caligula. He exiled Agrippina II and her sister; Married

at thirteen to the



son of a powerful consul, she bore

a few years later, Agrippina's

returned to

Rome

husband

after Caligula's death

In exile for four years, she

died.

and married her second husband,

a

who left her a fortune when he died. Agrippina was thirty-two made her boldest bid for power by courting the new emperor,

wealthy senator then, and she

Claudius, her uncle, whose powerful wife Messalina had also died recently.

She managed to persuade Claudius to make her in 49 A.D. a marriage which required a special



its

his

empress and fourth wife

senatorial decree because of

incestuous nature. Claudius gave her a great deal of power; he allowed her

be called "Augusta" (the

to influence his decisions, ordered that she

empress to be given Five years

later,

this title

while

still

Claudius was dead

alive),

and made her son

first

his heir.

—perhaps poisoned, perhaps by Agrip-

Her seventeen-year-old son became emperor and, for the first years of his reign, allowed his mother power; she advised him on crucial matters, listened to delegations from behind curtains, and was portrayed on coins equally with him. He then turned against her. She went to live with her first husband's mother, and it was there that she wrote her memoirs, which have been lost. In 59 a.d., five years after his accession to the throne, Nero arranged for his powerful mother's murder. She was forty-four, and her dying pina.

words were supposed to have been "Smite

my womb!"

in recognition that

her son had ordered her death. ^^^ In his history of the era, Tacitus all

things

human

commented on

the most precarious and transitory

Agrippina's death: is

a reputation of

which has no strong support of its own.''^^^ Women bidding power found that this power ultimately lay with men, who could

them

if

necessary. Moreover,

political circles ries

afterward.

were severely

^O'*

Roman

women who criticized,

achieved influence

both

in their

in

for dynastic

rule without

dynastic and

own day and

for centu-

historians linked female influence to violence

decadence, as did Gregory of Tours

in his

"Of

power

and

account of the sixth-century

Prankish queens, Brunhild and Fredegund. Their bloodthirstiness and treachery are emphasized as they are described deceiving inciting

war

to

keep themselves or their kin

Brunhild, the surviving queen,

is

shown dying

in

men, murdering, and

power. Like Agrippina

horribly; she

II,

was dragged to

death at seventy. ^^^

By attempting

to gain political power, a

woman

contravened the

activities

TRADITIONS INHERITED

44

allowed a wife and mother.

When she entered the political arena, she became

anomalous and exposed. The ties left their

women who

seized

power

in these early dynas-

granddaughters at best an equivocal heritage; the

female power was always overlaid with strictures against powerful

women

were used to

illustrate

it,

memory

and the

the dangers of permitting

of

lives of

women

to

exceed their proper roles and functions by venturing into areas meant only for

men.

and mother held firm. From the earliest had been extolled by men. As far as can be told, it was also accepted by women; within the home, as a cherished wife, a woman achieved the safest and most secure existence possible. The role of the chaste wife and mother, who was prolific, hardworking, and devoted to her housekeeping and her family remained one of the most powerful traditions Instead, the ancient ideal for wife

records, this wifely ideal

inherited by later generations of European

Women

's

As old

women.

Dishonorable Roles: Slave, Prostitute, and Concubine as the tradition of respect for the

contempt, fear

—and

desire



for the

good wife was the tradition of the rules and had sex

woman who broke

with more than one man. As a slave woman, a prostitute, or a concubine, a

woman was

cast out

and mothers.

from the traditional protections accorded chaste wives

Women who

used their sexuality to augment their power were

stigmatized as prostitutes no matter

how

high their social rank; the

Romans

called Cleopatra regina meretrix,

"the prostitute queen," because of her

sexual liaisons with Julius Caesar

and Mark Antony. ^^^ Hebrew prophets

made no

between prostitution and adultery, seeing in women's independent sexual behavior an ultimate betrayal and subversion of values. "Plead that she put away her harlotry from her face, and her often

.

distinction

.

.

adultery from between her breasts," wrote Hosea. Hosea, Isaiah, and other

Hebrew prophets religious

apostasy

the period used —"the land commits of

of exile

"harlotry" to

great

harlotry

condemn

Israel's

by forsaking the

LORD."io7

women were simultaneously appealing and dangerous. One women were criticized was for using their sexual attractiveinfluence men. From the earliest writings of these cultures, men had

To men,

such

reason powerful ness to

expressed fear of the power of women's sexual attraction over them. solution of these early cultures to this

women

into

two separate and

problem consisted

distinct categories: the wife

The

in trying to divide

and the whore.

A

wife should be obedient to her husband and follow his lead, even in the bed.

Independent female sexuality was stigmatized as characteristic of a prostitute. In Plutarch's Moralia, for instance (a first to second century a.d. Greek work

Traditions Subordinating

generally positive about

women's

capacities

Women

and

45

talents), Plutarch states that

a wife

ought not to shrink away or object when her husband starts to make love, but not herself to be the one to start either. In the one case she is being over-eager like a prostitute, in the

Slave

other case she

being cold and lacking

is

in affection. ^^^

women were the most vulnerable; the earliest writings of all these slave women serving warriors' sexual needs. But as sexual to the men of the household, slave women were also in a position show

cultures

partners

to use their sexual attractiveness to increase their status and security. Greek and Roman slave women might eventually gain their freedom; Celtic and Germanic slave women might advance beyond the position of concubine.

The

sixth-century Prankish

slave, attracted

women ters of

Queen Fredegund,

King Chilperic from

naturally incurred suspicion

began life as a and married him. Such from the wives and daugh-

for instance,

his first wife,

and

distrust

the household. Functioning as household prostitutes, they undermined

the hard-won status of the virginal daughter and the chaste wife. Slave

women were

not condemned for having sex with their masters,

them because of it. European men attempted women's sexual power over them by confining it. They rethe wife and regulated the prostitute. (The line between slave and

only for trying to influence to control stricted

prostitute blurs in these early cultures; slaves could function as household prostitutes; prostitutes

were often slave women.) Not only did men

these early cultures classify any titute,

condemned the

they

woman.

A

woman who had attempt to

sex only with

women

more men threatened the social balance. This women's sexuality, however, conflicted with the double

other than their wives.

male prostitution,

and dishonorable

her husband or master; a

sex with

restrict

standard of sexual behavior, which allowed

with

in

of independent sexuality as a pros-

prostitute as a despicable

woman had

good

woman

in

which

women

The

men result

in these early cultures sex

was the institution of

provided sex to

men

in

money, but were simultaneously despised and stigmatized later European centuries,

This tradition endured into the other aspects of prostitutes'

fe-

exchange

for

doing

so.

for as

did

many

lives.

Institutionalized prostitution in cities

is

present in the earliest records of

the Greeks and Romans. Solon, the sixth-century b.c. Athenian lawgiver, was

supposed to have established a large brothel so that "young

work

off their lust

is

certainly a

is

client in first-century B.C.

Rome.

could thus

anyone who

men should be forbidden to make love, even to man of stern righteousness," argued Cicero on

thinks that young

he

men

without disordering families. "^^9 "jf there

prostitutes,

behalf of a

m TRADITIONS INHERITED

46

But he is out of touch not only with the free life of today, but even with the code and concessions which our fathers accepted. For when was that not customary? When was it blamed? When was it not allowed? When was it not lawful to do what is a lawful privilege?^ *o cultures had no need for prostitutes; men used slave and practiced polygamy when it suited them. Little stigma attached to the men who bought sex from women. The women themselves were stigmatized, marginalized, and regulated.

Celtic and

women

Germanic

for sex

This tradition endured into the tutes rifices

allowed other

women's

cults.

A

women;

free-born

in

European

later

were forbidden to participate

centuries. In Athens, prosti-

in public religious

ceremonies and

sac-

Rome, they were excluded from important

Roman man was

forbidden to marry a prostitute

or the freed slave of a prostitute or procurer, but a male procurer could

become

a full

Roman

citizen. In

Hebrew

writings, the

female and was used to signify a low and degraded city has

become a harlot, she that was

full

word "harlot" was

state:

"How

the faithful

of justice!" wrote the prophet Isaiah

about Jerusalem. In

Rome, another

tradition about prostitutes

was established. They were

forbidden to wear a respectable matron's dress and instead were forced to don the short tunic and toga usually worn by men.^i^ Throughout subsequent

European

history,

men attempted some

to

make

prostitutes instantly identifiable

it was justified on the grounds would protect respectable women from being approached by men, and would make it easier for men to find a prostitute for hire. Both Greek and Roman cities also founded the tradition of making money off prostitution; magistrates and states established brothels and then taxed them heavily.

by

their clothing or

signal of costume;

that this

License fees were also established and became lucrative sources of revenue. Liable to physical violence and disease, prostitutes also faced the hazards unwanted pregnancy. In the first century B.C., the Roman writer Lucretius referred to "movements used by prostitutes" in their attempts to avoid pregnancy. Some ancient contraceptives (especially those which blocked the cervix or acted as spermicides) may have been effective, but most were not.^ ^^ In the second century a.d., the Greek writer Lucian wrote a "Dialogue of the Gourtesans" which realistically presented a pregnant prostitute:

of

And

I

so near

my

time! Yes, that

is all

I

have to thank

the prospect of having a child to bring up; and you

poor

girls.

I

mean

to

keep the child, especially

my

lover for; that,

know what

if it is

a boy.

that

means

and

to us

.^^'^ .

.

While prostitutes remained generally despised and vulnerable, a talented and quick-witted woman could rise to the better role of courtesan. Famous not only for their sexual services, but also for their social

skills as

hostesses

Traditions Subordinating

and companions, courtesans moved courtesans were the only

women

in

Women

the highest

circles. In classical

permitted to participate

symposia which formed a large part of the

elite

in

woman

in

Greek male's

praised the intelligence of Aspasia, Pericles' mistress,

the "most famous

47

social

life.

Plato

and she was considered

Athens."^ ^^

in fifth-century [b.c]

Athens,

the dinners and

A clever woman

the right circumstances could turn her sexual connection with an impor-

tant

man

and even powerful future. Although this happened dream fascinated future generations of poor European girls. 497-548), for instance, the daughter of a dancer and bear

into a secure

infrequently, this

Theodora

(c.

keeper at the Hippodrome in Constantinople, rose to

Empress of the Roman Empire

in this

way from

prostitute

in the East.

Theodora's father died when she was four, and she soon joined her older

performing

sister in

caste in the

dancer and mime. (Actresses and actors were lower

as a

Roman Empire and were

usually ranked

on the same

level as

Famous for her wit, she performed as a comedienne at private parties. She became the mistress of an administrative official and lived with him briefly in Egypt before returning on her own to Constantinople. ^^^ It was during this period of her life that she met men on the highest level of prostitutes.)

and the future heir

to the

and nephew to the Emperor,

fell in

church

society: various religious thinkers,

officials,

throne, Justinian. Justinian, himself forty, unmarried,

love with her.

To make

laws which forbade free

his marriage with her possible,

men

to marry prostitutes.

he amended the old

When he succeeded to the

throne in 527, two years after the marriage, Theodora became his cornier.

Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire. Justinian

my

delight" and described her as "partner in in his plans

and

political

called her "his sweetest

deliberations." ^^"^

maneuverings and participated

"always apologizing for taking the liberty to

talk,

being a woman."! ^^ She had

entourage, and her

own

the Nika Revolts of 532, she persuaded Justinian not to

flee,

her

own

imperial seal, her

own

official

She shared

in councils of state,

court.

During

shaming him

into staying by her speech in the Council of State: If

I

had no

safety left but in flight,

the crown should never survive as

Empress. Caesar,

are ready, the sea

is

if

you wish to

clear.

But

I

I

would not

still

its loss. I'll

flee,

flee.

Those who have worn

never see the day

well

shall stay.

when

I

am

not hailed

and good, you have money, the ships I

love the proverb: Purple

is

the best

winding sheet. ^^^

Theodora was unique in her sympathy for both women and prostitutes. She was instrumental in passing legislation which gave women more property rights and was responsible for an edict which made pimping a criminal offense and banished all brothel keepers from the city. She founded a convent for

TRADITIONSINHERITED

48

former prostitutes and was known for buying prostitution, freeing (at

them, and providing

the church of San Vitale, in Ravenna,

wearing an elaborate crown, robed

in black

she died, and

and

little

The most

Italy)

sold into

Her mosaic

shows her

portrait

royally bejeweled,

and

bracelets.

She

is

with no expression on her face. At fifty-one,

effective legislation

and

who had been

collar, earrings, necklace,

stares straight

detailed

girls

for their future.

was passed by Justinian after her death.

factual source for Theodora's life

is

Procopius'

Theodora is presented as a sexual monster, a woman for whom no deed was too infamous, no sexual act too revolting. She is described as at the mercy of her whims and emotions and as a ruthless manipulator of men.^^o She is called a "demon" and is shown contemporaneous Historia Arcana. In

it,

presiding over the castration of a young man. All the early accounts of her

which have been preserved

life

the lowliness of her origins and the

stress

horror of her slow death from cancer. Despite her obvious abilities and it was impossible for men to write realistically about her; moral had to be drawn to discourage other women from the same path. Condemnation, even of the most highly placed courtesans, remained part of

influence,

lessons

European

traditions about

women

sexually active outside marriage.

In male writings about prostitutes in these early cultures, fantasies super-

seded

reality,

and the

fantasies also

endured

in later

European

was the fantasy that the prostitute was "honest" and

really

culture.

There

had "a heart of

made her preferable to a coy girl from a respectable family. There was the fantasy that the prostitute would be so pleased by her client that she would not charge her customary fee.^^i Greek plays of the fourth and third centuries B.C., which long remained popular with Roman audiences as well, often showed the hero falling in love with a slave prostitute, who, it gold," which

from

turns out,

is

The hero

rescues her

a virgin

a higher caste

and gains

who

a beautiful

has been accidentally enslaved.

and

grateful bride.

These were the benign fantasies. Others more malign also became enduring traditions in European culture. Much Roman literature argued that within every respectable

when

woman

the opportunity presented

there lurked a whore, ready to satisfy her lust itself.

The

story of the wife of Ephesus,

who

has intercourse with the soldier guarding her newly dead husband's tomb, was told

and retold

in

subsequent centuries.

(It first

appeared

in Petronius' Satyri-

Wanton women and prostitutes were major subjects of Roman satire. More specifically, Roman poets singled out the old prostitute for castigation

con.

)

in the

scar/

most revolting and obscene terms. "Your teeth are black and furrows

With

century

wrinkles

all

your forehead's length!" wrote Horace in the

B.C., in a typical

example:

Your filthy private gapes between Shrunk buttocks like a scrawny cow's;

first

Traditions Subordinating

Women

49

Your chest and wizened breasts are seen Like horses' teats, and flabby shows Your belly, and your lank thighs strung

To

women,

Invective against to

be sexually

active,

was

Lust drives

wrath! 122

especially old prostitutes or

major subject

a

express fear and hatred for sive sexuality.

my

swollen calves, provoke

women,

all

women

women who

Latin literature. These

in

especially of

dared

poems

women's supposed

exces-

men: betraying

to crimes against

their

husbands, prostituting themselves for sex rather than money, being unfaithful

no crime

to their lovers. In these poems,

commit; they urinate on their husbands,

and even have sex with animals

such images, the world of realm where is

the

too revolting for

is

women

women

to

conspire with their mothers-in-law to cuckold

altars,

reality

is

left far

to satiate their lust.^^'

behind, and

we

With

enter a nightmare

are seen as men's enemies. This set of horrifying images

worked to subordinate European women. These

final tradition that

early cultures passed

on

a substantial

comprised an important strand

in

body of misogynist

literature

which

the European cultural heritage.

Misogyny "Misogyny" means hatred of women, and it was present not only in literature, but in Greek and Hebrew writings as well. These cultures blamed the first woman for bringing evil into the world. At the end of the

Roman

eighth century B.C., the Greek poet Hesiod wrote an account of creation that supplied images to later European culture. In

it,

man

is

happily until, in punishment for Prometheus' stealing first

to

woman, Pandora.

Beautiful to look

at,

she

is

first and lives Zeus creates the

created fire,

"the hopeless trap, deadly

men."

From her comes all the race of womankind, The deadly female race and tribe of wives Who live with mortal men and bring them harm,

No

help to them in dreadful poverty

Women

are

bad

for

men, and they conspire Thunderer made it so.^^'*

In wrong, and Zeus the

In a second

poem, Works and Days, Pandora,

her "box" and unleashes "pains and evils" biblical

Eve

in

"this ruin of

Hebrew

writings, possibly

tended to make Eve into such a figure as temptation and did that which

God had

Similar to the

blamed for all the evils because of Greek influence,

her failure to be obedient. Pandora

of the world. Later

mankind," opens

among men. 1^5 is

well: a

forbidden

woman who



gave

in to

eating and persuading

TRADITIONSINHERITED

50

to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. "From a woman had its beginning," wrote Joshua ben Sirach in the second century B.C., "and because of her we all die."^^^ The tradition of blaming women and considering the best of women to be inferior to men was well-established in the ancient world. "Better is the wickedness of a man than a woman who does good; and it is a woman who brings shame and disgrace," declared ben Sirach. Even earlier, in the third century B.C., "the Preacher" had stated woman is "more bitter than death."

Adam sin

"One these

[righteous] I

man among a thousand I found, but ^he Hebrews also created

of Lilith, formed simultaneously with

Adam

to be his

creation of Eve. Lilith refused to be subservient, left

geance by menacing children and

Monsters imagined by these later

European

literature

who

monsters: Circe, into a dis,

menacing

and

turned

men

rock, with snake's

all

the legendary figure first

wife, before the

Adam, and took

ven-

infants. ^^^

early cultures

art.

woman among

a

have not found." ^27

became

The Greeks

traditional images in

created numerous female

into swine; Scylla, the

nymph

and dog's heads growing from

the deadly whirlpool; and the Sirens,

who

lure

men

transformed her;

Charyb-

to death with their

tells of Echidna, half girl and half snake, who gives dog of hell, of the Chimera, of the Sphinx, and other monsters who menace male heroes like Hercules and Jason. 1^9 He also men-

beautiful songs. Hesiod birth to Cerberus, the

tions the Furies (Erinyes), three inexorable females

who

wrongdoers. Later Greek myths supplied the Harpies





relentlessly

—ravenous,

punish

filthy birds

and the Gorgons hideous women with snakes for whose gaze turns men to stone. Medusa, the Gorgon Perseus killed, is portrayed in Greek sculpture as a grotesque face with her tongue hanging down to her chin. The male hero of Greek legends moved through a landscape thronged with female monsters, whom he must defeat or outwit in order to survive. The same was true of Germanic cultures. The Vikings with women's heads hair,

believed in Sigurd, a giant daughter of the gods associated with the under-

ground world of death; starvation was her

knife,

famine her

her bed.^^^ In the epic, Beowulf proves his heroism

Grendel, the old hag,

The similarly

in

an underwater

table,

in part

and care

by defeating

battle.

literature of these early cultures also presents ordinary

men

in a

embattled stance, usually with regard to their wives. They portray

wives as idle and vengeful, shrewish and unscrupulous, as figures to be con-

quered or derided. Semonides of Amorgos wrote a famous century B.C. classifying

women

man. The others are the sow "who sits "wicked vixen," who knows nothing, the sea

woman, who

satire in the sixth

Only one, the bee, is good for by the dungheap and grows fat," the

into ten types.

"raves," the ass,

who

bitch,

who

is

"always yapping," the

"puts up with everything," the ferret,

Traditions Subordinating

Women

who "makes any man

she has with her sick," the horse

and, worst of harm. "1^1

monkey who

all,

the

is

51

who "proves a

plague,"

"hideous" and does "the worst possible

Semonides and Hesiod transmuted the hatred of misogyny into the mock-

The

nagging, wasteful, wanton wife,

who

is always talking and European humor in the centuries to come. Hesiod argued that a man "couldn't live with 'em and couldn't live without 'em." If a man did not marry, he faced a "miserable old age" with no children to care for him; if he did marry, he "lives all his life/ With never-ending pain.''^'^ gy j-j^^ fourth century B.C., making fun of wives had become a standard theme in the comedies performed in Greece and later Rome. "I wish the second man who took a wife would die an awful death," went a fragment from fourth century b.c. Athens. "I don't blame the first man; he had no experience of that evil."^^^ Husbands complain that their wives never stop talking, long for the day their wives will die, and try to be rid of them if possible. Plautus' popular comedy The Twin Menaechmi

ery of humor. is

a

torment to her husband, became

a staple of

concludes:

Menaechmus

sells his

property

Cash and no delay All must go house and Slaves and furniture Wife goes too



if

anyone takes

lot

a fancy to her.

Misogyny has no female counterpart in European culture. Women almost made jokes about men and probably had their own stereotypes about men's nature. But these were not written down, and so did not become a tradition inherited by later generations. Male humor about women was not balanced by female humor about men in the written record and literature generally. Repeated over and over, misogynist stereotypes came to appear valid and accurate portrayals of women. The following passage, from the Greek playwright Aristophanes, was written in 392 B.C., but was echoed in certainly

writings of later centuries:

Women just as

roast their barley sitting, just as they always

have

.

.

.

they bake cakes,

they always have; they nag their husbands, just as they always have; they

sneak their lovers into the house, little tit-bits, just as

just as

they always have; they buy themselves

they always have; they prefer their wine unwatered,

they always have; and they enjoy a good fuck,

just as

just as

they always have.^'"*

For women, the most powerful traditions in Western culture have been those which try to subordinate and denigrate them.

TRADITIONS EMPOWERING

WOMEN

Traditions subordinating women were powerful, but not These early cultures also contained images and beliefs that

empowered the

women

all-powerful. glorified

and

female. In addition, exceptional circumstances occasionally

prominence in fields usually and accomplishments of Sappho, Deborah, Cleopatra, and Boudica are also part of the traditions inherited by European women. Centuries after the old empires and kingdoms had disappeared, women would take inspiration from these female images and figures. allowed

of unusual ability to rise to

reserved to men.

The

lives

Worship of Goddesses All these early cultures except the

female

figures.

^

The

chief god in the

cultures was male, but

who

all

Hebrews gave supernatural powers to Greco-Roman and Germanic-Celtic

these groups also postulated powerful female forces

controlled the lives of heroes

and sometimes even the gods.

Fate in these early cultures was female, and the ultimate power of death, of destiny and necessity was personified as a

women. Associated with

and

time, the Fates were often perceived as spinning,

weaving, and cutting the thread of men's the most

life

woman or a group of three

lives,

commonplace and ordinary female

transforming cloth making,

activity, into a

symbol of

ulti-

mate power. To the Greeks, the three Fates were Clotho (the Spinner), Lachesis (the Disposer of the Lots), and Atropos (the Inflexible), who cut the thread of life with her shears of death. In Germanic beliefs, the three Fates were the Norns, who sewed the web of fate and cast lots over the cradle of every baby. They were Urda, Verdandi, and Skuld, and represented the past, the present, and the future. Potent but shadowy figures, the Fates provided the matrix which could determine the lives of the most powerful men and even the gods themselves; to the Greeks, the power of Fate (Moira) was even stronger than the gods; the Norns brought about the end of the Golden Age.^

Women

Empowering

Traditions

Romans worshipped Fortune

In addition, the

as a

53

female goddess of good

European iconography. Fortune is almost always personified as a woman. Fortune was worshipped by Romans at numerous temples and shrines, where her aid was sought for a particular situation in life. Fortuna luck,

and

in later

Liberum controlled the destiny Fortuna

Virginalis,

unmarried

of children, Fortuna Private,

girls,

marriage, Fortuna Publica,

Virilis,

family

life,

Fortuna Muliebris, women, Fortuna the state, and Fortuna Caesaris,

the

imperial family.

These cultures

also

connected the power of the earth and

its fertility

with

the female. Greeks and Romans, Celts and Germans, personified the earth as female, in

and

as

farming and

were perceived

Mother Earth she continued

fertility rituals

as

having power

to the fields or stay

to

which survived in these

be worshipped and placated

for centuries.

away from them, touch the seed or leave

might be poured or sacrifices made and menstruation might be seen as a potent

force,

of power: the earth, the seasons, time,

life,

The Greeks and Romans

Often

women

ceremonies; they might have to go

in rituals

it

alone. Blood

concerning blood, women's

connecting her to deep sources

and death.

and and rhythms. In the Mediterranean world especially, goddesses such as Artemis (Diana), Demeter (Ceres), the Great Mother (Cybele), and Isis were worshipped for centuries. Most of the ceremonies of these cults have been lost, for many of their rites were processes: fertility, the

moon,

associated goddesses with natural forces

cyclical returns

and confined to initiates.^ Among the Roman religions, the cult of Diana of Ephesus was popular, and the multibreasted figure of this goddess of maternity was found throughout the Mediterranean world. There was also a state cult of Ceres (Demeter), in which women, under the leadership of secret

By the

third century

of Asia Minor,

had become

priestesses, celebrated the Mysteries to ensure fertility."^ B.C.,

the cult of Cybele, the Great

popular in the

Roman

Mother

Empire; by the

first

century

B.C.,

worship of the

Egyptian goddess Isis was even more widespread. Evidence of Isis worship has been found from Spain to Asia Minor, from North Africa to Germany. ^ Assimilating the practices of other cults and the attributes of other goddesses to herself, Isis became a popular and powerful supreme goddess. "You who are one and all," went a Roman inscription to her, and a hymn from the first century

B.C.

endowed her with

than goddesses

attributes

more often

associated with gods

in these early cultures:

I

gave and ordained laws for

I

am

she that

is

men which no one

called goddess by

women,

I

divided the earth from the heaven.

I

brought together

I

ordained that parents be loved by children.

I

revealed mysteries unto men.

women and men.

is

able to change.

TRADITIONSINHERITED

54

women

I

caused

I

made an end

I I I

am am am

to

be loved by men.

to murders.

in the rays of the

Queen

the

of

Sun.

War.

the Lord of Rainstorms.^

In the centuries immediately before the rise of Christianity, the worship of Isis

was the most widespread religion

The

in

the

Roman

Empire.

material remains of this early goddess worship are impressive, and the

temples and statues built to honor them remained potent symbols

in

the

European culture to come. The temple of Diana at Ephesus was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Numerous statues of Aphrodite endured, sometimes buried for centuries. But in their Greek, and later Roman versions, they became powerful icons of European culture. The Aphrodite of Melos (Venus de Milo) remained a lasting image of female beauty

in its

prime. Other female figures and forces survived in statuary form:

the great Victory of Samothrace, a heroic forward-striding

Museum

wings, has stood at the entrance of the Louvre

woman

in Paris for

with

many

years. '^

Many goddess cults

required female priestesses, and as priestesses,

achieved their greatest legitimate power

in

women

Greece and Rome. Freed from

women, priestesses shared the superFrom the Pythia at Delphi, who acted as the Vestal Virgins of Rome, a few women

the restrictions which confined ordinary natural powers accorded goddesses.

the oracle of the god Apollo, to

achieved spiritual power and religious leadership. By the

women

first

century a.d.,

often held the position of priestess-magistrate, combining religious

and secular power. Superseded by Christianity, in which only men could be priests, memories of powerful priestesses endured, both in the temples and and in warnings against letting women perform statues they left behind



such important functions.^

Women

Warriors

In addition to goddesses

and

priestesses, these early cultures

From

presence of warrior women.

the legendary Greek

recorded the

Amazons

to the

queen Boudica, they transmitted empowering of subsequent generations. For whether women

historical figure of the British

images to European

women

actually wished to fight physically or not, the

women who had done in

the quintessentially male

One

of the

mere mention of legendary and competence

so provided a tradition of strength field of warfare.

most powerful and enduring of these

traditions

was that of

the Amazons. Although no certain historical proof of this female society of

women

warriors has been found,

Greek culture

is

filled

with portrayals of

Traditions

them. Almost always shown friezes

Empowering

in battle

Women

55

Amazons

with men, the

figure in the

atop the Athenian Acropolis and Parthenon. They were supposed to

have besieged Athens around 1200 b.c, and the fifth-century historian Herodotus believed

them

to have

come from

b.c.

Greek

Women's tombs

Asia.

from east of the Don River reveal that some were buried not only with jewelry and mirrors, but also with swords, spears, arrows, and in one case, a full set of contemporary armor. While such evidence does not substantiate the allfemale Amazon society of Greek legend, it does imply that some women were warriors.^

Amazons were to

portrayed with one breast bare and,

amputate one breast

to

draw

their

bows more

but have no other connection with them; to

later,

were supposed

mate with men, give away their boy babies and easily; to

Mentioned twice in the Iliad, they figure prominently in Greek legends: Theseus married the Amazon Hippolyta; Achilles

raise only the girls.

a

number

fell in

of

Amazon

love with the

queen, Penthesilea, as she lay dying from his

blows; one of Heracles' labors was to steal the girdle of an

Male

victory over an

Amazon proved male

superiority.

On

Amazon

queen.

the other hand,

the very existence of such a powerful female image remained a source of inspiration

and strength

to

European

women

Mary de la

in later centuries. ^° In

1710,

Manley published a "Table of Heroines" in her magazine. The Female Tatler. She included "all the Amazonian Race," and stated that "The pleasing View of so many dazzling Heroigns gave me extream Delight, and made me sensible of the Advantage for instance, the English writer

I

possessed in being a

Riviere

Woman." ^^

Hebrews occasionally depicted women funcDeborah is called a prophetess and a judge although she is female, a wife, and a mother. She rallies the Hebrews against their enemies and is aided by Jael, another woman, who slays the enemy general by hammering a nail into his head. Deborah

The Old Testament

of the

tioning heroically in roles traditionally allotted to men.

saved her people. arose,

"The peasantry ceased

Deborah,/ arose

Hebrews paid

as a

a similar tribute to

in Israel,

in Israel"

enemy general. Pretending she was going to "took down his sword that hung there and .

all

they ceased/ until you

went a hymn to her.^^ jj^g the pious widow Judith, who also slew an

mother

.

.

Holofernes' bed, she instead

she struck his neck twice with

her might, and severed his head from his body." Bringing the head back

in a

"food bag" carried by her maid, Judith roused the Hebrew army to

victory. Afterward, she led "all the people" in a ing,

assuming another

fame and the honor terror

among

song and dance of thanksgiv-

role traditionally reserved to

of having saved her people:

men. Her reward was

"No one

ever again spread

the people of Israel in the days of Judith or for a long time after

her death. "^^

Germanic and Celtic

epics also depicted warrior

women. The

Valkyries

TRADITIONSINHERITED

56 of Norse legend served

The

world

A.D., described a

power. Despite

was

Odin and

selected male heroes for entry into Valhalla.

Celtic epic, the Tain Bo, written in

which

down

women

Queen Medb's (Maeve's)

a formidable

in

the seventh or eighth century

ruled, fought,

and possessed great

ultimate defeat by Ciichulainn, she

and honored opponent. A wealthy and powerful queen, she She fought and had affairs independently of

ruled equally with her husband.

him. She

A

is

described as

She had a head of yellow long-faced woman with soft features. and two gold birds on her shoulders. She wore a purple cloak folded about her, with five hands' breadth of gold on her back. She carried a light, stinging, sharp-edged lance in her hand, and she held an iron sword with a woman's grip tall, fair,

.

.

.

hair,

over her head



a massive figure, i'*

In addition to such

Tacitus

left

accounts of

myra and Boudica

women warriors of women who fought

Roman

legend,

historians like

Rome. Zenobia

against

of Pal-

most famous. Boudica

of the Iceni remained the

(d.

62

Roman army in Britain. Her husband on his kingdom to Rome and half to his daughters. When

A.D.) led a revolt against the

death had willed half his the

Roman

procurator claimed

it

all,

assaulted the queen, and raped her

daughters, she joined with neighboring kings against the Romans. Described as

big-boned and harsh-voiced, with red hair to her knees, she led an assault

from the north which penetrated defeat, rather than

as far as

be forced to march

London. She took poison

in a

Roman

after her

triumphal parade. ^^

Two centuries later,

the Roman Emperor Aurelian forced captured Goth march in such a procession wearing placards proclaiming them to be Amazons. 1^ What remained important and empowering to European

women

to

women

about warrior

existed at

women was

Later female

all.

artists

not their

final defeat,

but the fact that they

and writers would use these

early

women

warriors as inspirational examples; see, for instance, the writer Christine de Pizan's use of the

Amazons

in

her Book of the City of Ladies in the fifteenth

century, or the artist Artemisia Gentileschi's use of Judith in her paintings in the

seventeenth century. By assuming the roles normally allocated men,

warrior

women

kept alive the possibility of

as warriors in a warrior culture

usually restricted to

Women

in

women

and succeeding

functioning successfully

in realms of

war and leadership

men.

Power: Queens and Empresses

Women warriors remained exceptional, and in these early cultures, strong women more often gained power by using their intelligence and their dynastic and

familial connections to

become

rulers in their

own

right. Particularly in

Empowering

Traditions

Women

57

periods of political transition and uncertainty, inheritance of the throne even

by

female seemed preferable to

a

which would endure

tradition

men

change,

women

in

civil

of enterprise could seize the opportunity to rise to power;

were able to do

of enterprise

them. For unlike men,

who

such regencies resulted

all

jointly (a tradition in the

Arsinoe

II in

in

the

object of

much

circumstances favored

own name,

royal

they could rule with or

women

for.

While

Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt, established by Queen

known

some ambitious women

of these

queen of independent Egypt,

last

if

female rulership, acting as a regent or ruling

gain the throne and to forestall

ties to

The

B.C.),

whom

the second century B.C.) enabled

the power for themselves. Best

(69-30

this as well,

could rule alone in their

almost always needed a male relative not

war and disorder. This too was a

the later European centuries. In times of

Roman

to take

women is Cleopatra VII who seized her opportuni-

annexation of her kingdom.

hostile Latin literature, Cleopatra established a tradition





power in Europe. While later authors like Shakespeare focused on her beauty and seductive wiles, the historical record reveals a woman and a ruler of energy and intelligence. Making and breaking alliances, skillfully taking advantage of circumstances, she ruled Egypt for over twenty turbulent of female

and her ultimate defeat should not overshadow her accomplishments. She succeeded to the throne of Egypt in 51 B.C., when she was seventeen and her brother, Ptolemy XIII, ten. Contemporary coins and portraits show years,

her as a forceful-looking

woman

with a long nose, not a beauty by past or

present standards. She favored an alliance with

Rome; her brother and the

council regents did not and forced her to flee to Alexandria where she recruited an Arabian

army

to assert her position. It

Julius Caesar, himself in search of Egypt's wealth,

was there that she met but

officially

present to

reconcile the warring siblings. She was twenty-one; he was fifty-two. sexual liaison with Caesar took



no

special skill

—Caesar was

Her

notoriously easy

to bed but she was also able to enlist his support for her rulership. Caesar helped her conquer the Egyptian army, established her on the throne with

another younger brother, Ptolemy XIV, and considered both herself and

Egypt

allied to

Two

him.

years later, in

successful dictator of

46 B.C., Cleopatra came to live with Caesar, now the Rome. She brought her infant boy, whom she called

Caesarion and declared was Caesar's son. Caesar gave her royal honors

Rome,

treating her like the

queen she was, and adding

in

a large gilt statue of

Venus he had built. She lived with him in his villa until 44 B.C., and the suspicion of her influence may have contributed to the plot against his life. The same year, her brother was assassinated, and it is a credit to her political skill that she was able to maintain herself as queen of an independent Egypt, now ruling jointly with her to the

Temple

of

his assassination in

.

TRADITIONSINHERITED

58

her three-year-old son. Three centuries

later,

the

Roman

author Plutarch paid

tribute to her:

Her actual beauty, it is said, was not compared with her, or that one could contact of her presence,

if

in itself so

remarkable that none could be

see her without being struck by

you lived with her, was

irresistible;

it,

but the

the attraction of

her person, joining with the charm of her conversation, and the character that

attended

she said or did, was something bewitching.

all

She used her charms

Roman general,

her meeting with

in

in 41 b.c.

^'^

Mark Antony,

He summoned her to meet him

in

the successful

Tarsus to discuss

an alliance against the Parthians; according to Plutarch, she made the

trip

into a dazzling encounter:

She came sails

up the

Cydnus,

river

in a

barge with gilded stern and outspread

and fifes and canopy of cloth of gold, dressed as Venus picture, and beautiful young boys, like painted Cupids, stood on each side

harps. in a

sailing

of purple, while oars of silver beat time to the music of flute

She

under

herself lay alone

a

to fan her. 18

She won Mark Antony's

affections

and bore him

alone for three years, consolidating her power.

twins.

The

She then ruled Egypt

couple married in 37

B.C.

She supported Antony in his struggles against Antony was married already when he wed his rival (and brother-in-law Cleopatra) Octavian, Caesar's heir and the future Roman Emperor Augustus. Egyptian hegemony was asserted over much of the Middle East, supported by Antony's generalship and Cleopatra's troops and supplies. Together, they proclaimed themselves gods, appearing as Isis and Osiris-Dionysus. From then on, Cleopatra was addressed as Thea Neotera, the younger Goddess, and and thereafter ruled

as equals.



she

may have been

as a

god to the future ruler of Rome, Octavian. In 32 B.C., Octavian declared war on Cleopatra alone, judging that he had

indirectly responsible for suggesting this tactic of reigning

Rome. Cleopatra and men and went to western Greece in early 3 1 There, at the Battle of Actium, they watched their final defeat. Although both Cleopatra and later Antony succeeded in breaking away from the Roman ships, three quarters of their fleet was sunk or abandoned. Both fled to Alexandria and there separately committed suicide. Whether Cleopatra to break her

power

and Antony

raised ships

in

the East to establish his rulership of

actually used a poisonous snake

dressed in her Arsinoe, to

full royal regalia

march

in

is stifl

uncertain, but

it

is

known

that she

before she died. Octavian had forced her

chains in a

own hand, Cleopatra avoided

Roman

that fate.

sister,

triumphal parade; by dying at her

Only

thirty-two, she left a lasting

image of female royal power, i*' In the centuries that followed, other royal

women

seized

power when

Traditions

times of uncertainty favored

Empires,

women

a legacy of

Women

In both the Eastern

this.

59

and Western

ruled with male relatives and in their

own

Roman

right, creating

female empresses. First with her nephew and then with her son,

Galla Placidia

388-450) ruled the Western

(c.

From

(empress).

Empowering

Roman Empire

as

Augusta

the age of fifteen she governed as regent for her brother

Honorius and shared power with him

until his death in 423.

governed for a time on behalf of her son, Valentinian

She then

Galla Placidia's

III.

stepniece, Pulcheria (399-453), was declared regent for her brother, the ruler of the Eastern Empire, Theodosius

be the

the scenes even after herself

Acknowledged by contemporaries

II.

to

member of the family, she continued to rule behind he had come of age. On his death in 450, she declared

diligent, forceful

and her husband Marcian

her death three years of the Byzantine

later. ^o

his successors,

Empress Irene

753-803). She overthrew and then

(c.

blinded her son in order to rule in her

her power for

and they ruled together until in the ruthless hands

This tradition continued

own name and managed

to hold onto

five years.

European centuries to come, some royal women would continue power when circumstances favored them, living according to tradi-

In the to seize

tions

women

which empowered

Women

of

instead of subordinating them.

Wealth

Cleopatra's power had rested not only on her lineage and intelligence, but also

on the wealth her kingdom represented. In other eras of

changing economic and

political

transition,

when

circumstances favored the amassing of

wealth in female hands, some propertied

women were

able to use their

and sometimes influential lives. All Greek, Roman, Hebrew, Celtic, and Germanic althese early cultures lowed daughters to inherit, especially if there were no sons or male relatives. One important tradition passed on to European women in later centuries was that families would strive to keep their property intact, even if this meant

economic power

to lead independent





giving

it

to a

woman. Among Athenian Greeks and the Hebrews, daughters

were forbidden to inherit

if

sons were alive, but

if

there were none, the

daughter inherited the entire property. She was, however, supposed to marry a

kinsman or

at least a

member of her father's tribe, to keep the Roman law allowed both daughters and

within the original group. inherit. Celts in

probably divided the property evenly and gave

it all

property

wives to

to daughters

the absence of sons; Germanic peoples tended to favor sons, but gave their

daughters

a portion of

the inheritance and

all

of

it if

there were no sons.^^

Rome that women were able to accrue the greatest economic power and rights. One of the few times Roman women intervened in politics It

was

in

TRADITIONSINHERITED

60

was

in

195

b.c. to

demand

the repeal of the Oppian Law, which limited their

right to use expensive goods, like gold

and

carriages.

According to Livy,

respectable matrons in the city and every entrance to the Forum. As the men Forum, the matrons besought them to let them, too, have back the luxuries they had enjoyed before, giving as their reason that the republic was thriving and that everyone's private wealth was increasing every day.^^

blockaded every street

came down

to the

Twenty-six years that

women

later,

the Voconian

Law was

passed, limiting the

amount

could inherit. This type of control proved ineffectual in the long

run, for in a time of increasing wealth, families tried to keep their fortunes

together by giving

them

to their daughters,

Augustus exempted a number of

A.D.,

if

necessary. In the

women from

first

century

guardianship and thus

male control over their property. The law limiting their inheritance

fell

into

and by the second century, women could make their own wills freely. Eventually, guardianship became limited to minor children. ^^ There is ample evidence that some wealthy Greek and Roman women in disuse,

these eras

managed

their

Faustilla, signed notes,

year in interest.

own

finances freely. In Pompeii, a moneylender,

had numerous

A woman named

creditors,

and charged 45 percent

a

owned an apartment building Many women, including priestesses,

Julia Felix

and rented rooms, shops, and baths. ^"^ acted as public benefactors, and at the height of the Roman Empire, women like men vied in erecting buildings and statues, presenting games and prizes, giving lavish parties and entertainments. The enduring effects of women's wealth were twofold. First, wealthy women were able to construct and endow public buildings: temples, baths, meeting halls. Carved into stone, the record of their creations and endowments might be publicly visible for centuries, perhaps empowering other women. "You see here, stranger, the statue of a woman who was pious and very wise, Scholastica," read an inscription from Ephesus. "She provided the great

had

sum

fallen

of gold for constructing the part of the [two public baths] here that a woman to acquire an woman could make an enduring impact in poetry, While very few either women or men were liter-

down."^? Second, wealth could enable

education, and an educated painting, or philosophy.



ate, leisured, or artistic in these centuries, the

became one



memory

of those

who were

European women's most empowering traditions. Through the centuries, examples from the past, especially Greece and Rome, would be used by those who advocated education and wider intellectual and creative roles for

of

women.

Traditions

Educated and

women

the mother of Philip

B.C.),

Women

61

Women

Artistic

Literacy was a privilege for

390

Empowering

II

in these early cultures.

Macedon and

of

Eurydice

(d.

the grandmother of

Alexander the Great, commemorated her gratitude for learning to read on a stone tablet:

Eurydice, daughter of Irrhas, offers this shrine to the

Glad

Muses,

wish of her heart

for the

granted by them to her prayer. Since by their aid she has learned,

when mother

of sons

grown

to

manhood,

Letters, recorders of words,

learned

Eurydice lived at the accrue wealth, and

Greece

(c.

start of

it

fourth to

Imperial eras in

how

was

first

Rome

and to write.^^

to read

one of the periods when those periods

in exactly

women were

—the

able to

Hellenistic era in

centuries B.C.) and the late Republican and early

(first

some women were

able to

presence in science,

art,

century B.C. to the second century a.d.)

become educated. They

left



that

records of their

philosophy, and literature.

and for many centuries thereafter, the most likely way for a woman to enter the sciences or the arts was to be born into a family which specialized in those fields. There are some epitaphs to women doctors in Greek and Roman cities from the first century a.d. on; a number of them associate the woman with a medical family. "You guided straight the rudder of life in our home and raised high our common fame in healing though you were a woman you were not behind me in skill," went a tribute to Panthia from her husband Glycon in the second century a.d.^'^ Qf the eight women artists mentioned by ancient authors, a number are described as the "daughIn the ancient world



ter

and student" of a father who painted. ^8 The who worked in Rome about 100 B.C.:

fullest

account

is

of laia of

Cyzicus,

She used both the

women most

painter's brush and,

on

ivory, the graving tool.

frequently, including a panel picture of an old

She painted

woman

in

Naples,

which she used a mirror. No one's hand was quicker to paint a picture than hers; so great was her talent that her prices far exceeded .^^ those of the most celebrated painters of her day.

and even

a self-portrait for

.

While none

of these

women's works

tradition they established of

European images of

centuries.

On

women which

made by men.

.

of art from this era have survived, the

women

working

in

the arts endured in later

the other hand, the powerful representations and

have endured

in

the art of these early cultures were

TRADITIONSINHERITED

62

To some some

writings, the a

degree, the

same

most extensive argument

male philosopher. Despite in

that remain of their

empowering women comes from

Plato's misogynistic passages in his other writ-

women and men

are the

nature and therefore should be given the same education. In the

Republic, there

is

a sustained

men and

be equal to

women

for

While the names and

all

Republic and the Laws, he argued that

ings, in the

same

true in philosophy.

is

brief accounts of female philosophers are

argument that

in the ideal state

women should "Men and

share in administering the government:

alike possess the qualities

which make

their comparative strength or weakness."

a guardian; they differ only in

These guardian-women

spared the "hard work" of child care and will "share in the

toils

the defense of their country."'^ Written in the fourth century

be war and

are to

of

these

B.C.,

Utopian ideas were preserved and ensured that in the centuries to

come

the

female equality would be encountered wherever Plato's philoso-

possibility of

phy was studied. ^1 Six hundred years later, in the third century a.d., Diogenes Laertes wrote that Plato had two female students at his Academy who dressed as men. Knowledge of other female philosophers comes largely from such late sources and is fragmentary, only hinting at the influence and intellectual prestige of these early educated women. Three women have reputations and are mentioned by name as philosophers in the ancient world: Hipparchia of thirdcentury B.C. Athens; Beruriah of second-century a.d. Jerusalem; and Hypatia of fourth- to fifth-century a.d. Alexandria. ^^ j^\\ ^^^^ the subject of pithy anecdotes illustrating their quick wit and command of argument. "I am much stronger than Atalanta from Maenalus [the famous runner], because my wisdom is better than racing over the mountain," Hipparchia is supposed to have declared. "You don't think that badly," she replied to a

on weaving

for

cited in the

my

critic, "if

I

I

have arranged

have used the time

I

my

education. "^^ Beruriah was one of the very few

Talmud

for her scholarship. In

life

so

would have wasted

women

one passage, she corrects her

husband. Rabbi Meir, for praying for the death of some sinners. Citing verses

him to pray for them and they repented." A

that said "let the sins (not the sinners) cease," she convinced

the sinners' repentance, and "he did pray for

number say.

of passages cited her as an authority

and

start,

"Rightly did Beruriah

."^"^ .

.

Hypatia

(c.

370-415)

left a

of her writings have survived.

reputation as a great scholar, although none

The daughter

both mathematics and philosophy popular teacher and was

invented a

number

known

as

The Nurse

of scientific instruments

and mathematics. In 41

5

of a mathematician, she taught

at the university in Alexandria.

or

The

She was

a

Philosopher. Hypatia

and wrote works on astronomy

the Christian Patriarch of Alexandria incited a

mob

— Traditions

Empowering

Women

to attack her; she

was pulled from her chariot and

her body and

her books were burned.

all

Some women's cultures

—have

writings



The

survived.

letters

poetry

63

killed

by the crowds. Both

and poetry from the Greek and the best written by

rivals

men

Roman

of the day,

and one of the most important traditions which has empowered women in European history is this heritage of women writing, articulating a woman's life. The quality of this writing could not be denied, and the fact that women were able to create great literature, even within cultures that subor-

view of

dinated them, put the lie to assertions of women's innate inferiority. Throughout the centuries, some women were able to create literature which endured. Although much of this writing has been lost, enough was preserved

women

to establish a tradition of

Honored by

their

own

dreams. In the third century

wrote of a

writers,

societies,

beginning with these early poets.

they expressed women's concerns and

B.C., for instance,

the Greek poet Anyte of Tegea

sorrow:

little girl's

The

Myro made

child

this

tomb

for her grasshopper, a field-nightingale,

and her cicada that lived in the trees, and she cried because pitiless death had taken both of her friends. '^

Writing on very

little

their

own themes, women chose to focus on love and to say much poetry written by men. In their own

about war, the subject of

day and thereafter, their championing of love and upon. While male poets wrote about love as well, of female love poetry in

Nothing

Come

From my mouth



Has not

What

The Greek

sweeter than love,

is

it.

this

is

I

created a tradition

I,

other blessings

Nossis,

But one

so.

all

all:

have spat even honey

whom

loved, will never

Kypris [Aphrodite]

know

roses her flowers are.'^

poet Nossis of Locri wrote this verse

centuries later, the

claims was remarked

which love was the greatest good of

second to

Say

its

women

Roman

in

the third century

poet Sulpicia echoed her sentiments:

This day has brought a love it would shame me to conceal If I

I

sin,

will

I

glory in sinning:

not wear virtue's mask

the world shall

know we have met

and are worthy, one of the

other. '^

B.C.; four

TRADITIONS INHERITED

64

Of most

the female poets, Sappho of Lesbos

all

brilliant.

Acknowledged

—the

time

earliest in

as a poetic genius in her

own

—was the

day, she garnered

becoming an inspiration to women of other and other cultures. Plato called her the "tenth Muse," and her writings were cited by other poets and writers on literature as examples to be studied praise throughout the centuries,

eras

and imitated. ^^ Little

is

known

about her

for certain

Probably born about 630 b.c,

life.

she wrote in Greek about two hundred years after the works of first

name

recorded. She married, although the

and she had

of her

husband

Homer were in

is

doubt,

a daughter:

have a beautiful child

I

who

my for all

looks like golden flowers

darling Cleis,

whom

I

would not

[take]

'^

Lydia

Like other poets of her day, she almost certainly performed while playing a lyre

(hence the

sang, "speak to

name

lyric

me and

poetry for her work).

"Come,

.'"^^

find yourself a voice.

.

.

divine lyre," she

She considered

not only a poet, but a good one: "I do not imagine that any looked on the light of the sun future.

will

have such

[poetic] skill at

girl

herself

who

any time

in

has the

""^1

Sappho wrote nine books

of lyric poems; only

one poem survives

intact.

]VIuch of her writing was preserved because her phrases were considered

exemplary and were cited as the in fragments,

finest illustrations of poetic techniques.

Even

her vivid metaphors and turns of phrase convey her talent. She

described Aphrodite's chariot as drawn by "beautiful swift sparrows whirring

down from heaven moods with simple declarations:

fast-beating wings [who] brought you above the dark earth

through the mid-air.

.

.

."^^ gj^g articulated

The moon

She used

intricate

midnight, and time goes by,

and

I

And

lie alone."^'

metaphors

foot in the mountains, fragment.^'*

she

has set and the Pleiades;

it is



"like hyacinth

which shepherds tread under-

and the ground, the purple

knew the power

Hesperus [the Evening that shining

Dawn

flower.

of simple repetition:

Star],

bringing everything

scattered,

you bring the sheep, you bring the goat, you bring back the child to

its

mother.'^^

.

.

."

went one

— Traditions

Of

all

her poetic

Empowering

was her

gifts, it

skill at

Women

65

love poetry that

made her most

renowned. Love was her major theme and her only complete remaining poem is

goddess of love, to give Sappho her heart's desire,

a plea to Aphrodite, the

the love of a

woman

she adores:

Come

me now again and me from oppressive anxieties; fulfill all that my heart longs to fulfill, and you yourself be my fellow-fighter.'^^ to

deliver

hymn and other poems are women as men, and from antiquity on, Sappho was criticized for being "irregu""^'^ (The formation of words to define female homolar" and a "woman-lover. "Sapphic" and "lesbian" sexuality from Sappho's name and birthplace are from recent centuries.) The criticism did not override the admiration, however, and it is Sappho's descriptions of the sensations and feelings love evokes which have been remembered through the centuries. "Love shook my heart like a wind falling on oaks on a mountain," she wrote, "Love has obtained for me the brightness and beauty of the sun."'*^ She described jealousy as "a subtle fire [which] has stolen beneath my flesh" and the sight

The

objects of Sappho's love in this

well as



made her

of her lover with another

feel "little short of dying.""^^

She honored women, valuing their love and their perceptions. She described women as complete human beings, fully worthy of love and admiration. In her verses, the theories of female subordination and the justifications of female inferiority do not exist and with her creation of a world in which

women were cherished equals, she denied those who disparaged women. Even more, she valued the claims of love over culture. In this she

poetry, although few poets after her for a

all

else in life

—even war

would be

women

expressing their love

woman: Some

say cavalry

and others claim

infantry or a fleet of long oars is I

in a warrior

helped to create the long tradition of European love

the supreme sight on the black earth. say

it

is

the one you love.

these things remind

who

is

far,

and

I

for

me now

of Anaktoria

one

would rather see her warm supple step and the sparkle of her face than

all

the dazzling chariots

and armored infantry of Lydia.'^

TRADITIONSINHERITED

66

In one of her verse fragments, say, will

remember

forgotten, her

name

man

survived.

Other

endured. In the these

He

.

traditions inherited

come.

"Someone,

I

was to be: Never entirely

And

as

long as Sappho was

could write and write as well as any

follow her example, writing on their own and doing it so well that their writings also century B.C., the Greek poet Meleager praised some of

many white ."^^ The roses.

ries to

to posterity:

included them in his Garland, an anthology of epigrams.

of Anyte,

.

woman

it

voices

as "weaving into the garland many lilies Moero, and of Sappho, few flowers, but these tradition of women writing endured. It was one of the

described choosing the

few,

so

women would

own

first

women and

And

survived through the ages.

mentioned, the tradition that a subjects in their

Sappho looked

us in the future."^^

lilies

poems

of

which most empowered European

women

in

the centu-

a

THE EFFECTS OF CHRISTIANITY

Beliefs

and

Empowering

Practices

The Greek, Roman, Hebrew, a

mixed legacy of

Overall, ited

Women

and Germanic cultures bequeathed European women of the ninth century.

Celtic,

traditions to

women's subordination was

were images and memories of

justified

and perpetuated, but

women which empowered

also inher-

them.

The

life

and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, later institutionalized as the beliefs and practices of the Christian Church, added both to traditions that empowered women and those that subordinated them. Initially, Jesus' words and actions included

women

in

ways that were new and surprising

nated Palestine of the teachings between

first

century a.d.

women and men,

He made

in

the Roman-domi-

little

distinction in his

despite the occasional consternation this

may have caused his male followers; when he talked at length with a Samariwoman, his disciples "marveled that he was talking with a woman." To some of his contemporaries, Jesus appeared to reject traditional ideas of tan

^

status, of free and slave, subordinate and inferior. He saw no special flaws in woman's nature. He included women in his preaching and allowed them a life and a role outside the family and their relationship to a man. He used his authority to call for a reversal of contemporary and traditional values and attitudes. In his Sermon on the Mount, he favored "the meek, for they shall inherit the earth," and those "who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for both theirs is the kingdom of heaven." He encouraged rich and poor

— him, promising they and — new Christian He promised the "kingdom heaven" — death — who embraced

women and men would

to leave their families

life after

to

follow

of

family.

find a

his teachings, regardless of status or

all

gender. 2 Jesus thus rejected

much

had taken for granted. Most European women, he preached the equal-

that earlier cultures

significant for future generations of

TRADITIONSINHERITED

68

By

ity of all believers in his doctrine.

and

his actions

his words,

he rejected

the traditional descriptions of females as inferior and undermined the ancient justifications for their subordination. in

God's image

men.

just like

Eve from Adam's

He

He

consistently saw

women

as created

never referred to the secondary creation of

nor did he ever ascribe any special sin to Eve rather

rib,

Adam for the disobedience in the Garden of Eden. The act of baptism cleansed women equally with men from the taint of sin. Women's piety, just than

like

men's, would determine their

Jesus gave equal value to

women

men

as well as

death and enable their bodies to

who denied

him.^

of the rich, for "they

her poverty has put

compared

women

all

who believed in him would know salvation before The poor widow's gift was worth more than that

contributed out of their abundance; but she out of everything she had, her whole

in

he used and charity

in other ways. In his parables,

to illustrate the values of faith, humility,

that he favored. "Harlots" priests

life after

heaven.

rise into

faith to "a grain of

mustard seed which a

living."'*

man

When

he

took and sowed in

he immediately followed it with an example which would mean more to women: "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened. "^ "Five wise maidens" who filled their lamps with oil and were prepared to "meet the his field,"

bridegroom" exemplified the true believers ready to receive God's blessing.^

He

used the metaphor of birth to describe his mission and promised that his

followers

would

bleeding

woman

condemn

feel

the joy of a

woman who

has given birth. '^

her, but

comforted and healed her.^

He

saved the

most despised

figures in Jewish society, the adulteress, also

contemporary

cultures.

said,

"Let him who

at her,"

is

Hebrew law without

and when no one

and do not

When

a

sought his help and touched his gown, he not only did not

did,

sin

life

of

one of the

an outcast

in

many

be stoned to death; Jesus among you be the first to throw a stone called for her to

he told

her, "Neither

do

I

condemn

you; go,

sin again. "^

Most unusual of all his actions with regard to women, Jesus spoke directly them of his doctrines and accepted women as his special followers along with men. In Roman-dominated Hebrew Palestine, women hardly ever to

first

Talmudic teachings,

let

alone as

declared his divinity to a Samaritan

woman,

figured as subjects of Jewish rabbinical or students. In contrast, Jesus

which women were subordinate and Samaritans outcasts. He stated his mission to Martha of Bethany: "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he shall die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die."^o He raised her brother Lazarus from the in a culture in

dead as proof. Mary of Bethany, Martha's sister, even "sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching." When Martha complained that Mary was not

The

helping her serve the meal, Jesus replied that portion,

which

shall

69

Effects of Christianity

"Mary has chosen the good

not be taken from her."ii Christian

women

in

the

European centuries to come repeatedly cited this affirmation of women's right to learn and preach to justify their studies. Later generations also took his recommendation to John to care for his mother, Mary, as a reminder of

women

the special significance of

Mary

as

mothers. Early Christians portrayed

and statues as a queenly mother, the Virgin enthroned with the holy infant on her lap, his hand held up in blessing. Jesus' favoring of women and his encouragement of their untraditional in their wall paintings

behavior continued throughout his

key roles

in

life.

Women

rather than

men

played the

the events surrounding his death and resurrection. In describing

the crucifixion, the four Gospels report that

all

the apostles had fled except

women remained to pray at the foot of the death. ^^ The women made plans to prepare his body

and

John, but that the

cross

witness his

for burial.

Mary Magdalene She, "from followers,

first

whom

returned to the

tomb and

discovered his body gone.

he had cast out seven demons," not one of

his

male

witnessed his resurrection, the ultimate proof to the faithful

first

Mark and Luke reported that the male disciples did not Mary Magdalene and that Jesus later rebuked them for their lack of

of Jesus' divinity.

believe faith.15

Women's

presence in the Gospels, whether as pious example, as mother,

women in the European Testament which deal with the death, the Acts and the Epistles, offered

or as follower, remained a powerful tradition for

centuries to come. years,

Those books

of the

immediately following Jesus'

many models of women

New

acting as equals within the

generations could find in these writings of the for roles outside the family

tently

mention

five

women

new faith.

first

Women of later

century a.d. justification

and marriage. ^'^ Accounts of

Jesus' life consis-

companions: Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany,

The verses of the Acts of the Apostles are women who helped the new faith after his death.

Joanna, Susanna, and Salome. ^^ sprinkled with

names

of

Tabitha, a seamstress living in the Jewish community of Joppa, was called a "disciple" and was considered so essential to her followers that they prevailed upon Peter to bring her back to life.^^ Despite his other teachings, which pointed to the desirability of women's

subordination, the Apostle Paul declared to the Galatian Christian

commu-

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." ^^ Paul's Epistle to the Romans mentions thirty-six colleagues, sixteen of them women. ^^ Women labored "side by side" with him, and he met and corresponded with them as leaders of their own congregations.^'' In Corinth, Paul taught with a woman, Prisca (Priscilla). She and her husband Aquila had once nity that

TRADITIONSINHERITED

70 saved Paul's

and had probably

life,

congregation in

jointly led their

Rome

before fleeing to Greece to avoid persecution. ^o Paul's follower, Thecla of

Iconium,

left

her family to teach with him and became a model in those

women.

centuries for devout Christian

In the centuries of the persecutions, Christian

women

other than those

and evangelists played untraditional roles as that would be embraced as powerful traditions by

associated with the apostles priests

and prophets,

roles

women

religious Christian

in later centuries.

The

denounced by the mainstream

of sects later

Gnostics, a scattered group

of Christian leadership, are

women

believers in North Africa to act as priests, By the second century, the Gnostics had produced a number of books and teachings which stressed both the active participation of women and the bisexual nature of God. One Gnostic hymn listed the attributes of God in terms reminiscent of contemporary hymns to

presumed

to

have allowed

leading prayers and baptizing.

Isis:

For

I

I I

The Montanists ers in the

I

am am am am

I

am

the

first

and the

last.

the honored one and the scorned one.

the whore and the holy one. the wife and the virgin. [the mother]

and the daughter.

two

of Phrygia included

women

.21 .

.

prophets

among

their lead-

beginning of the third century. Prisca preached the imminence of

the second coming of the Savior and recorded a vision in which she saw Jesus in

female form. 22

The

other prophet, Maximilla, assumed leadership of the

group on the death of Montanus. Under attack, she saying, "I

am

word and

spirit

pursued

like a

wolf out of the sheep fold;

justified I

her role by

am no

wolf:

I

am

and power. "^^

Most powerful

of the images to

be preserved from these early centuries

women who

and legends of the

of the Christian faith were the portraits

became martyrs in the persecutions of the Roman Empire. They, more than any other women, became the heroines for future generations, models of independence, of bravery, and of the power faith could give

a

devout Chris-

tian female willing to die for her beliefs.

Until the beginning of the fourth century

when

their doctrines

became

the "preferred" religion of the Empire, over 100,000 Christians suffered this fate,

as

from Carthage

in

North Africa

emperors and their prefects

the gods of the

Roman

state

and imagination blurred

became

"saints"



in

literally,

to

Lyons

in

France to Vienna

in Austria,

tried to extirpate a cult that refused to

and preached

pacifism. ^^

The

lines

the glorification of the martyrs as those

"holy ones"



worship

between

who

fact

died

objects of prayer, the subject of

The exemplary

and Christian iconography.

tales

71

Effects of Christianity

In the centuries to

come many

female saints became readily identified by the symbols of their persecution in a

Europe where few could

read: Saint

Catherine and her wheel, one of the

instruments of her torture; Saint Margaret and a dragon, one of the beasts

one

that attacked her; Saint Barbara holding a tower, a miniature of the

which she was imprisoned by her parents. of the

way

to achieve Christian salvation.

was whipped, burned, and

finally

died trussed in a net gored by a bull, but

won

she had exhausted her torturers and

adherence to the Christian

their admiration for her staunch

Other women

faith.

chose death rather than marriage to a non-Christian her priesthood to Minerva; Saint Anastasia

noblewoman. Saint Pelagia of Antioch, an exemplary

Amid

martyrdom.

Known all

oflF

a prostitute,

of the days

woman

stands

and hours leading to her

the liturgical calendar as Saint Perpetua of Carthage,

she died in the persecutions of the

was a model of

left

faith.

own account

in

Davia

Yugoslavian

threw herself

virgin,

the legends and the bits of historical evidence one

out, for she left her

would

life as a

than suffer rape. Saint Afra of Augsberg, originally

converted and also died for her

and girl,

suitor. Saint

her

left

lives

Roman

comfortable

left

high positions to become Christians. Saint Agnes, a well-born

a roof rather

in

Many became archetypal models The slave woman, Saint Blandina,

first

decade of the third century. Perpetua

that pious Christian

aspire to: self-sacrifice, courage,

the time of her imprisonment and

women

in

the subsequent centuries

and steadfastness. Only twenty-two

still

nursing her infant son, she

at

initially

"was terrified, for I had never before been in such a dark hole" as the prison. ^^ She refused to listen to her father's pleadings that she recant, and she was baptized in prison, the final act of faith for an early Christian. ^6 She nursed her baby in prison and began to have significant dreams, including one in

which she saw

herself as a

man

fighting as a gladiator in the arena:

and suddenly I was a man. My seconds began to We drew close rub me down with oil, as they are wont to do before a contest. to one another and began to let our fists fly. My opponent tried to get hold of

My

clothes were stripped

off,

.

my

feet,

fell flat

but

on

I

kept striking him

his face

and

I

towards the Gate of Life.

An unknown

in

the face with the heels of

stepped on his head. ...

Then

I

awoke.

I

.

.

my

feet.

began to walk

in

...

He

triumph

^'^

observer recorded her death. She refused to dress in the

robes of a priestess before entering the arena. Knocked off her feet by the

charges of a wild cow, she straightened her clothes, repinned her hair, and

walked across the arena to rejoin her companions. At the end, she guided the

sword hand of the inexperienced soldier who had been unable to the

first

blow. 28

kill

her with

^

TRADITIONSINHERITED

72

The

martyrdom and the creation

opportunities for

continued

women came

as

of Christian heroines

Roman

under attack when the frontiers of the

Empire collapsed in the invasions of the fifth century on. Saint Marcella, a Roman matron who studied with the Church Father, Jerome, was killed by the Visigoths when they sacked Rome in 410. Saint Ursula of Cologne (and her legendary

1 1

,000 virgins) probably died at the hands of the

Huns about

Gudula of Brussels died in a Viking raid about 680. The Vikings came by sea and sailed up Europe's rivers to seize the treasuries of the churches and religious communities. Terrified of being raped, Christian nuns created another tradition of female piety and martyrdom, mutilating their faces in hopes of repulsing the attacker. Saint Usebia did the same when 500. Saint

threatened by an Arab (Saracen) invasion of Spain in the eighth century.

With the end of the persecutions, invasions, and the occasions for martyrdom, Christian women found other ways to serve and advance their faith. As in

the

first

decades of the religion, they assumed functions and roles outside

women. They acted

those usually assigned to

and

to Christianity

women. Legends

like

men

in

converting others

so created another tradition for Europe's Christian

Mary Magdalene being shipwrecked and then win-

told of

ning converts in the south of France. Ireland reputedly became Christian

through the

eflForts

of

two

missionaries: Saint Brigid

and Saint

Patrick.

The

daughter of a Celtic chieftain and his Christian bondswoman, Brigid (c. 450-523) supposedly refused to marry so she might dedicate her life to the faith. "I

never crossed seven furrows without turning

my mind

to

God," she

reputedly declared. ^9

Like men. Christian women converted their families as well as strangers. Mothers converted children; wives converted husbands. When these women were members of royal or imperial families, such actions could have far-

woman could shape the faith of an Roman Emperor who made Christianity

reaching consequences; a

Constantine, the

religion of the empire,

mother, Helena preserved

(c.

may have been

the preferred

influenced by the Christian zeal of his

248-328?). During his reign she worked to convert others,

sites associated

Minor, and intervened

with Jesus'

life,

Eastern

in Palestine and Asia At age seventy, she traveled Female rulers of the sixth- to

built

churches

in religious controversies.

to Jerusalem in search of the true cross. ^^

ninth-century

entire people.

and Western Empires,

like

Eudoxia,

Pulcheria,

Theodora, and Irene followed her example and actively intervened in the religious controversies of their day. Each used her power to favor one doctrine over another, or one Pope over another.^

Among

the

Germanic

peoples, royal wives converted their husbands and

thus whole kingdoms. In sixth-century France, Clothilde told her husband Clovis, king of the Franks,

'The Gods you worship

are

no good.

.

.

.

They

The

73

Effects of Christianity

haven't even been able to help themselves

let

alone others."

When he blamed

the death of their son on her choice of gods, she thanked "the Creator of all

kingdom a child conceived in my womb."^^ he prayed to his wife's Christian god brought Clovis' Similarly King Ethelbert of Kent and King Edwin of

things" for welcoming "to His

Victory

in battle after

conversion.

Northumbria wives

In the

came

England converted because of the

in

Queen Bertha and her daughter to

first

efforts of their Christian

Ethelberga.^^

centuries of the religion, the most holy

life for a

be one of asceticism. These Christians attempted to

live

Christian

not for this

world, but for the next. Their goals were spiritual growth and moral improve-

ment, cultivated by prayer, charitable

acts,

and immersion

in

the Scriptures

through study and discussion. Spiritual growth also necessitated the denial of bodily appetites, which were thought to chain the soul to earth and prevent it

from approaching God. Asceticism meant denying the body's needs

for

and sleep as much as possible. Some Greek, Roman, and Hebrew men had extolled asceticism and followed this path themselves, but Christian asceticism went further; it extolled not only sexual continence, but sexual virginity. Earlier ascetic women usually married and had children; Christian ascetic women could reject marriage and childbirth. Ascetic Christian women might be widows who had been married and borne children, or they might be women who wished to remain virgins and thus food, water, sex, cleanliness,

rejected

marriage and childbearing altogether. Like men, these

women

and dedicated themselves

to a life

wished to abandon their traditional of celibacy

roles

and pious devotion.

In the early legends about Thecla, she preached with Paul; in later versions, she also

became an

anchorite, a religious hermit, living alone, pray-

ing and fasting. In the fourth century, Bishop Palladius estimated that twice as

many women

as

men had chosen

to live as solitary ascetics.^'*

But to

live

women, and even male women who wished to pursue

alone in the desert posed particular dangers for anchorites tended to cluster in groups. Instead,

such a

life

began to gather together and

to create religious

communities,

endowed establishments under the supervision of a male churchman. This became the pattern in future European centuries. By 800, monasteries, convents, and abbeys founded by women and men for the female devout dotted the European landscape.^^

Precedents existed from the

first

century of Christianity for

women leavRoman

ing their families to join groups dedicated to religion. In the days of persecutions, as "deaconesses" assisted with the

women had

taken vows of chastity and had

baptism of female believers. By the third century, groups

widows had gained official recognition as religious orders designated to pray and care for the sick. The Church Councils of Nicaea and Chalcedon authorof

TRADITIONSINHERITED

74 ized

women

over forty to pour the wine at

baptized mothers and their children. '^

It

communion and was

to teach newly

the course of the fourth

in

through sixth centuries (called the Patristic Age because of the leadership of the

men known

Church Fathers) that such groups evolved became women's religious orders.

as the

kinds of avowed communities that

women and

centuries, pious

their

male mentors established the

attributes of Christian spiritual

life.

communities denied

by

and

physical needs

and

desires.

Like men, these

women

In these essential

of these religious

and the suppression of

spent their days in study for

European

Roman matron Paula (347-404) and her Eustochium exemplified all that women could achieve in such a life.

of future generations, the

daughter

They became models

women who

(later called Saint

a typical wealthy

women who had

European Christian

of behavior for those well-born

wished to devote themselves

380 Paula

In

women

Like men,

fasting, celibacy,

For Jerome, the fourth-century Church father, and

prayer.

women

their bodies

into the

fully to their religion.

Paula the Elder) abandoned her

Roman matron and

life

of

joined a circle of Christian ascetic

gathered around the widow Marcella. Paula had been wid-

Roman Senator, she had five children and was She experienced a religious crisis and walked the streets of Rome giving away her money. When she joined Marcella's group, it had been meeting regularly for thirty years. These high-born ascetic women lived

owed

that year; the wife of a

thirty-three years old.

a life almost the opposite of that

expected of wealthy

Roman women. They

did not go to social functions or parties and stayed secluded indoors except for visits to Christian shrines or churches.

remained

celibate.

They

They

ate as

little as

possible

and

did not wash and wore the coarse clothing of the

poor.

They allowed themselves

floor.

Their only reading was Scripture, and they studied with Jerome while

he was secretary to the Pope Jerome praised Paula She mourned and she weeping.

.

.

.

as

little

in

sleep

and took that on hard mats on the

Rome.

an ideal Christian woman:

fasted.

She was squalid with

The Psalms were

dirt;

her eyes were dim with

her only songs; the gospel her whole speech;

continence her one indulgence; fasting the staple of her

When

the

Roman

synod exiled Jerome

life.'''

in 385, Paula left

her three younger

children to travel to Egypt, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem with him.

Only Eustochium, her daughter who had also pledged herself to a pious accompanied her. Jerome extolled Paula's choice of the spiritual Christian life, a choice made by some women in succeeding generations. "She overcame her love for her children by her love for God," he wrote approvingly life,

to

Eustochium:

75

TTie Effects of Christianity

Yet her heart was rent within her, and she wrestled with her were being forcibly separated from parts of the laws of nature, she endured this

sought

They

it

with

a joyful heart.

.

.

.

with unabated

though she

grief, as

Though

was against

it

nay more, she

faith;

.'^ .

.

Bethlehem and, admiring the monastery established by

settled in

another wealthy

trial

herself.

Roman widow, Melania

the Elder, Paula supported the

founding of four similar communities, three female and one male. She and her

women

On

her death, Eustochium succeeded Paula as head of the female monaste-

studied Scripture and prayed at intervals throughout the day.

Jerome praised Paula's

ries.

studies;

he reported she had learned Hebrew so

well that she could sing the Psalms without a Latin accent.

Eustochium edited Jerome's

Her daughter

translation of the Bible, the future Latin Vul-

gate.

Other Church Fathers and leaders helped religious

and

establish groups in Carthage,

women major

the foundation of female

in

women

communities. Augustine, bishop of Hippo, encouraged

Under the

in his diocese.

cities of central

women. '^

his sister, Perpetua,

France

in

founded an order

auspices of Bishop Caesarius,

of the

the sixth century created communities for

In the eighth century, the missionary Boniface founded

monasteries (establishments for both

women and men)

and propertied women and men gave

their lands

these religious communities.

all

to for

Women

also

and

in

the dual

endow women.

their wealth to

founded monasteries

community became its first

all

Germany. Royal

women

for

Saint Brigid established the religious

for

Ireland in the fifth century and

abbess. Saint Gertrude's

mother founded Nivelles

for her, the seventh-century dual

at Kildare in

monastery which

she ruled near Brussels. Osric, the eighth-century King of Northumbria,

founded Gloucester

for his sister, Kineburga.

were over twenty monasteries

for

women

in

By the eighth century, there

England and over twenty

in

the

Frankish lands of France and Belgium; by the ninth century, there were (out of a total of twenty) in German Saxony. '^ Queen Radegund (518-587) became the model pious foundress for Europe's women. A princess of Thuringia who had been taken as booty on the death of her parents, she became the fifth-ranked wife of the

eleven for

women

In France,

Frankish king, Clothar quarreled with

I.

Dedicated to

him over her

caring for the sick.

When

a religious life since childhood, she

pious vocation and her desire to spend her time

she feared he would have her

killed,

she

fled,

and

with her property and the support of Germain, her bishop, she founded

community

for

women

at Poitiers.

As abbess she provided an example

community, and her chaplain wrote

after her death:

"Human

a

to her

eloquence

is

TRADITIONSINHERITED

76 struck almost

dumb

by the

piety, self-denial, charity, sweetness, humility,

""^^ uprightness, faith, and fervor in which she lived.

the fourth century on, the support and encouragement of a

From

prominent male Christian leader came to be increasingly

significant, as the

developing Church created a male hierarchy and tried to enforce uniformity

of practice

and doctrine. Paula and Jerome had followed the

Melania the Elder

in

ideas of

formulating the rules for their religious communities;

male leaders came to be preferred. All

increasingly, the ideas of

insisted

on

modesty, chastity, and obedience for religious Christian women. All envisaged a

life

women

devoid of luxury and devoted to prayer, with the

separated from regular activities and cloistered away from daily contact

with others, especially men. In the fourth century, the Church Father

Gregory of Nyssa, wrote of 379), describing the

women

should aspire

As

if

of

life

their spirits

his sister. Saint

ideal

life

Macrina the Younger

she and her

women

lived

(c.

327-

which other

to:

had been delivered from

was regulated to imitate the

on the incorporeal nature;

life

a nature freed

by death ... so their way

their bodies

of the angels.

.

.

.

from human

Their existence bordered cares.'^^

Between 512 and 534 Caesarius, bishop of Aries, wrote the rule that would spread across the Western kingdoms and become the basis of Christian women's religious orders in the European centuries to come. The devout gave up

all

their property

and took vows

Their community was to be

to

remain cloistered and celibate

self-sufficient,

with the

for

life.

women performing house-

hold tasks themselves. Adaptions of Benedict's rule (formulated for his monastery at

Monte Cassino

gave their

lives carefully

in Italy) in

the seventh century to women's groups

demarcated occasions

psalms, with study and duties

filling

for prayer

and the singing of

the interstices. These rules later regulated

the monasteries, convents, and abbeys of Europe.

By the ninth century. Christian women, their families, and their ecclesiasmentors had created an alternative to the conventional roles allowed

tical

women

in earlier societies. In Christian

Europe, devout

women

could leave

eschew marriage, and forgo childbearing. They could become "brides of Christ" and reap the rewards of that spiritual union which Jerome

their families,

had described

for

Eustochium:

Let the seclusion of your

own chamber

ever guard you; ever let the Bridegroom

you pray, you are speaking to your spouse; if you read, He is speaking to you. When sleep falls on you, He will come behind the wall and will put His hand through the hole in the door and will touch your flesh. And sport with you within.

you

will

awake and

If

rise

up and

cry: "I

am

sick with love.""^'

The

77

Effects of Christianity

They could devote themselves

They could fulfill a new They sang of their joy in an early

to spiritual concerns.

role within the protection of their church.

Christian hymn: Fleeing from the sorrowful happiness of mortals,

having despised the luxurious delights of

life

and

love,

We

leave marriage for

Thee.

Singing a

new

.

.

and the bed of mortals and

song, the

company

towards the high heaven.

Beliefs

The

and

of virgins ascending to

and celibate

became

lives,

Women women must

roles,

their female followers as different

men. They modified

male

men

—and

women

to

abandon

Caesarius and Benedict saw

like

inferior



in

nature from devout

accommodate what they called women's the acceptance of some pious Christian women

their rules to

"weaker" nature. For despite in

a

by European abbesses and nuns of

the centuries after 800. Even while they allowed these

and

live sepa-

under the watchful guardianship of

a tradition inherited

their traditional functions

Thee

.

Christian belief that even the most religious

ecclesiastic,

golden house

.'*'* .

Practices Subordinating

rate, cloistered,

a

.

the untraditional roles of teacher, martyr, missionary, and foundress, other

Christian teachings and practices justified both women's traditional roles and their subordination to

men. There were three chief sources

there were the passages subordinating

women

became

it

as sacred to the Christians as

subordinating

women were

in

for this. First,

the Old Testament, which

was to the Jews. Second, traditions

present in every culture where Christianity

—among the Greeks, Romans, Hebrews,

Celts, and Germans. Third, women's subordination in the writings of Paul, other apostles and evangelists, and early Christian writers. All these men described women as inferior by nature and thus justified their subordination to "superior" men. Christian traditions subordinating women became an important part of the legacy inherited by later generations of European women. In contrast to Jesus, the writings of Peter, Paul, and Timothy, and of the Church Fathers like Jerome, Tertullian, Augustine, and John Chrysostom emphasized women's inferiority and declared that women should be subordinate to men. As Christianity became accepted and institutionalized, the equality granted women in its first centuries was disavowed. Paul and other apostles and evangelists separated the women who aided them from the vast

spread

there was scriptural justification for

majority of

women, whom they

preferred to remain in traditional female

TRADITIONSINHERITED

78

Drawing on Hebrew law and custom, Paul

roles.

women

asserted that

should

be veiled and keep silence

in

the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be

subordinate, even as the law says.

them ask

let

their

husbands

at

there

If

home. For

is

anything that they desire to know,

it is

shameful for a

woman

to speak

church. ^^5

in

"man

Invoking the second account of Creation, Paul stated that

is

the image

and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man." Referring to Eve's supposed creation from Adam's rib, he added, "For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.'"^^ The letter to Timothy repeated this argument in stronger terms: Let a

woman

learn in silence with

or to have authority over

then Eve; and

Adam

all

men; she

submissiveness.

is

to

keep

silent.

was not deceived, but the

I

permit not

Adam

For

woman was

woman

to teach

was formed

first,

deceived and became

a transgressor.'^'^

women to be "submissive" so that they could "win over" more converts who would be attracted by their "reverent and chaste behavior."'*^ Like earlier Hebrew prophets, he admonished women for Peter was supposed to have told

adorning themselves and urged them to be modest, invoking the figure of Sarah,

who called her husband men could be bishops in

"lord."'*'^

only

the

New

Testament, these prescriptions were perpetuated when and wherever

new

Both Timothy and Titus argued that Christian churches. ^^ As part of the

Christian scripture was accepted.

By the

fifth

century, the male leaders and theologians of Christianity had

accepted and restated the most denigrating traditional views of women. All that was inferior or evil they associated with the female, superior with the male. In the second century, the

male and female

qualities in the soul

—the male

all

that was

good and

Church Father Origen saw qualities

were the superior

same century, Clement of Alexandria recommended that women and men grow beards to emphasize the difference between the

ones. In the

wear

veils

sexes:

His beard, then, It is is

older than

is

the badge of a

Eve and

is

man and shows him

unmistakably to be a man.

the symbol of the stronger nature.

.

.

.

His characteristic

action; hers passivity. ^^

Following Paul and the other apostles, the Church Fathers often referred to the creation story of Eve fashioned from Adam's

rib.

Eve's act of disobedi-

Carden of Eden became evidence of all women's inherent weakness and evil, and the principal justification for her eternal subordination to ence

in the

The

79

Effects of Christianity

her "natural" superior, the more spiritual and rational male. Contemporary Jewish scholars and rabbis also stressed Adam's relative innocence and Eve's

and some of these writings were accepted as orthodox by the Church Fathers as well.^^ The Christian Church Fathers also drew upon the Greek legend of Pandora, which was familiar to them. All stressed the resemblance between Pandora and Eve as bringers of evil to men. From the second century on, Eve was seen by the Christian Church as the source of sin, the temptress of man, and the embodiment of all women. "And do you know that greater guilt,

you are [each] an Eve?" wrote Tertullian around 200,

The

God on

this sex of yours lives in this age: the guilt must of You are the Devil's gateway. You are the unsealer of that forbidden tree. You are the first deserter of the divine Law. You are she who persuaded him whom the Devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert, that is death, even the Son of God had to die.^'

sentence of

necessity live too.

Two hundred years later, argument.

"What

in

the

asked, after a passage blaming Yes, indeed: they are

Eve alone

century, John Chrysostom repeated this

fifth

then about other women,

all

Eve

weak and

frivolous.

suffered from deception, but that

"Woman"

is

if

this

for corrupting

.

.

was Eve's doing?" he

Adam.

For we are told here, not that

.

"Woman"

was deceived. The word

not to be applied to one, but to every woman. All feminine nature

has thus fallen into error.

.^'* .

.

This misogynist fear and hatred echoed older images of women's seductive power.

It

took on

new dimensions

in

the theological treatises of the

Church

Fathers and passed into both secular and religious European culture as a tradition inherited

by women.

In the writings of the

became the tion

of

Church

Fathers, the act of disobedience to

from the act of disobedience

Good and

Evil to the

first

in eating

the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge

sex act. Increasingly,

innocent and as the embodiment of mind, the temptress and the trine,

God

"original sin." In describing this transgression, they shifted atten-

embodiment

man

—the

as relatively

corrupted by Eve,

of flesh. Augustine enunciated the doc-

which became Christian dogma.

retribution" the

Adam was seen

who had been

Adam

personification of

saw Eve naked, and in "just mind and spirit lost control



of his body. In the uncontrolled erection that the sight of her inspired, "the flesh

began

to lust against the spirit."^^ Fear of the male's sexual response

became fear of sexuality in general and led to denunciations of the female. The Church Fathers portrayed Eve as object, as the cause of lust and the personification of

all

that was uncontrolled. ^^

From condemnation

of

Eve and the

lust

she inspired in

Adam,

the

TRADITIONSINHERITED

80

Church Fathers came to condemn men. The Church Fathers praised

all

women and

celibacy

the lust they inspired in

and wrote with disgust of any-

this. "You have heard not commit adultery,' " Jesus stated in his Sermon

thing sexual. There was ample Christian precedent for that

it

was

said,

'You

shall

on the Mount, "but I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart."''^ He declared there would be no marriage in heaven. Jesus himself never married and stated that there would be some men "who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this let him receive it."^^ Paul acknowledged the danger of "passion" and wrote to the congregation at Corinth: "It is well for a man not to touch a woman. "^^ Building on this, the fourth-century Church Father Jerome reasoned that "if it is good not to touch a woman, then it is bad to touch a woman. "^^ The Church Fathers

ranked the completely celibate

women became strength against man is

life

higher than even the chaste married

In their eyes,

the means by which

Devil's

in his loins," as

men

life.

sinned. "All the

Jerome explained to Eusto-

chium.^^ Seeing

women

as flesh, as potentially

incorporation into Christianity of

all

dangerous to men, made easy the

the older beliefs and practices surround-

women's bodies and reproduction. Drawing especially on the Hebrew Old Testament, Christian writers gradually asserted that woman's body had the power to pollute. "Nothing is so unclean as a woman in her periods," wrote Jerome. "What she touches she causes to become ing

traditions of the

unclean. "^2

Some

ing

women, even

century,

all

early Christian congregations followed the

Hebrew

prac-

female and male believers. By the third century, menstruat-

tice of separating

altar. ^^ By the seventh myths about the destructive power of menstrual blood had

deaconesses, could not approach the

of the

been revived and

reasserted. Bishop Isidore of Seville insisted that the touch

woman could prevent fruit from ripening and cause plants Pope Gregory the Creat "commended" women who stayed away from church when they were menstruating, but did not insist that they do so.^'* Childbirth was once again seen as a contaminating experience. By the end of the sixth century, the Hebrew tradition that a woman remained unclean for thirty-three days after the birth of a son and sixty-six days after the birth of a daughter had become Christian practice as well.^^ The Christian cere-

of a menstruating to die.

mony

of "churching" evolved.

specified time

A

priest ritually purified a

woman

after the

from the contamination of childbearing and the greater con-

tamination of having birthed a daughter. Only then could she reenter the

member of the congregation. women played their part as Christians began to formalize the organization of their Church. Women's inherently "weaker" church and participate again

These denigrating views

as a

of

The nature, their role in the

fall

ness" were cited to exclude

81

Effects of Christianity

from divine grace, and their periodic "unclean-

women from

all

the positions of responsibility and

By the

leadership they had initially enjoyed.

many

third century

congrega-

such as the Gnostics, having different beliefs and practices, and with

tions,

on women (they praised Eve, considered Mary Magdalene an and allowed women priestly functions) found themselves condemned as "heretics" and successfully expelled from the mainstream of Christian orthodoxy. ^^ In particular. Christian women were excluded from the priesthood. Paul and Timothy's injunctions against women speaking were cited. different views apostle,

Third- and fourth-century ecclesiastical treatises attributed to the apostles

and drawing on to

men

became

their authority spoke with a uniformity that

ingly characteristic of Christianity.

They

because, as they argued, "the weak [woman] shall be saved by the

strong [men]."6'7 These documents justified the exclusion of

a

mother. apostles tions

Had

life:

women

Jesus intended

"If

it

to perform these functions,

would not have been men."^^ Both the injunction and the

became

all

women

of his

justifica-

traditions reverently referred to in subsequent centuries

ever devout European of

women, even

had been lawful to be baptized woman, our Lord and Master would have been baptized by Mary, his

deaconesses, by referring to Jesus'

by

increas-

specifically limited the priesthood

when-

again claimed religious authority equal to that

men.

new functions, women were supposed to be traditional The appropriate role for Christian women according to

Barred from these wives and mothers.

for the Greeks,

Romans,

Hebrews, Celts, and Germans: She should be an obedient wife and

a prolific

male Church leaders was the same

The Christian

as

it

had been

and Church Fathers found more justifications and even narrowed the traditional limitations and subordination. "Yet woman will be saved through bearing children, if she continues in faith and love and holiness, with modesty," explained the first-century author of the Epistles to Timothy. 6^ The Church Father Ambrose explained that procreation was "the precise function of their [the women's] sex.'''^^ By the fourth mother.

apostles

century the Church Fathers

Genesis to

in

woman "Your the

justify

obeys, as

God

is

referred to God's curse as described and subordination. "Man commands,

husband and he

deal with "all that

her situation for "it lord,

role

said to her at the beginning,"

desire shall be to your

woman would

commonly

women's

is

wrote John Chrysostom.

will lord

it

over you." As wife,

within the house" and willingly accept

better for you to be under

him and

than that, living freely and on your own, you

to

fall in

have him

as your

the pits."^^

The

"Constitutions" attributed to the apostles described the ideal Christian wife

no differently from her predecessors in previous "meek, quiet, gentle, sincere, free from anger, not

cultures.

She should be

talkative, not clamorous,

TRADITIONSINHERITED

82

not hasty of speech, not given to

evil

speaking, not captious, not double-

tongued, not a busybody."'^^ Subsequent European generations idealized the

same

qualities,

used the same reasoning, and looked to the same biblical

sources to justify the subordination of their wives and the designation of

procreation and care of the household as

The While

Christian leaders extolled the

insisting

changes

on

women's appropriate of wife and mother

life

a wife's submission to her

in practice that

would grant

a

functions. for

women.

husband, they also advocated

woman more

equal status and more

protection within marriage. Jesus had emphasized the indissoluble nature of

"The two

the union:

shall

joined together, let no

remarriage even

if

become one

man

flesh.

.

.

.

What

therefore

God

has

put asunder." Christianity opposed divorce and

the couple separated.''^

The Church

Fathers Chrysostom,

and Augustine spoke of the couple as companions. Augustine '^'^ defined the first duty of marriage to be fides, loyalty to each other. To achieve such companionship and have the marriage endure for a lifetime, Christian churchmen insisted on the consent of both partners. To ensure this. Church councils made provisions against incest and against

Tertullian,

women

men

being betrothed against their

will.

Christianity advocated a

single standard of sexual behavior. Adultery

was

a sin for

or

both wife and

husband. Although the older traditions proved strong and the Church's prohibitions could not be uniformly enforced, the secular law codes of the

Roman Empire and

the Germanic kingdoms increasingly included these

Christian views of marriage. "^^

Augustine ranked loyalty above procreation as the

purpose of mar-

first

most Christian leaders stressed procreation. Of all the Christian traditions inherited by European women, this one most defined and limited their riage;

lives.

With

sexuality

made

a potential source of sin. Christian writers begin-

ning with Paul insisted that intercourse should take place only within marriage. It could have only one legitimate purpose: the impregnation of the

woman. Feelings of pleasure and sexual arousal became "concupiscence." Intercourse when impregnation was not possible became the sin of "fornication.

"'^^

Although the Greeks, Romans, Hebrews, Celts, and Germans had valued women for their reproductive ability, all had allowed women some means of control over their own fertility. None condemned contraception or abortion with the vehemence of the Christian Church Fathers. They denounced any

form of contraception, even withdrawal. Jerome called contraception "murder" of "a

man

not yet

tinian's sixth-century law

cide."

Churchmen even

taken control of women's

born."'^'^

Following

for the

set

penances

fertility.

this Christian reasoning, Jus-

Roman Empire made

code

for miscarriage.''^

Whatever improvements

abortion "homi-

The church had a wife or

mother

— The

83

Effects of Christianity

might have gained from the Christian view of marriage, she

the

lost to

Church's view of her body7^

Given these views, women might wish Christian salvation

— the path promised

to

to follow the path of virginity to

men "who have

not defiled them-

women. "^0 Like men, women could deny their sexuality, remain "innocent," and so achieve redemption. By denying herself intercourse with a man, a woman negated the reproductive function which made her female, and so, in the eyes of the Church Fathers, rose above her "inferior" nature. In this way, according to Christian teaching, a woman could become a man. Jerome, the greatest advocate of virginity for women, explained this transforselves with

mation:

As long is

from

woman

as

But

soul.

cease to be a

Virginity freed

if

is

for birth

and children, she

different

is

from man

as

body

she wishes to serve Christ more than the world, then she

woman and

will

woman from

"her weak sex

.

.

natural law, should have been subservient to a stated in the seventh century. ^^

will

be called man.^i

The

.

[and] her body, which,

man,"

respect for a

as

Leander of

woman who

by

Seville

chose a virgin

became a tradition inherited by Christian Europeans. But respect and value came only because the woman had denied her gender. Women's nature, function, and roles were denigrated anew by the glorification of those few life

women who had

rejected them.^^

The

ancient definitions of

women

as

honorable wives and mothers or dishonorable prostitutes and concubines

remained intact

in the Christian era.

As

virgin, wife, or prostitute, a

woman

remained defined by her sexual relationship with man.

By the ninth century, Christianity had both empowered and subordinated European women. Cains included the new role of honored virgin, able to live outside the family, and the addition of a new source of authority to which

women might

appeal.

A girl betrothed against her will could

cite the

custom-

and ask for the intervention of the local churchman. A wife about to be divorced by her husband could appeal to the Church to maintain the marriage. In addition, the Church periodically passed through waves of reli-

ary law

gious enthusiasm and reform. In these eras, as in the anity,

women

within them. a sense of

joined

first

new movements and performed

They preached,

a

decades of Christi-

wide range of

roles

prophesied, and taught, and thus were allowed

functioning as the equals of male believers.

eras of ferment, experimentation, and change passed rapidly. Each was succeeded by a far longer period of consolidation and conservatism. As in the third and fourth centuries, these times of consolidation reinstated often in even stronger form the age-old traditions of male dominance and female subordination. Female subordination easily became associated with

But these



TRADITIONSINHERITED

84

women more seemed The Church, like the and taught that women were

and orthodoxy. Allowing

dangerous,

unnatural, and counter to standard views.

family and

the state, fundamentally believed

inferior to

tradition, order,

men and

should be their subordinates.

European women, like the women before them, would live whose values, laws, images, and institutions decreed their inferiority and enforced their subordination to men. Female subordination was the most powerful and enduring tradition inherited by European women. In the end,

in a culture

II

WOMEN

OF THE FIELDS

SUSTAINING THE GENERATIONS

THE CONSTANTS OF THE PEASANT

WOMAN'S WORLD: THE NINTH TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURIES

The Life Until the

women

last

decades of the eighteenth century 90 percent of Europe's

lived in the countryside,

dependent upon the land and what

it

could

produce.^ Monographs about specific communities, about different aspects of their evolution describe regional

example, they activities

tell

how

and temporal

variations in these lives. For

climate and geography caused differences in seasonal

and crops produced,

in

how

the use of building materials,

ancient

customs led to varied patterns of landholding, how combinations of economic,

social,

new methods

and

political factors

of cultivation to

and not another. Yet

for

brought the adoption of new attitudes and

one region and not another,

hundreds of

years, in

Europe, the constants of peasant women's

in

one century

thousands of villages across

lives far

outweighed the

differ-

ences of place and time.

Generation after generation their

lives

bear an

awesome

similarity to each

The margins of a fifteenth-century Book of Hours show a peasant woman in the fields in her broad-brimmed straw hat. She has tucked the edge of her overtunic into her waistband so that her legs can move easily. They show a woman churning butter, another catching fruit in her hat in the other.

orchard, another plucking a bird for a holiday meal. In a nineteenth-century

painting by the Belgian artist Henry van de Velde, a peasant

woman

rakes

the grain dressed in a pale gray blouse and skirt and a clean, white apron; she

wears her reddish hair

wooden Hours

in a

rake just as the

did. It

bun high

woman

was long handled and

the long grasses into piles and

lift

In the 1950s Teresa, a peasant

southern

Italy, assisted

ofiF

the nape of her neck. She holds the

of the fifteenth-century Burgundian light, so that

the

women

them onto the wooden

woman from

Book

of

could easily pull carts.

the village of Torregreca in

her husband in the harvest in the same way as the

^

WOMENOFTHEFIELDS

88

woman

pictured in an English psalter from the fourteenth century. Both

walked behind the man, bent over, catching the armfuls of wheat cut with the

sickle.

Both

the cut wheat from his

skillfully

made

as they

were

the stalks into bundles. Teresa lifted

arm. She divided the bunches of grain by eye,

left

turned the halves heads to bottoms and with a quick twist of a few strands

bound them together and let them fall to the ground. Others made these images. Peasant women themselves left few records of their lives. Well into the twentieth century the vast majority could not read and could write no more than their name for a village notary. ^ Yet the historian can re-create rural women's world and their concerns. Household accounts, manor rolls, court and parish records, note these women's obligaowed, the births and deaths of their and fifteenth-century illuminators, artists from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, pictured them at their seasonal tasks and celebrations. In the nineteenth and twentieth century, folklorists and antions to the landlord, the fines they

children. Fourteenth-

thropologists recorded their words, their songs, their stories, and photo-

graphed them

in their traditional clothing at their traditional tasks.

All testify to the sources of peasant

women's

strength: their veneration

of the land; their acceptance of responsibility for the survival of the family; their willingness to work; the

dictated the rhythms of rural

beliefs. These and the choices they made

comfort they took from their

women's

lives

through the centuries. First there

was the land;

Torregreca in southern

Italy

women hundreds

country

To me my

job

is

still

precious in the 1950s

saw her

no

priorities as

when Teresa

diflFerent

of

from those of

of years before:

up the children, make them

to see this land gets farmed, to raise

go to school and teach them what's right and get work, as much work get while I'm still young enough to work in the fields, because that's all

as I

I

can

know.

4

Cettina, also of Torregreca, explained

to

how

different the perspective

on

life

women. "We have to care," she explained. "We're the ones who have make do, however it is."^ Women concerned themselves with the practical

was

for

aspects of

life

and accepted

responsibility for the survival of the family. "If

dead, the family suffers," went a nineteenth-century Sicilian proverb. "If the mother dies, the family cannot exist. "^

the father

To

is

ensure survival, the peasant woman's

as described

woman

in

by the

Irish

proverb

still

the house be always working."'^

children through maturity to old age, rural

knew no

division of labor,

life

was one of continual labor,

current in the twentieth century:

From

women

no separate spheres

"One

the time they were small

for

expected to work. They

women and men. They

The Constants

of the Peasant

Woman's World

89

worked everywhere. They performed all but the heaviest tasks having to do with the preparation of the fields and the harvest. They helped to plow, to spread manure, to weed, to reap, to thresh. They did all the work of the

They gathered kindling, hauled water from the well, tended the They gardened, they tended the animals, nursed the children, cooked the food, swept the clay floors. Well into the twentieth century, in addition to

household. fire.

the household tasks, the

make money needed selves out as

worked

fields,

and the animals, they

also did extra jobs to

for rent, for taxes, for necessaries.

So they hired them-

day laborers or laundresses, they sold cheese and butter, they

their spindles, knitted,

made

lace.

And

care for, pregnancies, infants to breast-feed,

always there were children to

all

around and about the other

tasks.

The multiplicity and the never-ending quality of their work sets peasant women apart from their contemporaries and endured as a constant reality generation after generation. In a fourteenth-century English poem, Piers the

Ploughman calls between

Dame

his wife

Work-while-you ve got a chance.

his description of the

differed

woman waking

in

^

Little

the middle of the

winter night to "rock the cradle cramped in a corner," rising again "before

dawn

to card

and comb the wool,

rushes for their rushlights



"

to

wash and scrub and mend

and the memory

.

.

.

and peel

of a Breton son of his mother's

day at the end of the nineteenth century. She dressed and arranged the folds of her coif (the headcovering

Then

She fed the children and sent as she

commonly worn by Europe's peasant women). a pig to prepare slops for, a cow to milk. them oflF to school, worked a small piece of lace

she tended to the animals



walked back the half-league from where she had pastured the cow.

Some housework, some

clothes to wash,

and the

tasks of the day continued:

get the midday meal ready, crochet as she returned to the

with as

much

strength as she could muster,

come back

field,

pulling the

work the land

cow by

its

rope

and with a load of hay on her back or a heavy basket on her hand, find her children at home, make them behave and do their homework, mend the worn clothing, rage and fume or laugh heartily, depending on the circumstances, cram some

more food down the pig, milk the cow a second time, cook the gruel or potatoes, do the dishes, put the whole brood to bed, tidy up, return to her crocheting or wait for father and not get to bed until he had.^ her sewing .

.

.

The Breton woman's

children

went

to school



a

change brought about by

state-supported public education in the nineteenth century life

was

little

Montaillou

different

in

France,

from that of in a

a peasant

mother

in

—otherwise her

fourteenth-century

sixteenth-century English village, in twentieth-

century Yugoslavia.

The

days, months,

and years of seemingly endless and unchanging

tasks

WOMENOFTHEFIELDS

90

could lead to resignation. "I have rocked

be different," went

my babe, and

a lullaby a Russian peasant

willed to

it

that things

mother sang to her

child.

some changes, some bread. me there'll be no change,

There'll be There'll be

But

More

for

I'll

see nothing different,

I'll

eat

no bread and

salt.^°

discouraging, living as she and her family did on the edge of subsist-

ence, the fruits of her labors could be suddenly wiped away.

War,

disease,

and

extremes of weather could bring years of catastrophe that tested peasant

women's strength and endurance. "When necessity is upon us, we must suffer," went a fourteenth-century English proverb. ^^ In the 1950s Teresa received two hectares (about five acres) from the land reforms in southern Italy, which she tended while her husband Paolino worked in Germany. She lived in the fields in a lean-to with no window and the tools stacked in the corners. Two years she plowed and prepared for the harvest and then the hailstorm came:

My

I keep thinking I'm going to be sick. That time I found on the ground and chewed looking. I came in here [to the storeroom] and sat and cried for hours. Every time I felt a little better and I started to do something I don't know, mix the feed for the chickens I'd look out that door and see the fields again and I couldn't help it I'd cry.^^

heart pounds and

it all

lying







Countrywomen might give way to resignation, to bitterness, to rage, but They found ways to explain, to justify, and to give value to their lives. Peasant women took comfort from their faith. They believed that they could influence the uncontrollable, even make sense of and bring order rarely to defeat.

to the often brutal

and capricious

by ancient explanations and

life

rituals.

of the countryside

by

spells

and

prayers,

Countrywomen and men made no

clear

between material and spiritual reality, between the natural and the supernatural, the living and the dead, the real and the imaginary. This was a world of "wishing" as countrywomen described it in their folktales. This was a world in which ghosts might appear at the fireside for wine once a year, a dog could turn into a raven, the croaking of a frog foretold the future, and a blue bead would keep away "the evil eye." Well into the twentieth century, peasant women and men continued to value and attempted to influence this world of the spirits. Thus they perpetuated age-old beliefs and customs in the modern countryside and in the towns and cities to which they migrated. This world of older beliefs and customs did not conflict with the comforts of more formal religion. The shrines of Christian saints were built over older places of worship, and the Christian holy days came to coincide with those distinctions

The Constants

of the Peasant

Woman's World

91

honoring other goddesses and gods and with days honoring the natural

phenomena of the agricultural year, like the solstices. Formal religion gave countrywomen comfort in other ways. It explained and justified the harshness of

life,

honored

their activities,

and offered rewards

in

the future. Divine

displeasure could explain a plague of caterpillars or an earthquake.

make their place German folktale God

in

In a

told Eve:

proper and necessary for

It is

Were

A

divine

the village world seem essential and honorable.

plan could

me

through your children to provide for the whole

who would cultivate the grain, thresh, and bake? Who would forge, weave, hew, build, dig, cut, and sew? Everybody must have his place, so that one may support the other and all, like the parts of a body, be nourished. ^^ earth.

they

all

princes and lords,

grind,

Christianity gave explanations of the creation of the world, the source of

death in Eve and Adam's

fall

from Grace, and promised the redemption of

the faithful through the crucifixion of Jesus. Christianity explained that by

God's mercy, by prayers, by dedication to the

rituals of

the religion,

all

believers could achieve bliss in the Christian heaven.

Whatever happened, however

little

they had, Europe's peasant

women

took pride and pleasure whenever they could, balancing the reality of today

with hope for the future.

good thoughts

fill

"May

colorful clothes

bedeck your shoulders!/

And

your mind!" went another Russian lullaby. ^"^ They valued

what they had, what they could do, and what they could teach their children. tales they told stressed ingenuity it was the "smart and artful" who



The

German stories collected by folklorists in the nineteenth Peasant women emphasized the practical: "Don't promise us a

survived in the century.

crane

in

^5

the sky, give us a titmouse in the hand," went a traditional Russian

proverb. ^6 greatest

They had

trial: in

and

in death.

themselves to question. "People say they can't life,"

women at the times of And they rarely allowed make out how we lived that

the companionship of other

childbirth, in sickness,

remembered Mary Coe, born

in

an English

village in 1889:

remember, we'd never had anything else. Our parents before had had the same life. You see, when you've never had anything, you never miss it.^''' But

I

say,

"You never miss of

it,"

industrialization

Mary Coe, and so it was until the beginnings some aspects of the countrywoman's tasks.

explained eased

Throughout the centuries peasant women gave their energies to the basic needs of their families, to survival. Even so, they could sometimes make special gestures for their daughters. Mary Coe remembered that when her mother provided the Christmas present of an apple or orange it was "ever so grand. "^®

WOMENOFTHEFIELDS

92

The Landscape

The

landscape the peasant

centuries.

More

families

much

changed, but for

woman

were able to

of

European

inhabited changed

live

history,

it

looked as

the fifteenth-century Books of Hours: a village, the

ownership,

just ditches,

sown with

over the

it

fields

was portrayed

in

with no signs of

thorned hedges, or woven twig fences protecting the

plantings from the animals. Peasant

others

little

from the land, the uses of the land

grains, others

women saw some

plowed and waiting

furrows lying fallow,

for the next harvest cycle.

They saw vineyards, orchards, a common pasture, the parish church, the fortified manor or castle of the local lord, who retained some of the lands for himself as his domain (demesne), and gave over others as tenant strips that families

The

worked

for themselves.

forest, called

of the landscape.

"the waste" by rural

Well

women and men,

filled

the rest

into the seventeenth century, the forest held great

were menaced by its dangers. In peasant women's folktales the boars came out of its depths and trampled crops or wounded livestock; the hares ate the cabbages of the household garden; countrywomen ground wolfsbane and monkshood into an aconite powder to poison wolves, foxes, and rats. Yet, all could use the forest. From the forest floor peasant women gathered wood for their fires. Along its paths lived men who helped their families: the woodcutter (like the one who saved Red Riding Hood) and the charcoal burners who gave them fuel, the sabot maker who significance in their lives. All

carved their wooden shoes.

Throughout the centuries countrywomen and their families used the and the lean-tos where they stored food and sheltered animals. Unless unusually prosperous, when they would use stone (like Joan of Arc's fifteenth-century French family and the yeomen farmers forest to build their houses

of sixteenth-century England) peasant

women and

their families built in

wood and other easily accessible materials like birchbark in Norway, thatch from the meadows and thickets for the roofs of southern England, or the peat "soddies" of western Ireland. All across Europe use of the forest was part of ^^ peasants' rights, whether they were serfs or tenants.

The houses the The lengths

design.

peasants built for themselves were small and simple in of the available timber determined the size of the

beams

and thus the width of the house and the height of the ceiling. Local stone placed under the key supporting posts kept the walls from sagging. Woven twigs stuffed with moss and overlaid with plaster made from lime, water, and sand or clay made the walls the "wattle and daub" of English folktales. Dirt, clay, or flagstones made the floor. Given the limitations of their building



materials, peasants did not

change the design of

their houses over the centu-

1.

Peasant couple harvesting grain.

Italian manuscript, fifteenth century.

2.

Peasant

From an

woman making

century.

3.

Danish milkmaid,

late

nineteenth century.

.?'

mH'

ricotta cheese.

Italian manuscript, fourteenth

From an

4.

Mother and her

child.

Hungary,

twentieth century.

5.

French peasant family, 1912. Photographed by the composer Ernest Bloch.

lU I"

9-

a:^

y

\

6. Portrait

of a

French peasant by Fran-

goise Duparc, eighteenth century.

7.

The Witches

of Mora. Engraving from

Sweden, 1670.

8.

Soviet peasant

woman

operating a cotton picker, 1970s.

9.

Women

talking in a village square. Southern Italy in the 1950s.

— The Constants

Woman's World

of the Peasant

93

Into the twentieth century, wherever they hved in Europe, peasant

ries.

women had one large central room, anywhere from

5 to

25 meters long, about

4 meters wide, with one section for people and one for animals. ^^ The building would be one story, sometimes with a sleeping loft, sometimes with rooms added at the end of the house when an aging mother and father had given over the land to daughters and their husbands or to their sons. They covered whatever windows they had with translucent substances like waxed cloth, horn, or cut talc. In the warmer climates, there was no covering, and

when

they simply closed the wooden shutters

Though

in the population, neither altered the basic

women

colder weather came.

the centuries would bring changes in cultivation and increases

lived. In

environment

in

which peasant

the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries, they lived with

their kin in the least forested areas, tilling the easiest, loosest soils, using

natural clearings for their small household gardens

where they

raised the

legumes, roots, and cabbages on which the families subsisted. Sporadic periods of peace and order, warmer weather

in

the eleventh, twelfth, and thir-

teenth centuries allowed families to cut and burn into the edges of the forest,

They drained inland and coastal marshes become new fields, new fields met old settlements, and families moved across Europe to new valleys. Thus more could live in the old areas. From the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, new kinds of wars, colder, wetter winters despite less favorable conditions the consolidation of settlements and cleared fields followed much the same clearing

new

land, strip

by

with dykes. Gradually the

strip.

strips joined to



patterns: thirty to forty households clustered together in the

mid-fourteenth century; sixty-eight households of the mid-seventeenth century;

surrounded by the 1960s.

Only

lies live in

in

fields for

northwestern

still

about

women, the

fifty families, their

Germany and

houses together

Scandinavia did peasant fami-

in

and only from the Elbe to the Urals

vistas of cleared plains.

essential

England of the

southern French village

cash and food crops, in a Greek village in the

sparsely populated groups,

would they see

in a

For the majority of Europe's peasant like the essential elements

elements of the landscape,

of their lives, remained the

same through the

centuries: the clearly

cated settled areas, the houses clustered in the village with the

demar-

fields all

^^ around; the forest, and the spires of the market town in the distance.

The

Year's Activities

Europe's peasant

women and

seasons with the feast days of the

months

their families marked the Ghurch and the labors that

Lammas

(1

out the

and seasonal changes fell into a August) to Michaelmas (29 Sep-

of the agricultural year. Feast days

pattern for Christian Europe:

cycle of the filled

WOMENOFTHEFIELDS

94

tember), the time of harvest; Michaelmas (29 September) to Christmas (25

December)

for preparation of food for the winter;

hardest time of the year waiting for the

Lenten days when fasting became a or

Tuesday

with the

after Easter) to

first

of

May

time.

The

new

virtue; Easter or

Lammas

midsummer

August), the

(1

Monday summer growing time,

Hocktide (the

day. For peasant

year of possibilities,

illustrations for

barley, wheat,

Christmas to Easter, the

grains, corresponding to the

a traditional date for the celebration of spring

John's Day, June 24,

beginning, of a

first

came not

women

in January,

and

St.

the sense of

but

at harvest

the fifteenth-century Books of Hours show the

and rye ready to be

cut, the

hops

for brewing, the purple

and

green grapes clustered on the vines ready for picking, the honey waiting to

be collected from the

abundance of the

hives.

Throughout the continent

all

celebrated the

harvest.

Harvest Time Until the early part of the eighteenth century, a Russian peasant killed the

woman

goose she had raised for the eighteenth of September to celebrate

the coming of the

New

Year. Into the nineteenth century in England, the

goose was fattened on the stubble of the harvested

fields for

the Michaelmas

celebration on the twenty-ninth of September. Others celebrated on All

Day (31 October, 1 November, November), Christian days replacing the harvest festivals of earlier faiths. In the sixteenth century near Nuremberg, the peasants danced in the meadows. Into the nineteenth century English families made it a time for revelry, for tricks, for feasting on spiced cakes and frumenty made of boiled wheat, milk, raisins, and currants that the women had dried in the late fall. For English and French villagers harvest was also a time for propitiating the Hallows' Eve, All Saints' Day, and All Souls'

and

2

dead and

for

honoring the

whole region participated

local saint

with special masses. In Brittany the

in the procession to the saint's

church or shrine and

the feasting afterward.

Celebration

came

after the

hard labor

in the fields.

The

peasant

woman

and her husband harvested their own strips. In addition, as a servile tenant (tied to the landholder by obligations of service and goods owed in kind) she would be summoned to a "bid reap," as it was called in thirteenth-century England. A woman might cut with the hand sickle, but more often reaping was men's work with the heavy two-handed scythe. Instead, the peasant wife, like the woman at the Abbey of Werden in the Rhineland of the ninth ."^^ These century, would "bind the sheaves, collect them and pile them up continued to be the countrywoman's tasks, whether in the fourteenth-century French village of Montaillou, on the lands of the fifteenth-century Dukes of .

.

The Constants Burgundy,

of the Peasant

Woman's World

95

southern Italy in the 1950s. This was also the time for harvest-

in



hemp

the hemp for making rope and sacks, the flax for linen. Then, with Michaelmas at the end of September, the cycle of plowing for the year began again. The peasant woman and her children herded the cattle ing flax and

Other

into the cut field to eat the stubble. for planting.

According to English

the ground by All Hallows Eve.

If

fields left fallow

Cutting, binding, and hauling the sheaves did not labors.

Much had

to

had

winnow the

women had

be done before peasant

peasant

to thresh the grain

grain from the

the grain, the

flailed

women

chaflF.

women

tresses.2^ it

Once

sitting

stalks;

field,

it

into bags.

the staple

men

windy day

a

air,

and matpeasant wife might

From

to the grinding mill instead of doing

fifteenth-century Books of

by the stone

On

stuffing for pillows

she had woven from marsh grasses. it

and her

her job was to

throwing the grain into the

new

the wheat was separated from the chaff, a

in baskets

in

the end of the flour,

In nineteenth-century Brittany the

brought the bags to the

century on, she could take

The

from the

raked and swept

catching the chaff on a cloth to use as

store

be

peppers for the men.

mean

of their families' diet. In thirteenth-century England, a country wife

husband used the oxen

to

not helping with the plowing, the peasant

women might bring a midday meal of bread, cheese, and fall

would be prepared

tradition, the winter grains

the eleventh it

by hand.^'^

Hours show mousetraps, or the family

fireplace, all to protect these valuable grains that

cat

ensured

the family's survival. Into the eighteenth century in France, for instance, grains

made up 95 percent

women

usually

baked

of the diet.^^ In the earlier centuries, peasant

their bread in the lord's ovens. In Vasilika in twentieth-

century Greece, they used their own. During the harvest season Greek peas-

women

two or three in the morning to bake for the whole week work in the fields. Aside from coarse black bread, peasant women made a variety of other foods from the grains: oatcakes, pancakes like blinis and crepes, porridges and gruels. In the fall and winter months rural women added to the family's meals with the vegetables they produced from their household gardens. Vegetables were the other staple of

ant

rose at

and then went

to their

the peasant's diet into the twentieth century. century, there

is

evidence that peasant

broad beans, and roots

and

beets.

From

From

women grew

as early as the ninth

peas, vetches (wild peas),

like turnips, onions, radishes, parsnips, leeks, carrots,

the sixteenth century on, they also had potatoes. In nine-

teenth-century France, the Breton son remembered that in his childhood "potatoes had kept us alive lots of times. "^^

The

peasant mother and her daughters prepared one main meal a day for

the family.

The hour

shifted,

depending on

local

custom.

century Yorkshirewoman had

it

terpart in France prepared

for five in the afternoon.

it

A

seventeenth-

ready at noon, her eighteenth-century coun-

Throughout Europe

WOMENOFTHEFIELDS

96 peasant

women

like a stew,

stored.

The

served the same basic fare: bread and a thick broth,

made from

big cauldron simmered on the hearth

was boiled to cook vegetables

hours; either water

lire for

in cloth bags, or the fire

was

set in the

cauldron

while an earthenware pot containing the broth and stewing ingredients

itself,

was placed

inside.

Leaving

this to

simmer,

a peasant wife

other tasks. In the earlier centuries families drank wine, harvested and prepared in the fifteenth-century

men

much

peas and beans they had dried, from roots they had

Book

of

pick the grapes, the

toward the manor

fall

or cider,

all

months. In the Tres Riches Hemes, the

Hours of the Duke de Berry, peasant women carry the heavy baskets on

One

castle.

went about her ale,

woman

peasant

women and their heads

stands adjusting her cloth

headdress, her white apron bulges over her blue and red dress as

if

she were

pregnant; she leans favoring one side perhaps to relieve the ache in her back.

From

as early as the ninth century in France, peasant

wine making

families helped in the

century English brewsters

in

made beer

What meat countrywomen and

women and

their

October and November. Seventeenthin

the

to

fall

their families

sell

to other villagers.

had was prepared

in these

summer and fall. The livestock and the fowl were women's responsibility. The peasant wife took charge of the litter of five to six piglets born in the early spring. She weaned them at six months and then in the fall months fattened them on nuts in the forest. In eleventh-century England on the manor of Ramsey Abbey, peasant women collected the acorns, but were months

of late

allowed only enough to

fill

"hose of reasonable

century Beauvaisis peasants purchased of of

size."^'^

In seventeenth-

the right to collect nuts. Best

g/^znc/ge,

all would be to have the right of pannage, like the women of the Books Hours who let the pigs run loose and threw sticks into the oak trees to make

the acorns

fall

to the ground.

The sow would be

saved for the next year, the

teenth-century English fifteenth-century

Book

of

women

litter

slaughtered. Thir-

November "blood month." The Duke de Rohan showed a man wield-

called

Hours of the

ing the long-handled ax to slaughter the pig. part of the animal. Into the nineteenth

A

peasant

and twentieth

woman

used every

centuries, she caught

the blood as the throat was

slit,

putting

She boiled the carcass in water so that she brushes or to add to plaster for her walls. The

it

adding

it

to her grains as blood pudding,

in casings as Blutwurst.

could scrape

off

the hair for

bladder could be used to store the lard, the trotters boiled for their gelatin. In

many

villages the

which peasant

butcher went from house to house cutting the meat,

women

then stored covered with

salt in barrels,

or

hung from

the rafters over the hearth or up the newly cleaned chimney to smoke.

and smoked pork would be the the long winter months to come. salted

The

family's principal source of protein in

The Constants Peasant

women and

of the Peasant

made

first

Salted whitefish and cod might be bought at the local

catch freshwater

fish

The men would

also



eels

and

flukes

97

might have access to seafood. In the to salting and preserving herring.

their families

fourteenth century references are

Woman's World

—with

nets

or the

fair,

and weirs

in

men might

the mill pond.

be responsible for special meals of small game, rabbits, on the fall migration. In most instances, the livestock and fowl proved too valuable to eat, and peasant women had other uses for them. They fattened the cows on the stubble of the harvested fields, sold them at the fall market and purchased or wild birds netted

new ones in the spring. Thus they did not have to feed the animal over the when marsh grass might be the only fodder available. The wife in a German folktale chose to slaughter the cow and sell the hide, first tanning winter

it

to pliability

by soaking

it

water and oak bark. Only well-to-do families

in

ate mutton; for the rest, the sheep were

more valuable

for their

wool or

for

the price they would bring at the market.

The same was

true of the chickens

and the

geese.

Well

into the eigh-

teenth century, the chickens and their eggs were kept to pay the dues the landlord or for the market. Local

fairs

came,

century Montaillou in southern France, on All Saints'

when peasant women walked

twenty miles to

fifteen to

goose would be for the harvest feast day, in Martin's

Day on November

1 1

.

Peasant

the feathers before the carcass cooled.

down. 28

An

English peasant

the oven and used

them

for

the goose roasted over the

woman

lubricant^ a waterproof coating,

summer

sun.

Some

for St.

nothing; they plucked feather dusters.

a feather

bottle nipples

woman

bed

filled

A

with

would go

and

for spigots.

As

collected the grease, a

something to protect the

ened with honey from the manor's

1)

One

dried the bigger feathers overnight in

the peasant

of the grease

their surplus.

The wings became

lamb and baby fire,

Day (November

sell

Germany and Denmark

women wasted

Danish wife needed twenty-four geese to make

owed

as they did in fourteenth-

pig's skin

from the

for a holiday pastry or pie, sweet-

hives.

The Winter Christmas and Easter, the two most important calendar, framed the hardest part of the peasant

festivals of

woman's

the Christian

year: the

months

before the spring grains; the months on a Breton farm of the nineteenth

century described as "truly black, not only because break of day was late and the night

came too

quickly, but because of the black cold, the black

mud,

the black rain, the black wind."^^ European peasants celebrated the twelve days of Christmas, merging the holy days from Jesus' birth on to January 6, the

Epiphany commemorating the

visit

December 25

of the three kings, with

WOMENOFTHEFIELDS

98

older celebrations of the winter and

its

solstice

(December 21-22). Long

before Christianity, Europeans burned the "yule" logs and collected the sacred mistletoe.

To

churchmen added ceremonies

this tradition

peasant families added rituals and

festivities to

celebrating the nativity;

brighten and cheer the dark

winter days. In fourteenth-century Montaillou in France, Christmas was a

On

market day. a

communal

the

feast,

Dean

manor

of Wells's

with the wife of John de

in

North Curry, Somerset,

Cnappe having produced

of bread, ale, bacon, cheese, a hen,

and two candles

nineteenth century

women

in Russia,

peasant

with their Christmas celebrations, decorating to

mark the

it

was

loaves

for light. ^° Into the

broke the seven-month winter fir

trees,

making dough

crosses

day. In Caltagirone, Sicily, into the beginning of the twentieth

century, peasant mothers and fathers offered their two-year-olds to play the

manger as their alms to the church for the Christmas mass. There would be little for rural men to do in the months after Christmas beyond preparing the fields for spring planting. In England, Candlemas, child in the

February

2,

commemorating the churching

of the Virgin after the birth of

her son, signaled the start of spring plowing; the wife and husband plowed



together one day to do one acre.^^ He guided the plow while she team of oxen or horses along the strips. By Lady Day, March 25 the Feast of the Annunciation celebrating Jesus' conception the men had sowed the spring grains. Most of these months, however, peasant families spent indoors, around the central hearth of their main room, the ceiling blackened from its smoke. The hearth, or in a more well-to-do home, the wall fireplace, was their source of heat and light. A woman of central Europe might have a tile stove or a clay oven instead. Peasant women used dung or peat that they had dried in the fall sun for fuel. In France they used wood and claimed the right of estover to collect it from the landlord's forest. Countrywomen had resin from evergreens for torches, the herb mullein

the

fields



led the



dipped

in

peasant

beeswax, or sheep

women

easier to collect the

the

air

and

to

long months

fat, for

lighted wicks. In the poorest houses

kept their cows or goats inside for warmth and to

make

it

manure. They used the plants savin and rue to sweeten

keep away the

fleas

and

when they could not

lice that

plagued the family during the

bathe. Peasant

women knew how

to

mix

the juice of the houseleek and sage with water to ease the itching and pain of the insect bites.

The

illustration for

February

in

the

Duke

fire

with her

skirt pulled up,

her feet

of Burgundy's

Book

of

Hours

on a bench in front of the extended to warm them. Her wash hangs

shows the countrywoman's winter world. She

sits

from rods suspended along the edges of the ceiling. In Russia the poorest peasants had earthen ledges along the walls to sit on. Most peasant women

The Constants

of the Peasant

Woman's World

acquired other furniture and household possessions.

planed pieces of wood into the family's

He might

clean with sand or cinders.

earthenware pots and plates

in a

trestle table,

poor households

sion. In

it

A husband might have which the wife polished

have carved bowls that she stored with

down

cupboard. Old barrels could be cut

for stools. Into the nineteenth century the family

by the chimney

99

bed was her major

might be nothing more than

posses-

a raised plank set

warmth, but in most households the bed was a more elaborate wooden structure, complete with doors and hangings to keep out for

the cold.

Anything with metal peasant

women

prized particularly.

century English widow, Christina of Long Bennington

her ironbound chest

in

her

In the sixteenth century,

will.

The

thirteenth-

in Lincolnshire,

noted

Thomasina White-

head of Farnsfield

in Nottinghamshire listed her three brass pots, her kettle, and her candlestick as part of her wealth; other women like Joan Atkinson and Katherine Francis left their metal and pewter to their daughters as their legacy. ^2 In nineteenth-century Brittany, a son remembered that his mother

polished the brass nails in the furniture every Saturday morning.

Most

of the peasant

woman's time during the winter months went

providing cloth for her family.

women

were responsible

collecting the raw wool

From

as early as the ninth

for all aspects of fulfilling the family's needs,

and

flax to finishing

to

century peasant

the shirt or coverlet.

The

from

simple

standing loom rested against the wall. In addition to providing for their families, as tenants into the twelfth century in

women owed

Germany and

France, peasant

days of service in the lord's sewing rooms or finished pieces of

linen or woolen cloth. ^^

The primacy of

this female responsibility, especially the making of thread beyond written memory. The image of the peasant woman long stick to hold the raw wool, her distafiF, in one hand, the

for the cloth, goes

spinning



a

spindle used as a spool in the other, with the thin thread of wool held taut

between them



lasted into the twentieth century.

commonly used by European countrywomen This simplest method of spinning gave names not

side," the "spindle side" of the family. In

Peasant's Rebellion

made

delved and Eve span/

(The spinning wheel was

until the sixteenth century.)

to the female: the "distaff

1378 the rebels of the English

the image part of their rallying cry:

Who

was then

a

"When Adam

gentleman?" Nineteenth-century

hemp as an offering to the Virgin on their Grandmothers told stories and sang ballads of magical ways to spin, cut, and sew. The dwarf Rumpelstiltskin spun gold out of straw for the queen, the maid in "The Elfin Knight" had to sew a shirt "without any cut or hem," to "shape it knife-and-sheerless," and to sew it "needle-threadFrenchwomen

wedding

lesse."^5

day.^'*

of Baugeois spun

WOMEN

100

OF THE FIELDS

In reality, there was no magic, just the painstaking labor of turning raw

wool or

flax into a

and sewn into

length of cloth that could be used as a covering, or cut

a shirt or a tunic.

The

heavier cloth called

hearth

felt.

The wool

came from the shearing done

fleece could

weigh

as

much

as 18

wool became worsted, became the matted and teased

finer strands of

the coarse hairs of the sheep woven and beaten

peasant in

women worked by

the winter

the previous spring or summer.

One

pounds, but almost half of that was grease.

So the peasant woman's first task was to clean, beat, and then reoil the keep the fibers elastic enough to spin and weave. Then they picked

fleece to

the fleece clean, carded the

fields.

it,

wooden paddles with metal wool

in

separating the strands with a teazle (thistle) from

After the thirteenth century, they might have carding boards: two

between.

into thread. spindle, or

With

teeth that passed one over the other

these they

A peasant woman

sit

on

made

might walk about her

a stool like the

woman

combing the

light fluffy rolls that could

in

be spun

tasks with the distaff

and

the Book of Hours of Catherine

As the spinning of one rofl into thread was completed, she would end together with the next and make enough to fill a skein forty rolls. The tighter she spun, the stronger the thread. A good spinner could complete five skeins in a day. Five skeins would be enough to make a sweater. In the earlier centuries, peasant women wove the threads, but from the fifteenth century on, they might choose to knit them. Peasant women made linen from flax, an annual that they and their families harvested in the fafl. The stem became the fiber that could be spun and woven into cloth. A peasant wife began by removing the seeds, soaking the stalks in water, and then drying them to make the outer layer rot and crack, a ten-day to two-week process called retting. Having pulled off the outer covering, she softened the stems by beating them with a mallet. From the fourteenth century, the job was easier, as peasant women used a "flax breaker," two grooved rectangular pieces of wood hinged together, between which the stems were crushed by repeated blows, to break the outer husk. Then peasant women combed and recombed the stems, splitting them into single strands. As with wool, they wrapped the strands around the distaff, drawing out two or three at a time to twist onto the spindle. The resulting thread was stronger than wool, but brittle, making the weaving more difficult. In Greece and southern Italy rural women had cotton as well; they collected and cleaned the bolls, spinning the rolls into thread. ^^ Leaving the wool or the linen thread to their natural grays and browns was the easiest and most common practice. To add color, peasant women collected roots, leaves, and lichens from the forest to use as dyes. They knew which dyes needed to be fixed with mordants to hold the color, and which did not. (Alum and cream of tartar are the modern-day fixatives.) The lichens of Cleves. twist the



a

The Constants of northern

Birch bark

Europe gave

made

a yellow. Boiled

a

of the Peasant

brown

rich

With

tones, paler oranges, reds,

greenwood

leaves with a

flag

woad

mordant made

and

yellows.

a green dye. Black-

a richer hue. For black the

women

iris.

the skeins of natural or colored thread, the peasant

ready to go to her loom. Into the nineteenth century in

countrywomen worked looms

woman was then

many

parts of

Europe

similar to those used in the ancient world, a

made

simple rectangular frame

measured

101

brown. Madder gave a pale pink, goldenrod and barberry

berry would give a lavender or blue,

used walnuts or

Woman's World

of wood.

They unwound the

spindle and

the vertical threads in roughly equal lengths. This was the

oflF

"warp" of the future piece of

cloth,

one end of each thread attached

frame, the other to a stone or small clay weight.

The

peasant

woman

to the set the

loom upright,

tilted against

down

wooden frame. A horizontal loom like the ones in Hours might simply mean the frame had been placed on legs,

the wall, and

let

the warp threads go taut, hanging

vertically across the

the Books of like a table

with the warp threads

To weave

running across

still

women

it

and

still

took more thread and

held taut with

wound

it on to which they passed back and forth through the warp threads, thus creating the "weft." This technique turned the spun thread into "plain

stone weights.

the

a shuttle,

weave," a rectangular piece of cloth whose size was determined by the size

two meters. Even

of the frame, perhaps one meter by

took time. In the 1960s in

a

simple weaving

this

south Italian mountain town, a mother and

daughter allowed fifteen to twenty days to make the three pieces of cloth necessary for one sheet, part of the daughter's trousseau. ^^ linen,

women

boiled the cloth in lye

made from

over and over again in the local stream, and then

the

fire's

left it to

To

whiten the

ashes,

washed

it

bleach in the sun

for six to nine weeks. ^^

Anything with more than one

color, with

any kind of pattern, increased

the complexity of the weaving, necessitating more than one shuttle and

At the beginning of the twentieth widow Gna Tidda made fabric of this kind. She worked more complicated horizontal loom with foot pedals. One pedal would lower

requiring that the weft threads be changed.

century in a

half the

Sicily,

the

warp threads, she would pass the shuttle through, then press the

other pedal to reverse the process. By pulling the beater toward her

wooden bar suspended from above, with comblike "teeth" warp threads

—she could tighten the threads

into closely



that separated the

woven

cloth.

Gna

Tidda could even widen the cloth, keeping track of the changes she made by putting a kernel of corn into her lap for every twenty-five threads added. '^ In the early centuries peasant selves, treading

on

it

in

water to

to "raise" the fiber, clipping

it

women

finished the

woolen cloth them-

the weave, fluffing the wool with teazles

fill

in

to

make

it

smooth, then drying

it

stretched

WOMEN

102

OF THE FIELDS

on poles to block it. By the thirteenth century the landlord would have a fulling mill powered by water or wind to do this. The linen would be beaten

and trampled but

it

Finally, peasant

did not need to be raised, clipped, or fulled at a mill.

women would be

They took the

ready to

make the

articles their families

them together make sheets, coverlets, tablecloths; they cut old pieces as swaddling for a baby. With a minimum of cutting, with ties rather than buttons, they made needed.

rectangular pieces of cloth and sewed

to

simple undershifts, or tunics to use as overgarments.

A

cape or a cloak with

hood would be just another version of strips of cloth joined together. No one had many clothes. In fourteenth-century Montaillou, the wives and husbands took them off when they went to bed, but otherwise wore the same shirts and tunics over and over again. An agreement between a father and his children in thirteenth-century Weedon Beck promised him one garment and one set of linen drawers for the year.'^o ^he peasants on the Datini estate in northern Italy in the late fourteenth century had one gray tunic each. In fifteenth-century France Joan of Arc spoke of her red woolen dress. Into the 1500s only the length of the garments and the woman's headcloth clearly a

distinguished her clothing from a man's. In nineteenth-century Russia, both

women and men

still

wore the long

shift

and the tunic overgarment

typical

of the earlier eras.

Throughout the year peasant women devoted time and attention to some the special dress for their weddings, or the bedclothes and table linens that would be part of a dowry. As early as the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in Hungary and other regions of eastern Europe, women embroidered the cloth for their wedding dress, making it look like a fancy woven fabric. In nineteenth-century Sicily young women still embroidered linens; in the 1960s in Vasilika, Greece, they still wove woolen rugs for their trousseaus. Throughout the centuries, the more prosperous the peasant woman's family, the more she would be able to make, the more she would possess. The few English peasant women wealthy enough to make wills, like Christina of Long Bennington in Lincolnshire who died in 1283 and Joan Atkinson of Halam articles like

who

died in 1561, listed linen sheets, towels, pillows, blankets, bolsters,

coverlets,

and

a tablecloth as their valuables. ^^^

In eighteenth-century So-

logne, France, the bolsters, covers, and featherbeds constituted 40 percent of the family's assets.'^^

The Spring and Summer Months In the countryside spring created a special excitement after the long gray

months

of cold,

wet days and

nights.

The margins

of the Books of

blossom with wildflowers: mallows, primroses, cornflowers,

Hours

daffodils,

iris.

The Constants bluebells,

and

leaf.

became

new

Woman's World

the peasant

daisies. In their tales

the supple

flax in flower,

forest

of the Peasant

women

described fields of blue

willow twigs which they wove into baskets.

welcoming place of dappled sunlight and

a

bush when frightened by

The

coming into and hid behind

trees

In their stories the Virgin found wild strawberries there,

a hazel

103

women

a snake. Russian peasant

into the

nineteenth century sang to "mother spring" on March 9 to welcome the returning

birds.'*^

Beginning with the Annunciation (March 25), the feast day of the Virgin that coincided roughly with the vernal equinox (21/22 March), peasant

women and men marked

this

change of seasons

soil.

The

Christian church absorbed

Arc's village of

Domremy

many

had for centuries with and the fertility of the

as they

a series of festivals celebrating the rebirth of the sun

of the ancient rituals. In Joan of

in northeastern France, the

came on the

by the young people

at the "fairies tree"

Spring saint's days,

like Saint Berlinda's of

dancing and singing

fourth

Sunday of Lent.

Belgium, became occasions for

drinking and dancing. Even the holy days of the Passion, Palm Sunday,

Maundy

Thursday,

across Europe,

Good

Friday,

and Easter followed older

from England to Russia, from the thirteenth

century, peasant

women dyed

owed



for Easter

word

a

eggs, or brought

similar in

them

traditions. All

to the nineteenth

to the landlord as goods

sound to an Anglo-Saxon goddess of

Monday and Tuesday after Easter, became women leading the men around on Monday,

spring. In England, Hocktide, the

days of playful courtship, the the

men

a "fine."

May Day

survived despite efforts by rulers like

Catholic and Protestant churchmen to ban

it

when young people danced around Maypoles, bonfires.

payment of Charlemagne and

leading on Tuesday, releasing each other only on the

Whitsunday

and continued stayed out

all

to

be

a

time

night lighting

(13 June) occasioned a week's holiday in thirteenth-

The summer solstice (21/22 June) became transformed Day (24 June), and often coincided with the first cutting of

century England. into St. John's

the hay.

Lammas (1 August) peasant women remen had seeded the spring grains. Rarely did popular beliefs anywhere in Europe allow women to sow the fields for fear of endangering the harvest. Instead, beginning as early as April, women had In this season from Easter to

turned to work in the

fields after

the

the more arduous tasks of hoeing, weeding, and mulching the newly seeded

They had to do these in addition to their many other chores. The Thomas Tusser's sixteenth-century guide to husbandry had planted her own garden, the flax, and the hemp by the beginning of March.

crops.

"housewife" of

Into the nineteenth century in Ireland fires in

May.

sheep by

St.

In thirteenth-century

John's

Day

at the

women

cut the turf for the family's

England peasant women had sheared the

end of June.

WOMEN

104

OF THE FIELDS

Spring was the time for the laundry. Lye, the whitener, came from the ashes of the

In nineteenth-century Brittany the

fire.

twice a year, in April and in October.'*'^

women

did a big wash

On the first day the clothes went into

buckets, covered with ashes and then boiling water.

beaten with paddles, the third day spread

The second day they were

the sun to dry and to bleach.

in

In the twentieth century the long water trough in the piazza of a Sicilian village

was a meeting place, the washing the occasion for the countrywomen

and gossip together. summer months brought ways for peasant women to supplement the family's diet and income, in the last lean weeks before to talk, laugh,

Spring and the early

the harvest.

They cared

newly purchased cow about to

for the livestock: the

the goats and sheep giving birth, the

calf,

goslings to raise.

A

Russian peasant

litters

woman

of piglets, chicks,

and

blessed the animals on St.

John's Day. All across Europe into the twentieth century peasant women weaned the nursing young of the cows and goats early and used the milk for making cheese and butter. Some milk, some cheese provided protein for her own family, but most of it had to be sold. As early as the ninth century, Anglo-Saxon women produced enough cheese to make it one of the early exports of England. In Montaillou in southern France in the early four-

teenth century, the wives sold cheese at the market

The method

for

making

this valuable foodstuff

out the centuries. Peasant

ened

it,

—was

whey made

women separated it. The excess

pressed and aged

1654

a

out the cream, soured

at

own

—the

children. In it

4-5 pence

The rhythm of the seasons structured women before them and remained Another constant was

cook.'^^

ji^g cook also

a pint.

those of ries.

thick-

it,

from the pressing

liquid

6 pence a pound to the Countess of Bedford's

bought her cream

on Whitsunday.

much the same manner they became heavy and no longer stuck peasant woman sold her butter in 5 pound lots at

a treat for their

butter, churning the milk until

to the paddle. In

fair

remained the same through-

peasant women's a constant

their reproductive

life.

lives as

it

had

throughout the centu-

As mothers, they bore and

sustained the generations that worked the land from the ninth to the twentieth century.

Children and Nurturing Childbearing and mothering: peasant as seriously

and

women

took these responsibilities

as matter-of-factly as they did the success or failure of the

and the making of cheese. With them lay the come; with their bodies and the care they gave the infants they bore, they created and suscrops, the selling of cream, possibility

and the

responsibility for the generations to

The Constants

new

tained the hope of

life.

Woman's World

of the Peasant

105

Childbirth and child rearing were constants in

the countrywoman's world.

Demographers assume that women's

potential for childbearing remained

Women,

the same throughout the centuries, roughly twenty years. of

(Changes

regardless

began to menstruate between twelve and fourteen.

position,

social

the age of menarche, the onset of menstruation and ovulation,

in

come with extreme century, better diet

variations in diet. In the second half of the twentieth



in particular

an increased percentage of body

fat

—has

occasioned earlier hormonal changes and thus earlier puberty. Studies for

Germany

1500 and

in

menarche

for Scandinavia in the nineteenth century indicating

appear to be aberrations

at sixteen or eighteen

pattern, caused perhaps by malnutrition.)'*^

The end

of

in

the

women's

common

fertility,

the

onset of the hormonal changes leading to menopause, appears to have been a constant as well. a

woman

of Bingen, in years to

As

early as the seventh century, Visigothic laws

infertile after forty.

one

fifty.

^'^

relative ease or difficulty of childbearing for

woman might

a half year intervals

perspective, she could for

most of her adult Everything

who

woman's childbearing

The number of children women conceived and term depended on their own susceptibility to disease and the

estimate that a

and

assumed

twelfth-century learned abbess Hildegarde

of her medical treatises, estimated a

be over by

carried to

The

in

if

have

five to

each individual. Demographers

seven successful pregnancies at two

she lived a normal

life span.'*^

From

the

woman's

assume that she would be pregnant or nursing

a child

life.

the peasant woman's world favored and valued the wife

could bear healthy children.

The Church

extolled sexual intercourse for

the purpose of procreation and offered heroines

who

avoided "the shame of

barrenness," like Saint Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, and Saint

Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary, both

elderly

women

miraculously able to

Countrywomen made herbs like feverfew into tonics that they believed would make them fertile. Once pregnant, a peasant woman might be given special privileges: One lord of a German manor, eager for more conceive.^*'

potential laborers, allowed pregnant

women

to eat fruit

from the orchard and

grapes from the vineyard, but only "a small branch with two clusters. "^^

They

and game from the lord's preserves and pay less to use his bake oven. They might be allowed to keep the hen due the lord at Shrovetide. might have

fish

Into the late 1930s in Lough in County Clare, Ireland, families expecting an immediate pregnancy excused the new peasant bride from heavy work for the first year of her marriage. Conversely, if her "belly" had not begun to swell by six months, the young woman could expect anger and abuse. Pregnancy and the birth of the baby were times of special female companionship.

The women

of the village performed

many

tasks together

throughout

WOMEN

106

the year, working in the

fields

OF THE FIELDS

weeding and raking, walking to the market

town, washing clothes at a stream, but the time of birthing was their province, the source of a special bond that only they as as

contemporaries called

in

it

and the wisewoman of the delivery. 51

The men

women

shared. "In her waiting"

the thirteenth century, female friends, relatives,

village

would give advice and then help with the had begun, some-

of the family waited once the labor

times adding to the tension.

A peasant woman

her labor in the 1950s; her mother and

sisters

in

southern Italy remembered

had brought the midwife and

they would stand by the bed and wait to see

how

far apart the pains were.

I'd

hear the

one by one. My father, my brothers, my husband's brothers, they all sat there by the fire and drank wine and waited. If you make a sound, if a pain catches you by surprise, or the baby won't come out and you can't stand it and you moan, you've disgraced yourself. You keep a towel shoved in your mouth, and everytime it hurts so bad, you bite down on it and pray to God no noise comes out. I always tied a knot in one end so I could bite real hard, and my sister had a way of crooning and stroking me shuffling in the

room and know the men were

arriving,

that

made

The

ease of childbirth depends on three factors: the physical condition

it

better. ^ 2

of the mother, the size of her pelvis relative to the size of the baby's head,

and the position of the baby in the uterus. A female relative like the Italian sister, or the "wisewoman" (the midwife), was active throughout the birth with words of encouragement, with practical aids. The midwife made herbal teas to hasten the labor: wallflower acted as a diuretic; lady's-mantle and ergot (a fungus found on ripe plants) strengthened the contractions. Herbal ointments might help to soften the cervix. Henbane produced a twilight sleep for a woman in extreme pain. The midwife could determine the position of the fetus from feeling the abdomen and could listen to its heartbeat. With her fingers she measured the dilation of the cervix and thus the progress of the labor. Pushing on the uterus, she helped the final stage of the delivery. In English villages mothers sat up in bed for the first stages of labor, sometimes on straw to absorb the discharges. They went to moon-shaped "birthing stools" for the

peasant

women

Women

left to

last

phase of labor. In nineteenth-century Russia,

gave birth kneeling

in

the

warmth

of the family bathhouse.

themselves favored these upright positions, which gave them

the advantage of gravity and the use of more of their muscles for the expulsion of the head, the final act of delivery.

Though governments and nineteenth centuries

like

those of France and Russia in the eighteenth

tried to decree examinations

wives throughout the countryside,

and found the

fees high. Instead,

women

and

licenses for mid-

of the villages did not seek training

midwives continued to gain their special

The Constants

of the Peasant

Woman's World

107

any formal education but because of their own experi-

status not because of

ences of childbirth, their knowledge of herbal medicine, and their intuitive sense of measures that eased the process.

The midwife

might, as

in

France

seventeenth century, be paid by the village along with the shepherd

in the

and the schoolmaster. In most instances she would be an efiFective guide and aid to the pregnant woman. (Despite numerous stories, especially from the nineteenth century, about "dirty, ignorant hags" doctors rarely,

if

ever,

came

so that well into the twentieth century peasant

midwives and their female

relatives.)

Only

did midwives need extra knowledge and

would be

difficult,

who acted as midwife, women in the villages, women had to rely on

to the aid of pregnant

in

the case of a prolonged labor

skills.

A

long labor meant that

even impossible, for the mother to deliver without

vention. Inaction would

mean death

for the

woman and

it

inter-

probably for the

infant as well.

Prolonged labor occurs because of the

size of the baby's

head

in relation

The among

to the mother's pelvis, or because of the fetus' position in the uterus. first

cause was

peasant

common.

less

women, worked

Malnutrition, a

common

to the advantage of the

condition

mother by lowering the

birthweight and size of the child. But transverse and breech presentations

were not unusual. In even surgery.

later centuries

A breech

both necessitated the use of forceps or

presentation (the most

buttocks or feet emerging

first,

The danger

common

of the two), with the

could be delivered naturally, especially

if

the

mother would come from lacerations to the vagina, unable to stretch gradually to accommodate the head. For the baby, moving backward down the birth canal, there would be the danger of child were small.

to the

strangulation or oxygen deprivation should the umbilical cord entangle

around

its

neck.

A

itself

transverse presentation with the baby lying horizontally

would be virtually impossible for a mother to deliver unasShe could not by her contractions alone force it into the birth canal. Though the midwife chanced infecting the mother, once she discovered the awkward lie of the fetus, she would probably try to reposition it, either from outside or even within the uterus once the cervix had dilated sufficiently. Medical historians have consistently asserted that knowledge of this maneuvering, commonly called "podalic version," was known to Greek and Roman male obstetricians and then forgotten until the sixteenth century when it was rediscovered by a man, the French surgeon Ambroise Pare. This does women across the cervix sisted.

a disservice.

and

if

A

nothing

to intervene

peasant else,

woman,

a midwife, could judge the irregular position,

her knowledge of birthing cows and horses would

and give her ideas of how

tell

her

to help the mother's travail.

Prolonged labor, lasting over twenty-four hours, could cause death. After forty-eight hours the

mother suffered from dehydration. That and exhaustion

WOMEN

108

could lead to heart

OF THE FIELDS

failure. Internal tears

could cause bleeding. After so

hours, the uterus, a muscle, might rupture

many

and hemorrhage. Then the mother

would bleed to death. To save a woman in such circumstances, before so much damage had been done, the infant was sacrificed. The midwife might send for the barber surgeon,

if

one were available

she acted herself, using a variety of hooks and skull

and thus extract

women

it

and the

survived this procedure.

rest of the

If

in

the

hammers

village.

Otherwise

to crush the fetus'

body from the

vagina.

Some

the child could not be extracted or the

mother died before the procedure could be performed, both the Church and custom dictated that her abdomen be cut open and the child taken

out. (This

was the

mouth be

original cesarean section.) Popular belief decreed that her

kept open to allow the infant's soul to escape should

An

it

too be dead.^^

woman she would "lose a tooth for every There might be worse consequences, like danger of infection, or from tearing. A Brittany peasant remembered that his grandmother had left her bed too soon to do the laundry and died of a fever, the old English proverb told a

child you bear."^^



principal

symptom

Maria went



of such an infection. In Torregreca in southern Italy,

to the fields to heave the

just a

week

death

just as

other peasant

women had

for centuries.

Infections might have lesser consequences.

matory diseases could close

off

for the threshing machine She hemorrhaged and bled to

wheat sheaves

after the birth of her sixth child.

Gonorrhea and

pelvic inflam-

the fallopian tubes with scar tissue and cause

intermittent pain, fever, and exhaustion. Malnutrition, a chronic possibility in the peasant

woman's world, caused

irregular ovulation

and cessation of

menstruation altogether. Malnutrition, especially protein deficiency, could lead to toxemia, to kidney damage, to high blood pressure in pregnant

and thus

to

women

premature birth or the death of the fetus because of abnormalities

from the wall of the had miscarriages. In 1681, Alice

of the placenta or premature separation of the placenta uterus.

Even the most

successful childbearers

George of St. Giles parish in Oxford was 108 years old, still tall for her time and known to have been able to reap as much as a man in her younger years. She had married at thirty, borne fifteen children, and had three miscarriages. In the 1930s Lucia of the north littoral of Yugoslavia told the school-

teacher Darinka Host about her experiences: two miscarriages in the

first

year

and then a son. Eighteen months later she bore another child. Her mother had successfully brought pregnancies to term, but after each birth she "was bedridden for five months." Demographers estimate that even in good health, with easy conception, the harsh conditions of peasant women's lives caused spontaneof her marriage, then five years of barrenness, another miscarriage,

ous abortions

— miscarriages—

a third of the time.^^

^he

records of births for

seventeenth- and eighteenth-century English and French villages show April,

The Constants

of the Peasant

Woman's World

109

May, and June the best months for conception for a successful pregnancy. the mother would have less arduous labor in the first months, and more than enough food in the later months of carrying the fetus. ^^ Care of the newborn infant followed patterns and beliefs as old as ancient Greek, Hebrew, and Germanic customs. Into the eighteenth, nineteenth, and even the twentieth centuries in some parts of Europe, the mid-

Then

wife bathed the infant, then swaddled separately, then

wrapping

a cloth

all

it,

limb

carefully binding each

around. Usually the baby was swaddled

with the wrappings changed two or three times during the day for the four

months

of life.^^

As

late as the

a southern Italian village advised that the a

minimum

first

1960s the elementary schoolteacher

baby be confined

in this

way

in

for

of six months. All believed that such binding protected the

and illness, preserving the straightness of the limbs and the proper placement of each organ. Of all the Europeans, only the Celts were described in the twelfth century by the historian Giraldus Cambrensis as not swaddling their infants and leaving "nature alone" to deterchild from deformity

mine the baby's shape. ^^

Women

breast-fed their infants

castles or the

infants.

The

towns could afford

if

they could. Only rich

a surrogate, a

women

of the

"wet" nurse, to feed their

colostrum and the breast milk, easily digestible and with valuable

survival. Mothers gradually weaned babies between one and three years of age. Early in the infant's life, the mother gave it solid food, pap (a thin flour gruel) or bread soaked in milk

antibodies,

improved the baby's chances of

or water. Peasant

women might

choose to nurse because they believed the

practice prevented conception. In if

a

mother wished

Peasant mothers took If

many communities

the

Church approved

to remain sexually abstinent during this period. all

responsibility for children until about age five.

they had more than one child, they would have the elder watch the

younger. Until the child could walk, care would be relatively easy. Collier,

an eighteenth-century peasant woman, wrote

babies to the

Mary

in verse of taking

the

fields:

[We] wrap them in our clothes to keep them warm While round about we gather up the corn [grain]; And often unto them our course do bend. To keep them safe, that nothing them offend. ^"^ In Brittany in the nineteenth century mothers left their babies in their cribs, or in the family's enclosed box bed, returning periodically in the course of

the day to nurse them.

had to

Once

the child was able to walk, dangers were

Even in the 1980s in Denmark, mothers complained that they watch their children carefully because of potentially harmful farm

ever-present.

WOMEN

110

Women

machinery.

OF THE FIELDS

of earlier times feared hearth

fires,

deep

and

wells,

domestic and wild animals.

Although "A

soft

word

will

open an

iron door"

remained a popular

proverb in Bosnia into the 1930s, peasant mothers probably ruled their children strictly.^^ In fourteenth-century Montaillou in southern France,

mothers put them to bed before serving the husbands their evening meal. is

likely that

mothers beat the younger children, fathers the

1930s in Yugoslavia, Lucia remembered

still

not strong enough to knead

the knuckles.

them

all."^^

it

how hard

it

had been

to care for the

"When first made the bread, firm, and my mother would rap me

other children while her mother was

I

ill:

It

elder. In the

was

I

over

I did the work for all the younger ones and also got beaten for Grandmothers told stories of little girls and boys who suffered

hardship and even death because they disobeyed their mothers.

Hood wandered

off the

Red Riding

path in the woods despite her mother's warnings and

a wolf. "The Wayward Child" of another tale "wouldn't do what its mother wanted. For that reason the dear Lord did not look with favor upon it and let it fall ill." Even in death it would not be still, often reappearing to the mother. In the end she beat the apparition's arm with a switch and, "Now for the first time the child had peace under the earth. "^^ Care of children and the family extended beyond feeding, clothing, and discipline. To peasant women fell the responsibility for comforting and curing a sick child, husband, parent, or grandparent. Peasant women had no scientific names for the afflictions that might come to their families. They knew only symptoms: fever, cough, cloudy eyes, headache, abdominal pain, swelling, bleeding, discharges, rashes. Like their mothers and grandmothers they relied on intuition and on the knowledge passed from generation to generation. They could, like the women in thirteenth- and fourteenth-century southern France, call on the services of the village wisewoman, an elder acknowledged to have special skill with herbs and who knew rituals and

was eaten by

prayers that could cure. village paid

such

The churchwardens of a

women

seventeenth-century English

a regular salary just as others paid the midwife.^^

Healing was a special knowledge. Every symptom from toothache to eye inflammation to convulsions, palsy, and

loss of

remedies, a whole range of practices that the raries believed ritual like

hearing had

its

had curative powers. There might be

a specific prayer or a

wearing red flannel to draw out the "red" heat of a

wisewoman could

appropriate

wisewoman and her contempofever.

Or

the

one woman believed that she could cure consumption by burying an egg in an ant hill the disease would disappear as the ant hill washed away in the transfer the "spirit" of the affliction; for example,



rain.^'^

Much of the peasant woman's pharmacopeia remains a

sounds

like

magic, like a spider covered in dough taken as a

mystery.

pill

Some

against ague.

The Constants Other substances

of the Peasant

like digitalis (foxglove),

aspirin (willow bark) are used in

come

Woman's World

111

hyoscyamine (belladonna), and

modern medicine.

In particular, twentieth-

woman's knowledge of and how to preserve the many herbs, roots, and blossoms that she used. Changes in temperature and light from day to night, from season to season, alter the chemical properties of many plants; for example, the yield of poppies is four times greater at nine in the morning than century scientists have

when

to pick,

when

to respect the peasant

to cut,

at nine at night. ^^

Each symptom had its herbal remedy. Children drank calamint tea or smoke of burning coltsfoot leaves to soothe a cough or to relieve congestion. The root of marshmallows, oil of thyme, peppermint, and anise seed are still ingredients in medicinal lozenges. Every headache and fever had inhaled the

its

specific cure.

A

sore throat called for periwinkle tea, or a salt water gargle.

dizziness. Herbs like pimpernel and dill helped digestion and eased abdominal pain. Tansy leaf tea slowed the cramps of dysentery. Celandine and wormwood cleared worms from the intestines. Aloe and marigolds are still used in lotions to soothe injured or burned skin.

Lavender stopped

Centuries of experience, flashes of intuition, acts of

cumulated with the

lore of this herbal

illnesses all

pain, cure,

medicine gave peasant

women

the ac-

faith,

a

way

to deal

around them. They believed that they could ameliorate

and thus take some control of the unknown hazards of their world. all of peasant women's efforts and expertise, death menaced their

Despite

Though rural women bore an average of six children in a lifetime, them died before they were twenty. The tenth- and eleventh-century Hungarian cemeteries show one child in five dead before the first birthday,

families.

half of

two

dead before the fourteenth birthday. ^^ Studies of French and

in five

English village families suggest that until the beginning of the eighteenth

century a

woman

averaging

five births

Twenty-five percent of children died

would see three of her children

in their first year, in

bad times

as

die.

many

^'^

more would be dead before their twentieth birthday. Death was women's special province; just as they oversaw the coming of life, so they waited for its leaving. Peasant women had cowslip wine, herbs like poppy seed, belladonna, mandrake root, and hemlock to ease pain and as 25 percent

give sleep.

Women

prepared the body, whether

it

was an infant,

a child,

husband, parent, or friend. They washed the limbs, wrapped the body white cloth



a winding-sheet, or shroud, that they

in

would probably have

woven and hemmed themselves.

In 1895 Nell Chapman, new wife to an made the linen shrouds for herself and her husband as her first act of their new life together. Women had always been the principal mourners, praying over the body, in some villages for nights and

English village shepherd,

days

in succession, despite

the disapproval of the Church, which decried such

WOMEN

112

OF THE FIELDS

"excesses" of mourning from as early as the seventh century. of death in their ballads and told of

it

Women

sang

death of

in their tales, especially the

"The Wife of Usher's Well" lost three of her sons "about Martinwhen nights are lang and mirk."^^ The mother of the German folktale "The Little Shroud" knew quiet acceptance only when her seven-year-old son appeared to reassure her, his shroud soaked with her tears. Then the storyteller imagined him sleeping as he had in life but now "in his little underground bed."^^ Peasant women made offerings at the parish churches, "the children.

mas,

mortuary articles

gift," just as their

tended the

women

gravesites.

Countrywomen took of the precious quality of

and

Germanic and Celtic predecessors had buried

with the bodies of their dead. Into the twentieth century

responsibility for the health of their families. life,

rituals that survived into

of their world

Aware

they honored birth and death with special care

modern

the

era,

long after the worst dangers

had disappeared.

Threats to Survival

The women

of the countryside accepted the vulnerability of

life.

wherever the preindustrial patterns of cultivation prevailed, peasant

and men

For

women

on the edge of subsistence. Bad fortune periodically endanvalued. The natural forces of bad weather, bad harvest and epidemic diseases inevitably broke the rhythm of their seasonal activities, and challenged their ability to sustain themselves and their families. In those gered

all

lived

that

women

women battled for life. women knew that the key to survival

times, peasant

Peasant

was the length of the winter and the success of the summer growing season. Into the eighteenth century, natural disaster and its companion, famine, usually came at least once in a generation. In a good year, a seventeenth-century French family would need a minimum of 2 hectares of land to produce enough grain for food, for rents, taxes, tithes, and enough seed for the next spring's sowing. In a bad year the peasant family needed double the number of hectares to yield the same harvest. ^0 And there was no more land in a bad year than a good one. All of the sources describing the lives of countrywomen and men speak with special respect of the winter families



of the cold, the wind, the wet. Peasant

winters."^ ^ The gradual mean temperature of 1 degree centigrade made the winters worse and signaled the

counted the passage of years by the number of

cooling of the climate, a drop in the

by the

late fourteenth century,

"little ice age."'^^

Into the seventeenth century, peasant

Europe saw increased

rainfall that

caused the

rivers

women

and canals

in

northern

to flood

the Baltic to freeze over. In 1690 in Scandinavia, the weather never

and

warmed

— The Constants

of the Peasant

Woman's World

113

long enough for the grain to ripen7^ In Greystoke, England, 1623 was a bad

women and

year for peasant

September, the parish register

their families. In

noted deaths: a son Leonard on the eleventh, the mother on the twelfth

Anthony Cowlman which woman died in Edward Dawwant of maintenance."'^'* Warm, dry weather could mean olive trees in the south of England, figs

"Jaine, wife of

.

.

.

son's barn of Greystoke for

and vines

north of France.

in the

Warming

of the climate in the eighteenth

century brought a longer growing season and bigger harvests. But heat could

drought and

also bring ers

had

move

to

from 1647

Beauvaisis,

Spanish

wildfires. In sixteenth-century Castile,

as the soil

hardened and cracked with lack of

to 1651 recurrent droughts

rain. In

villag-

French

and bad harvests forced lost land and tools, and

tenant families into debt to buy food; they defaulted, starved. "^5

Worst

of

tieth century,

"Many woman

for peasant

all

people die in

Etienne

in

the spring

the 1930s.^^

tell

women and

their families, even into the twen-

were the early spring months before the

The

when food

first

grains ripened.

scarcest," explained a Bosnian

is

seventeenth-century French village records of

of the weaver Jean

Cocu,

his wife

St.

and four daughters. Together

made 108 sols a week. To survive they needed 70 pounds of bread a With bread at Vi sol a pound, they had no difficulty. In 1694 the price was 3.3 sols per pound. By December of 1693 the family had registered at the office of the poor; by March of 1694 the youngest daughter had died; in they

week.

May

the father and then the eldest daughter followed.

For countrywomen changes

in

^'^

the weather had repercussions other than

the success or failure of the harvest. Each season had

its illnesses.

As

early

century in Denmark, the long cold months indoors passed

as the thirteenth

member to family member. The lice gave typhus to the women's children died of croup, diphtheria, whooping cough, from bronchitis, asthma, and rheumatic fever. As women and men passed

smallpox from family adults. Peasant

from

fifteen to thirty-five, they died of tuberculosis. In nineteenth-century

Brittany,

Emile Guillaumin described

his wife's

death after she had helped

with the harvest: I

got Victoire,

we had made

who didn't mind at all,

the day before on to the

to

come with me

cart.

under the downpour which fell unexpectedly and two days later she was dead.^^

Pneumonia,

and acute

to help load the few stocks

She got very early: that

took

hot, then

began to shiver

night she coughed blood,

lives in

the winter. In the

sixteenth century influenza claimed lives in France, Italy,

Germany, and the

pleurisy,

Netherlands. Dysentery with especially

when

tonsillitis, all

its

rapid dehydration killed in every century,

the population was weakened by food shortages. In nine-

WOMEN

114

women and men

teenth-century Brittany

winter months7^

OF THE FIELDS still

dreaded "the cold hell" of the

Warm weather did not necessarily mean health for a family.

The hot moist air bred the mosquitoes of malaria. In the nineteenth century summer droughts left bad water and brought cholera and typhoid fever. From the thirteenth century to the seventeenth century, one disease above all others caused terror. Peasant women and men called it the Black Death and

suffered

in

it

epidemic waves,

first

in the fourteenth

then periodically into the seventeenth century when

The

more

it

century and

or less died out.

European outbreak of the bubonic plague in 1348 coincided with bad weather and food shortages. This made peasant families

first

a long period of

particularly susceptible to the

new

disease strain. In such circumstances the

Black Death flourished.so In 1348 the weather was

woman remembered Day, and

just

that

warm and humid

it

started to rain

never stopped. ^^

The

Europe.

in

An

English peasant

on the 24th of June,

grain rotted in the

fields.

St.

The

John's disease

boats with the rats and their Heas to the ports of Italy and southern France, then across the mountains and rivers and into the fishing towns and villages as people went about their regular tasks, not knowing that they carried the infection with them. First the rats died by the

came off the merchants'

hundreds of thousands. In Dorsetshire, England, by the middle of July, the women and men began to sicken and die. The mortality in the first wave, from 1348 to 1350, was 20-25 percent. A peasant woman lost many of her husband, for adults were the first to contract the disease. In the second wave, which came sporadically from 1351 to 1385, friends, perhaps her parents, her

the children proved the most vulnerable.

The loss of

the young and of another

20 percent of the population caused a downturn

in the

the 1380s Europe had lost about 40 percent of

its

Peasant

women

first

population curve. By

population. ^^

noticed the swelling of the lymph glands under the

Then

spots, sometimes described as blue or black, sometimes as red sores, appeared all over the body. Fever and bleeding from the nose were considered particularly common symptoms of the disease. Death could come in three days. This first wave of the plague developed into the pneumonic form very rapidly, becoming even more deadly. Then the

arms or

the groin.

in

disease was transmitted directly from person to person without the intermedi-

needed by the bubonic form of the disease. There would no swelling, just a sudden onset of a very high fever, inflammation of the lungs, coughing, spitting blood, and death. Without

ary rodent

be

little

and

fleas

or almost

antibiotics,

even

monic plague

is

in a

modern medical

facility,

the mortality rate for pneu-

60 to 70 percent. ^^

Manorial and parish their families. In

officials

recorded the deaths of peasant

1348 on a Suffolk manor of

fifty

women and

holdings, twenty-nine

The Constants families

of the Peasant

Woman's World

had been wiped out.^^ By 1364 around Nice

in

115

southern France only

twelve of the twenty-eight villages had sufficient families to

list

for the hearth

By 1401 two thirds of the rural communes around Pistoia in northern had disappeared from the records, the lands abandoned. ^^ Well into the

taxes. ^5 Italy

seventeenth century, a cyclical pattern of the disease was established. at the

end of the seventeenth century the population's immunity

Then

stabilized,

and the plague ceased to kill. Death and harm might come to peasant women and their families not only from natural disaster and disease, but also from the hands of men. Violence was a part of the life of the countryside, both in individual assaults against women in particular and in the indiscriminate horror of warfare. The customary laws of the Germanic and Celtic peoples, the fourteenth- to the seventeenth-century records of the secular and ecclesiastical courts, show that

women's bodies and

their lives

were supposed to be protected. Prankish law

women. Fourteenth-century ecclesiastical courts of southern France and manor courts in England fined men for rape and put them in the stocks. In 1400 in an Apennines village, a group of men took the priest's sister Bartola, "like a lamb among a pack of wolves" and raped her for two days. Four of them were executed.^'' Along with the ancient traditions that valued a woman's safety and called set wergilds for killing

for her protection,

men from the

however, went the equally ancient tradition of protecting

false accusations.

This

left

the burden of proof of sexual assault on

woman. Burgundian and Lombard customs awarded

fines only

if

the

man

had not been incited. In seventeenth-century Somerset in England, a woman had to cry out, to make her accusation right away, could never have had intercourse with the man before, and must not become pregnant. All across Europe men believed that conception meant enjoyment on the woman's part. If the guilty man was a peasant woman's social superior, she had little recourse. Twelfth-century writings of the elite classes suggested a nobleman "use a

little

compulsion

as a

convenient cure" for a village maiden's "shy-

ness. "^^ In fourteenth-century

Montaillou

in

southern France, the priest

notoriously used his position and his ability to bring charges of heresy against parishioners to exact sex from the all

were young

women

women

inn. In the eighteenth century near

wanted them allowed

M. de

of the village.

living as servants, either in a

visitor, to

of

in a public

Nantes, servants assumed their masters

to accept the advances of their friends:

Kernoel, a

Most vulnerable

household or

have intercourse

Marie Toutescotes

for

"she

felt

that she

should not refuse him being afraid that her master would be angry with her."89

While the helped

religious

and secular customs of the community sometimes

women who had been

assaulted or harassed, nothing could lessen the



— WOMEN

116

OF THE FIELDS

impact of war on the countryside and constant in the world of peasant ries

its

Wars remained

inhabitants.

women and men,

a

changing over the centu-

only in the methods and justifications, never in their effects on peasants'

lives.

Until the sixth century, the peasant wives of the

Germanic and Celtic

peoples remained behind to deal with the work of subsistence while the raided the neighboring settlements each spring.

eleventh centuries peasant

women and

From

men

the eighth to the

their families suffered the attacks of

North Africa and Spain, the Magyars from the Vikings from the north. The ninth- and tenth-century invasions

distant invaders, the Arabs from

the east,

led peasant families to seek protectors, to tie themselves to a

and

his followers.

As

his serfs

mounted

warrior

with obligations and payments in kind, they

put themselves under the shelter of his military strength and gained the authority of his "ban" and of his manorial court. Thus they could hope to plant and harvest in relative peace. selves in the eleventh

God, the promise

and twelfth

When

the warriors fought

among them-

centuries, peasants looked to the

would not

of bishops that knights

fight

Truce of

on certain days of

the week, at certain times of the year. As early as the thirteenth century, peasants turned to the

new

royal dynasties

—the

kings, emperors,

and czars

claimed the lands and the wealth as their own, taking taxes but giving the law and order of royal justice in the royal courts. But then from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries, the dynasties fought among them-

who

selves.

So the wars continued, as predictable as the coming of spring when and their commanders made their plans for new campaigns. The peasant woman and her husband, her sisters and brothers, her mother and father, her daughters and sons watched the methods of fighting change: The elite professional warriors on horseback gave way to paid foot soldiers and

warriors

in ranks, and then to artillery and massed armies. Occaarmed themselves to try to keep the warring from their but most often they fled, or tried to negotiate to avoid the coming

bowmen marching sionally, peasants villages,

of the soldiers.

From

the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, free companies of

soldiers, like

bands of outlaws, menaced the people of the countryside. In the herded their livestock to a fort on an

fifteenth century Joan of Arc's family island in the River

Meuse

to wait out the raiding soldiers of the

Years War. In 1423 Joan's father was the villager

who

Hundred

signed the agreement

with the leader of a band of soldiers, a yearly fee levied on each household paid so that there would be no pillaging.

blackmail payments

New

appati, pati, raencons

wars gave

du

Even such arrangements did not always mean

new names

to these

pays, souffrances de guerre. safety.

A

1439 inquiry into

The Constants

of the Peasant

Woman's World

two French

excesses of the Dauphin's soldiers in

"women

villages reported

and hanged. "^° In

violated, people crucified, roasted

117

their cahier

grievances) to the Estates General of 1484 the peasants reported:

of

(list

"No

region

has been free from the continual going and coming of armed men, living the poor people,

now

now

the standing companies,

now

off

the feudal levies of nobles,

the free archers, sometimes the halberdiers and at other times the Swiss

and pikemen."^! Before the twentieth century, nothing matched the horrors of the Thirty

War of the seventeenth

Years

ing across the

fields:

century

—the troops

of

many

dynasties march-

from Austria, France, Hanover and Saxony

from England, Hungary, Spain, Sweden. The armies came

in

Germany,

in

the spring and

the summer, not just bands of soldiers, but small states with thousands of followers to service the fighting men's needs.

The commanders

Wallenstein between them had armies of 48,000

women and

to live off the land that peasant

—48,000

their families tended. ^^

raped and murdered. They stole the crops and burned the the livestock. In their wake, armies

left

Tilly

and

additional people

fields.

Armies

They

killed

typhus and dysentery. In 1618 the

population in the areas of heaviest fighting was 21 million; in 1648 leaders signed the peace 13.5 million remained. ^^

The

when

the

English ambassador

described Neustadt, Germany, in the winter of 1635-1636 after the troops

had gone through. The children just sat at the doors of their houses. The dead were found with grass in their mouths. In parts of the fighting areas dysentery hit

epidemic proportions and then came the plague.

men, and children died

in four

months. ^^ Even

in

Some

10,000

sional wars of the eighteenth century, the future Joseph

mother, the Empress of Austria, the peasants have been pillaged,

in July of 1778: .

.

.

on

civilian populations;

husbands from starvation,

disease,

women worked the land and draft animals, women pulled the

peasant or

came,

just as in

their valuables,

As

and

still

intact. "^^

and mechanization renewed attacks

women

died with their children and

and exposure. ^^ In World

let their

plows themselves.

cows loose

peasant

War

II

cared for the livestock. Without fuel

the centuries before, Italian peasant

in past centuries

wrote to his

the scale of the revolutions and wars meant conse-

quences never imagined before. Peasant their

II

"The war has begun and

our armies are

In the twentieth century, technology

women,

the well-managed profes-

in

the woods.

women managed

When

women

the armies

hid food, buried

"''^

to survive

and

to provide

Anna Cecchi, wife of the shepherd in a north Italian knew when the bombs were coming because the sheepdog started to

for their children. village,

howl. She and her grandmother took her daughters to a makeshift shelter.

"What

did

I

think during the war?" she was asked.

"To

continue," she

WOMEN

118

OF THE FIELDS

answered. "Just to continue. "^^ Russian

song that described war for the

And I

so

now

women

women

in the

1950s

still

knew the

of the countryside:

the war has ended,

alone remain

alive.

I'm the horse, the ox, the housewife,

And

the

man and

the farm.^^

Into the twentieth century peasant

protected each

new

disasters, disease,

women

generation, though tested

and war.

sustained their families and

many

times over with natural

SUSTAINING

THE GENERATIONS

The Family and Marriage Throughout the centuries a woman and a man survived in the countryside and could hope for the future by hving within a family. Only with others could peasant women and men complete the ever-present tasks that ensured subsistence, and make order of the challenges and the periodic chaos of their lives.

For women,

in theory,

in addition, the protection of a father, a

made them somewhat

less

Following the traditions inherited from

would be expected

She did

husband, a son,

vulnerable to the violence of other men. earlier centuries, a

young woman young man.

to marry, thus creating a partnership with a

not, however, give

up her

ties to

her

own

family and might even keep

her mother's or her father's name. Thirteenth-century English records Ciciley Wilkinsdoughter and

Emma

list

Androsmayden. In fifteenth-century

France Joan of Arc explained to the churchmen who questioned her at her trial that: "I am called sometimes Jeanne d'Arc and sometimes Jeanne

Romee," thus acknowledging ties to both her parents' kin.^ Into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Denmark, Ireland, and France women continued to be known by mothers' and fathers' surnames even though marriage had legally changed them. Both young peasant women and men saw the advantages of the partnermight mean freedom from the bonds of by their union the couple gained a measure of independence from their parents, adult status within the village community, and the opportunity to create their own future. A French proverb, "Mariage,

ship. In earlier centuries, marriage

serfdom. Even as

serfs,

menage," meant that with marriage the couple had created their own house(The evolution of certain words reflects the acquisition of adult status in the languages of both Eastern and Western Europe. Among the thirteenth-century Slavs of Kiev in Russia the words for "woman" and "man"

hold. ^

WOMEN

120

were the same

OF THE FIELDS and "husband." In English the word meaning female spouse, and mann, mean-

as those for "wife"

"woman" combines ing human being.)

the word

wif,

Both wanted to marry. In the 1930s marriage at I

woman



a "housewife," as she

practical value

and

significance.

A

the soul of the house.

Here it

is

something

want

I

The

County

to

tell

."^

it.

.

.

For the man, joining with

Sicilian

called

—had the same

proverb explained,

"The man

the primary wealth of the house."^

is

Clare, Ireland, insisted:

you and you can put

in

it

your head and take

back with you. The small farmer has to have an intelligent wife or he won't

last long.

He may do

for a

few years but after that he can't manage.

are a thousand ways an intelligent

woman makes money

getting a wife for one of his sons, he should look to a

an industrious and to

woman remembered her my way, and knowing

would come to be

good wife

In the 1920s a farmer from

Bosnian

a

chance come

a very nice

was poor, wasted no time thinking about

the

is

had

fifteen: "I

work and that

The

landlord

intelligent is

what

is

.

.

.

There

and when he is house where there has been .

.

.

woman, because she has taught her daughters how

needed.'

—the knight

or noble

who

gave access to the

fields

—knew

the importance of the marriage of his female and male serfs or tenants.

could expect more of a couple.

On

Ashcroft in Somerset, the unmarried holder of

two and

a half hens, his

five acres

married counterpart

thirteenth-century

Wantage

hens and an extra

tax.^

He

the twelfth-century English manor of

in Berkshire, the

1

owed V2 pence and

pence and

married

five hens.

In

man owed two more

Manorial agreements forbade marriage outside the

property and required the lord's permission from as early as the eleventh

century in England to as late as the 1730s

marriage off the manor meant the loss of a

cow, as well, for

this

family to the groom). In

was the traditional

some

Poland.

in

To

parts of Europe, in addition to his permission,

the lord used the occasion of the marriage to collect another called

it

merchet,

and

peasant father might

in

owe the

failure to



with the

new

first

The

The

English

equivalent of the value of an ox, in the four-

pay

this tax

fields. '^

may have

Celtic epic Tain

Historian Jean Scam-

given

that the landlord could claim the

wife.

always had "the

fee.

the eleventh and twelfth centuries, a better off

teenth century, three months' income from the

mel suggests that jus primae noctis

the landlord a

and progeny, in Poland the dowry (the gift of the bride's

loss of laborers

first

rise to

Bo acknowledges

forcing of girls in Ulster."^

the idea of

act of intercourse

that the king

While no concrete evidence

manorial records of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries suggest the memory, if not the reality, of the custom. A document of 1419 from Bourdet, Normandy, in northern France, lists the merchet as 10 sols, a joint of pork exists,

121

Sustaining the Generations

a gallon of wedding drink, and continues, "I may and ought, if it pleases me, go and lie with the bride, in case her husband or some person on his one of the things above rehearsed."^ A 1486 account fail to pay to me legal decision of Ferdinand V of Catalonia in northern Spain prohibited lords from taking their peasants' wives on the wedding night. A list of sixteenthcentury customs from Beam, Switzerland, states that peasant men, "before

and

.

know

they

.

.

their wives ... are

bound

to present

them the

first

night to the

do with them according to his pleasure, or else to pay him a certain tribute." 1° In seventeenth-century France the lord exercised the droit du seigneur symbolically by putting his leg in the couples' bed after the feast on lord ... to

The cahiers presented by representatives of the peasants French Estates General of 1789 complained of the right still being

the wedding night. to the

claimed. 1^ In the

German

folktales the

hero usually

fell

in love first,

but before

marrying he would often seek the advice and approval of his parents. The stories mirror the European reality, for throughout the centuries families negotiated the marriage, both the joining of their daughters and their sons and the arrangements for their provision, the dowry from the bride, the dower from the groom. So significant were these arrangements that a thirteenthcentury English father registered the agreement at the hallmote. In nine-

teenth-century Russia the negotiations took place before an

official of

the

village.

Long before churchmen played any the betrothal and marriage

literally

part in the ceremonies, the rituals of

and symbolically

signified the obligations

groom and his family. From the ninth century, the tradition of the Lombards and other Germanic peoples continued throughout Europe: The daughter stood holding her father's hand; he gave it into the young man's.

of the

By

this

simple gesture, her father transferred his guardianship of her and gave

to another

man

the responsibility of protecting and providing for her, for

protection and provision were the ways in which peasant families defined their responsibility to their daughters.

Other

parts of the

ceremony symbol-

ized the gift of the groom's family, the dower, the promise of a portion of his goods,

and access

to his fields, should

he die and leave her

a

widow.

The

English service kept the Anglo-Saxon words and phrases. "Plighting the troth," meant the pledge, but, in its early sense, "plight" also meant danger and thus implied punishment should the terms of the agreement not be met. In the thirteenth century an English groom would "endow" his bride on the as a symbol of the dower. Even the phrase wed" emphasized the traditional promise to the bride, Anglo-Saxon "wed" also meant "pledge."

church steps and give the ring "with for in

this ring

I

The promise

thee

of the bride's family, though not represented in the rituals,

WOMEN

122

was no

less significant.

and chose

as wife for

OF THE FIELDS

The mother

in a

her son the young

German folktale woman who cut

looked to character the cheese without

wasting any. In reality there was the promise of the young woman's labor and

her reproductive capacity, but more would be expected. Throughout the centuries,

all

across Europe, the tradition of the Celtic,

Germanic, and other

ancient cultures continued, and the bride brought goods and later money,

perhaps a house or rights to land, as her contribution to the marriage. This, her dowry, formed the other part of the negotiations between the two families.

Failure to complete the pledge also carried penalties.

teenth-century England, Richard a

house worth 40

manor

A

When

in thir-

Maud did not provide his sister Avis' dowry,

shillings, a dress,

and

a

cow, he was brought before the

court. ^^

daughter was always entitled to a portion of the family's wealth on the

death of her father or mother. Gradually, access to the land tended to go to the sons, and the custom arose of giving daughters their inheritance at the

time of their marriage, and not

as land

century brides from one village

in

clothing, in

one

village, a

but as goods or money. Fourteenth-

southern France brought a dowry of

robe and a tunic; in another

new

village, a richer family

two sets of bedding, and 75 livres.^^ Fathers in sixteenthand seventeenth-century Essex in England gave their daughters money. A poor farmer set aside 26 shillings 8 pence in his will; Ralph Josselin, the yeoman vicar, planned £200 for one girl, Jane, and £500 for the other, Rebecka.i"^ In eighteenth-century France, a young girl might not look to her family at all. Some left at twelve or fourteen to work in the towns and then returned in their midtwenties to marry, having earned the dowry themselves.

also gave a chest,

By the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the accumulation of the dowry had become a significant burden on the peasant family, yet one willingly undertaken to ensure a proper and adequate future for their daughter as the wife of an appropriately placed young man. There was still the contribution in goods, now sometimes called the bride's trousseau. By the 1930s in Sicily, the numbers of pieces had multiplied to thirty-five or forty. A young woman brought two sheets, four pillowcases, a bedspread, tablecloths, towels, doilies and her lingerie as her corredo. ^^ Her father and brother had worked to

buy the material

as a first obligation,

even before providing for the son's

marriage, for the corredo alone assured the daughter's future.

From

the 1880s

dowry became harder and harder, taking as much as ten to twelve years' rent to gain a match with a man of good status. Eventually, a pattern evolved: The family provided for one daughter; the others emigrated. ^^ In the 1930s in Yugoslavia, goods and money might not be enough. A young woman from a prosperous family, was known to be a good worker, yet the money her mother could offer counted for nothing. She had brothers, in Ireland, raising a

123

Sustaining the Generations

and they, not

she,

would

inherit the rights to the land of the zadruga (the

family-held property), so her mother could not arrange a good match.

mother lamented her daughter's

The

plight:

go ahead, wait no longer. Go ahead little lamb, lower your sights wants it, So she got married, she is all right but 12 acres had had no other are not 25. So you see, if Janja had been my first born, and if God knows our heiress. Then, well, then children. She would have been Janja,

my

as the

good

child,

God

.

.



.

1

.

whom it

.



.

why

she would have gotten for a husband, but

talk

it,

you know

how

is.i7

In the 1950s in Vasilika, Greece, peasant families

choices for their daughters and sons.

both

about

a son's

They

had

to

make the same money for

sold the land to raise

education and for a dowry of as

much

as

$3,000 to $4,500 to

provide a daughter with a suitable husband. ^^

Throughout the centuries the wedding ceremony celebrated the change the couple and the promise of their sexuality. The bride had a special dress. In eighteenth-century Sicily she wore a multicolored one, with a garland of orange blossoms as a symbol of fertility. In Russia and Yugoslavia the fabric had been intricately embroidered. Before the ceremony in Russia, the young woman was ritually cleansed, her hair rebraided from one plait into in status for

two. Before the altar both she and the

groom wore

special

the occasion. Their friends teased and taunted them.

teenth-century

Champagne

in

crowns kept

Young people

for

in six-

France created distractions during the

ex-

changing of vows, interrupted the couple on their wedding night and would not leave until they had been given money, drink, and flowers. In the Cotes-

du-Nord in nineteenth-century France, the bride's friends surrounded her hoping to claim the bouquet; the groom and his friends took chase and literally tore her away from her friends. The more disheveled and upset she was, the better sign of her virtue and indication of her future faithfulness.^^ From as early as the mid-twelfth century, the priest was present as a witness, to lend

permanence

to the vows, but the

place outside the church door.

come

Only

in

ceremony

itself

usually took

the sixteenth century did the churches

The decrees of the made marriage a sacrament for Catholics and ceremony came to take place in the church, not just the

to play a significant part in the ritual joining.

Council of Trent gradually

all

in the

of the

1560s

celebratory mass. Protestant

churchmen added the requirement

of "posting

the banns," publicly announcing the plan to marry three months before the betrothal. All

were meant to emphasize the factors important to the

tical authorities:

ecclesias-

the consent of the couple and the indissolubility of the

union.

The Church's

intentions did not conflict with those of peasant

women

WOMEN

124

OF THE FIELDS

and men. Marriage was a willing partnership, a union essential for survival. Together couples worked the land on which their lives and the lives of their children depended.

Access

to the

The new

Land

couple could not survive, could not sustain themselves or their

fields, to pasture, and to forest. When by and sons showed themselves old enough to establish a household and thus ready to have their inheritance, rights to the land would be the most significant possession their families could give them. For exam-

future children, without access to

their marriage daughters

ple, into

the eighteenth century in the Waldviertel of Austria,

when

the

young man gained permission to marry, he gained the right to his father's strips. (The fact of transferring strips to a son on the occasion of marriage led to the coincidence of meaning between "husband" and the old term for farmer, "husbandman.") The same custom came to be followed with daughters; at her marriage, a daughter received her inheritance, usually goods and money, but in some parts of Europe, she too received the rights to land. Twelfth- and thirteenth-century records for Lincolnshire and Somerset attest to female landholders in England, with sons known by their mothers' names and wives acting in the manorial court in land disputes on their own, their sisters', or their husbands' behalf.^o In some shires when there were no sons, daughters rather than males of another line held the land. Customs varied all across Europe. Sometimes the land went to the daughter already married, sometimes it was divided equally among them, sometimes held in common. Thirteenth-century peasant mothers like Sarah Howe from Cashio, Hertfordshire, and Catherine Leman of Hendringham in Norfolk granted or willed land to their daughters on the occasion of their betrothal and marriage. Women also leased land. In 1272 Lyna did so with her brother William in Methwold, Norfolk. Julian Joye of Burley, Rutland, bought land in 1299 but by local custom could only hold it during her lifetime; she could not will it; rather, on her death, it reverted to the landlord. Though these women may have acted for themselves, families commonly assumed that the husband would make the principal decisions, consulting his wife only when he wished to "alienate" or give up her rights. Should he mismanage the holding, however, she or her family could appeal to the manor court. In 1280 in Hertfordshire, Margaret asked that her land be given back to her. While he was alive she had, as a dutiful wife, consented to her husband's request to alienate the property,

Other

now

the jury and presiding reeve decided in her favor. ^^

parts of

Western Europe, often Celtic

or formerly

Roman regions, women access

followed an even wider range of customs that sometimes gave

Sustaining the Generations

to lands along with the

men

of the family.

From

125

the sixteenth century into

the eighteenth century in Franche-Comte, land went to those

household, both females and males. In sixteenth-century

Romans

France, a father could divide his land as he chose, giving

it

still

in

in

the

southern

to a daughter

if

he wished. In the thirteenth- and sixteenth-century custumals (collections of local

customs) for Normandy, Anjou, Brittany, Touraine, and Maine, the

among all the children. In parts of sixteenthown names and were listed in the court and having livestock. The same was true in Santander

lands were to be divided equally

century Scotland,

women

records as paying rents in

kept their

northern Spain into the twentieth century; daughters and sons inherited

equally from the family holdings. 22 In the areas

where

servile status

(serfdom)

prevailed into the nineteenth century like Poland, Czechoslovakia,

and

custom prevented the division of the land and favored sons over daughters. In those regions, as in Yugoslavia, it was assumed that a daughter Russia,

rights to the land, but lost them on her marriage when she left her family become part of another. From the earliest European centuries a peasant woman had access to the land in her own right, or as a wife. Over the centuries, however, she ex-

had to

perienced changes in the ways in which access to land was defined and in the

which her labors guaranteed subsistence to her and her family. Into women and men might share communal access as kin of a Germanic chieftain. They would labor with others, free and equal in status, raising ways

in

the 800s,

enough to feed themselves and their kin. By the tenth and eleventh centuries, they might have access as serfs, no longer equal but subject to the warriors who gave them protection. The right to use of their own plowed strips came in return for their goods and services, now owed to the warrior, the manor lord, who in turn held the land as vassal to a duke or a king. By the thirteenth century, the couple probably rented their land from that same manor lord, or they might have

come

to

own

the

fields

themselves.

Then

as tenants or

and services would be exchanged for money in the newly specialized, commercial economy that had come to characterize most of Europe. Worst of all they might have little or no direct ties to the land freeholders, their goods

and thus no control over the value of their labor or the goods they produced. In the earliest centuries, these were the slaves of the Germanic kingdoms. In the later eras, these were the landless day laborers, the poorest villagers, with the right to little more than the use of a hut, possessing only a few tools and bedclothes for themselves and their children. Of all the possible ways a woman might live in the ninth century, enslavement gave her the least; as a "bonds-woman" she was in effect removed from her family, with no protection, no ties.

The Greeks,

liberties,

the Hebrews, and the

only obligations and responsibili-

Romans had depended on

their slaves

— WOMEN

126

for

domestic and

field labor.

OF THE FIELDS

Germanic and Celtic peoples did the same. The

Celtic epic, Tain Bo, showed Irish queens and their kings offering

(never

men) and

cattle as tribute to a conqueror; a stallion. ^^

the equivalent of a

women

bondmaid was considered

Seventh- and eighth-century inventories of

Germany, France, and northern Italy list women and men along with the livestock. The Lombards in the eighth century gave slave women as offerings to the Church. Among the Franks they worked as field laborers, as domestic servants, as sexual partners for their owners. Some women and men of the eighth and ninth centuries put themselves into bondage in estates in

exchange

for protection.

More

often

among

the Franks and with other

Germanic groups, women were captured

in

from Viking

punishment

Danes

traders, bred, or enslaved as

the regular seasonal raids, bought for crimes.

Among

the

of the eleventh century, slavery was a traditional sentence for an

unchaste woman.

Only churchmen opposed

slavery

and

tried to mitigate

some of its worst woman. In the

aspects, especially the sexual vulnerability of the enslaved

decrees and canon laws of their church councils and in their books of pen-

They advanced marriage when had taken place and manumission when children had resulted from the union. Gradually the laws of the Germanic peoples came to reflect their conversion to Christianity and thus made some concessions

ance, they spoke against enslaving Christians. sexual intercourse

to enslaved

women. Lombard law

ceremony making symbolic of her

a

woman

new

are free to choose

of the seventh century described the

"folkfree":

status, she

Taken by the hand

would be

where you wish

told,

"From

to a crossroads as

these four roads you

to go."^^

In the long term, however, altered circumstances, not changes in religion,

ended enslavement. As long as slavery suited the economic and political needs and realities of the Roman, Germanic, and Celtic worlds, it flourished. In the uncertain conditions of the ninth and tenth centuries, when afl found themselves at the mercy of trained and mounted marauder bands of Arabs, Magyars, and Vikings, a household of slaves became a burden, rather than a sign of wealth and status. Landowners freed women and men, gave them use of the fields in return for seasonal work and a portion of their produce. At the same time free women and men gave up their rights to their fields to successful local warriors, allowing themselves "to be delivered into and consigned to [his] protection. "2 5 They too owed occasional labor and goods. Both groups former slaves and former free women and men came to be known as serfs. ^6 Only in Scandinavia, northern Germany, Celtic Ireland and Scotland did the ties of family and circumstances maintain the old freedoms and avoid the



institution of serfdom.

Wherever

it

occurred, the relationship between serf and lord lay some-

Sustaining the Generations

127

where between free and slave. A woman and a man had a claim to the land as if they were free, but they did not own the land and could not leave it. They had the warrior's protection (the lord's ''ban'') and the right to judg-

ment

in his court (held in his yard or great hall)

but were

listed

along with

the cattle in the inventories of his goods. In the tenth century the Holy

Roman Emperor Otto

II listed

serving

women and men

in his

wedding

gift,

morgengabe, to his new wife, Theophano. King Louis VII of France

his

in

the twelfth century exchanged his serf like a brood mare in his agreement

with the abbey at Chartres:

We

make known

we have granted to the church Renaud de Dambron, wife of Gilon Lemaire, mayor of Germignonville, who was ours in servile status, and we have given her to be owned in person and perpetually, with all the fruit of her womb. The abbot and the monks of the said church have given us in exchange to

present and future, that

all,

of the Holy Father at Chartres, Havissa daughter of

another

woman

of their familia.

Gradually, as the relationship

men were

^'^

became more

clearly defined,

women and

considered servile but nonetheless had increasing control over the

terms of their serfdom. ries,

their strips

son.

The

and

The

family was tied to the land, but over the centu-

their rights of access

became

heritable for a daughter or

landholder merely required a payment on accession, the chevage of

French manorialism centuries,

when

tion, those

in

the twelfth century. As early as the tenth and eleventh

families

with oxen, or

commended a

themselves to the warrior for protec-

plow, were able to specify what goods and services

they would give in return. Such specifications gradually became the custom on manors throughout Europe. By the twelfth century in central Germany, peasants heard such a document, the Weistum, read each year. In England in

the fourteenth century, the harvest bylaws recorded the duties and goods

the serfs

came

owed and the monetary

to legislate

on the

value assigned each one.

stances. State law of seventeenth-century

to the land

were

Denmark

between the ages of fourteen and

tied the

thirty-six,

changed circum-

woman and man

but after that they

free to leavers

In Eastern fears,

When governments

subject, they also allowed for the

Europe the same kinds of circumstances, the same needs and

occasioned the evolution of servile status but centuries later than

West. In the 1400s

in

Brandenburg

in eastern

Germany,

in

the

princes competing

for power favored the efforts of the nobility to control the peasantry. By the end of the fifteenth century, women and men had to find others to replace them should they leave the manor. As a result of the Thirty Years War, many others found themselves forced to accept servile status to survive. In the

sixteenth century, statutes in Poland and

Romania defined serfdom

as

having

— WOMEN

128

ties to

OF THE FIELDS

the land and gave protection to the landlord against complaints from

his serfs. In Russia

and Yugoslavia, serfdom developed around the special mir and the zadruga. Both bound the woman and

village institutions of the

the man, not as individuals, but as part of the family belonging to the

community.^^ Serfdom,

like slavery,

because of changes that rendered

obsolete.

it

died out in the countryside of Western Europe not

in attitude,

relationship to the land

then to freeholder and

From

but because of new economic circumstances the twelfth century on, women's and men's

and the landholder changed

its

first

opposite, the landless laborer.

to that of tenant,

These changes came

with the transformation of their world from relatively isolated agricultural

communities to

a diverse,

interdependent mercantile economy spanning

communities, regions, and kingdoms. of goods

and

services as the

means

Money

paid and earned took the place

of exchange

Specialization, not self-sufficiency,

and the reward of production.

became the

best use of labor and the

land.50 In these

owing

new circumstances women and men became tenants with leases, goods and services. From the twelfth century on, they no

rents, not

longer gave days for certain tasks, but paid the landlord to be excused from fields. Old money payments like the chevage of Burgundy and the taille of Maconnais became fixed taxes owed at set times of the year, not payments at the will of the landlord with their connotations of dependency or servility. As early as the thirteenth century in France and England landholders eager for money freed whole villages of obligations in return for what English peasants called "liberty pence." By the beginning of the fourteenth century, percentages of the harvest owed at Michaelmas had become money payments, rents, all across Western Europe.^ ^ Other circumstances accelerated the changes. Shortages of population from the Black Death of the fourteenth century, from the French religious wars of the sixteenth century, from the Thirty Years War of the seventeenth century caused the landlords to agree to leases and rents to attract peasants to their

the days of work in the



untilled lands.

The changes

in

production and the

solidation of holdings.

The

by the lord or by one of pasturage for

all

new circumstances

also favored con-

crosspatch of family strips evolved into fields held

his enterprising tenants.

Common lands turned

families into enclosed fields for one.

enterprising couples gained from these changes.

The

The women

of the

from

more

couples adept at market-

ing their produce or increasing the yield of their strips ceased to be tenants

and came to own land, as the fermiers of France, as the yeomen of England and the Bauern of the German countryside. These, however, were the minority. The others, the vast majority, the cottars of England, the metayers and

Sustaining the Generations

129

Germany and the mezzadri of northThough they still had access to land and were released from the most onerous services and rents, they owned too little and owed too much to be able to support a family from their fields. They ceased to be self-supporting tenants and became sharecroppers and day laborers, dependent once again on those who owned the land and controlled the manouvriers of France, the Holdner of ern Italy lost rights and status.

distribution of produce.

Gradually the same economic changes came to Eastern Europe, but with

women and men. There, increased specialand production had the effect of perpetuating not ending serfdom. For example in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Hungary, the lords, not the peasants, first took advantage of the improvements in cultivation techniques and technology to increase yields. The landlords not the tenants marketed the resulting surpluses. Peasant women and men found their customary payments in kind and days of labor owed enforced with new vigor. As serfs they lost their rights to use the common lands and forest as their lords consolidated holdings and cleared new fields. All was done to increase production for the local and export markets that had evolved. All made survival for peasant women and their families more difficult. Serfdom and servile status came to different consequences for peasant ization

an end

in

Eastern Europe only by royal decree. In the eighteenth century,

Empress Maria Theresa on her own authority dues, and limited services. ^^ This polarization division of the rural population was already evident by the thirteenth century in Western Europe. In one English village the yeoman family had thirty acres, the cottar wife and her husband, five.^^ Economists estimate that by the beginning of the fourteenth century, 40 percent of Europe's peasants had been reduced to such small holdings that for instance, the Austrian

created tenants, set

maximum





they could not support their families. ^"^ In

New

Gastile in Spain in the last

quarter of the sixteenth century, 60 percent of the population had fallen to

the status of laborers,

The system in

northern

just to

some with no claim

of mezzadria

Italy.

to land at all.^^

had evolved by the

Couples held so

little

fifteenth century in

land that they

owed

Tuscany

half their harvest

pay for the use of the oxen and to buy new seed. Families could not

survive in such circumstances. In eighteenth-century Altopascio, just in one

decade (the 1740s) 20 percent of the families emigrated to the nearby towns. ^^ For those

left

who

the land altogether and

stayed,

from the renters of

small holdings to the poorest and most vulnerable with no access to land at all,

the traditional ways of

across

life

did not provide enough. Peasant families

earning this

money

fell

to their other tasks.

to the

all

The

responsibility for

women. Peasant wives added

this responsibility

Europe needed additional income to

survive.

WOMEN

130

OF THE FIELDS

Additional Income In the seventeenth century, the French aristocrat,

Mme.

de Sevigne, was

charmed and excited by the sight of the peasants on her country estate coming in with bags of small coins to pay their rent, 30 francs all in sous.^'^ What she found so picturesque meant laborious accumulation of the money sou by sou by her tenants.

To

raise

sum took

such a

energy and enterprise. In the 1670s

in

all

of a peasant couple's

the French villages of Goincourt,

Esparbourg, and Coudry St.-Germer, three quarters of the families held

than two hectares of land (about

Mme.

landholders like

meet

their obligations

income. ple,

A

five acres).

their

for rent,

rent that

de Sevigne took the proceeds of

and

to survive, peasants

had

had

to

less

be paid to

1.5 hectares.^^

To

to find other sources of

contemporary's description of an eighteenth-century French cou-

Marguerite and Covin, explains

from

The

how

they managed.

two hectares and the wine from

and

all

other cash payments,

They kept the wheat The money

their small vineyard.

came almost completely from Marguer-



and vegetables all and the garden she tended. She spun, and both she and her husband wove, "piece work" probably, arranged by an itinerant merchant from a nearby town. This was the solution shown from the earliest manorial records: Peasant women more often than men earned the extra money to ensure the survival of the family as the new commercial economy evolved. Women worked in ite's efforts.

She

sold eggs, milk, butter, cheese, wool,

produced from the livestock she cared

the

fields,

performed services

what they could of their

own

raise or

in

for the wealthier

make



tasks peasant

members

of the village, sold

women knew from

households, from the old manorial obligations,

others as paid labor.

working

for

the

from the

money came from women's wages

sale of the

farm animals they raised and the

produce they grew. Katherine Rolf, employed by the nuns of in

Cambridge, England,

for

extra

Most commonly,

fields,

the work

now done

in the year

St.

Radegund's

1449-1450, earned 4.5 pence

for four

days weeding and 18 pence for twelve days of thatching with the male

The next year she sold chickens to the nuns, helped the candlemakcombed and cleaned wool, in addition to the field work of threshing and

laborers. ers,

winnowing the

grain. ^"^

As

a

day laborer she was probably given a midday

meal along with her pence. century, women and young girls moved with the needs and harvesting, traveling to pick fruit, to glean in the mown At the beginning of the twentieth century in northern Italy around

By the eighteenth of the planting fields.

women came from the surrounding areas to weed the May to the beginning of July.'^o In 1961 in Vasilika, and women from the neighboring villages came to help with the

Pavia almost 40,000 rice paddies

Greece,

girls

from

late

Sustaining the Generations

cotton crop, hoeing and mulching

had

In the old days they

131

the spring, picking in the late summer.

in

lived with the family for the time they worked, but

by the 1960s they could be brought and taken home tractors. That had changed, but nothing else had. Teresa village of

wish

I

we

you count what

I

bet

if

I've

had

a pig

in the last ten years

could

Some

ever say Paolino didn't get on because he had a lazy wife!

could add.

and those years

more

the trucks and the south Italian

Torregreca was proud of the ways she coped:

Nobody can I

in in

and

all

my

I've got off the

hired work, why,

than Paolino has, that

is,

days

land and the chickens I

bet I've brought in

money we could spend

or food

come from

hiring

eat."*^

Extra sous for a peasant woman's family could always

duties for the landlord, for the richer tenants

women performed household and freeholders. The Countess

of Leicester's household accounts for 1265

list

out for tasks other than

alewife

who came

in

field

work. Peasant

and brewed

the five shillings paid the

noble family and

ale for the

In the fourteenth century Jehanneton, a farmer's wife,

its

worked

retainers. ^^

milkmaid

as

on the country lands of the Menagier of Paris. She would have supervised everything from the care of the cows to the making of butter and cheese. Four women worked for the sixteenth-century Bedford landowner, John Gostwick, as laundress, waitress,

pence the

manor

Widow

and dairymaids. In seventeenth-century Sussex,

of Herstmonceux."*^

Daughters commonly went to work the richer families.

man

for 6

Lewis gathered herbs and attended the sick wife of the

vicar, sent his

Even Ralph

in

the households of relatives or of

Josselin, the

seventeenth-century Essex yeo-

daughters out to service, Jane at ten and

Anne at

fourteen.

In eighteenth-century France anywhere from 2 to 12 percent of the rural

population (depending on the region) worked as servants."*^ As early as the sixteenth century in England, as a result of the Statute of Apprentices, the

constable (the local government

organized a

official)

Mop

Fair,

where the

young gathered and waited to be chosen for work. In the nineteenth century, sisters and brothers stood in the marketplace on the Saturdays of Whitsuntide and Martinmas hoping to be hired with the wages set for six months. Whatever the task, wherever the place, whatever the century, when it came to her wages, a woman earned one third to one half less than a boy or man. The Englishman, Walter of Henley, in his twelfth-century manual of husbandry, gave the traditional justification used into the modern era. He called women "half men" because he reasoned that they worked more slowly at jobs considered less valuable.

a female's job.

The

He

paid

1

pence

for three acres of

early fourteenth-century southern

the weeder one eighth the wage of the male

who

weeding,

French monastery paid

mowed.'^' Only a catastro-

WOMEN

132

OF THE FIELDS

phe as extreme as the Black Death occasioned more equal wages for English and French peasant women. In the plague years the female grape pickers of Languedoc made four fifths the wage of the men, when usually they received only half as much."^^ The intervention of parliaments and kings in England affirmed these inequities; the 1 563 Statute of Artificers set the women's wages at one third to one half of the men's, though they worked the fields the same

number

of hours, at jobs just as arduous.'^'^

As household

servants,

women

no

fared

for the

Countess of Leicester

and

female labor, was the worst paid of

as

century

all

only £1.^^

Worst

work, such as the

thirteenth century, tasks:

better. Petronella, the laundress

the thirteenth century, earned all

the household

1

oflF

Fells'

still

of

flax,

The male

seventeenth counterpart,

throughout the centuries was the maid of

Peggy Dodgson, who,

made

laundering, beating

all

pence a day,

staff ."^^

who worked for Margaret Fell of Swarthmore in the made up to £4 a year while Ann Standish, his female

servant

made

in

only

1

to 2

like

her counterpart in the

pence a day

for a

whole range of

spinning, knitting, and work outside at carting

and spreading manure, weeding, collecting peat.^^ When peasant women were not working their own fields or someone else's, tending their own or someone else's household, they found yet other sources of income, especially in the cold, dark times of winter when there was little outdoor work to be done. Usually countrywomen did "piece work," especially that associated with the manufacture of cloth, the earliest of Europe's specialized, commercial enterprises. In the ninth century, peasant women produced everything from the thread to the finished cloth and article of clothing or bedding for their families or for the landlord in his workrooms. With specialization and the expansion of fairs and markets, the landholder ceased to require the female tenants' skills, and even for peasant women's own needs

many

tasks passed out of their hands.

From

the middle of the eleventh

century, male dyers and fullers finished the cloth.

By the

early fourteenth

century in the southern French village of Montaillou, the weaver was a

and the

tailor

man

an itinerant craftsman.

In these changed circumstances, weaving ceased to be a household task

except for the family's simplest needs and became, instead, a way to earn

income.

Women

heads of households on the Medici lands of eighteenth-

century Altopascio

in

northern Italy spun and wove to supplement their

income. At the beginning of the twentieth century ployed

Gna Tidda

ported herself this

in Sicily, a

mother em-

make her daughter's trousseau. The old widow supway and worked the three pairs of bedspreads on her

to

fifty-year-old loom.^i

Into the eighteenth century, spinning, not weaving, would be the favored task for

most women; with

a spindle

and

distaff

they could work at any time.

133

Sustaining the Generations

sitting

by the

fire

or walking the

cows to pasture. From the thirteenth century

on, they might have a spinning wheel, and with

its

capacity to spin the thread

and wind it on the spindle at the same time, women could work much faster, and fill more spindles in many fewer hours. A single woman might do nothing else. At the end of the 1600s a Picardy spinner could earn 5 sous a day.'^ In the eighteenth century, Swiss peasant families with

little

land valued their

"spinster" daughters over their sons, for they could earn more.^^

When

spinning became mechanized and work for townswomen, peasant

wives, mothers,

and widows already had other ways of making cloth that they

adapted to supplement the family's needs. Sometime in the fourteenth century, a peasant woman invented knitting, weaving the yarn on wooden needles instead of

on

a loom.

A late fourteenth-century German altar panel shows

the Virgin knitting a sweater for Jesus. She has worked the wool on four needles and Italian

and

from other Knitting rise of

just finishing

is

women

Sicilian tasks,

the neck. Into the nineteenth century southern

knitted as they had once spun, while going to and

and they used the needles

to

became piecework and another source

make

holes for the macaroni.

of income, especially with the

the professional armies. In the mid-eighteenth century a Danish retired

soldier's wife

supported them both with her spinning and knitting. By the

sixteenth century in northern Italy, Belgium, and parts of France, lace making

and straw

plaiting (for hats) developed as regional specialties.

Normandy, Valenciennes, and Malines intricate

in

Women

France sold white cotton lace

combination of knotting, weaving and knitting



in

—an

that, like spinning,

could be done in the midst of other chores. In seventeenth-century England,

an estimated 100,000 with this

made from

women and

a piece of cloth to efforts

girls

earned extra

money

for their families

Into the twentieth century, Sicilian peasant

lace in the traditional

by such skills

craft. 54

peasant

manner and

also sfilato

women

still

— removing the threads

produce intricate patterns. Into the twentieth century women used their energy, their ingenuity, and their

to ensure the family's survival.

Impossible Choices Life on the subsistence level of famine, war,

A

and

peasant couple

meant

disease, with disaster

made

a life always vulnerable to the forces

coming at

least

once

in a generation.

order out of this potential uncertainty and chaos not

only by altering their legal status, but also by working however and whenever

they could. Together they worked for survival. Together wife and husband,

mother and

father, they

planned

for the continuation of the family

provision for their daughters and sons survival of this

and

a

new

when they reached

generation, peasant

maturity.

women and men

and

To ensure

kept both the

WOMEN

134

definition

and the

centuries.

A woman

OF THE FIELDS

size of their family relatively constant

lived

first

as a child

marriage, as a wife and mother in a

and

sons.

ily,"

throughout the

with her parents, then by her

new household with her own daughters

This pattern of two generations living together, the "nuclear fam-

existed throughout Europe. It has

been documented

in ninth-century

Prankish lands, the manorial settlements of tenth-century Provence and

around

Castile, thirteenth-century Picardy, the north Italian countryside

fifteenth-century

Arezzo,

seventeenth-century

genhoe, Clayworth, and Chilvers, land. Exceptional circumstances

in

English

eighteenth-century

villages

Co-

like

Germany and

might enlarge the family

for a time.

Po-

For

example, in fifteenth-century Tuscany, fathers-in-law remained on as the capo di famiglia, retaining authority over the fields even after sons

brought their wives home.^^

A

In eighteenth-century Austria

had married and

brother-in-law might stay and work the land.

and other parts of central Europe,

household might pass through several phases,

a

woman's

with infants, parents, and

first

grandparents together, then deaths of the old people, then births to her

own

children.

two generations of the nuclear family remained women clothed, fed, and cared for averaged four to six members, parents and their offspring. Historians long held the idea that peasant women and men had lived many generations But

overall, the pattern of

unchanged. The family that peasant

together, as an "extended family" of aunts, uncles, grandparents, parents,

children and so on. In fact, studies of communities have erational families in parts of Russia

and the zadruga of

shown

that multigen-

Serbia, having

up

to

eighty people living together as one household, are the only significant variations

from Europe's nuclear family pattern. In the

households could not be accommodated

in the

early centuries such large

West;

it

was only

in the

relatively prosperous twentieth century that rural families, like those studied in

the Netherlands and England,

came to live with more than two generations

together (20-35 percent of the households). ^6

A

family of four to

more than

six

people meant that the peasant couple had done

establish a separate

themselves and their children.

household to guarantee the quality of

They had

when to marry, when and how often many infants would survive. Always numbers

also

made

life for

conscious choices about

the wife would conceive, and about at risk, always practical, they

how

wanted to

and their labors would have to support. and disease, of famine and extremes of weather affected a woman's reproductive capacity. Demographers estimate that a peasant woman would lose one in three of her pregnancies from control the

Natural factors



their land

—times

of shortage

malnutrition or disease, in most instances. ^^ Yet even with such natural factors,

Europe's preindustrial population should have grown, and

it

did not.

— 135

Sustaining the Generations

Until the industrial age the statistics show a population in balance, with a relatively equal ratio of births to deaths,

twice

— from the eleventh

3 percent. '8

approximately

to the thirteenth centuries

and again

in

Only

the eigh-

— there sustained and, the second by peasant women and men —by not marrying, by marrying and thus the venting conception —determined the teenth and nineteenth centuries

in

is

in-

stance, dramatic growth. Evidence from as early as the ninth century shows pre-

late,

that

lack

size of their families

of population growth

all

over Europe.

From the 800s to the 1900s peasants allowed their families to grow only when conditions improved. When conditions worsened family size, either

On

disaster, contracted.

from choice or natural

the ninth-century manses

(peasant holdings) of St.-Germain-des-Pres, for instance, where there was land, or status improved, there were more in the household. Similarly, from the eleventh to the thirteenth century with the end of slavery and the relative equality of status in English and French villages, better food and more

more

land, families

had more

children. In Pistoia in

Tuscany

in

catasto of 1427 (a census for tax purposes) shows that the

northern

number

Italy

the

of children

born increased with the richness of the land the family held and the amount the land was taxed. A poor woman and man living in the middle hills typically

had one child. The householder and his wife in the more prosperous mountains and on the plains would have three or four.^^ Unusually high mortality rates encouraged the birth of more children as well. After the Black Death had decimated these same villages in the fourteenth century, the birth rate rose as

The same happened

War

in

if

in

response to the excess mortality.^o

seventeenth-century

took almost half the population. In

less

Germany when

the Thirty Years

than a century the numbers had

been restored to the countryside. ^^ More income also meant larger families. Statistics for 1693-94 in three French villages of the Beauvaisis region show correlations between high wheat prices and the number of marriages and

more opportunities for and thus more income showed greater population growth than the towns supplying the work.^^ Then in the eighteenth and nineteenth

conceptions. In the seventeenth century, areas with

home

industries



relative peace, centuries with all of the circumstances favoring survival higher yields from improvements in cultivation practices, better distribution

of food, extra wages

from specialized trade and

industrial

manufacture

couples allowed the size of their families to increase. ^^

The

characteristic pattern that normally results in continuous population

growth has

women

marrying

in their early

twenties and bearing five to seven

children at two and a half year intervals over a period of twenty years of fertility. ^'^ This did not happen in Europe before the eighteenth century. Couples intervened to prevent the normal increase, a phenomenon known as

^

WOMEN

136

frustrated fertility.

The account

of the interchange

between

of police suggests

how

OF THE FIELDS in a

a striking

1901 newspaper from Lomellina,

Italy,

female rice weeder and the commander

couples intervened. She justified the strike for extra

wages because they were not children. His response to her

but to pay debts and to feed her

for herself

and

all

the

women was

"that they should not

have married and should not have had children. "^^ j^ fa^t what the police

commander ant

suggested so patronizingly had been the stratagem used by peas-

women and men from

not marry, or they married fertility.

As

Once

before recorded history. In hard times they did thus curtailing the period of the woman's

later,

married, they limited the

early as the ninth century,

number

German

of their offspring.

records of manses

show only 28.6

percent of the population married; in northern France at St.-Germain-des-

Remi

Pres, 43.9 percent; at St.

allowed brothers and

sisters to

of Reims, 33.4 percent. ^^ Families often

remain within the household,

as they did in

fifteenth-century Languedoc, but on the condition that they did not marry,

number the land had to support and preventing division new families. ^'^ When in the late sixteenth century statistics of peasant couples' lives are available, they clearly show

thus controlling the

of the strips to establish

more exact

the effect of delaying marriage. In the English village of Colyton, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, the shift from twenty-seven as a

age at her

then back

first

marriage

down

in

1

woman's

560 to almost thirty between 1647 and 1719, and

to twenty-five

by 1837, exactly coincides with periods of

The same happened in a Tuscan village from 1650 to 1750 when the marriage age rose from 21.5 to 26.1.^^ Irish

population decline and growth. ^^

families at the end of the nineteenth century continued to make such choices. Only one girl and one boy could marry and then the girl had become a woman of thirty, her husband thirty-eight. '^^

Once

married, with land, having established the

new household,

the

couple did not leave the size of the family, the number of offspring, to chance.

As best they could, they controlled the intervals between and the frequency of the woman's pregnancies. Records of French and English villages in the sixteenth and seventeenth century indicate a correlation between good times and the frequency of births, bad times and a decline. In the seventeenth and eighteenth century, the villages of the Basse-Meuse region show net population losses and the key factor appears to be longer intervals between births."^ In the same centuries in Tourovre-au-Perche the relative wealth of the family affected the couples' decisions. The yeomen, craftsmen, and merchants' wives gave birth every two years, the laborers' wives waited another four months. '^2

Women when

and men prevented conception through sexual abstinence and,

they had intercourse, by withdrawal {coitus interruptus, removing the

137

Sustaining the Generations

penis and ejaculating outside the vagina). Like Giles Barnes of Cricket St.

Thomas

in

Somerset

to restrict fertility.

seventeenth century, the

in the

He

married the

woman he made

man might be

the one

pregnant, but after that

he explained to the Church court, "he spent about the outward part of He wanted no more children and threatened to "slit the gut out of her belly" if she conceived. "^^ Peasant women had their own ways of avoiding conception and, once pregnant, of aborting the fetus. They believed in douches and purges, spermicides like salt, honey, oil, tar, lead, mint juice,

as

her body."

cabbage seed; some abortificants

With enough

ous.

and ergot were

like lead

lead ingested, a

effective but danger-

woman became permanently sterile. Other

substances might purge her system but would not directly affect the preg-

nancy, such as douches or teas of rosemary, myrtle, coriander, willow leaves, balsam, myrrh, clover seeds, parsley, and animal urine.

More

effective

would

be the cervical caps and vaginal blocks mentioned in German and Hungarian sources, like beeswax or a linen rag. Peasant women believed actions prevented conception: drinking cold liquids, remaining passive during intercourse, holding one's breath,

jumping up and down afterward. "^"^ testify to the choices they made. Twen-

Individual women's experiences tieth-century peasant cies.

women

speak matter of factly of limiting their pregnan-

Vuka explained that she had always hated her stone when he gets on me." After the death of her

In Serbia in the 1930s

husband.

He

daughter

just five

was

"like a

days old, she vowed not to have any more children:

I

get rid of them.

I

massage myself.

Twice I

get

In a Bosnian village the

now

a year these seven years

away.

it

I

women

boil herbs

.

.

.

How? Oh by

myself.

comes

away.'^'

and steam myself and

it

spoke of drinking vinegar, of opening the

cervix with a spindle. '^^ Peppina, a twentieth-century peasant

southern sions.

Italy,

When

became pregnant twelve

her husband was away, she

their clothes,

and went

to

town

times.

left

Then

she

woman from

made

other deci-

food for the children, laundered

to abort the fetus.

She came home, spent

three days in bed, and then went back to work.

The

Catholic Church approved sexual abstinence, even setting aside holy To do anything else, Peppina and the

days as inappropriate for intercourse.

women

before her, whether Catholic or Protestant, went against

teachings.

As

official

early as the ninth century. Christian theologians in their peni-

tentials, their decretals, their

commentaries, their papal decrees and encycli-

taught that by intervening in the process of insemination and pregnancy a woman acted as a murderess. Abortion was the first act to receive such harsh condemnation. Using Aristotle's distinction of the animate and inanimate, cals

1140 made

infanticide to abort a fetus after

Gratian

in his Decretals of

sixty-six

days for a female and forty days for a male

it

— the periods

of time

WOMEN

138 Aristotle believed

it

OF THE FIELDS

took to create a

formed infant

fully

in

the

womb.

In the

enthusiasm for uniformity and purity of the Counter Reformation, Pope Sixtus

V in

1

588 declared

by Innocent XI and

all

abortions murder, a definition reaffirmed in 1679

1869 by Pius IX.

in

Christian theologians had always insisted that intercourse without hope of procreation was sinful, First, Saint

illicit,

an act of

lust,

not an act for God's purpose.

Thomas Aquinas condemned

Augustine, then Gratian, then

withdrawal. As early as the sixteenth century

some Catholic theologians

acknowledged the need of the poor to limit the number of but nothing changed Pius

XI

in

in

their offspring,

the Church's policies. In the twentieth century. Pope

1930 was but one of the leaders to condemn any form of contracep-

tion. Until the

twentieth century, the views of the Protestant Churches were

the same as the

official

Catholic doctrine (now most sects of Christianity

leave limitation of births to individuals to decide).

When

had yet another way to limit the number and the land would have to support. Studies of ninth-century manorial rolls at St. Germain-des-Pres, of fifteenth-century Canterbury Church courts, of seventeenth-century Somerset parish records, and interviews with women of twentieth-century Bosnian zadrugas all show the same choice. Let the child be born and then let it die. In particular, let it die if all

else failed, couples

of people they

it

female.

is

The

"^"^

evidence for this selective infanticide comes from the astonishingly

disproportionate ratios of females to males living in the countryside

Europe from the ninth

to the seventeenth century.

females to males at birth

is

all

over

average ratio of

100:105 with the numbers evening out in adoles-

cence and early adulthood, and the old age.

The

women

achieving the higher numbers in

On the rich fertile lands of St. Germain-des Pres in the ninth century,

an area of intense demographic pressure, the 100:115.7-117.1.

The

ratio of females to

males was

poorer the family the more exaggerated the

ratio."^^

Fourteenth-century English manorial records show ratios of 100 females to 133 males. '^^ For the year 1391-92 a

list

of the serfs

on the southern English

lands of John of Hastings shows forty-six females to seventy-eight males. ^°

Studies of infant mortality in Somerset in the seventeenth century even suggest the consequences to the next generation:

females born would

live to

bear her

own

Only one

of the three

children, yet another effective

way

of curtailing population growth. ^^ In contrast, during the relative prosperity of the thirteenth century,

women and men could provide for more children, and the population grew accordingly. Significantly, the ratio of females to males then became peasant

roughly equal. Expansion

came because more

could grow to adulthood and bear their

own

of the

little girls

children. ^^

j^,

survived,

more

fact survival of

Sustaining the Generations

more

much

infant females probably explains

of the population expansion of

the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, for

number

that increased, but the in

of children

the late nineteenth century, couples

139

it

was not the number of births

who

survived. In

commonly had

most of Europe

four to five surviving

children. ^^

Secular and religious records controlled the ratio of

custom might simply mean ninth-century manse of

weaned

after

one

year,

St.

tell

women and men

of other ways peasant

boys and the size of their family. Accepted

girls to

less care.

For example, the

little girls

on the

Victor of Marseille would die because they were

making them more susceptible

to disease, while their

brothers nursed until they were two.^"^ Fifteenth- and sixteenth-century court cases

of mothers

tell

and fathers prosecuted

the Essex Quarter Sessions of

and desperate about how

One

women

Violence

Church

like this

records

tell

is

it

of "overlaying," a silent

For the unmarried servant birth of an illegitimate child, Its

in a field,

rare in the records, however.

daughter "lying [dead] between them

communities.

At

woman

in

fell

the third left

it

More commonly

and perhaps unintentional

asleep and

woke

to find their

bed."^^

with no prospect of a betrothal, the

whether female or male, meant disgrace

in

most

death meant that she could continue to work and

that the

shame

woman,

the death of her infant might also have indirect benefits.

of her

infants.

(probably unmarried

to deal with an illegitimate child) killed their babies.

death. Joan and Stephen Tiler of Rochester

village

murdering their

for

570 three servant

the infant's throat, another abandoned

slit

in a ditch.

the

1

pregnancy might be forgotten. For

a married peasant If

she could

maintain her breast milk, she had another source of income; she could

become

wet nurse. Into the seventeenth century, the wealthier families of

a

the manors and the towns employed countrywomen to breast-feed their babies. In the fourteenth century the merchant's wife, Margherita Datini of

Prato, periodically found

She suggested

1

wet nurses

for the wives of her

2 florin a year for the wages,

husband's friends.

about the same

as for

any female

servant. ^^

She her

listed the qualifications in

own

child,

breasts so that she

pregnant

easily,

her

no matter how much

and

The wet

nurse must not favor

cried, should

have moderate-sized

letters: it

flatten the child's nose,

must not become

ideally should look like the biological

mother. In August

would not

one in Pizza della Pieve, whose milk is two months old; and she has vowed that if her babe, which is on the point of death, dies tomorrow, she will come, as soon as it is buried."^''' Still in the 1960s when Peppina from a south Italian village had breast milk, she went to Rome to be a wet nurse. Instead of the wet nurse joining the household, babies might be sent to of 1398, Margherita Datini wrote: "I have found

WOMEN

140

OF THE FIELDS

the country. At the beginning of the fifteenth century, the Florentine mer-

chant Antonio Rustichi noted

in his diary that

he had sent successive children

out to the wife of a farmer, then to the wife of a baker. Increasingly this

became the practice, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when town and Church authorities took over the care of abandoned children. The older children stayed in the foundling homes in the town, infants went to foster homes in the countryside. No one questioned the high mortality of in the summer months of the nineteenth century as high children at nurse



The wet nurse could not breast-feed all the abandoned money paid would not feed them, and so they died. Even the infants whose parents were known might be expected to die. French

as

75 percent. ^^

children in her care; the

artisans sent their babies to

them

—not

wet nurses and then simply stopped paying

necessarily out of callousness but simply a harsh choice: the death

one to preserve the lives of the older siblings. In such circumstances the home and the foster home (also called the "baby-farm") made the impossible easier, the infant's death more distant and thus less painful. ^^

of

foundling

Survival Outside the Family

The rural

circumstances that particularly tried the ingenuity and strength of

women came when

then became a widow

woman

or an old

countryside had years, she

they outlived their husbands.

—perhaps

with few,

if

many widows,

tended to

live

a

The

peasant

woman

young woman alone with small children

members

any, family for

if

longer than

to help her. Europe's

woman survived her the men in her village. a

child-bearing In fifteenth-

century Tuscany in the villages around Arezzo a disproportionate 6 percent of the population were widows. in a

From 1574

to 1821, 22 percent

were widows

group of English parishes studied by demographers. "'^

The

Red Riding Hood's grandmother what English peasants called "the hue and cry" of the village, too far for her screams to be heard when the wolf attacked her. John Langland in his poem of peasant life Piers the Ploughman compared the folktales portray her vulnerability.

lived alone outside

widow

to Jesus, forsaken

by God.

woman at the time of her betrothal

In theory the dower negotiated for the

was meant to sustain her and any young children should she be widowed early. The various local practices followed the Germanic customs of the earlier centuries closely.

A widow

had access

to a portion of her husband's lands

during her lifetime or until her remarriage

would take on

—when —and

in

responsibility for her provision

theory the

new husband

a portion of the movables,

the furniture, bedding, whatever articles of the household the couple had. In

England

in Kent, in

Normandy, France,

in the

Austrian Heidenreich she

— Sustaining the Generations

141

inherited one third to one half of the land and the household movables.

A

1919 Russian statute guaranteed her one seventh of the movables.^ ^ Cus-

meant

tomarily, her holding of the land was

male could assume the

to

be temporary,

until

responsibility, usually her eldest son. In

another

Warbleton,

widows to "hold bondage as their bench [right] until the younger son is fifteen and then widows ought to surrender to the younger son, as heir,

Sussex, in southern England, in 1322 the custom was for

tenements years old,

in

a moiety [half] of the inheritance.

And

they will hold the other moiety as their

bench

.'"^^

Into the twentieth century in

they remain widows.

if

.

.

Clare, Ireland, a mother held the land until the heir

on what

widow might do with the land

a

in particular the desire to assure that,

dead husband would not lose their

came

reflected concern for the

rights.

For example,

to her.^^ In seventeenth-century Berkshire a if

named

it

bequeath

A

it

heir,

woman

in the lease,

a Russian charter of

was

specifically willed

free tenant

might hold

but the preferred heir would

be named, giving her no right to alienate the property

also

male

should she remarry, the children of the

Pskov took the land from her on remarriage unless land on her remarriage

County

of age. Restrictions



that

is,

sell

or

to another.

death duty, called the heriot

widow's obligations as

heir,

owed

in

England, would be

just

the

first

of the

in return for access to the land that she

and

her husband had worked together. Customarily the landlord took the family's best beast.

the way of

When Thomas of Merdens in Halton, Buckinghamshire, "entered all

flesh" in 1303, the lord claimed his

had been too poor

to

have livestock,

two

oxen.^"* If the couple

in thirteenth-century

England or

in

widow owed one third to one half of their even tunics. The Church also claimed a "mortu-

fourteenth-century Flanders, the

movable goods:

pots, chests,

ary gift" in theory to

make up

Priests in sixteenth-century

for tithes not paid in the

France refused burial

husband's lifetime.

until they

had received the

"best blanket."95

More

significant,

throughout the in

year.

however, would be the regular tasks and payments owed

For the year

1

266-67 Matilda on the manor of Clifford

Gloucester had the right to hold the family's twenty-four acres, but as

widow she alone owed hired a

man

through the

all

— —with the mowing

to help her with the days of plowing

fall,

winter,

a

the services, goods, and payments. She probably

and spring

half an acre a

week and

of the lord's fields

the carting of the lord's produce. She herself had done the two days of

weeding and the days of

lifting

presented herself for the days

hay onto the wooden

carts,

and perhaps even

— three each week between June and August

She owed almost 1 1 shillings at different times of the a day of "manual service" was valued at only 3 half pence. This money she would have to raise from her fields, from her labors.

of unspecified labor.

year

— 122 pence when

WOMEN

142

OF THE FIELDS

Of her produce, the lord claimed "eggs at Easter at will."^^ To earn extra money Matilda brewed ale. The widows of fourteenth-century Montaillou in France sold cheese, ran the inn, and sold at the fairs. The necessity continued into the twentieth century.

The

manors were skeptical of the widow's ability to fulfill the went with the strips of field she held in trust for a male. In Ashton, Wiltshire, in 1262 she had to pay sureties of 18 and 20 shillings to Landlords preferred a widow guarantee that she would uphold her duties. to marry, to acquire in its literal sense "a husband who can maintain the lords of the

obligations that

"^"^

land."^^ Sixteenth-century Danish

widows

bailiffs in

them

to remarry, excusing

Funen and Jutland

tried to force

of the inheritance payment, the "relief"

owed to renew the lease, on the theory that the new husband could pay it. (Though landlords wanted widows to marry, in England they punished those who did so without their permission. In Mapledurham, Hampshire, in 1281 Lucy, widow to Walter le Hurt, lost the claim to her land for "fornication" and marriage "without licence of lord."^^ Others paid

fines into

the mid-

seventeenth century.)

As soon

as there are records in

England,

ried

much

less

France, in Spain, from the

in

show

sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, they

that peasant

often than their male counterparts.

women

remar-

They might remain unwed,

but that did not mean that they always chose to cope with the responsibilities if their children and grandchildren had come of age. "Agnes ate Touresheade" at Hindringham in Norfolk in 1310 "came into full court and said that she was powerless to hold one messuage and one yardland after the death of said Stephen [her husband]." She of servile conditions assigned the land to a granddaughter and her new husband on the under-

of the land, especially

.

.

.

standing that they would provide for her during her lifetime. ^^^ In 1320 in the court

rolls

of

Dunmow, Essex,

Petronilla's son

John pledged that he would

provide during her lifetime reasonable victuals, in food and drink, as befit such a

woman, and more over

Petronilla will have a room, with a wardrobe, at the Eastern to dwell therein during

.

.

.

[her] lifetime,

end of

and one cow, four sheep, and

going and feeding on said half-yardland as well in winter as

said

said messuage,

summer

a pig,

... for her

clothing and footwear. ^°^

Local custom might guarantee her care in return for giving over her rights to the family fields. In

Haute Provence,

traditionally the land

went

to the

children but the house to the mother, thus ensuring inheritance for the offspring, service widow. ^02

A

for

the landlord, and subsistence and shelter for the

peasant woman's husband before his death might have

made

arrange-

Sustaining the Generations

143

ments with the children. In sixteenth-century England Wilham Brasier left the house to his son but on the condition that his widow have "free bench" (literally the right to a bench before the fire) and food, or £3 a year so that she could live separately. ^^^

To be in

the care of one's children and grandchil-

dren might also mean hardship, the neglect and humiliations of old age.

Widows

northern Tuscany

in

sons, but

became

in

the fifteenth century usually lived with their

and

subject to the heir

his wife.

The

region reflect their reduced status, the assessor listed

tax records for the

them

after the chil-

dren. ^^"^ In nineteenth-

and twentieth-century Yugoslavia, even though the

communal

zagruda guaranteed a widow a place,

living of the

as she

became

older and older she lost her authority as female head of the household.

women

Peasant

without family, without access to enough land, perhaps

too old for extra labor, had few alternatives to choose from in order to survive.

A woman

alone might be a widow, a wife abandoned by her husband in bad

times, a female

member

Denmark, the majority

of the wandering poor. In seventeenth-century

of the indigent in villages were

widows with

children.

member of the village community was the beggar woman, her eyesight gone at fifty, her fingers too stiff to make lace. In eighteenth-century France a regular

Until the late sixteenth century landlords and the

Church provided some care in Brunswick and Bremen

for

such people. In 1315 and 1316 the Cistercians

in

northern

harvest. 1^5

Germany

A

are said to have fed 4,000 a day from Lent to the

harvest code of 1329 for England gave old

"glean," the right to gather whatever they could in the

the animals were released to graze on the stubble.

women

mown

the right to fields

before

A landlord's wife appointed

an almoner, a member of her household whose job it was to distribute alms and the scraps from the table each day. The Countess of Bedford in the seventeenth century had an almoner who gave shillings to a "poor mad woman," and a "poor distracted woman." ^^^ On the whole, by the end of the 1 500s local and royal governments had taken over what charity there was from individuals and religious orders. The English Poor Laws required the poor to petition the quarter sessions. In the seventeenth century this might be more than a woman could manage. The parish records list "a poor walking woman" and "a poor woman name unknown, who had crept into Mr. Miller's barn." Both died of starvation. ^^'^ The eighteenth-century records for the bureaux de charites of France give sums to feed a child and an adult woman, but there was not enough to provide for them all. In the village of Mende the records show 1 ,000 poor but sufficient funds to give only 100 of them one

meal twice

What or a thief. selves. In

a

week.^^^

other recourse did

They could Somerset

women

have?

They could become

a prostitute

turn to violence against those better off than them-

in the

seventeenth century a peasant

woman

could

sell

WOMEN

144

OF THE FIELDS

the use of her body for 50 faggots of wood, 6 pence, a 9 shilling coverlet and half a bushel of wheat, but she then risked being brought before the local

court for "fornication. "^^^ Peasant

women

could infringe on the rights of the

landlord and steal goods from their neighbors. These crimes brought to the courtyard of the lord's chateau or castle because they

them

had broken the

rules of the manor. The accounts of peasant women's violations increase in bad times, and increase as the lords expanded their privileges into the common lands and the forest. In Tooting, Surrey, in 1246 two widows were fined 6 pence each for encroaching on the lord's land. The next year Lucy Rede let her cattle stray into the lord's pasture. At Ruislip in the same year Isabella, a

widow, had to pay the 18 pence

woods

—probably

Weldon and the

manor

fine

when

Agnes

her three children stole eight sheaves of grain at the harvest.

of Wakefield during the famine of 1315-1317, a

prosecuted for stealing from her neighbor's

accused

her son went into the lord's

to collect fuel.^^^ In fifteenth-century England,

woman

in a

toft, or

of

On

woman was One

household garden. ^ ^ ^

seventeenth-century Somerset court milked a cow, an-

other took a loaf of bread.

The

royal courts of these early centuries heard accusations not

manorial crimes but for crimes against the King's peace,

when

for

peasant



women acted not alone but with a man a husband, a father, a lover or sons. The women watched the roadside while the men robbed; the women stopped travelers

women

on a bridge; they sold the stolen goods. In the eighteenth century bands of their own. In Brittany, Marion de Faouet and her

led

children robbed travelers on the highway. Marie Jeanne Bonnichon worked

the region near Bourges, luring merchants into ambush. Consistently, how-

women chose crime less often than their male counterparts. Sometimes peasant women became desperate and enraged. They joined in the rioting and mob violence of the countryside. Women marched into London with John Ball in the rising of 1 38 1 Women marched in the German

ever, rural

.

Peasants Revolt of 1525. In the Heilbronn area in the village of Bokingen,

the Black

Farm

Women

(schwarze Hofmdnnin), as they were called by their

contemporaries, were thought to have magical powers to inspire others.

They

town council and were with the 8,000 peasants who took Weinsberg.i^^ in England women joined the men to protest enclosures; in June of 1641 in Lincolnshire mothers and their sons broke down the fences around the commons to let the cattle in. Near Maldon in Essex, Captain Alice Clark led the male and female weavers in a grain riot. In France in the seventeenth century the same kinds of anger inspired the women led by Branlaire in Montpellier in 1645 to rebel against the royal tax collectors. She insisted that the tax money would take bread from their children's mouths. ^^^ The same cries against unfair privileges and payments led the countryside against the local

Sustaining the Generations

could be heard at the end of the eighteenth century

145

when women

records in the early

months

of the

In the late nineteenth

1896

watched

and the

in

lost to

machines.

early twentieth centuries, collective protest

strikes, a diflFerent tactic

Tuscany

in

men

French Revolution. In the nineteenth

century countrywomen joined the protests against work

turned to

joined

on the chateaux of the nobihty and the burning of manorial

in the attacks

occasioned by the same desperation. In

the Brozzi region of northern

Italy,

as the price for their different types of labor

the straw workers

dropped from 10 to 7

Of the almost 85,000 peasants involved in this women. ^^^^ Fifty initiated a strike and, led by went into the countryside. ^^^ From May 15 to 30 they

centesimi, and from 20 to 15. craft, ninety-five

percent were

Darsena Conti, they

mobilized crowds, stopped wagons and

anyone who would not

them

joined

—over 38,000

trains,

burned materials, and harassed

them. By the seventeenth of

join

May

the

men had

people. ^^^

thirtieth, the government in Rome had called for a commission Accommodations involving the establishment of cooperatives did not help to regularize the prices at an acceptable level, and in September of 1897 the women struck once more to demonstrate their dissatisfaction. With

By the

of inquiry.

the support of the Socialist Party, another group, the rice weeders of Tuscany, struck in 1901 for

more pay

as their first

demand, then

local elite,

by the

who

police.

national

bill

long term,

could in the

last resort

mercy

of the

home

In 1907 after a third set of strikes

was passed about their

it

However

situation.

signified

acknowledgment

difficult

the

lives of

for a nine-hour day.

have them rounded up and sent

Because the majority were migratory workers, they were

at the

and work stoppages,

Though

of their plight.

married peasant women, survival alone

presented even greater challenges. Throughout the centuries peasant in this situation

a

of limited value in the

women

looked to village customs and to the secular and religious

on their own strengths. and spiritual life of others

institutions for assistance. In the last resort they relied

These

less

tangible qualities enriched the emotional

as well.

Giving Value In addition to providing for their family's physical survival, peasant

women

also provided moral, emotional,

they told their children,

in

gave value to the choices they

ment

and

spiritual sustenance. In the tales

the ideals and rituals of their faith, countrywomen

made and

a sense of

purpose and accomplish-

to the life they lived within the narrow confines of their circumstances

and the roles allowed. There would be much in the harshness of life to justify and explain. As a daughter, as the female, the peasant woman's life would

WOMEN

146

OF THE FIELDS

never be without responsibility. She would be the first child picked to work and the one always expected to assist in the maintenance of the family. In Limousin at the beginning of the nineteenth century, a French woman described herself as having no children even though she had three daughters "for a daughter is merely a daughter, whereas only a boy has the privilege of being a child." ^^'^ As a wife and mother the peasant woman's responsibilities to her husband and her children consumed her energies. There would be much in the attitudes of her world that a rural woman would have to ignore or endure. Both the customs of the culture and the Church insisted on the female's innate inferiority, her naturally subordinate status, and the need for her obedience to male authority. Peasant women rarely questioned these assumptions and expectations, or the male fears and

ambivalences that underlay them. Rarely did they allow them to break their spirit.

Instead, rural

and what they

demanded

did.

women

found ways to value what they could aspire to

They learned

to

make

virtues of the

dependent

qualities

of them.

Peasant daughters heard the denigrating proverbs and

tales,

the ones

and refined through the centuries of Europe's oral tradition, from mother or grandmother. They learned the assumptions of their inferior

selected their

nature, their failings of character. Peasant

—carrying the

women

believed that favorable

no morning sickness, and rosy cheeks meant a boy. Proverbs and tales derided women's intelligence, mocked them as careless, criticized them for speaking too much, and promised punishments for disobedience. But each traditional denigration could be countered in the peasant girl's imagination with other stories. Folktales told of barren couples rewarded with a daughter like Snow White, so beautiful and good that she was as flawless as the white snow that inspired her name. For the dutiful little girl, the patient, devout, and industrious, or the quickwitted and enterprising heroine, the rewards were without measure. Snow White's marvelous innocence gained her the love of a prince. Cinderella's goodness and beauty won the king's son. Beauty's loyalty turned the Beast into a handsome young lord. The obedient daughter who sacrificed her hands for love of her father earned a royal husband. ^^^ Clever, courageous maidens who performed incredible tasks also won this prize, not just marriage, the expected goal of a young girl, but a marriage way above her station and the promise of a life of riches and love.^^^ As well as folktales. Christian peasant daughters learned the basic premises and tenets of the faith from their mothers. In fifteenth-century France, Joan of Arc recited the Lord's Prayer (Pater Noster), the Creed, and the Prayer to the Virgin (Ave Maria) to her mother. Her family attended the parish church in Domremy, listened to a sermon, and received communion, signs in a



pregnancy

fetus high,

Sustaining the Generations

147

perhaps once a year at Easter, confessing to the priest as had been required

by the Church Council of 1215. (The formal outlines of the service existed by the end of the seventh century, though there was

and

belief.)

much was

in Latin,

vernacular.

the

still

variation in ritual

Before the sixteenth century and the advent of Protestantism,

From

but the homilies, the exemplary

woman

these a peasant

stories,

were told

men.

the

and of her

sinner, of the uncleanness of her reproductive organs,

first

divinely ordained subordination to

in

learned of her descent from Eve,

Women

found ways to transform or

to mitigate each premise, each tenet.

Eve, so often the symbol of in

became the image

evil,

of the dutiful

children unequally.

The

window

cathedral

at Erfurt

from the second half of

the fourteenth century showed an Eve spinning with her

swaddled

Mary

who watched

in a central Italian hill title

her seven sons tortured before her eyes,

Christian peasant

Meme

town

a

pregnant

woman

women meant

Santerre from the

them

new apron from her white

of France, born in 1891 to

communion, "Oh, remember it." She was for a new dress from her first

still

I

godfather, material

wear and

veil to

and

of sin, of their inherent im-

Nord province

was'a day like any other, but so beautiful that

a

honored with the

into the twentieth century participated to cleanse

a poor family of country linen weavers, wrote of her

godmother,

felt

"Madonina."^^^

believed in the rituals

given a

the child

Mother of Heaven, the Virgin Mary. Tales and ballads portrayed the model of motherly virtues, compassion, and forgiveness. Into the

affectionate

purity.

distaff,

ideals for all Chris-

first

as

1970s

became

beside her. Other mothers

in a cradle

tians: Saint Felicitas

and the

it

mother

peasant women's folktales, questioning the Lord for rewarding her beloved

a gilt candle to carry in the procession

to the church. After the service

returned to the cellar to weave until time for vespers. When we returned my mother let me wear my new apron. That was the greatest pleasure of the day. I was eleven years old.^^^

we

With

the onset of menstruation, peasant

women

accepted the tradition

not approach the altar or

From the earliest days of Christianity, they did receive communion on those days of the month.

County

Clare, Ireland, girls sat apart from the boys. Into

of their physical uncleanness.

Into the 1920s in

the twentieth century in some parts of Europe, peasant birth to a child followed a tradition as old as Leviticus.

women

community and did not attend church until ritually cleansed, in a ceremony called churching.

In Russia a

keep apart from her family altogether. In Brittany

in

the

a

woman went

silently

and alone

after giving

They kept

apart from

blessed by the priest

and

woman had

to

the nineteenth century,

to the church, her friends pretending not

WOMEN

148

made her way

to see her as she

OF THE FIELDS in

her funeral cloak. Blessed by the

priest,

she removed her cloak and went outside to be welcomed by the people of the village,

who

acted as

she had just been too busy to see them

if

this

all

women waited for the pastor to come to their Spanish women in a twentieth-century village knelt in the

time. 122 Danish Protestant

door to bless them.

church with

a candle

and allowed the

priest to bless

them and then

them

lead

to the altar.

With equal willingness peasant women embraced other beliefs and rituals made some sense of the hardships of life and gave comfort and hope. From the earliest books of penance, Christian women accepted the idea of sin, of human transgression and the means offered by the Churches to restore them to grace, to Cod's favor. By the sixteenth century, a Catholic woman that

could confess privately to her priest and expiate her sin through a penance

he

set.

She might pay "indulgences"

century, peasant (or chaplet) of

women

as a

penance. As early as the fourteenth

said the Virgin's special prayer with a rosary, a string

beads that could be carried everywhere.

bility for trips to

Women took responsi-

the shrines of local saints, and for the prayers and rituals

that had once honored former deities and spirits of their locality.

Women of the countryside remained loyal to their faith long after peasant men and

long after both

women and men

of the towns.

Well

into the

twentieth century, countrywomen went to church and took part in the ritual

because Christianity seemed to give a hardships and conditions of their

spiritual value

lives.

and significance

to the

In the sermons heard in the parish

who suffered and mourned were blessed, their miseries transformed into sources of salvation and eternal life. Thus, a woman of the Bocage region of Normandy in the 1970s could speak of misfortune as "good suffering." 123 Deprivation, self-sacrifice, humility, all were virtues that guarchurch, those

anteed honor and reward to a Christian. Above

all,

the Catholic faith asked

most devout followers, and the life of a peasant woman was often synonymous with obedience, learned as a child with her parents, then practiced as a wife to her husband. The rituals of the marriage ceremony established the relationships. In France the bride knelt before the groom; in Russia she took off her new husband's boots at the wedding feast. The exchange of vows, the passing of her hand from that of one male to another, obedience of

all

its

signified the male's guardianship

protected and subordinate position.

would remember "As the a peasant to his Lord, a

tsar

and authority, her acceptance of the

A

seventeenth-century wife of a serf

answers to Cod, so a boyar answers to the

woman

to her husband." 1^4

A prayer book from

tsar,

1946

used in a Santander village in northern Spain reminded a wife of her circumstances.

When

making her confession, she was

obeyed the dictates of the Church and

to consider

society:

how

well she

had

149

Sustaining the Generations

Esteem your husband Respect him as your leader Obey him as your superior Reply to him with humility Assist him with diligence. ^^^

1.

2. 3.

4. 5.

Little in the peasant

woman's

society supported deviation

from

this ideal

condoned her husband's right to punish her if she and French proverbs warned men of the consequences should they

of behavior. Everything did. Irish

be lenient with their wives: if

you

let

"Do

tomorrow."^26 of his village

j^a^

y\j^y

ass.^^'^

Both

men who

him

in

the eyes

of the charivaris (local festivals), forced to ride religious

and "chastisement,"

twelfth century.

allowed his wife to rule over

y^\^Q

became the butt

backward on an rection

not give your wife authority over you, for

her stamp on your foot to-night she will stamp on your head

as

and secular authorities condoned

was called

it

Gustoms and laws

all

across

cor-

in Gratian's Decretals of the

Europe accepted and pardoned

bloodied or even killed their wives.

A

sixteenth-century French

proverb expressed the attitude that continued to be voiced into the twentieth century: a

"A good

A

horse and a bad horse need the spur.

bad woman need the

stick/'^^s

Lean

Lizzie, the scold in a

woman and German folktale,

good

found herself thrown to the bed, her arms held together, her head pressed into the pillow by her husband, "until she tion. "^29 In

fell

asleep from extreme exhaus-

the 1930s in rural Yugoslavia husbands beat their wives because

of complaints from parents, for disobedience, or just to

them. In the 1950s

in

show

their

wife was unfaithful. Pietro's parting words to Ninetta as he

the north were "I warn you you.

Do

The

power over

southern Italy a husband could threaten murder

you understand?

you put horns on

if

I'll kill

majority of peasant

me

left to

come back and

I'll

his

if

work

in

kill

you."^^°

women

throughout the centuries accepted the

circumstances, the attitudes, and the necessities of survival even though they

were

left

vulnerable and subordinate. Occasionally a

teenth-, fourteenth-,

from England world.

They

tell

and fifteenth-century

of peasant

women who

killed their children

religious

woman

lost control

and husbands. They

1226 the coroner inquired whether or not Alice de

madness or maliciously and intentionally"

killed

could not. Thir-

and secular court records

and turned on

their

killed themselves. In la

Lade had "from

her child. ^^^ Margery, the

wife of William Galbot, knifed her two-year-old daughter to death and then forced her four-year-old son on to the hearth flames. ^^^

woman whipped her ten-year-old killed her son Adam during what of insanity." In 1316

Emma

le

A

Northamptonshire

to death. Agnes, the wife of

Roger Moyses,

the court called "one of her frequent bouts

Bere, though

ill

and

restricted to her bed, in

WOMEN

150

a "frenesye" killed her children

hanged

OF THE FIELDS

by cutting their throats with an

Bitter, despairing, enraged, peasant

The

ax.

Then

she

herself.

women

turned on their husbands.

and fifteenth-century English records tell of the wife who waited until her husband slept and then cut his throat with a small scythe. Another woman, while sick with fever, killed her husband and then claimed she could not remember anything when she recovered two weeks thirteenth-, fourteenth-,

later. 1^^

The

children, but

English judges showed some compassion in the murder of none with violence toward a husband. This threatened the most

basic relationships of the society.

The

fourteenth-century court records called

husband "petty treason," similar to a servant killing a master. In 1726 Catherine Hayes was the last Englishwoman convicted of the crime. She was executed in the traditional way, burned at the stake. Into the

murder

of a

eighteenth century Europe's

men

chose such a dramatic death because burn-

seemed the fit punishment for women who had defied the basic premises, patterns, and authority of the culture. Such openly defiant women were the exceptions, however. The vast majority of European countrywomen found ways to adapt and accommodate, ways that gave them a sense of value and purpose despite their subordinate relationship to men. ing at the stake

THE EXTRAORDINARY

Joan of Arc Joan of Arc (1412-1431), the extraordinary sixteen-year-old daughter of French peasant family, defied almost every tradition of the peasant woman's world. She disobeyed her parents, importuned those above her station for a

help,

and

insisted that she

must act outside accepted female God to join the army

everyone that she had been sent by

France and to

raise the

roles.

|oan told

King of

of the

English siege of the town of Orleans. Everything

about her manner, her demands, and her actions was unorthodox. In normal circumstances, the very personification of the insubordinate, disobedient female, she would have been

But

in

the midst of the

left to

the reprimands of her mother and father.

Hundred Years War, the

secular

of fifteenth-century France listened to the unorthodox.

and

religious leaders

They came

to agree

God

through

maiden

warrior,

with Joan's vision of herself as the young virgin granted access to her voices.

They came

to perceive her as a heroine: the holy

zealous and strong, sent for the salvation of the kingdom. So perceived, Joan's passion, energy, persistence,

and ingenuity gained her power and success men and to men of higher caste as well.

in

roles traditionally reserved to

Joan

is

remarkable for other historical reasons. Unlike every other

woman

documents abound to describe and explain her life. By her unorthodox actions and assertions, Joan defied the acknowledged authority of her day, and that authority, literate and careful, recorded the words of her childhood friends, the memories of her family, and or

man

of the early fifteenth century,

of those she fought with.

Most

unusual, there are also her

own

words, pages

and pages of questions and answers, cross questions and explanations in French notes, in Latin prose. These are the records of her trial, and then of her rehabilitation, a "retrial" twenty years

later,

when

the

Church

reconsid-

ered her case and reversed the condemnation of her as a schismatic and

— WOMEN

152

heretic (as

OF THE FIELDS

one who would not accept the paramount authority of the

Church).!

much like that of other young girls in Her godmother Beatrice, wife of the mayor, remembered her spinning, and working at harvest time, even though her father was the most prosperous of the farmers in Domremy. Her friend, These sources

a

French

reveal a life initially

village of the early 1400s.

Jean Waterin, said they drove the plow together.

not think her especially pious.

Then

The

priest,

Michael and the angels appeared to her, "towards noon, father's garden. "^

Jean Colin, did

at thirteen she believed that Saint

No, she had not been She heard them in the

in

summer,

in

her

fasting, she explained to the ques-

forest, when the bells of the parish From that moment on, as she explained in March of 1430, "they often come without my calling," and "she had never needed them without having them."^ The church at Domremy and the one across the river in Maxey had statues of Saints Margaret and Catherine, and soon she saw their faces crowned with light and heard their voices. With the first appearance of her voices, Joan made a vow of virginity, increased her devotions, made frequent pilgrimages to the next villages, and to the hermitage dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Bermont.

tioner at her

church

Her one so

trial.

tolled.

voices never spoke of a

life

of contemplation, the usual response for

religious, rather of a life of actions inconceivable for a

female in the

context of fifteenth-century France. Yet their message was clear; Joan

peated

it

Dauphin

(the Valois heir)

crowned

to regain the loyalty of Paris.

do anything other than work set

re-

over and over. She was to relieve the siege at Orleans, to see the

Joan apart and

made

To

in

at

Rheims, to

free the

Duke

of Orleans,

attempt even one of the voices' tasks

the

fields or in



to

the household and to marry

her a disobedient rebel at

female outside the

risk, a

and patterns of fifteenth-century village life. Though she kept her visions to herself, by sixteen she had focused all of her energy, her quick intelligence, her strength, and her perseverance on accepting the challenge of their commands. In the spring of 1428 she lied to her parents in order to try to see Robert de Baudricourt, the local lord her voices had said would take her to the Dauphin. Joan persuaded Durand Laxalt, her mother's cousin, to accompany protective confines

De

her to the castle, but

Baudricourt dismissed her request, telling Laxalt "to

give her a good slapping

and take her back to her

father."'*

stay away. Catherine le Royer, the family friend with

remembered the her as for a

tension, Joan's sense of urgency,

woman

only one year to

convinced her

"how

Joan refused to

whom

she stayed,

the time lagged for

pregnant. "^ Joan chafed at the delay, insisting she had

fulfill

the tasks set by her voices. In January of 1429 she

listeners

finally

with the simplicity and directness of her assertions:

The before

we

153

Extraordinary

must be at the King's side, though I wear my feet who can recover is nobody in all the world France. And there will be no help ... if not from me.^

are in mid-Lent,

1

to the knees. For indeed there

the kingdom for

De

.

.

.

Baudricourt changed his mind, and with his safe conduct and

six

of his

knights at arms to accompany her, riding a horse bought for her by Laxalt,

Joan traveled at night across the English-held territory, covering the 500 kilometers to Chinon, the Dauphin's castle, in just eleven days.

Joan had badgered help from in

De

Baudricourt, but others already believed

her and her visions. Jean de Metz,

the men's clothing she wore

Dauphin from

a

crowd

of

when

who

rode with her to Chinon, gave her

she burst into the court and picked the

women and men.

There, with one gesture after

another, with one statement after another, this seventeen-year-old peasant

woman

convinced the religious and secular

elite of

France that she was the

instrument of their salvation. She reminded them of Merlin's prophecy, revived by the peasant visionary

Maxine Robine

at the

century, "that France would be ruined through a restored by a virgin."'^

appeared as

if

A

end of the fourteenth

woman and

afterward

gold crown and a buried sword she described

miraculously.

Churchmen

of the University in Poitiers ques-

became convinced of her sincerity. The dean of the faculty, a Dominican, remembered the interview. When asked if she believed in God she replied, "Yes, more than you do."^ The Dauphin's mother-in-law, Yolande of Aragon, Queen of Sicily, and her ladies, examined tioned her on her faith and

Joan's claim of virginity herself,

and established that she was

in fact as

she described

Queen Yolande offered money for the expedition. In the churchmen of Poitiers and the King's Council unanimously

"the maid."

end the learned endorsed her and her mission.

The war between

the feudal monarchies of France and England had

Duke

come

Burgundy allied to the powerful English Earl of Warwick. The French Dauphin Charles's commanders gave him conflictto a stalemate with the

ing advice.

The

of

English held the capital, Paris. Plans to raise the siege at

Orleans had foundered. Joan stood before the Dauphin, a stocky seventeenyear-old peasant, her hair "cut round above her ears" in her rough wool tunic,

hose and leggings, assured, brusque, determined, clear on what should be done. She claimed she was a virgin sent by still

God

to save France.

doubted she answered impatiently, "But lead

me

show you the signs was sent to make."*^ The Dauphin As she had convinced the learned and the courtly, I

soldiers of the

let

scribed himself as "bedazzled."

I

who will

Joan go to Orleans.

One

commander, the Duke

(He had given her

any

and

so Joan convinced the

army, then the citizens of the towns.

supporters, the twenty-five-year-old

To

to Orleans

a horse

of her earliest

of Alen^on, de-

when he had

seen

WOMEN

154

OF THE FIELDS

her, the evening of the second day at

He remembered

tilt.)^°

campaign, .

.

at last

Chinon, wield

a lance

and run

the march to Orleans, with about 4,000

enough

troops.

men

at a

for the

A later chronicler marveled "We had plenty

because everyone was following her/'^i At Orleans the crowds pressed

.

around her, and

"felt

themselves already comforted and as

if

no longer

besieged, by the divine virtue which they were told was in the simple maid.''^^

Winds changed

as

if

by a miracle, and supplies came into the besieged town.

Perhaps most significant of

all,

Joan convinced the English soldiers, and

the citizens in the other towns they held, of her powers. Alengon remembered the evening she had taken the standard and shown herself on the parapet at

Orleans "and the terrified. "^^

"four or

arrival

moment

she was there the English trembled and were

Dunois, another of the commanders, insisted that after Joan's five

hundred

soldiers

and men-at-arms could

fight against

what

be the whole power of England. "^"^ In June of 1429 and July the towns of Meung and Troyes surrendered just because she arrived.

seemed

to

As a peasant daughter, Joan knew nothing of fighting and warfare except what she had experienced as a villager with soldiers passing back and forth across her valley, the Meuse. When she was thirteen, the soldiers had burned the church. Twice she had helped to herd the livestock to fortified places of safety. "For fear of the soldiers" her parents would no longer let her tend the livestock alone. ^^ In May of 1428 she, her family, and the others of the village had fled Burgundian troops, who burned what they could. It was Joan's vitality, her confidence, her faith in her visions, and the beliefs of those around her that transformed her into an able warrior and a leader among men.

The young peasant woman participated The King's Councillor wrote of six

ments.

in at least seven military

engage-

days and nights with her in the

and commented, "She bears the weight and burden of armour incredibly ."^^ At Orleans she fought on horseback in an attack on a stronghold. "The first to place a scaling ladder on the bastion of the bridge," she remembered of one encounter in May of 1429. ^'^ She appeared fearless in battle; Dunois told of one of the assaults at Orleans when she had taken up a fallen standard, rushed to the top of a trench, and then been followed by the men. At St. Pierre le Moutier in October of 1429, her squire, Aulon, described rushing to assist her, when she was fighting almost by herself, and field

well.

.

.

taking her helmet from her head, she answered that she was not alone, that she still

had

fifty

thousand

men

in

her

company and that she would not leave that moment, whatever she might say, she

spot until she had taken the town. At that

had no more than four or

five

men

with her.

Joan took punishment like the other in

.

.

.^^

soldiers. In

the assault on Jargeau

June a blow on the head cracked her helmet. Twice she was

hit

by

The crossbolts

—once

at

Orleans

Extraordinary

155

the neck and once in the thigh during an

in

attack on one of the gates of Paris in September of 1429.

None of

this

stopped

her.

new methods

At Troyes in July and clearsightedness" and drew the praise of experienced commanders like Dunois and Alengon.i^ Yet, contrary to subsequent popular memory, Joan never actually took command, rather she assisted, advised, and, perhaps most important, She had

a natural gift for the

of warfare.

of 1429 she placed the artillery; she advised with "prudence

chided those

charge

in

when they delayed

or appeared to lose their zeal for

"Do not have doubts, when God when God wills it. Act, and God will

the fighting. At Orleans she told Alengon: pleases, the

hour

is

We

ripe.

must act

act."20

came from the simple contradictions of her situation: a pious virgin, moving confidently and unmolested

Joan's authority also a

young peasant woman,

in the

midst of an army. Joan was never shy with her companions at arms.

When

she

met Gobert Thibault, one

"she clapped of

my sort

me on

of the King's squires,

he remembered,

the shoulder, saying that she would like well to have

[fighting with her]."^!

But

at the

same time, she impressed

all

men with

her piety and her virtue. She prohibited pillage, organized confessions and

women who accompanied and and encouraged the wounded. She fasted and

masses for the troops, and dismissed the

She

serviced them.

received

communion

she inspired no lust a

woman

be.

visited

twice a week.

in

the

sleep with her

From her

first

men

Most miraculous

she served with. In

whenever

days alone in the

possible, field

but

this

to her contemporaries,

camp

she tried to have

why they let her men believed that them. The two knights

is

not

with soldiers, the

which they could not explain deterred King assumed they would have intercourse they were so much with her, "but when the moment came to speak to her ." Even though she lay between them in the ashamed that they dared not. fields at night, they explained that they had felt no desire. ^^ Both her squire Aulon and Alen^on, her commander, dressed her wounds, helped to arm her and had, therefore, seen her breasts and bare legs. Aulon described himself as "strong, young and vigorous," yet never "was my body moved to any carnal ."^^ Dunois remembered the effect of her presence: "As for desire for her. myself and the rest, when we were in her company we had no wish or desire to approach or have intercourse with women. That seems to me to be almost something

who

else

originally escorted her to the

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

a miracle. "2^

How then did she lose her power? How did she come to be captured and abandoned by her king? The very circumstances and qualities of character that had given Joan power led to her capture by the English. At first the Dauphin drew on her strength and rewarded her success. Two days after the

WOMEN

156

army lifted the

OF THE FIELDS

siege at Orleans, his treasurer entered

on the accounts

for

May

armor for her: "complete harness for the Maid, 100 livres tournois."^^ But his crowning in July of 1429 signaled a new period of 10, 1429, a suit of

military inaction. Joan could not accept this.

Of

her original tasks, only the

recapture of Paris remained.

Joan did not go home. She acted on her own authority. At Compiegne

King and kept fighting

in spite of the in

May

of 1430 her remarkable powers

She and three to four hundred of her men found off from the gates of the town walls. She was forced back to the bridge near the walls and stranded outside when the town fathers decided to close the gates. A Burgundian account said that Joan was pulled from her horse. Unable to remount, she surrendered to a nobleman. The commander, Jean, Prince of Luxembourg, set her ransom at 10,000 gold crowns, a king's fortune in those times. ^6 The Dauphin, now King Charles

seemed

to leave her.

themselves drawn out and cut

VII, and his councillors never tried to free her. Instead the English gained custody of the Maid. a

Duke

fearsome opponent. In 1429 the

Joan's special

They perceived her

as

had acknowledged

of Gloucester

power and ordered that the captains and

soldiers, deserters

"by the Maid's enchantments," be captured and punished. ^'^ Joan's

terrified

unorthodox behavior, her success

in

opposing them, became

in the eyes of

the English sources of terror, "enchantments," and Joan was perceived as the

agent of the Devil, not of God.

God had

favored them.

power she seemed

Now

With

her capture, the English believed that

they must discredit Joan and the supernatural

to hold.

Joan's voices, the source of her extraordinary authority, gave the English

came from God, therefore The English controlled the university. They had proved

the means to discredit her. She claimed the voices

her enemies could allow the Church to examine her. Paris

and thus the learned

allies

among Church

who became

ecclesiastics of

officials, like

chosen and procedures arranged so inquiry

Pierre

Cauchon, the bishop

the principal judge at Joan's

and the

trial. ^^

Thus

as to ensure the desired

reuil left

The

her no privacy and vulnerable to sexual assault. Instead of the

Church, Joan had slept.

hoped

own power and

five

to

conditions of her imprisonment at the castle of Bouv-

usually assigned for a female prisoner, or at the least

she

be

to the

stretched or ignored every rule of ecclesiastical

procedure to weaken Joan, to force her to denounce her voices.

outcome

trial.

Cauchon and the English deny her

of Beauvais,

inquisitors could

men

women

associated with the

when Cauchon

English soldiers, three in the room with her even

At night they

fettered her to "a great block of wood."^^

to see her intimidated, confused,

January to the 30th of

May

and confounded. From the ninth of

1430, he and the inquisitors questioned her,

The sometimes twice

Extraordinary

157

morning, beginning at eight, in a room She had no counsel. When two of the participating friars offered advice, Cauchon reprimanded them, and they fled back to their monaster)-. Sometimes it was two or three questioners, sometimes the whole panoply of two judges, a prosecutor, eight examiners, three notaries, the bailiff, and forty-eight assessors, all the priors, bishops, and canons who would a day, usually in the

of the castle or in her

cell.

give the final verdict.'^ In the questioning d'Estivet, a

Cauchon and

canon of Bayeux, skipped from topic

by altering the context of her remarks, and threatened Joan withstood

all this.

tradition of her saints,

and

their allies.

Perhaps the

From

first

torture.

days of her capture, in the best

Margaret and Catherine, she had defied the English

She had e\en

li\es

the

his prosecutor, Jean

to topic, tried to trick Joan

tried to escape twice before the trial

of her tvvo heroines inspired her.

had begun.

Both of these

early

Christian mart\TS captured the popular imagination of the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, with the tales of their purity, faith, and bravery.

The

powerful threatened their

Margaret fought

off

virginity-

and tortured them. Saint

dragons and demons. Saint Catherine converted the

learned with the cogency of her arguments.

As her

trial

progressed, Joan could easily have

made

parallels

with her

own

situation: her virginity imperiled, torture threatened, the learned sent to

her, and the prospect of a "glorious martyrdom" for the faith. The churchmen examined her on more than sixty charges. To explain how she could have had such impact, Cauchon and his friends hoped to prove her a witch,- a heretic who had made an unholy pact with the Devil. They could not. Nothing she said gave evidence of such an alliance. This did not mean, however, that other equally damning charges could not be found. Throughout Joan answered as she always had, in straightforward, simple

confound

words, speaking as an equal. She questioned the validity of the tribunal, asking

an equal number of churchmen loyal to France. She recognized Cauchon as her enemy and like the legendar>- Catherine and Margaret warned him early in the questioning: "... you say that you are my judge. Consider well what you are about, for in truth I am sent from God, and you at first for

are putting yourself in great danger."^

might

gi\-e in

when shown

She admitted on

^

May

9 that she

the instruments of torture, but, she bravely added,

"I should always thereafter say that

you had made

me

speak so by force," thus

negating the validity of the confession as evidence. ^^ Twice, on April 18 in

her

cell,

on

May

2 in the

courtroom

set

up

in

the castle, in the presence of

the whole group of sixty-three churchmen, she refused to submit to the list

of twelve charges. ^^

She continued to

insist that

final

she was right, and they

were wrong.

To do

this in the context of

1430 meant,

as

Master Jean de Bouesque,

WOMEN

158

OF THE FIELDS

Doctor of Theology, explained, "She is schismatic of the unity, authority and power of the Church. "^"^ The simple stratagem of allowing Joan to speak and react in the formal world of an ecclesiastical inquisition and trial had worked. By the facts of her birth, her words, her actions, she had condemned herself. To the hostile, learned churchmen she appeared a young, illiterate peasant woman who had dressed and fought like a man, all the while insisting that she had received divine revelation. The burden of proof, of justification of such unorthodox behavior and assertions lay with her. Nothing she could say or

do would convince them.

The

bishop of Lisieux thought "the

vile

conditions of her person"

made

everything she claimed and had accomplished suspect. ^^ ^er voices became "lies," "delusions," errors of faith that

caused an endless display of disobedi-

now toward

the wisdom and authority of Her manner of speaking showed Philipert, the bishop of Coutances, that she had "a subtle spirit, inclined to evil, excited by a devilish instinct. "^^ Her refusal to wear female clothing throughout her imprisonment became symbolic of her blasphemous attitude and behavior. Even when offered the chance to hear mass and to receive the sacrament at Easter (a request she had made continually since her capture), she refused when told ence,

toward her parents and

first

the Church.

"it was not in her adding that this attire did not burden her soul and that the wearing do it of it was not against the Church. "^^ As with everything that passed between Joan and the churchmen, the issue was simply one of authority: Would she or would she not obey? Again on the 23 rd of May she refused to recant when presented with the charges. The next day she was taken to the cemetery of

she would have to dress appropriately. She explained that to

.

.

.

the abbey of

St.

Ouen

for the public reading of her sentence.

The

pyre for

her execution had been prepared in the market square.

The

source of her remarkable strength lay in her

those days,

faith. All

standing before the churchmen in her gray tunic, the knee-length cloak, the

long black hose and boots, she had been confident of God's presence, his

guidance

in all

she did and said through the mystery of her voices. Perhaps

to save her. When she had asked her voices "whether I be burnt" they "answered me that I should trust in Our Lord and that he would help me."^^ But there in the cemetery, on the high scaffolding before the resplendent assemblage of the representatives of the Church, of

she expected

God

shall

the English King, of the Prince of Luxembourg, her assessors, the crowd, she

doubted. She heard the condemnatory sermon, heard herself declared cast out.

Suddenly she spoke up and asked

of the Pope. Refused, she told

judges of the

every

them

Church wanted her

command and

desire. "^^

if

she might submit to the judgment

that "she

to say

and

wanted

to hold

to maintain

She made her mark on

and

all

to

that the

obey their

a shortened

list

of

The

charges confessing her most grievous tions

my

from

God and

his angels St.

159

Extraordinary

sin:

"claiming lyingly that

Catherine and

words and acts which are against the Church

remain

in

I

had

Margaret, and

St.

revela-

all

those

do repudiate, wishing to union with the Church, never leaving it."'*^ Cauchon announced 1

imprisonment, a "salutary penance that you may weep and never thenceforth commit anything to occasion weeping.""*^ Manchon, the notary who had kept the minutes of the trial, remembered that she seemed almost gay remarking, "Come now, among you men of the Church, take me to your prisons and let me be no longer in the hands of these English." But Cauchon ordered the guards, "Take her to where you found her."^2 That afternoon they shaved her head, she put on the dress they gave her to wear, and then she found herself chained with the same guards in the same cell. Historians can only speculate on her thoughts in the next days. She had saved her own life, but to what end? The life of solace, confession, and penance she had been promised had proved a fraud. She remained in chains, in the hands of the English soldiers. Three days later on Sunday, May 27, her sentence,

life

.

.

.

for your faults

Cauchon

Twenty years churchmen how she Joan stood again before the churchmen in a

learned that she had put on men's clothing again.

later at the rehabilitation inquiries,

had come

to find them.

When

no one could

tell

the

man's tunic, she declared herself indisputably an unrepentent relapsed heretic.

The

only appropriate punishment for such behavior in 1430 was excom-

munication and death.

For Joan,

this action

meant reclaiming her

faith

and her

special power.

Like Saints Margaret and Catherine, she had chosen the "glorious martyr-

dom"

of the virgin. She must have assumed that imprisonment as Cauchon had arranged it meant the risk of rape at the hands of the soldiers. Rape meant the loss of her virginity. Without her virginity, Joan's religion told her, she would lose her special tie to Cod: the Maid become "slut," a fallen woman, imprisoned for life without hope of heaven. She explained to the two assessors who came to question her that day that "when she put on women's clothes the English had done her great wrongs and violence in prison."'*^ She explained to her questioners that she had given in "for fear of the fire." She told them that now her saints spoke disapprovingly of her actions. "Since Thursday, my voices have been telling me that I have done and am doing a great injury to Cod by making myself say that what did was not well done." She spoke with more humility but the message of disobedience was the same: "If I were to say that Cod sent me, I shall be condemned, but God really I

did send me."'^'*

Cauchon rushed the arrangements and ignored the vations of the thirty-nine assessors

who wanted

objections and reser-

to give Joan

more time

to

WOMENOFTHEFIELDS

160

understand the gravity of her words. At nine the next morning, Wednesday, the thirtieth of May, she was taken, dressed in women's clothes, to the market

Cauchon read the indictment:

square of Rouen.

You

are for the second time a relapsed heretic, like a

of going back to .

.

The

.

We

its

vomit!

.

.

You have

.

discard you as a rotten

member.

fallen

dog which has the habit

back into your former

sins.

."^^ .

.

wood Chambre

executioner took her to stand on the pyre tied to a stake with

piled

all

around

remembered

it

He

her.

set the fire

underneath. Guillaume de

la

took almost half an hour before she stopped crying out to

the saints and to Jesus and "was choked by the carefully disposed of the ashes;

no

trace of her

fire.""^^

The

was to remain

executioner

for the living

to venerate.

But people do not always need relics to venerate a special individual. The power once given proved too strong to take away. As the historian Keith Thomas wrote, the legend of Joan's life became "one of the most resonant

and flexible symbols in the whole of human history. "'^'^ The secular world embraced her first; the fifteenth-century French chroniclers saw her as God's gift for the salvation of their kingdom. Then the Church bowed to the pressure, first in the 1450s at her rehabilitation, and much later in 1920 with her canonization, not for her visions or her exploits in the

but for her exemplary

life.

been "a simple, honest

Honoring her faith,

The Church chose

girl

in this

and

a

name

of the faith

to sanctify her because she

way, the ecclesiastics focused on her piety and her

but they refused to acknowledge a divine source for her voices.

image the Church projected was of a simple shepherd unjustly

burned

had

good Christian."'*^

girl,

The

the brave maiden

between vanished. They excised her

at the stake. All in

energy, her military exploits, her male dress, the whole range of her unorthodox,

"unwomanly" words and

actions.

Not so in the popular

imagination.

The

images that had originally empowered her continued. Sixteenth-century

France named her Jeanne d'Arc and made her

a national heroine.

of subsequent centuries took her story for their plays for their statues.

The men

and poems, her image

She became the spirit of France, the maiden, the holy and Napoleonic symbol for opposition to the English

warrior, the Republican

and for those who would protect France from foreign domination. In the Second World War Charles de Gaulle used her standard, the Cross of Lorraine, as the symbol of Free France. And some women saw what her extraordinary actions meant for them. Perhaps the first was her contemporary, the courtier and writer Christine de Pizan (1364-1430). in

An

old

woman

in July of 1429,

her retreat at the convent of Poissy.

The

siege

she heard of

had been

The Maid

lifted at Orleans.

The Joan became the subject of her

161

Extraordinary

last

known poem: Joan in the woman:

tradition of

Esther, Judith, Deborah, the brave, defiant, powerful

By

whom God

His people

restored

when they were

hard-pressed.

Ah, what honor to the feminine

.

.

.

sex!

Which God

so loved that he showed way to this great people By which the kingdom, once lost, Was recovered by a woman,

A

A

thing that

men

could not

do."^^

The Witchcraft Persecutions Joan's short life demonstrated the quixotic, potent effects of men's fears

confidently claimed authority and who acted independently. Those perceived as supporting men's institutions found themselves honored and valued, those thought of as threatening or opposing dishonored and condemned to death. Joan was one young woman perceived as challenging of

women who

men's authority.

A century and a half later, hundreds of thousands of peasant

women came

be seen

to

in a similar

way

in villages all across

Europe, from

from Scotland to Russia. They became victims of the hunwitchcraft persecutions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Finland to

Italy,



dreds of thousands of

happen? The answers

women

lie in

accused, tortured, executed.

a horrible coincidence of

How

did this

new circumstances and

old attitudes. All historians of the witchcraft persecutions have searched for patterns

true from

one region to another that

accusations and executions.

accuse?

Why

Why

were particular

will explain

then?

women

Why

the outbreaks of hysterical

there?

Why

did those people

singled out? All regions have not yet

been studied. For the areas analyzed the records are by no means complete. Rarely is there the whole story of the women's ordeals from initial accusation, through questioning, torture, judgment, sentencing, and execution. Historians have only begun to piece together the records of the accusations, the confessions, accounts of judges, reports of inquisitors for

Between 1300 and 1500, there

is

all

parts of Europe.

sketchy evidence of about 500

trials

with

Germany, France, and Switzerland.^^ Then there is an exponential jump in the numbers for the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century for Western Europe, continuing into

original depositions for only twenty-one in

the beginning of the eighteenth century in Eastern Europe. ^^ In

the

1500s

much seemed

to

conspire to create uncertainty and

— WOMEN

162

OF THE FIELDS

sensed impending chaos. All of the traditional means seemed discredited and useless. Religious reformers and prosletyzers questioned the Catholic faith and its rituals. Protestant sects condemned everything from the authority of the Pope to everyday practices like the saying of the rosary. Printing presses carried the doubts and attacks all over Europe. Religious and civil wars in Germany, France, and Scotland with one prince replaced by another, one faith by another, called all princes and all beliefs into question. Locally controlled markets and trade gradually had given way to great trading centers and monopolies protected by the the guildsmen and the regulations of dynastic rulers, leaving town elders wealthy entrepreneurial families without the familiar economic system that had guaranteed them their livelihood and hegemony. upheaval. Learned

men

of establishing order





The

and religious elite searched for ways to reinstitute a sense of end the questioning and the changing. Townsmen, royal families, churchmen worked to bring order through definition and conformity. The guilds closed their membership to all but a select few and ruled their towns by fiat. Queens and kings codified regional laws and customs and adopted uniform Roman procedures as they expanded their system of royal secular

certainty, to

courts. Leaders of different sects vied in their demonstrations of religious zeal

and

in their efforts to establish

themselves as the founders of the one "true"

faith.

Though by

the

1

550s

all

Europeans had long ago accepted the leadership

—the authority

of the Church and the secular rulers memories of other powers and other beliefs. A prayer to the Virgin or an appeal to the king's court would help, but the old remedies, a spell or a traditional chant, would do no harm. Countrywomen and men believed that this other kind of power was the special province of only a few in the village the "cunning folk" as they were called in England. Always women were seen as having ties to this extraordinary world of charms, incantations, and spirits. Europeans believed that the magic was there for of these institutions

Europeans

also

had

vivid



those

who knew how

claimed

this

to call

upon

it

and continued

to appeal to those

who

unorthodox knowledge of and access to the supernatural. For

example, in the 1580s the English churchwardens of Thatcham Berkshire hired the local cunning

the

communion

Women

woman

to help

them

find the thief

who had

stolen

cloth. ^2

with these powers appeared in the traditional stories of the

ancient cultures and in the tales told into the nineteenth century. Their kisses

gave their lovers magical powers, their warnings saved the heroes of the sagas.

The wisewoman helped sisters find brothers and young maidens win back forgetful princes. "The old woman in the forest" gave her heroine a lover by her powers to transform; a tree became a handsome young man. 55 Just as the

The legends and sagas

good, they

tell

tell

Extraordinary

163

women using their special knowledge and skill for who tapped this power to do The Norsemen of old woman to use her second sight but feared that

of

of those

ill.

NjaVs Saga wanted the

her ability to predict the future meant that she could control the white magic of rescues and transformations had potions and curses of black magic: witches

who

its

who would

it.

In the tales,

counterpart

eat Hansel

in

the

and Gretel,

fish, who tried to kill their who could strip a young man of his strength and potency. Many believed that women could harm the livestock and bought and sold charms against their powers. When a young woman married, German villagers feared the oldest woman in the community would be jealous and bring

could turn their stepchildren into a lamb or a

husbands' offspring,

harm with the

A

evil eye.

piece of bride's cake, in which a silver coin was

baked, was given to her to appease her. 5"*

Another aspect

of the old beliefs

and

traditions survived. In villages

all

over Europe this supernatural force for evil was assumed to be available to

women, whether they called upon it or not. Somehow the gift of their made them potentially dangerous. A man could not marry in May, the woman's month, because then he would fall prey to lust

all

reproductive ability

and give her power over him. Women's menstrual blood had an ancient reputation as a harmful substance.

Germans

did not allow a pregnant

woman

Anything having to do with birth seemed to have magical properties, and the midwife privy to its mysteries was thought to possess in the stable.

special powers.

When

peasant

women and men moved

to the towns, they

took these ancient beliefs and traditions with them. In Paris and Florence the fourteenth century,

men

with their potions. Beginning in the sixteenth

They had it

century

in

women

accused in

The

on

lust or

in

impotence

the fifteenth century in French towns and

English towns, midwives

to take oaths against using

in France).

of bringing

came under suspicion. (as the Church called

magic or sorcery

English townsmen persecuted the

women

for "supersti-

tious practices."

From

the earliest days of Christianity,

ancient beliefs and insisted that

women

churchmen had denied these call up such extraordinary

could not

powers. Religious leaders spoke in their books of penance, canon laws, papal

and

conciliar decrees of "delusions"

and "superstitious

practices," of

women

misguided and confused. As the source of misfortune, they offered their believers Satan, the Devil, the personification of evil, the ever-vengeful fallen

angel seeking souls for his kingdom, Hell. He, not the

wisewomen

of the

had the power to harm, and he need not be feared for with Jesus' death on the cross, his power had been broken; everyone knew that the crucifix or holy water would frighten him away.'^ villages,

In the uncertain atmosphere

and conditions

of the sixteenth century, the

WOMEN

164

OF THE FIELDS

attitude of Europe's churches changed. Protestant to

and Catholic leaders came

doubt Christianity's victory over the Devil. They imagined that he had

found an opportunity to religious

and secular

try for

hegemony

again.

And

out of their

fear,

transformed the actions of the wisewomen.

elite

cunning woman's magic, once

more

officially discredited,

became

in

the

The

the imagina-

had ever been before. Embellished with all of the oldest misogynist mythology, the wisewomen's ways, words, and gestures became evidence of the beliefs and rituals of a heresy that threatened to destroy mankind. The learned of the Churches wrote and preached that the Devil was at large in the world. These women, the cunning folk, had made a pact with him, worshipped at his altar, and had tion of Europe's leaders

become

The

real

and powerful than

it

his agents. villagers

and the

citizens of the

towns could accept

this picture of

the Devil and his followers, and this explanation for the misfortunes of the time, for the everyday hardships and mishaps of their lives. In the past they had sought traditional spells and rituals to protect themselves. But in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the elite of the Church and state offered more than the propitiation and counterrituals that had been the familiar remedies against such magic. They claimed to offer an end to the misfortunes forever. If peasant women and men, townswomen and men, would identify the cunning folk, officials of Church and state with all the paraphernalia of legal procedures and scientific rules of evidence would try and execute them. Thus rich and poor, powerful and powerless, Protestant and Catholic tacitly and actively participated in the persecution and murder of thousands of illiterate

peasant

women.

Jean Calvin, the Protestant leader of Geneva, described Satan and his treachery in his Institutes: lessly

threatens us, an

"We have been

enemy who

is

forewarned that an enemy relent-

the very

embodiment

of rash boldness,

of military prowess, of crafty wiles, of untiring zeal and haste, of every

conceivable weapon and of

skill in

the science of warfare. "'^ Martin Luther,

man think that he himself might have been, and yet may be bewitched by him. There is none of us so strong that he is able to resist him."^^ Catholic leaders like Pope Innocent VIII in his Bull of 1484 had already found evidence of the Devil and of his the

German

worship

in

Protestant leader, warned, "Let every

the north

German

countryside, followers of

what thirteenth- and

fourteenth-century theologians had defined as the heresy of "demonology.''^^

Innocent saw them

up

in

every village: evil people

"who have

given themselves

and "infamous acts," harming animals and crops, giving pain, causing sterility and impotence. ^'^ The Pope had been alerted to these lapses in faith by two Dominicans, Henry Kramer (Instituto) and Jacob Sprenger, who had been sent to inquire to devils" practicing "spells"

The

German

into beliefs in the in

villages.

Now

165

with the approval of their findings

the papal bull, they wrote a treatise for their brother clerics describing the

newest manifestation of in

Extraordinary

this heresy

and

combined the

women's

the magical, and

and

in a Devil, in

result,

published

of the Witches),

which

and the procedures

to deal

the power of the supernatural,

special powers.

condemnations of

traditional

The

believers.

traditional attitudes about heresies

with heretics with ancient beliefs

The

its

(Hammer

1486, was the Malleus Malificarum

women

women

fill

the pages of the church-

sorcery. Witches exist as them is in itself another heresy. It is self-evident that witches are female. As the Churchmen explained: "where there are many women there are many witches. "^° Men, like Jesus, are

men's

treatise

tie all

Not

a matter of faith.

to witchcraft

to believe in

women

protected from the lures of the Devil, but

both

mind and body,"

in

and

because they are "feebler

are easy prey just like their predecessor Eve.^^

like the learned men before them, assumed that own weakness, hated not to rule, and became "a wheeenemy," a creature who "always deceives," bitter, and venge-

Sprenger and Kramer,

women

hated their

dling and secret

who found "an

ful

manner

easy and secret

of vindicating themselves

witchcraft."^^ In the churchmen's imaginations witchcraft

came

to

by be

defined in the broadest terms. Both white and black magic were potentially evil.

Drawing on

writers like

Horace and Ovid, on the Church Fathers

Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, they

filled

out the

list

of

like

what Innocent had

"infamous acts."

called

The idea of women armed with magical powers and using them against men had a long tradition that lasted through writings, through the popular imagination, and went

across Europe.

all

as the ninth century notes, "Particularly

A

Russian chronicle from as early

through the agency of

women

are

enchantments brought to pass."^^ The sermon of Berthold of Regensburg in 1250 warned: infernal

Many .

.

.

of the village folk

The woman

before the child

would come

is

heaven were

it

not for their witchcrafts. .

born, before the christening, after the christening. ...

it is much marvel that ye lose women practice on you!^'*

In the early days of the tices"

to

has spells for getting a husband, spells for marriage;

.

.

spells

Ye men,

not your wits for the monstrous witchcrafts that

Church such women with

their "superstitious prac-

had been declared needful of penances and admonitions from the

parish priest, nothing more.

To

Sprenger and Kramer and their successors,

however, the village wisewomen became the chosen ones of the Devil, his worshippers and his agents.

The

Devil

won

these

women

as

his

worshippers, according to the

WOMEN

166

OF THE FIELDS

fifteenth-century Malleus Malificarum, by playing on yet another supposed

Kramer repeated the traditional belief that more carnal than a man," that she is in fact "insatiable."^^ They imagined women's sexual intercourse with Satan. So joined, these women became the Devil's followers. By calling up his demons, they learned the potions and formulas that gave them their supernatural powers: to fly, to make men impotent and women miscarry, to drive horses mad. These late fifteenth-century inquisitors and those who wrote of this heresy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries described its rituals. They drew on all of the most pornographic of the Church's traditional vilifications of heresies and heretics. The churchmen described mockery of the mass, desecration of the host, orgies on a Witches' Sabbath, cannibalism of newborns, gluttony, defect in the female. Sprenger and

woman

"is

drunkenness, lewd dancing, intercourse with every variety of creature

in

every

possible position.

Since the Malleus Malificarum appeared so early in the age of printing, historians can only speculate about cal

its

direct influence. In 1487 the Theologi-

Faculty of the University of Cologne endorsed the treatise, sixteen edi-

had been published by 1 520, a total of thirty-two by 1660 with translaGerman and French. ^^ There is no question that what they wrote echoed attitudes that had been part of European culture since its beginnings. tions

tions into

By the mid-1 500s the learned and powerful universally accepted their reasonBy the mid-1 500s no one with secular or religious authority doubted the existence of a heresy of devil worship, no one doubted its practices or denied witchcraft, and all saw its principal believers and practitioners as the illiterate, older peasant women of the countryside. Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries numerous Catholics and Protestants wrote their own treatises and condemnations, based both on theory and on their practical experience in working to destroy the heresy. ^"^ All agreed that the only way to be rid of the witches and their master, the Devil, was to kill them. As Georg ing.

Pictorius of southwest

the

number of

live safe

Germany

explained: "If the witches are not burned,

immense sea that no one could and charms. "^^ The Frenchman Bodin in his 1580

these furies swells up in such an

from their

spells

demonology warned of the consequences villainous

to those

who

did not root out the

menace:

Those too who

let the witches escape, or who do not punish them with the utmost may rest assured that they will be abandoned by God to the mercy of the witches. And the country which shall tolerate this will be scourged with pesti-

rigor,

lences, famines

and wars.^^

In response, the secular rulers produced laws and ordinances against witches.

The

first

appeared

in

France

in 1490,

then

in

Emperor Charles V's

early

The

Extraordinary

167

sixteenth-century codification of Imperial law, the Carolina, then in English

laws of 1542, 1563, 1736, Scottish law, a Russian decree of 1653, the Danish

King Christian V's ordinance of 1683. All condemned the

onment

or death, as the

means

women

to impris-

to spare their countries the Devil

and

his

agents.

How many women The

executed?

Men

misogyny."

women.

were persecuted?

historian E. fell

How many

victim, but at least

In the waves of panic

and

fear,

two

and beheaded

is

100,000.

Most

time of "lethal

a

it

thirds of those

sometimes

all

times 80 percent or more, always the vast majority. "^^ estimate of the numbers of European

women

how many

accused and

William Monter has called

who

died were

were women, some-

The most

conservative

strangled, drowned, burned,

historians believe there

were many more.

Southern Germany went from extreme to extreme; between 1561 and 1670 Catholics and Protestants executed more than 3,200 people, usually of twenty or more, 82 percent of in

them women. "^^

French Lorraine, accusations ran 90 percent died.'^^ The

in

In the decade

the thousands.

Of

in

groups

1581-1591

the 2,000 accused

in Lorraine,

at the

end

terror in the Jura region of Switzerland of the sixteenth century produced records of almost 900 cases. ^^

Persecution

came

in

two waves in England, in the 1580s and 1590s, then when 490 were executed in Essex, one third of those

again from 1645 to 1647 accused.'^'*

300

Women

suffered in clusters of persecution in Scotland:

identified at a time

1,000 executed. '75 In Italy,

from the 1590s to the 1660s

The numbers go

—over 3,000

into the thousands in Spain

200 and

and and Poland.

Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Russia the persecution

trials,

lasted into

the late seventeenth century, long after the fear had passed elsewhere. "^^

The

writings of

churchmen produced the explanation

for the sense of

disorder and confusion, and the description of the heresy; princes of both the

Church and state, the men in positions of power and authority, were the ones who encouraged the first accusations and were the most zealous in hunting down the evil ones. Thus they showed their concern for their subjects, their loyalty to the

new

or the old faith. In the years of hysteria in southwest

Germany, 1562-1666,

for instance, the prince

bishop of Trier

first

accused

the Jews, then Protestants, identifying both groups as witches. Other bishops, counts, judges, and margraves worked to clear out the heresies. In the villages of the Jura region, Switzerland,

the better

oflF

who came

and the Cambresis region

of

Namur,

forward to accuse. In 1609 the inquisitors

in

it

was

Navarre

occasioned the spread of panic across the Pyrenees to Spain. In the 1640s

in

Matthew Hopkins initiated and continued the persecutions. Commission sent to hunt out witches caused the craze in the 1 590s

Essex the judge

A Special in

Scotland and gained the help of the local landowners eager to assert their

authority and prove their piety. In Navarre and Besan^on local royal

officials

WOMEN

168

OF THE FIELDS

and the seigneur petitioned the king and the Church for help. In the 1680s in Denmark, the local squire of Djursland made the first accusations. In Russia, the waves of persecution began only with decrees from the tsar in 1648 and again

in 1653.

Once prompted, to

the villagers responded.

name. Neighbors and

relatives

The

witch was always easy

first

Once accused, the named women, often

accused each other.

victim could think of others. Almost always the village

those outcast by choice or by poverty,

women

patterns of their village's expectations.

Sometimes they were married, some-

times widowed, usually they were the to curse those like

who angered

women

living outside the traditional

ready to speak back, to quarrel,

or frightened them.

It

was the wife of

a soldier

Marguerite Tattey or the prostitute Nicola de Galice, a herdswoman, the

priest's mistress. It

woman

was

a diviner,

villagers believed

Dichtline.

Magdalena

Nessler, or

could change the weather.

It

Anna Demut,

a

was the midwife of

(The mythology surrounding midwives comes from

their involve-

ment with the birth process, which in the witch persecutions was transformed into their means of access to infants for the Black Mass. The idea of evil women harming newborns is ancient; for example, Lilith, Adam's first wife, was believed to have taken revenge on the angels

who

took her children by

Throughout Europe the wisewomen known for their cures and their curses were accused. The circles of accusations went ever wider. In Neuchatel in the winter of 1582-83 the woman thief the villagers caught admitted she had attended the Witches' Sabbath and named others, who in turn accused others. Four were named in Ortenau in 1627, who accused others in the neighboring town of Offenberg. By 163 1 in Sasbach 1 50 witches had been identified all the way to the Stadthalter, his wife and daughter. The Scottish commissioners in 1697 found Margaret Atkin, who confessed and then offered her special powers to strangling the infants of others.)

detect other witches.

No

one stepped forward to defend the women. Rather the opposite. women and men sensed the opportunity to be rid of those who had frightened them. Given the opportunity, they came forward eagerly to present compromising memories of the women's activities and words. For example, in March of 1621 Marie Lanechin, the widow of Jean de Baulx, a sixty-year-old woman, had thirteen accusers: a journeyman, a rich tenant, villeins and their wives, and a laborer. They told tales of illness, deaths of husbands, wives, and nursing infants, a daughter. The villagers described all sorts of unusual phenomena: She danced in the woods with her hair all awry, Peasant

when everywhere else the Under torture she named two other women, but the court them. Only she was ordered strangled and burned.

refused to leave her house, walked in a thick mist air

was

released

clear.

'^'^

The

To

execute a

woman

169

Marie Lanechin, the court, whether secular or

like

more than

religious, required

Extraordinary

just

testimony of "superstitious practices."

There must be proof of heresy, of the pact with the Devil, of his worship. Churchmen and local officials readily found women who innocently admitted to having special power and special knowledge. In the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century

trials,

women

spoke of cures, of ointments, of potions, but not

and worship of Satan. Katherine Kepler, the astronomer's mother, spent fourteen months in prison denying such charges. On the other hand, some confessed too readily, and the courts doubted their testimony as well. By the sixteenth century the basic facts of how the Devil looked, what he promised, the fact of intercourse, the power of his charms and potions, had become common knowledge in the small village communities. The inquisitors and judges believed that women might say anything. In the past men would have used the ritual of the ordeal to determine of rituals

the truth of the accused's confession, the innocence or guilt of the

They would have was

left

a different age, a

it

to

new

God era.

to

mark her

The

woman.

or leave her unmarked. But this

learned no longer called for what they

considered divine intervention as in the ordeal. Instead careful procedures of

law and scientific evidence had evolved. But this was an age of law not yet just,

when

men

believed in astrology and alchemy.

judges ordered torture, of science not yet scientific,

As

when

a result, the courts,

learned

whether run

by churchmen or laymen, became places of extraordinary contradictions with the rational and the irrational jumbled together.

On

the one hand, the Catholic courts of the Inquisition and the Protes-

As Sprenger and Kramer had explained in the Malleus Maleficarum "the accused shall as far as possible be given the benefit of every doubt. '"^^ The accused might have an advocate, a defense lawyer. There were printed indictment forms listing the accusatant secular courts followed strict rules of procedure.

tions,

with blanks

left for

the

name

of the accused

and the date of the

there were set questions to be used before and after torture.

allowed appeal to a higher court.

On

Some

trial;

regions

the other hand, Sprenger also believed

had heard voices screaming obscenities, seen animals like monkeys, dogs, and goats at the windows, all during the trials he conducted in northern Germany. He and Kramer warned prosecutors not to let the witch touch them, told them that they "must always carry about them some salt consecrated on Palm Sunday and some Blessed Herbs" to be "worn around the neck. '"7^ A French judge, Nicolas Remy, believed that the witches put poison on their hands and then grabbed the clothes of the presiding officer as if that he

asking his mercy. ^^

Most contradictory the

name

of law

and

of

all

were the kinds of corroboration demanded

science. In fact,

it

in

was not so much corroboration of

WOMEN

170

OF THE FIELDS

charges that was sought as elaboration on them, transformation of simple accusations of harmful deeds into detailed accounts of heretical practices. Just as the authorities

had

initiated the search for the witches, so they

now by

their

intervention assured admissions of heresy and thus the deaths of the accused.

According to the Malleus Maleficarum, the best evidence of confession, for

"common

justice

demands

all

was a

that a witch should not be con-

is convicted by her own confession. "^^ But how power of the Devil be made to confess? The learned believed that torture would free her from the Devil's power. Marie Lanechin of Bazeul, in the Cambresis region of Namur, confessed to relations with the Devil once she had been sent to a higher court and tortured. Commonly in both Catholic and Protestant religious and secular courts, judges ordered use of the strapado, hands tied behind the back, the rope thrown over a beam and pulled so that the accused hung just off the floor, the arms in the air,

demned

to death unless she

woman

can a

in the



at the least the shoulders dislocated.

law of the Holy times

it

Roman

Courts that followed the Carolina (the

Empire), or the Inquisition, regulated

could be inflicted



in

how many

the Jura, for instance, on three occasions on

three separate days. In Offenberg in 1627 the court used a metal spiked chair that could be heated from underneath. kins, used neither rack

letting

them

The

English judge,

nor strapado, instead he broke the

Matthew Hop-

women by

not

sleep for hours or for days.^^

and secular authorities asked the woman under torture a most requiring only a "y^s" or "no" answer. Drawing on men's pornographic fantasies, they reveal the hysterical and fantastic world of the witch hunters: What is the devil made of when he is having intercourse? Can you see him? What is the source of his semen? Is there a time he favors for the act? Does he choose special women? Was the sex act more

The

religious

series of questions,

or less pleasurable with him?^^

Many women

answered

as their questioners

wished, repeating after their ordeal information about initiation ceremonies, confessing to fornication with the Devil, with animals, with imaginary beasts,

speaking of dead infants, toads in fancy clothes, desecration of the host, transformation, salves

made

of excrement, flying,

all

the mythology of the

heresy. ^"^

Jeanette Clerc, tortured and executed in 1539, gave her all

they could hope

for: a devil

named Simon with whom

Geneva judges

she rode on a stick

to the "synagogue"; unnatural sex, icy cold semen, and a mark from his bite on her face; fancy food of white bread, apples, and white wine at the Sabbath, and meetings on Thursdays and Fridays. They had found Jeanette Clerc

because her neighbor's cow had died.^^ j^ 1587 Walpurga Hausmannin, the

midwife of Dillingen, "having been accused justly,

persistently, uniformly

has been interrogated gently and under torture and has

now

and

confessed

The

Extraordinary

171

her witchery."^^ She said that her association with the Devil began with

own house. It had frightened her when she had seen wooden hand, but he promised to help her, gave her salves against her enemies, and marked her as one of his own under her left arm. In return she killed babies for him, just at birth before baptism when the holy water did not yet protect them (43 1 infant deaths were attributed sexual intercourse in her

his goatlike foot

and

his

to her).

She rode on

homage

to a Devil enthroned,

a pitchfork to the

Sabbath celebration, where she paid

rituals mocking the host, copulated, and gorged on roast pig and babies. The Devil had slapped her when she ^'^ mentioned Jesus. Sometimes the torture did not have the desired effect. A woman like Suzanne Gaudry, questioned in Rieux in 1652, initially described meeting

watched

Satan, his skin like hide, wearing black breeches and a "flat hat." She admit-

ted they had been lovers for twenty-five to twenty-six years. But without the

prompting of the questions like those composed by Sprenger and Kramer, she had little to say of the Sabbath; she spoke of a "guitarist," "some whistlers," and she would admit to no maleficia (acts harming others or their posses-

On

sions).

the third day she said she had killed Philippe Cornie's horse, but

later explained that she

had offered

this

maleficium because she

felt

she must

say something. Stretched on the rack, she denied everything; tortured again,

she refused to speak at

all.

In such a situation, the authorities looked to other kinds of evidence to

Each court had its favored "scientific" "swimming" might prove the the water had rejected her. In Denmark, they

corroborate their assumptions of

guilt.

proof of the pact with the Devil. In England

woman

a witch. If she floated,

tied her before

throwing her

in a Scottish court,

many,

If

she faltered in saying the Lord's Prayer

France, in England and Scotland,

in

woman

in.

she showed herself to be in the Devil's power. In Gerofficials

stripped and shaved the

looking for the "Devil's mark," the spot he had touched after their

when pricked with a needle. The make the test, first on her breasts and found such a mark on Suzanne Gaudry, that and

intercourse that neither bled nor pained village barber genitals.

surgeon was called

The French

judges

in to

the fact that she did not cry proved her an agent of Satan. English courts also

looked for suspicious lumps, believed to be the nipple for the witch's familiar to suck.^^

the 500s some Europe — southwest Germany, No one —the accusations and the hunting were out

By the end for

example

of

who was

1

in

regions of

of control.

and who was not. In Rottenburg in 1602 even the chief prosecutor, Hans Georg Hallmayer, had confessed and had to be executed. The only way to end the random victimization seemed to be to end the whole process. And just as the learned and powerful had begun the panic, could say

a witch

WOMEN

172

SO they

ended

it.

OF THE FIELDS

In southwestern

Germany,

in France, in

Belgium, in the

new

Netherlands, beginning as early as 1613, authorities refused to hear accusations,

made

the rules of evidence

stricter,

stopped using torture, did not

on appeal, and set fines for false had given the power and sown fear of those who held it, so now they began to deny it and to discredit those who claimed it. All still observed the strange behavior of the village wisewomen, but instead of calling them heretics united with the Devil, they began to describe them as "possessed," unwilling souls in need of exorcism and prayer, not execution. Others called the women deluded. ^^ By the 1730s in England, to claim one could use magic constituted "fraud." Events in Spain from 1611 to 1613 heralded the changes in attitude and approach that would come for the rest of Europe in the course of the seventeenth century. In 1611, given a Year of Grace, an opportunity to confess without punishment, over 1,800 people of the Logrono region in Spain (most of them children, ages seven to fourteen) admitted to making carry out executions, reversed sentences

accusations. Just as they

people

sick, to

changing form, to ruining crops. ^° With so many confessions

the authorities called for a special inquisitor to examine this outbreak of heresy.

From May 1611

to January 1612

Alonso de Salazar y Frias traveled

who had conBy October 1613 he had rejected most of the testimony. He wrote: "Indeed, these claims go beyond all human reason and many even pass the limits permitted the Devil. ""^^ His report published in 1614 by the Supreme Tribunal of the Spanish Inquisition concluded, "I have come to believe, and shall continue to do so, that none of the acts which have been attested in this case, really or physically occurred at all."^^ Nothing had happened, so none were guilty: The 1,384 children were absolved; of those fourteen and the countryside and questioned and cross-questioned those fessed.

over,

290 people were reconciled, forty-one confessed witches received absoback their confessions.^'

lution, eighty-one others took

In a time of political, economic,

Europe's

elite

had turned

and

extirpation of an imagined conspiracy of the Devil. tions

The

remain the most hideous example of misogyny

Erupting so suddenly

and the

in

in

witchcraft persecu-

European

history.

the mid-sixteenth century, the persecutions declined

fear died equally dramatically in the mid-seventeenth century.

the religious and secular authorities

honored and that had inspired the

came

new

and killing. By the and powerful looked to new kinds of

explanations for their universe,

scientific place, a place

Both had

to scorn the very beliefs they

hysterical accusations

early eighteenth century, the learned

order, to

men of women and the

religious uncertainty,

for security to the persecution of

now transformed

into a rational,

without need of religion or magic.

But while the learned and the powerful stopped

their persecutions

and

The

moved on

to a

new

Extraordinary

world, one without magic, the

173

women and

the

men

of

the villages did not abandon the supernatural so readily. There was no heresy,

women and men went back to the no one had proved to them that the world was not filled with the irrational, or that the cunning folk had lost their power. Into the twentieth century countrywomen and men continued to rely on the traditional rituals, the combinations of the old religions and Christianity, to guarantee white magic for their families and their property. ^"^ In eighteenth-century Serbia, peasant women and men thought of the plague as an old woman and had special rites to make her leave the village alone. but

left to

themselves once again, peasant

old beliefs in magic and the spirits, for

In nineteenth-century Russia,

when

the cattle sickened, the

men

enclosed the

went into hiding while the women went out into the fields at midnight and screamed abuse to drive death away. (The oldest woman in the community was tied to the plow and made a furrow three times around the village as another part of the ritual.) In 1910 in Sicily a woman would not comb her hair on Friday for fear it would mean a curse. ''^ Into the twentieth century Englishwomen believed that saving hot cross buns from one Good Friday to the next would keep away whooping cough. Irish families in Lough in County herds,

Clare this

or

in

the 1930s

was the

it

left

the west side of the land free of outbuildings, because

fairies' side.

Men could

not go near butter as

it

was being churned

"won't come."^^

Throughout Europe old women were still thought to have mysterious ties They might be midwives. They might have the power of the evil eye. To ward it off, a peasant woman in Greece in the 1950s wrapped her new baby with a special blue bead on a band around its waist, ritually crossed the child, and spat three times when she swaddled it.^"^ Many of these old beliefs, these old ways of the peasant woman's world remained intact even as so much else changed with the economic, social, and political transformation of Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. to the supernatural.

4

WHAT REMAINS OF THE PEASANT WOMAN'S WORLD

Industrialization and urbanization transformed the economic,

political,

and twentieth-century Europe. Familiar institutions and ways disappeared as governments and social service agencies assumed powers and resources unimaginable in earlier centuries. Peasant women and men learned new relationships to the land, new methods of and

cultural patterns of nineteenth-

cultivation. After

World War

the basic routines of their traditional attitudes

II,

lives.

and patterns

modernization and

Yet

its

technology altered

for all of the transformation,

many

prevailed, proving resistant to even such

powerful forces for change.

At the beginning of the 1980s in Italy, France, the Soviet Union, and of Eastern Europe and the Balkans large percentages of the population still worked in agriculture. Women comprised more than fifty percent of the rural population in parts of Eastern Europe.^ Despite peasant women's contribution to the economy as a whole and to the agricultural sector in particular, the old patterns of devaluing and designating their work had not changed. Many tasks, such as care of the household and children, continued to be unpaid labor, not even valued enough to be counted in national economic statistics of goods and services. Such tasks remained part of women's tradiof work in the home as a wife and mother and tional "double burden"

much



outside as a

wage

earner. ^

as in centuries past,

When

paid wages for their work, peasant

continued to earn one half to three quarters

as

women, much as

men Another ancient

tradition regarding

countrywomen's work proved equally

comparison with countrymen, Europe's rural women performed the least skilled tasks, and had less access to mechanization

resistant to change. In still

and the technological education needed to make use of magazine for peasant women, Krest'yanka, published grower's account of her work:

it.

a

In 1980 the Soviet

woman

sugar beet

^

What Remains

of the Peasant

Woman's World

Altogether up to 400,000 seedlings are pulled up from each hectare.

175

And you

have to bend over every one of them, have a long look at some of them; you don't choose immediately as if one were as good as another. And from the very first the weeds have to be pulled up. Your back aches and your what it's like, farming the crop."*

feet

grow heavy. That's

In addition, as Soviet Premier Khrushchev explained to a conference of

farmers

in

1961, "It turns out that

it

is

and the women who do the work."^ As 1.5

the

men who do the administering 1975 women represented only

late as

percent of the administrative personnel on collective farms.^ Recent

like using two shifts of women workers at harvest instead of demanding twelve or more hours of labor from one shift, have eased peasant women's lives. Even so, they remained disadvantaged members of the Soviet economy. This inequity was not unique to the Soviet Union and continued to exist in the rest of Europe as well. The expansion of the role of government and the services it provided, which evolved in the twentieth century, changed some of the ways in which

improvements,

countrywomen 1960s

in

dealt with their

southern Italy and

own and

in Sicily,

their families' basic needs. In the

peasant

women

learned to use the

bureaucracy to generate benefits as they had once used private and religious charity.

They procured health insurance for a son's operation, a housing new apartment. Still, when rural women needed extra sources

subsidy for a

of income, they Italian peasant

depended on the same kinds

women baked

wood, and cleaned

women The

of tasks as they always had.

bread, raised, slaughtered, and cured pigs, cut

for the signora,

the wife of the local landlord. Russian

sold the produce of their household gardens. '^

advantages of modernization, the amenities that improved the qual-

ity of a family's

slowly than to

comforts,

women

came

to the

women

in

the countryside but

more

living in the cities of the twentieth century. In the

post-World War II apartments of southern Italian villages, peasant women had a gas burner, but with only two rings, running water but only for two hours a day. Studies done in France in the mid-1960s showed that changes that had become standard in the cities were still rarities in the countryside: 84 percent of peasant homes had no indoor toilet, compared to 48 percent of urban homes; 42 percent had no running water, compared to 1 2 percent of urban homes; 17 percent of peasant homes had a vacuum cleaner compared to 35 percent of the urban homes; 16 percent had a television

compared

to 27 percent in the cities.^

By the 1980s

in

set,

the Soviet Union, nine

out of ten rural households had electricity, half had natural gas for cooking. In the mid-1970s, however, only one third of the country families had run-

ning water, central heating, or access to sanitation mains.

Though by 1980

the vast majority of Europe's rural

women had

all

of the

WOMEN

176

OF THE FIELDS

advantages and services of modern health care for themselves and their families, in logical

some circumstances they

medical

through the

last stages of

new techno-

women went

labor together, on "thrones" arranged in a circle

around the delivery room. Their their backs

the impersonality of the

felt

In the southern Italian towns, peasant

facilities.

legs in leather slings, their

propped up, vaginas uncovered, the

home

the white towel they had brought from

women

in their

abdomens draped,

of Torregreca shoved

mouths,

bit hard,

and

Where before and comfort, now each

prayed that they would not disgrace themselves by crying out. her friends and family had been there to encourage

woman

looked away so that she would not see or be seen.

When

hard times came

in

the modern age, peasant

women

continued to

take solace in their faith and to accept responsibility for their family's

European men stopped going

gious well-being.

women. 10

to

reli-

church long before

In Spain, early twentieth-century Santander was no different from

New

sixteenth-century

Castile with

its

yearly processions of

women, men,

and churchmen carrying the image of the local saint to the church and then to the shrine. But after 1940 in Santander, the men no longer went up the mountain to the shrine. They left it to the wives while they waited halfway up the path. A shopkeeper's widow explained the women's point of children,

view: "Praying

Even with

an obligation,

a job,

is

all

like

washing the

women's contributions

of peasant

society, traditional attitudes denigrating the female lives adversely.

dishes. "^^

to their families

and

their

continued to affect their

Declarations of women's equality in constitutions and laws did

not end misogyny. In the 1970s a Sicilian

woman

explained:

not equal to the man. Among the young perhaps there is a between adults. The woman always feels herself inferior. You're not emancipated just by work. The man continues to treat the woman

Here the woman

is

dialogue, but not .

.

.

like

an animal, capable of working, but not of thinking. ^^

Neither the states nor the churches of the twentieth century have encour-

aged peasant

The

women

to

oppose such attitudes or to seek

less traditional roles.

national report of the Austrian government to the United Nations in

1980 gave the goals of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The ministry described peasant

women

in traditional terms: within the family, married,

By its efforts the Austrian government hoped "to enrich the personality of farmers' wives" (not of farm women). They hoped to make the "wives" better able to serve in their traditional defined by their relation to men.

capacities.

The

these attitudes

plained

why

sermon, but

teacher in a southern Italian village of the 1950s expressed

much

the it

girls

had in earlier centuries. She exbook about the Madonna: "It wasn't a these girls. After all, why do they need to read

as her counterparts

had only

was right

for

a

What Remains

Woman's World

of the Peasant

177

What they need to know is how they are supposed to act.''^^ and write? Throughout the twentieth century, as in previous ages, countrywomen have always been the last to learn to read. The 1938 League of Nations .

.

.

Yearbook gave percentages of

men;

to 32.7 percent

women

Yugoslavia 57.1 percent

illiterates: in

in Bulgaria

43.3 percent

women,

men;

19.5 percent

in

women, 17.8 percent men; in France 4.2 percent women, 3.4 percent men.^"* Vuka from a village in Serbia in the 1930s remembered how excited she had been after her brother had taught her to read. Her Italy 25.2

mother

percent

her to work and then "I would take a book on

left

blind, not looking at the knitting but reading under it."^'

the love stories of

women I

What Vuka wanted

was

everything.

lap

and knit were

favorites

betrayed. Betrayal in love led her to think of other

kinds of betrayal: "I was sorry for those unfortunate myself, too, because

my

Her

felt

unhappy

to

"have

since

I

girls.

I

was sorry

could not do what

a school education

I

for

wanted."

and learn and know

"1^

would have

to

By the 1920s peasant women began

to

In the twentieth century, to have such opportunity a leave the land

and go

to the cities.

girl

The trend continued after World War II. Parents sometimes encouraged their daughters to seek new kinds of employment away from the farms, like these Soviet parents interleave the countryside in massive numbers. ^'^

viewed Her

in

the 1980s:

father

and

I

have spent our whole

lives in

muck and

filth, let

Zina do some

other work. There's nothing for her to do in the country. ... [In the

can

an

sit in

Into the

last

office,

she can learn bookkeeping by

all

decades of the twentieth century those peasant

remained on the land drew on traditional strengths to their difficulties. in their lives,

Countrywomen

across

she

city]

means. ^^

women who

to reconcile themselves

Europe continued

however circumscribed, and to take pride

to find pleasure

Many Some rural tasks with new

in their tasks.

passed these values on to their daughters and granddaughters.

women

of the twentieth century invested the traditional

importance. Asked her "profession" in the 1960s, a young French peasant

woman

responded proudly,

when asked

''Cultivatrice. "

the same question. ^"^

Some

which husbands and fathers asserted

woman

from

looked at the

their

a village in the south of

men

free to

meet

in

Her mother had answered "none"

rural

women

laughed at the ways

supposed superiority.

France

sat

An

in

elderly

with her neighbors and

the public square. She, a female, as in the

home. The old woman turned the customary restriction into "Up there," she explained, "it's windy and chilly, not as comfortable as on my own front stoop." Her neighbors nodded agreement. ^o Anna Cecchi from an Umbrian village of northern Italy, born in 1913, past, stayed at a

welcome

choice.

WOMEN

178

OF THE FIELDS

had been an orphan since the age of six months. Her grandmother raised her and made the linens for her dowry: sheets, towels, and twelve nightgowns. By the 1980s everything was gone, all but one nightgown which somehow had been spared and kept. This the peasant woman showed to her own granddaughter. Both admired the soft hand-woven cloth, the embroidered pink flowers, the delicate initial on the bodice, and the edges scalloped in lace. 2^ The garment represented the peasant woman's legacy of the beautiful and the

practical, the heritage of painstaking labor.

The French woman's answer women's ter

government questionnaire, the old

to a

laughter, the Italian grandmother's

moment

with her granddaugh-

exemplify the special qualities and strengths that have characterized

Europe's peasant

and custom, the

women

through the centuries. Pride

ability to give value to the

the necessary tasks of

life,

these sustained

In addition, with these qualities

and

most basic

them

in

occupation, in place

realities

in every

and

to

enhance

kind of circumstance.

strengths, Europe's peasant

sustained generation after generation of country families.

women

II

WOMEN

OF THE CHURCHES

THE POWER OF THE FAITHFUL

THE PATTERNS OF POWER AND LIMITATION: THE TENTH TO THE

SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES

The peasant woman's

faith

in

the Church, in the saints, in the power of

the priest, gave her solace and a sense of control over the unpredictable nature of her experiences.

Most Christian women and men, whatever

their estate

and followed this simple path of transgression acknowledged, forgiveness granted, and faith rewarded. Rituals marked their passage from birth and baptism to final in

European

society, held this simple faith in

communion and

goodness and

sin,

the ultimate promise of "life everlasting" in the Christian

heaven. But there were other levels of piety, other levels of religious experience.

European women inherited from the early centuries of Christianity tradiwould enable them to claim much more. In the first three centuries of the Christian era, by her religious enthusiasm, a woman, even more than a man, could break the rules of her society. She could overcome what the ancient Greek, Roman, and Hebrew cultures had decreed as the innate flaws tions that

and

disabilities of

early

Church,

her body and nature. Under the protective mantle of the

women had

the possibility of roles and functions different from

those usually designated for them.

They could by

their faith claim a life

outside the family and marriage.

The

centuries of Christianity had preached "the equality of all making women through their faith equal in potential to men, the eyes of God, powerful by divine authority. Equal and empowered, first

believers,"

equal in a

woman

could reject her traditional function of childbearer, her

life

defined

and mother. In the world of the Church, there was no separate female or male role; instead, both sexes defined their in relation to

men

lives in relation to first

as daughter, wife,

God,

a tie that superseded obligations to

centuries of Christianity, zealous

women

all

others. In the

— Mary Magdalen,

Prisca, Saint

Perpetua, Saint Paula, Saint Melania the Younger, Empress Pulcheria

—had

performed many traditionally male functions. They had preached, studied

WOMEN

182

OF THE CHURCHES

Scripture, prophesied, converted others,

Twice

in

European

and died

the

in

history in the centuries after 800,

name

of the faith.

women would again

have these opportunities. In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries and again in the sixteenth

and seventeenth centuries,

"the equality of

all

the exhilaration of

and func-

name of the

revitalized

and embrace forbidden

tion,

women knew

believers," could forget distinctions of nature

and

roles

activities in the

Christian faith. In the religious enthusiasm of the twelfth-century Renais-

sance and of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation,

became

and

rebels

which had motivated the believers and

that

They

protested, they fought

they reformed the old.

For some,

God

But

just as

again

They

and died

proselytizers of the early

as martyrs.

Church.

They founded new

orders,

studied, they preached, they converted others.

spoke through their visions and thus gave them the authority

and

to criticize

women

zealots, seizing opportunities with a fervor as intense as

to prophesy.

the traditions inherited from the early

Church gave legitimacy

and unorthodoxy in the name of faith, so its inherited traditions took it away. The power granted by "the equality of all believers" had come to be limited and circumscribed in the early Church, and so it would be again by the end of the thirteenth century, by the end of the seventeenth century. In each age redefinitions of belief and newly formalized institutions monopolized all access to religious authority in the hands of a male hierarchy. Armed with new dogmas, the ecclesiastics of all Christian sects contained and controlled the faithful of both sexes. Those who did not conform found themto rebellion

selves cast out as heretics

and schismatics.

In these successive ages of definition and conformity, most

women and

in

of special piety accepted the limitations.

They gathered

European convents

in

congregations under the auspices of the male leaders of their churches.

They accepted the religious roles of prayer and charitable works left open to them. Most did not realize that with each cycle of enthusiasm and redefinition, the limits

could

still

had tightened, the range of

justify

an alternative

life

was not what their

activities

had contracted.

Women

outside marriage with their Christian

and ministers praised. Instead, the had etched the disabling and denigrating images of the female's nature and biological function more finely images which reestablished female subordination, not equality, as the ideal. By inference for Catholic women, by direct commandment for Protestants, their Church leaders had glorified the Christian family, a world dominated and demarcated by male authority. By the end of the seventeenth century the preferred life offered to even the most pious and devout of European women lay within this narrow sphere, a life of service to the new hero of society: the faith,

male

but

this

priests

ecclesiastics of the later centuries



husband, father, provider

—the

patriarch.

^

2

AUTHORITY WITHIN THE INSTITUTIONAL CHURCH

The Great Abbesses and Learned Holy Communities By the tic

sixth

and seventh centuries, the creation

and monas-

of bishoprics

orders and the definition of Scripture and holy customs by the authority

and Church councils had contained and controlled the enthusiasm Church. Within this new institutional faith, European women could still make a life outside marriage and the family. The Christian Church offered the religious life: membership in communities of women and men

of popes

of the early

pledged to obedience, to poverty and chastity. Within these monasteries, convents, abbeys, and priories, individuals of faith and intelligence could exercise their intellectual

and

spiritual capacities to the full.

mother, a daughter, a woman,

No longer a wife,

man, could dedicate herself to study and to prayer. Though not equal in nature or power to a monk, a nun could nonetheless share equal access to divine favor, to knowledge, and to spiritual a

like a

authority on earth.

The

cloistered life of the

centuries of the Church, together, adopting a

monastery and convent evolved from the

when

common

lay

women and men had grouped

rule to live

and pray

by.

These

earliest

themselves

rules of the

became formalized and the future of the group assured by the endowment of lands for them to live from. Between the seventh and twelfth centuries, royal and noble women, the daughters and fourth, fifth,

and

sixth centuries

wives of the propertied, founded such groups, often joining the monastery or

convent themselves and presiding

From

as abbess.

the seventh to the tenth centuries, privileged foundresses and

abbesses could assume powers usually reserved to bishops, abbots, and the

Many of these communities consisted of adjacent foundawomen and men, which historians have called "double monasteWomen often ruled these communities. As abbess such a woman

ordained clergy. tions for ries."^

— WOMEN

184

exercised both religious

name

and

OF THE CHURCHES

secular power. Because of the lands held in the

of the order, she was responsible for fulfilling the feudal obligations of

and responsible for the administration of the manors and fields upon which the maintenance of the pious group depended. She also supervised the religious life of those living on the monastery lands, the collection of tithes, a vassal

and the choice of the the religious

life

village clergy.

of the

As abbess she assumed

In the exercise of these powers, their

responsibility for

nuns and monks of her order.

some women acted no

differently

from

male contem.poraries. In the mid-seventh century Saint Salaberga of

Laon

in

France founded seven churches and took responsibility

for

300

Her contemporary Saint Fara (consecrated as a child by the Irish missionary Saint Columban) founded a joint community at Brie in the north

nuns. 2

of France, ruled as abbess,

and assumed

and episcopal powers, hearing abbess of Jouarre in France wear insignia usually reserved to

priestly

confessions and excommunicating members.

obtained a papal dispensation in order to

The

bishops. Into the twelfth century at the Spanish abbey of Las Huelgas, the

nuns appointed

their

own

confessors.

Sanchia Garcia blessed the novices

As

late as

like a priest

1230 the abbess Dona and presided at chapter

meetings for the twelve other monasteries under her authority.^ Benefactors and ecclesiastics expected that the principal duty and activity of the holy

women would be

supporters and themselves.

prayer: prayer to exculpate the sins of their

Men

in religious orders, monks, could also preach and administer the sacraments when they had been ordained as priests;

without ordination, women,

in theory, could only pray.

Into the twelfth

century, however, the powerful female leaders of these holy communities

whether monasteries,

joint

communities, or convents for

women

alone

defined the lives and functions of their nuns more broadly. Prayer, yes, but also education. Literacy in these early centuries

Latin,

and

this

tant Latin texts of antiquity shire,

and the

early

England, had become known as

efforts of

meant the

a

Church. By 694 Repton

Abbess Aelfthrith. By the eighth century Chelles

nobility sent their daughters to

in

Derby-

center for education through the

achieved a similar reputation. In ninth-century Saxony

From

ability to read

they wanted for their charges, the ability to study the impor-

in

France had Germany, the in

Quedlinberg or Gandersheim to be educated.

the seventh to the eleventh centuries, male leaders of the Church

encouraged

this learning. Saint

Columban and

the other missionaries of the

seventh-century Irish Church emphasized education as they traveled through

England, France, and Germany. Contemporary theologians

on

virginity extolled the value of reading the Bible

some asserted that through such a "masculine" educabecome literally more "virile," more like a man, and thus

In the ninth century tion a

woman

more

holy."^

could

in their treatises

and the Church Fathers.

Authority Within the Institutional Church

Under the

185

direction of abbesses of particular energy

and

intelligence,

endowed

these religious centers were unique, the equivalent of small

universi-

Saint Hilda (616-680), the grandniece of the seventh-century English

ties.

one and supervised two other monasteShe made Whitby, a settlement of female and male anchorites, into a center of learning. Encouraged and advised by Saint Aidan, the bishop of Lindisfarne, she set the regular schedule of prayers and king,

Edwin

ries in

of Northumbria, founded

the course of her

life.

holy days and then turned her attention to the education of her charges. Five of her

community became

bility for supervision of

When a reeve (the layman given responsi-

bishops.

one of the monastic

estates)

brought to her Caedmon,

on the manor, she recognized the beauty of his verses. Through her encouragement he joined the order and turned to holy subjects for his poetry. Women from other English monasteries and convents from Wimborne a servant

in

—went with

Dorset, for example



missionaries to the Continent

and stayed

communities and centers of learning established there. Lioba (d. 782) went to join Saint Boniface on his mission to the Saxons. As his particular friend and adviser, she presided over the double monastery of to administer religious

Bischofsheim and supervised the organization of other communities.

from her monastery

left to

become

teachers in establishments

Women

made by

other

male emissaries of the Pope. Because of her learned reputation, other members of the Church hierarchy, and Hildegard, wife of the Emperor Charle-

magne, sought her advice. Lioba's mother had dedicated her to the Church as a child, reasoning that the religious life would give her daughter "freedom." Thus it must have felt for Lioba and other women of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries. For within these protected and sanctified cloisters intellectual disabilities placed

on

opportunities usually reserved for men.

could read the great

texts;

women

could be free of the

their sex. In this regard, they could enjoy

They could use their minds; they own words and thoughts.

they could write their

Lioba's biographer explained that the abbess had been so eager "to attain perfect knowledge of religion" that even as a

little girl

"she never laid aside

her book." In her adulthood, more moderate though no rested after the after sleep. "^

less

midday meal "for she maintained the mind

churchwomen explored the

In each century

is

dedicated, she

keener for study

different literary forms.

biography of the sixth-century abbess. Saint Radegund of Poitiers, emphasizing "womanly" strengths such as her piety, her motherly care of the community, and her ability to keep peace. The seventh-century abbess, Gertrud of Nivelles, journeyed to Rome for books Baudonivia wrote the

official

and enlisted Irish monks to teach. One of her own canonesses wrote her life. (A canoness took partial vows obedience and chastity, but not poverty.) In the eighth century, the abbess of Heidenheim is considered to have begun



WOMEN

186

OF THE CHURCHES

the tradition of English travel books by recording for the bishop of Eichstatt

Near

his recollections of his trip to the

East.

In this sheltered academic environment,

one woman went beyond even

her male contemporaries. Hrotsvit of Gandersheim

known by

a variety of simplifications of her

Roswitha), alone

among

become Otto

I

Founded

a rich,

in

to

all

Europe from the fourth

of

independent nunnery, favored by the Holy

sit

at the

Hroswitha,

i.e.

to the eleventh

the 850s, by the tenth century, Gandersheim had

allowed the abbess her

money and

930-c. 990, popularly

the learned of Saxony, wrote verse, history, and the

only dramas composed in centuries.

(c.

Saxon name,

own

own

court, her

Roman

Emperors.

knights, the right to coin

meetings of the Diet. Hrotsvit entered the monastery

as a child, probably dedicated to the

Church by her noble

family. Rikkardis,

"our learned and kindly teacher" as she called her, taught her Latin; the abbess Gerberga

may have

was familiar with the great

given her Greek. ^ Hrotsvit's works show that she classical

and

religious texts.

(By her time, the tenth

century, a good monastic library would include Virgil, Horace, Lucan, Cicero,

Seneca, Pliny the Elder, Tacitus and the historians of the later years of the

Empire, Ovid, Juvenal, Terence and Plautus, the philosopher Boethius, the

Church

Fathers, Fortunatus, Alcuin, Bede, Isidore of Seville, Legends of the

Saints, the Vulgate, Psalms,

When

and the apocryphal books of the

New

Testa-

came to write, Hrotsvit, like an educated man of her circumstances, composed in Latin: legends of the saints, epics, a poem and her plays. ^ Each demonstrates her inventiveness, her originality with the language, her ability with meter. She created her pen name in the same spirit; it is a word play from Saxon, hroth meaning "sound" and swith "loud" or "strong." Thus she gave herself the title "the strong voice of Gandersheim."^ In her poem she described her flounderings as a novice author working alone: "Sometimes I composed with great effort, again I destroyed what I had poorly written," working on so "that the slight talent given me by Heaven should not lie idle in the dark recesses of the mind and thus be destroyed by the rust ment.)'^

she

.

.

.

of neglect. "^^

Hrotsvit wrote her legends of exemplary saints and her plays to counter

women that she found in the secular and She consciously chose to borrow her plots from the "pagan" playwright Terence, and enjoyed the irony of transforming his stories of deflowered maidens and prostitutes, tales of "the shameless acts of licentious women," into dramas showing "the laudable chastity of Christian virgins." She demonstrated over and over again the victory of the "fragile the images of weak corruptible religious literature.

woman"

over the "strong

man

.

.

.

routed with confusion. "^^

Hrotsvit shared her plays with a few churchmen,

her

efforts,

who encouraged

her in

but they were primarily meant for the nuns and canonesses to read

ir,hiftpar*^JKifi1iiirmac\tf4,„Amt.jaMmm't

1.

The nuns

of the convent of the learned abbess

Herrad of Landsberg, portrayed Hortus Deliciarum c. 1160.

in

her manuscript,

llllMliill,

tin

/''"S ))bnibuRTitjes, in Bndenthal and Koonz, eds

42- Cited in Deen, p

45

Cited

m

\'ol

I,

no 4 (Spnng 1974),

,

p 174-

%

gangenheit (Rembek bei in

Row,

169

43. Barbara Beuv-s, Familienleben in Deutschland.

Cited

&

Nooiun. p. 423, note Ta>^d, p 173

41. Cited in George, p

44

297.

Schnucker, "The English Puritans and Pregnancy, Delivery

and Breast-Feeding," History of Childhood Quarterly; p 651 38. Cited in

p.

The History of an Idea (New York; Harper

105.

Publishers, 1954), p 37. Cited

,

Hamburg

Seue

Rovkohlt, 1980),

Deen, p 325 Bainton, France and England, p 88.

Bilder aus der deutschen Ver-

p 224

.

Notes to Pages 264-271 PART 1

III:

Cited

in

The Legacy

6.

Carole Levin,

Tudor England,"

493

of the Protestant Reformation

"Women

the Book of Martyrs as Models of Behavior in

in

International Journal of

Women

s Studies,

vol. 4, no. 2

(March/

April 1981), p. 202. 2.

Cited

3.

Cited

4.

Cited

5.

Cited

M. Williams, "Women

in E.

Modem

History, Vol.

Preachers of the Civil War," The Journal of

4 (December 1929),

in

Manning,

ed., p. 212.

in

Higgins

in

Manning,

ed., pp. 210, 211.

in

Joyce L. Irwin,

Eden

PART

no.

Higgins

in

R. Brink, ed.. real:

I,

IV.

Female

Press

p.

568.

"Anna Maria van Schurman: The

Scholars:

Women's

A

Tradition of Learned

Star of Utrecht," in

Women Before

J.

1800 (Mont-

Publications, 1980), p. 79.

WOMEN OF THE

CASTLES AND MANORS:

CUSTODIANS OF LAND AND LINEAGE

PART

IV:

1.

From

Warrior's

Wife

to

Noblewoman: The Ninth

to the

Seventeenth Centuries 1.

The

use of literature as a source for a historical period

this section literary sources are referred to

more

when

is

always problematic. In

they can be corroborated from

traditional historical sources such as legal or ecclesiastical

documents.

On

the

women's lives and the attitudes they suggest, see Penny Schine Gold, TTze Lady and the Virgin: Image, Attitude, and Experience in Twelfth-Century France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), pp. xvii, 3-4, 12, 20-26, 37-42, 103-104, 148. By the end of the thirteenth century all of the major oral works had been given written form. Of the longer genres, the epic, saga, chanson de geste, and romance all had been part of the entertainment of the castles, stories sung to the chieftains and their thanes, to the feudal lords and their vassals. The following have been most frequently referred to in this chapter: Joan M. Ferrante, trans., Guillaume d'Orange: Four Twelfth-Century Epics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1974); Jessie Crosland, trans., Raoul de Cambrai (London: Chatto & Windus, 1926); C. K. Scott Moncrieff, trans.. The Song of Roland (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1960); W. S. Menvin, trans.. The Poem of the Cid, and Helen M. Mustard, trans.. The Nibelungenlied, in Medieval Epics (New York: The Modern Library, 1963); Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson, trans., Njal's Saga (New York: Penguin Books, 1977); Chretien de Troyes, Arthurian Romances, translated by W. W. Comfort (New York: Dutton, 1978) including Lancelot, Erec et Enide, Cliges; use of the literature of this period as a source for

Gottfried von Strassburg, Tristan and Isolde with the Sun'iving Fragments of the Tristan of

For

Thomas, translated by A. T. Hatto (New York: Penguin Books, 1978).

a general description of the evolution of the different

teristics, see

Geoffrey Brereton,

Penguin Books, 1968), pp.

12ff.

A

forms and their charac-

Short History of French Literature (Baltimore:

NOTES TO PAGES

494 PART 1.

Constants of the Noblewoman's Life

2.

IV:

Raoul,

150.

p.

2.

See NjaVs Saga,

3.

Cited

in Pierre

McNamara 4.

On

112-116

88; Raoul, p. 126.

p.

Riche, Daily Life in the World of Charlemagne, translated by Jo

Ann

(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1978), p. 79.

the origins of the concept of "nobility" by birth, the idea of "lineage," and the

evolution of a clearly defined noble class from the ninth to the twelfth centuries,

Duby, The Chivalrous

see especially Georges

Society, translated

by Cynthia Postan

(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), pp. 76-77, 98, 198, 173-75,

85,

and Maurice Keen, Chivalry (New Haven: Yale University

178-

Press, 1984), pp.

24-26. 5.

6.

See Henry

S.

Bennett, The Pastons and Their England (Cambridge: Cambridge

University Press, 1970),

p.

M. H. Keen, The Laws

of

Toronto

119.

War

Press, 1965), gives

a discussion of

all

in the

Late Middle Ages (Toronto: University of

an excellent description of

this last

kind of warfare. For

the changes in fighting and the ways in which they are reflected

in literature, see R.

Howard

Bloch, Medieval French Literature

and Law

(Berkeley:

University of California Press, 1977). 7.

Ferrante, ed., Guillaume,

8.

Edward Noble Stone, ton Press, 1951),

9.

10.

Lancelot,

p.

p.

trans..

267.

The Song of William

(Seattle: University of

Washing-

51.

302.

p.

See Wolfram

Von Eschenbach, Parzival, translated by Helen M. Mustard and (New York: Vintage Books, 1961), p. 125.

Charles E. Passage 11. Erec, 12.

p. 7.

Erec, p. 68. p. 92.

13. Parzival, 14.

Aucassin and Nicolette

in

Angel Flores,

ed.,

Medieval Age (New York: Dell Publish-

ing Co., Inc., 1963), p. 442. 146.

15.

Tristan,

16.

Eileen Power, Medieval English Nunneries (Cambridge: Cambridge University

p.

Press, 1922), pp. 17.

429-30.

Joseph Dahmus, Seven Medieval Queens: Vignettes of Seven Outstanding

Women

Middle Ages (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1972), p. 130. Lloyd deMause, "The Evolution of Childhood," in Lloyd deMause, ed.. The History

of the 18.

of Childhood 19.

(New

York: Harper

Geoffrey Brereton, ed. and

&

Row,

trans., Froissart

Publishers, 1974), p. 33.

Chronicles

(New

York: Penguin Books

Ltd., 1978), p. 61. 20.

Dorothy Atkinson, "Society and Sexes

in

the Russian Past," in Dorothy Atkinson,

Alexander Dallin and Gail Warshofsky Lapidus, Calif.:

21.

Stanford University Press, 1977),

Women

in

Russia (Stanford,

p. 78, or JoAnn McNamara and Suzanne Wemple, "The Power of Through the Family in Medieval Europe: 500-1100," in Mary Hartman

See Dahmus,

Women and Lois

W. Banner, eds., Clio's Consciousness Raised: New Perspectives Women (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1974), p. 107.

History of 22.

eds.,

p. 20.

Dahmus,

p.

181.

on the

.

Notes to Pages 276-280

Dahmus, p. 287. in Dahmus, p. Cited in Dahmus, p.

495

23. See 24. 25.

Cited

120.

Dahmus, Eleanor West (Ann Arbor: The UniverOdegaard, "The Empress Engelberge,"

137. For these queens, see in addition to

Shipley Duckett, Medieval Portraits from East and

Michigan

sity of

A

Speculum:

Press, 1972), Charles E.

Journal of Medieval Studies, Vol.

XXVI,

no.

1

(January 1951), pp.

77-103, and the survey history by Pauline Stafford, Queens, Concubines, and

Dowagers: The King's Wife

in the

The

Early Middle Ages (Athens, Ga.:

University

of Georgia Press, 1983). 26.

G. N. Garmonsway,

& 27.

Co., Inc., 1962),

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (New York:

trans..

E. P.

Dutton

p. 96.

Wessex and Mercia,

Earlier English queens of for their husbands, also

like

Ine and Cynethyth, had fought

minting their own coins, a symbol of their importance

in

the realm. 28.

See Doris M. Stenton,

Company,

English

TTie

Woman

in

History

(New

York;

The Macmillan

1957), and F. T. Wainwright, "Aethelfled, Lady of the Mercians," in

Scandinavian England: Collected Papers of F.

T

Wainwright, H. P. R. Finberg, ed.

West Sussex; Phillimore and Co., Ltd., 1975), and the most recent work women, Christine Fell, Women in Anglo-Saxon England and the Impact

(Chichester,

on these

of 1066 (Bloomington, Ind.; Indiana University Press, 1984). 29.

Cited

Keen, War,

in

p.

89. See Stenton,

and Marion

sance History,

vol. 5

See Dahmus, pp. 276-327.

3

See Patricia Higgins, "The Reactions of Petitioners," in Brian

in

of

Medieval and Renais-

(1968), pp. 3-48.

30. 1

"A Study

F. Facinger,

Medieval Queenship; Capetian France 987-1237," Studies

Manning,

Women, with

ed.. Politics,

Special Reference to

Women

Religion and the English Civil

(London; Edward Arnold, 1973), and Maurice Ashley, The Stuarts

in

War

Love (New

York; Macmillan, 1964). 32.

Cited

Women

Roland H. Sainton,

in

(Boston; Beacon Press, 1975), 33.

For the

A

women

of the Fronde, see

Feminist Phenomenon

Publishers, 1974),

and G.

in the P.

of the Reformation in France

and England

86.

p.

Dorothy Anne Liot Backer, Precious Women:

Age

of Louis

XIV (New

York; Basic Books, Inc.,

Gooch, Courts and Cabinets (New York; Alfred A.

Knopf, 1946). 34.

See

}.

C. Russell, Late Ancient and Medieval Population (Philadelphia;

can Philosophical Society, 1958),

p. 19;

Market," Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Series No.

(Durham, N.C; Duke University 35.

Margaret

Wade

(Boston: Little,

The Ameri-

and David Herlihy, "The Medieval Marriage 6,

Dale B.

J.

Randall, ed.

Press, 1976), p. 18.

Labarge, Saint Louis: Louis

Brown and Company,

IX Most

Christian King of France

1968), p. 56.

36. Froissart, p. 256. 37. Froissart, p. 257. 38. Froissart, 39.

p.

259.

See Georges Duby, Medieval Marriage: Two Models from Twelfth-Century France, translated by Elborg Forster (Baltimore:

pp. 92,

5.

The Johns Hopkins

University Press, 1978),

NOTES TO PAGES

496

280-282

40. Cited in Johannes j0rgensen, Saint Bridget of Sweden, Vol.

Lund (New York: Longmans Green and Noonan, "Power

41. Cited in John T.

Middle Ages," 42.

Viator, Vol.

to

Co., 1954)

Choose"

4 (1973),

in

I,

translated by Ingeborg

p. 48.

John Leyerle

ed.,

"Marriage

A

For the evolution of Church policy on marriage, see Jean Brissaud, French Private Law (Boston:

Little,

Brown and Company,

A. Brundage, "Concubinage and Marriage in Medieval

Medieval History, Vol. Marriage

in the

Age

I

in

the

247.

p.

(1975), pp. 1-17, and

1912),

History of

p. 99ff.,

and James

Canon Law," foumal

Henry Ansgar

Kelly,

of

Love and

of Chaucer (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1975) pp.

Waterworth, trans.. The Canons and Decrees of the Sacred J. and Oecumenical Council of Trent (New York: Catholic Publication Society Com164-78; see also Rev.

pany, 1848) pp. 196-98. 43.

Germanic groups continued sating

them

England the

bride's parents received a gift

See

for the expenses of her upbringing.

The Viking Achievement (New York: Praeger Dorothy Whitelock,

ed.,

sity Press, 1968), p.

431.

Such was Viking practice

to give a gift to her family.

into the thirteenth century. In

P.

Publishers, 1970) pp. 112-13;

English Historical Documents

(New

Early Eleventh)," in Sylvia L. TTirupp, ed.. Early Medieval Society

45.

Dahmus,

46.

For

p.

in

Century to

(New

York:

p. 27.

113.

a survey description of practice see

Dowry

and

York: Oxford Univer-

44. Cited in Lorraine Lancaster, "Kinship in Anglo-Saxon Society (Seventh

Appleton-Century Crofts, 1967)

compen-

G. Foote and D. M. Wilson,

Mediterranean Europe,"

in

Diane

Owen

Hughes, "From Brideprice to

Marion A. Kaplan,

ed..

The Marriage Bargain:

Women and Dowries in European History (New York: Harrington Park Press, 1985); for more specialized descriptions see Diane Owen Hughes, "Urban Growth and Family Structure pp. 13-14,

in

Medieval Genoa," Past and Present,

and Herlihy, "Medieval Marriage,"

47. See for example.

vol.

66 (February, 1975)

p. 7.

The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages (New

York: E. P. Dutton 48. See Inga Dahlsgard,

&

Co., Inc., 1975)

Women

Danski Selskab, 1980)

p. 23;

in

p.

254.

Denmark: Yesterday and Today (Copenhagan: Det

Atkinson

in

Atkinson et

al., p.

30, note; J.-L. Flandrin,

Families in Former Times: Kinship, Household and Sexuality, translated by Richard

49.

Southern (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979) pp. 130-33. Meg Bogin, The Women Troubadours (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1976)

p.

50.

Cited

in

145.

G. G. Coulton, Medieval Panorama: The English Scene from Conquest

Reformation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1939)

p.

to

644.

51. Froissart, p. 253. 52.

C. H. Talbot, ed. and

trans..

The Life of Christina of Markyate:

Recluse (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959) 53. Talbot, ed., Christina, p. 69.

young men, who

A

Twelfth Century

p. 69.

This kind of marriage proved even more significant for

as early as the ninth

and tenth centuries used

it

as a

means

to rise.

See studies by Duby, Medieval Marriage, pp. 10-12, and Constance B. Bouchard, "The Origins of the French Nobility: A Reassessment," American Historical Review, vol. 86, no. 3

(June 1981), pp. 514-29.

Notes to Pages 282-288 54.

We

See for example, Peter Laslett, The World

497

Have Lost (New York: Charles

Scribner's Sons, 1965) pp. 48-49. 55.

See Pauline Stafford, "Sons and Mothers: Family Politics in

56. 57.

Derek Baker,

ed..

Women

Medieval

in the Early

Middle Ages,"

(Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1978), pp. 96-97.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, pp. 256-57. See Elizabeth A. R. Brown, "Eleanor of Aquitaine: Parent, Queen and Duchess," in

William

W.

Kibler, ed.,

Eleanor of Aquitaine: Patron and Politician (Austin, Tex.:

University of Texas Press, 1976) pp. 17-18; Robert Fawtier, Capetian Kings of France, translated by Lionel Butler (London: Macmillan, 1965),

p.

36; Felipe Fer-

Com-

nandez-Armesto, Ferdinand and Isabella (New York: Taplinger Publishing pany, 1975) pp. 119-23. 58.

For examples of laws from the eleventh to the sixteenth century, see the following:

Ludwig von Bar, A History Brown and Company, 1916), p. 70;

for France, Carl

of Continental Criminal

Little,

for Carolingian

History of Italian Law, translated by Layton B. Register

Law

(Boston:

Law, Carlo Calisse,

(New York: Augustus

A

Kelley,

1969), p. 548; for England, Sir Frederick Pollack and Frederic William Maitland,

The History of English

Law

Before the Time of

Edward

I,

Vol.

II

(London:

Cam-

bridge University Press, 1923), pp. 490-91. 59.

Waterworth, Council of Trent, p. 202. Heath Dillard, "Women in Reconquest

60. See

Cuenca,"

Susan Mosher Stuard,

in

University of Pennsylvania Press, 1976), of the Reconquest:

Women

lin:

eds..

Arlen House, 1978)

Norman

in

Women

p.

Town

The

Fueros of Sepulveda and

Medie^'al Society (Philadelphia: Dillard's recent book.

Society,

Daughters

1100-1300 (New York:

1985).

61. Katharine

Donncha O'Corrain,

in

and

p. 80,

in Castilian

Cambridge University Press, Simms, "Women

Castile:

Women

ed.,

MacCurtain and The Historical Dimension (Dub-

Ireland," in Margaret

in Irish Society:

17.

62. Bennett, pp. 31-32.

and Maitland, Vol.

63. See Pollack

64. Atkinson in Atkinson et 65. Cited in

Marc

al.,

Bloch, Feudal Society, Vol.

University of Chicago Press, 1966) 66.

390.

II, p.

eds., p. 30, note. I,

translated by L. A.

(Chicago:

p. 14, and Duby, Medieval Marriage, pp. lS-19. Duby, Medieval Marriage, p. 87, and Joseph and Francis Gies, Life Castle (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1974), pp. 57-60.

See Facinger,

67. See

68. This ritual 69.

Manyon

227.

p.

Hermann

is

in a

Medieval

the origin of the term "curfew," couvre-feu.

Kellenbenz, "Technology

1700," translated by John Nowell,

in

in

the

Carlo

Age of the Scientific Revolution 500M. Cipollo, ed.. The Fontana Economic 1

History of Europe: The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Glasgow: William Collins Sons 70. Alice

1913) 71. 72.

&

Co., 1976)

Kemp- Welch, Of p.

p.

250.

Six Medieval

Women

(London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd.,

93.

Kemp- Welch, The books are

p. 97.

in fact

in 1265.

73. Gies, Castle, p. 105.

parchment

rolls,

called

membranes, and cover seven months

NOTES TO PAGES

498 74.

For

statistics for

Marriage

the "upper gentry" see Miriam Slater,

an Upper-Gentry Family

in

72 (August 1976),

no.

World

75. Laslett,

289-293

in

"The Weightiest

Business:

17th Century England," Past and Present,

p. 27.

Lost, p. 7.

Mother of Quakerism (New York: Longmans, 1949)

76. See Isabel Ross, Margaret Fell: p. 12.

77. See Christine de Pizan,

translated

Virtues,

The Treasure of the City of Ladies or the Book of the Three

by Sarah Lawson (New York: Penguin Books

Ltd., 1985), pp.

128-29. 78. Cited in

James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin,

Medieval Reader (New York: The Viking 79.

The

descriptions of foods

The Portable

a variety of sources: Riche, Daily Life,

\11-11; Coulton, Panorama,

p.

313; Dorothy Hartley, Lost Country Life

York: Pantheon Books, 1979),

p.

232; Margaret Labarge,

(New

the 13th Century 80.

come from

eds..

Press, 1966) p. 128.

A

Baronial Household in

York: Barnes and Noble, 1966).

Labarge, Baronial Household, pp. 90-93, 96, and Ceorges Duby, Rural

and Country Life

Economy

Medieval West, translated by Cynthia Postan (Columbia,

in the

S.C.: University of

pp.

(New

South Carolina

Press, 1968), p. 227;

Medieval Village (Cambridge: Cambridge University 81. See Cies, Castle, pp. 101, 103,

and G. G. Coulton, The

Press, 1926), p. 114.

and Labarge, Baronial Household, pp. 195, 196. and translated by Marian

82. See Lucien Febvre, Life in Renaissance France, edited

Rothstein (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1977), p.

83.

Labarge, Baronial Household,

84.

Kemp-Welch, p. 99. Kate Campbell Hurd-Mead,

85.

86.

p.

96; Keen, War,

205; Ross, Fell, pp. 264-65.

Times

to the

1938)

p.

Cited

in R.

A

Women

History of

in

Medicine: From the Earliest

Haddam

Press,

Southern, Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages

(New

Beginning of the 19th Century (Haddam, Conn.: The

401.

W.

York: Penguin Books, 1970) 87. See

p. 64.

p.

263.

David Herlihy, "Land, Family and

in Stuard, ed..

Medieval Society,

p. 28;

Women

in

on average

Continental Europe, 701-1200," their donations represented

about

11 or 12 percent of the gifts, see Table 3, p. 31. 88.

Penny

S.

"Women

Gold,

1000-1249: Problems

and Family

Method and

in

in

the Alienation of Property in Anjou,

Interpretation" Appendix,

p. 6,

unpublished

manuscript, April 1979. See also Gold, Lady, pp. 134-40 for a more complete study of donations. 89. Penelope Johnson,

paper delivered at

Mount Holyoke 90.

Kemp-Welch,

"Agnes of Burgundy:

The

A

Notable Medieval Monastic Patron,"

Berkshire Conference on the History of

Women,

held at

College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, August 25, 1978.

p.

102.

91. Cited in Stenton, p. 33. 92.

Dahmus,

93. Cited in

p.

272.

G. E. Mingay, The Gentry: The Rise and Fall of a Ruling Class (New York:

Longman Group,

Ltd., 1976) p. 136.

94.

Notes to Pages 293-299

499

A

Study of Women's Education Press, 1929) pp. 88-89.

Dorothy Gardiner, English Girlhood

at School:

Through Twelve Centuries (Lx)ndon: Oxford University 95. See Michael Jones

Today, 96.

and Malcolm Underwood, "Lady Margaret Beaufort," History

35 (August 1985), pp. 23-30.

vol.

"Survivors and Surrogates: Children and Parents from

Mary Martin McLaughlin,

De Mause,

the Ninth to the Thirteenth Centuries," in p.

ed.. History of

Childhood,

125.

97. Gardiner, p. 126. 98. Keith

Thomas, Religion and

Sons, 1971)

p.

the Decline of

Magic (New York: Charles

Scribner's

28.

99. R. V. Schnucker,

"The English

Puritans and Pregnancy, Delivery and Breastfeed-

I, no. 4 (Spring 1974), p. 643. The Autobiography of Mrs. Alice Thornton of East Newton, Surtees Society, Vol. LXII (Edinburgh: 1873), p. 95.

Childhood Quarterly, Vol.

ing," History of

100. Charles Jackson, ed.,

Co. York,

m

101. Cited

Koss, Fell, p. 351.

102. Cited in Joseph E. Illick, "Child-Rearing in Seventeenth

America,"

in

De Mause,

ed.. History of

Childhood,

Century England and

305.

p.

103. Jackson, ed., Thornton, p. 125. 104. See Ross, Fell; facing p. 343.

PART 1.

IV:

3.

Power and Vulnerability two

For the evolution of "lineage" and family names, see

in particular

Georges Duby

and "Lineage, Nobility and

Chivalry

in

Medieval Marriage, especially

in

the Region of

and Orest Ranum,

Macon

p.

10,

during the Twelfth Century"

in

articles

by

Robert Forster

Family and Society: Selections from the Annales, translated

eds.,

by Elborg Forster and Patricia M. Press, 1976), pp. 19, 26.

Ranum

This change

in

(Baltimore:

naming and

The Johns Hopkins

University

identifying the family

meant

the revival of the narrower lineal, and thus conjugal, definition of family that had prevailed in Greece and 2.

horses.

By the middle

warriors

in

Thrupp,

to

required twenty-five ounces of gold to buy two war

member

of a

spend twenty-six months' wages

company

for his

of

mounted

mount. See Pierre

and Its Economic Activities," Malcolm Vale, War and Chivalry: Warfare England, France and Burgundy at the End of the Middle

"A Family ed.,

it

of the fifteenth century a

would expect

Bonnassie,

3.

Rome.

In eleventh-century Spain

of the Barcelona Countryside

Early Medieval,

p.

121;

and Aristocratic Culture in Ages (Athens, Ga.: The University of Georgia Press, 1981), p. 126. See, for example, Maconnais in southern Burgundy in Duby, Chivalrous

Society, pp.

73-74. 4.

A

few regions did not

Fuero Jusco of Spain

alter their

in

customs

until after the thirteenth century.

the thirteenth century

still

daughters and sons, as did some parts of Germany. For Spain, see

and Lauro Martines, to the Victorians

see Bloch, Vol. 5.

Cited

in

eds..

(New I,

p.

Not

in

God's Image:

York: Harper

& Row,

204.

Duby, Rural Economy,

p.

383.

The

retained equal inheritance for

Women

in History

Julia

O'Faolain

from the Greeks

Publishers, 1973), p. 148; for

Germany

NOTESTOPAGES

500 6.

299-301

Historians suggest that this was also a period of fewer surviving sons. pressures thus contributed to the

limited offspring; there centuries saw

more

is

phenomenon

of female "lords."

Demographic

Noble

families

a naturally greater attrition of infant boys than girls; the

or less continuous fighting, with estimates of losses in the

Crusades, for example, of from 50,000 to 500,000 European men. See Bogin, pp.

34-35, and JoAnn

McNamara and Suzanne F. Wemple, "Sanctity and Power: The Women," in Renate Bridenthal and Claudia Koonz, eds..

Dual Pursuit of Medieval

Becoming Visible: Women in European History (Hopewell, N.J.: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977). For general descriptions of the establishment of the right of inheritance and the ideas of "lineage" and "patrimony" see the following: Bloch,

Vol.

Duby, Rural Economy, and Flandrin. For more

I;

Emmanuel Le Roy

specialized discussions, see

Ladurie, "Family Structures and Inheritance

Customs

in Six-

teenth-Century France," and Joan Thirsk, "The European Debate on Customs of Inheritance, 1500-1700," in Jack

Goody, Joan Thirsk and E. P. Thompson, eds.. in Western Europe 1200-1800 (New York:

Family and Inheritance: Rural Society

Cambridge University

Duby, Family and Society and

1978); for France,

Press,

Chivalrous Society; Robert Hajdu, "Family and Feudal Ties in Poitou 1100-1300" Vol. VIII, no.

in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies,

(Summer

1

1977), pp.

117-39; for England, Sidney Painter, "The Family and the Feudal System

Century England," Speculum,

vol.

35, no.

different patterns in Russia see Atkinson in Atkinson et 7.

Although historians have found examples of as early as the tenth century, there

and twelfth in

in

women

an increase

II, p.

in

al.,

eds., p. 11.

the numbers during the eleventh

27; for France see

Stenton, pp. 5-6; and Lancaster,

England. In Central Europe

lands and used

them not

so

p.

France and of Spain

Duby, Chivalrous

Society,

34 for Anglo-Saxon and Viking examples

in the eleventh

much

12th

exercising feudal authority from

centuries. See, for example, the study of southern

Herlihy in Stuard, ed., Table

p. 109;

is

in

(January 1960), pp. 1-16; for the

1

and twelfth centuries women gained

for their families as to

enhance the power and

influence of the papacy. For example, Matilda, Countess of Tuscany (1046-1115),

became

heir to the family lands

conflict

between the Holy

used her powers on the

on the death of her older brother and

sister.

In the

Roman Emperor Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII, she side of the Church. With Abbot Hugh of Cluny she oversaw

the reconciliation between the Pope and the Emperor in 1077 at Canossa, one of

her

castles.

The

land she granted the Pope became the nucleus of the future Papal

States. In Spain,

Urraca

(c.

1080-1126) reigned

as

queen of Leon and Castile,

inheriting as her father's heir, later ruling for her son; see the biography, Kevin B. Reilly,

The Kingdom of Leon-Castilla Under Queen Urraca 1109-1126 (Princeton:

Princeton University Press, 1982). 8.

For their

lives see

John T. Appleby, Henry

The Vanquished King (New York:

II:

Macmillan Co., 1962); Facinger, Marion Meade, Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Biography

(New 9.

York:

Hawthorn Books,

She had been named

for her

Inc., 1977);

Brown

in Kibler, ed.

mother Aenor; she was "the other Aenor" or "Alia-

Aenor." 10.

11.

On On

this

reasoning of Eleanor's, see Facinger,

p. 8.

Louis' reluctance to consider divorce, see

Meade,

pp. 108-109;

and Steven

Notes to Pages 301-306 Runciman, A History of the Crusades Vol.

II

501

(New York: Harper & Row,

Publishers,

1967), p. 279. 12.

See Meade,

13.

Meade,

14.

The

144.

p.

187.

p.

August 1153 (died 1156); Henry, February 1155;

children: William, born

Matilda, June

September

1

September

56; Richard,

1 1

161; Joanna, October

1

1 1

57; Geoffrey,

165; John,

December

September 1

166. See

1 1

58; Eleanor,

Brown

in Kibler,

ed., p. 16. 15.

Meade,

16.

Cited

in

17.

Cited

in

pp. 280-81.

18.

100,000

19.

From

Dahmus, Dahmus, silver

p.

225.

p.

225.

marks: Meade,

320.

p.

the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries, outside Europe in the Crusader

Kingdoms There

of the eastern Mediterranean, the great

200 years they lived out

for almost

magnates survived and

flourished.

dream: rich

territories

a warrior's feudal

gained by right of conquest, held by right of inheritance, with their kings too

away

power

to contest or curtail their

world,

women

fulfilled

from pawns to

every role from the most powerful to the most vulnerable,

rulers in their

own

right.

For an account of the Crusades and the

kingdoms established see Steven Runciman's three-volume

Volumes

and

II

far

or their authority. In this complete warrior

especially

history,

For more specialized studies of Agnes of Courtney and Meli-

III.

"Women

sende, see Bernard Hamilton,

in the

Crusader

States: the

Queens

of

Jerusalem 1100-1190," in Baker, ed. 20. Alcuin cited in Riche, Daily Life, p. 204.

For praise of Amalaswintha, daughter of

King Theodoric the Ostrogoth, Judith, Queen of the Franks, Adehlheid, Empress to

Otto

Adela, daughter of the

I,

"The Education

Ferrante,

of

Norman William

Women

in

Fantasy," in Patricia H. Labalme, ed.. Beyond Their Sex. Learned

European Past (New York: 21.

Cited

22.

Harksen,

in Sybille

Herzfeld

(New

New York Women in

Women

in the

University Press, 1980). the

Middle Ages,

York: Abner Schram, 1975),

For descriptions of Mahaut's

M.

the Conqueror, see Joan

the Middle Ages in Theory, Fact and

library see

p.

translated by

Marianne

13.

Kemp- Welch,

pp. 85-86; for her books

and

other women's (into the fourteenth century), see Susan Groag Bell, "Medieval

Women

Book Owners: Arbiters

of Lay Piety

4 (Summer 1982), pp. 747-60. no clear evidence of Eleanor's role

and Ambassadors of Culture,"

Signs,

vol. 7, no.

23.

There that

is

Henry

11 's

more

court had

in this cultural

change. Brown suggests

significance than hers as a center. See

Brown

in

Kibler, ed., p. 19. 24.

Brown

25.

See Chretien de Troyes,

26.

For

in Kibler, ed.,

a description of

introduction, p. p.

6.

270.

gowns such

as these see Tristan,

p.

185.

27. Lancelot, p. 291. 28.

Cited

in

Gardiner,

p.

54, note.

29. Gardiner, p. 62. 30. Secular Spirit,

p.

81.

The

ladies of the sixteenth

and seventeenth century created

.

NOTES TO PAGES

502 the

full

range of stitches preserved

and worked on

all

306-312

the embroidery

in

known

as crewel (wool or linen)

varieties of finer cloth for dresses, wall hangings, upholstery,

and

bedclothes. 31.

Bogin,

32.

See Peter Dronke, "The Provencal Trobairitz Castelloza"

p.

13.

Women

Writers (Athens, Ga.:

1984); see also Matilda

Tomaryn Bruckner, "Na

ed.,

Medieval

dour Lyric,"

Romance

also has a very

women

poets of these centuries.

Bogin,

p. 81.

34.

Bogin,

p.

131.

35.

Bogin,

p.

103.

36.

Bogin,

p.

131.

37.

Cited

in

1977), 38.

Peter Dronke, The Medieval Lyric

p.

Cited

in

39. Cited in

in

Katharina

M. Wilson,

University of Georgia Press,

Castelloza, Trobairitz,

and Trouba-

no. 3 (Spring 1985), pp. 239-53. This

good bibliography on the subject of the

volume 33.

XXV,

Notes, Vol.

The

trobairitz

(New York: Cambridge

and other

University Press,

105.

Dronke, Medieval Dronke, Medieval

a (or the) husband's place"

Lyric, p. 105.

Lyric, p. 106; the literal translation of the passage

and could

also

mean, "as

a

husband

to

is

"in

me." The authors

are grateful to Joan Ferrante for bringing this to their attention. 40.

Bogin,

p.

85; see also Keen, Chivalry, p. 21.

41.

Bogin,

p.

155.

42.

Bogin,

p.

43. Cited in 44.

Bogin,

p.

111.

Dronke, Medieval Lyric,

p.

106.

107.

45. Bogin, p. 85. 46. See Flores, ed..

Medieval Age,

p.

185.

47.

Bogin,

p. 95.

48.

Bogin,

p. 95.

49.

Marie de France, Milun,

50.

Robert Manning and Joan Ferrante,

(New

p.

164.

York: E. P. Dutton, 1978),

edition of her

lais

eds.

p. 29;

TTie Purgatory of St. Patrick,

Aesop

52.

Marie de France, Milun,

16.

1

p.

's

in

Fables.

53.

Marie de France, Guigemar,

54.

Marie de France, Milun,

55.

See Lancelot,

56.

Marie de France, Lanval,

p.

108.

57.

Marie de France, Lanval,

p.

121.

58.

Marie de France, Lanval,

p.

120

59.

Marie de France, Lanval,

p.

108.

60.

Marie de France, Lanval,

p.

112.

61.

Marie de France, Eliduc,

p.

204.

62.

Marie de France, Yonec, pp. 141, 142, 143.

p.

trans..

The Lais of Marie de France

gives biographical information, as does Ferrante's article

French Courtly Poet, Marie de France," 5

and

the Ferrante and Manning translation and

p.

p. 30.

170.

330; Tristan, pp. 276-277.

Wilson, ed.

"The

.

Notes

to Pages

63.

Marie de France, Lanval,

64.

Marie de France, Milun,

65.

Marie de France, Equitan,

66.

Marie de France,

Lailstic,

p.

1

67.

Marie de France,

Laiistic,

p.

158.

68.

Marie de France, Eliduc,

69.

Marie de France,

Lailstic,

70.

Marie de France,

Chaitivel, p. 182.

71.

Magnusson and

72.

Ferrante, ed., Guillaume,

p.

312-318

108; see also Yonec;

503

and Guigemar,

p.

45.

176.

p.

p. 60.

57.

226.

p.

pp. 155, 158.

Palsson, Njal, p. 73.

230.

p.

73. Parzival, p. 43.

74.

Tristan, p. 89.

There

no suggestion of eflFeminacy

is

as this description

comes

just

after Tristan has slain a dragon.

75.

Tristan,

p.

110.

76. Lancelot, p. 287. 77.

On

the evolution of the concept of chivalry and

a separate nobility

its

connection to the creation of

based on lineage and a code of behavior, see Keen, Chivalry,

Introduction, Chapter VIII, and Conclusion, especially pp.

2,

42, 143, 145, 160-61.

78. Froissart, p. 67. 79.

The Order

of the Garter in England,

Michael

1469; of the Golden Fleece in 1429; and the Order of the Crescent of

in

c.

1344; of the Star in France in 1351; of

St.

the Dukes of Burgundy in 1448. See Duby, Chivalrous Society, for a description of

the relationship between knighthood, nobility, and heredity, pp. 95-96,

1

58-70, and

Keen, Chivalry, pp. 26, 145-46, 153-60. 80. See Keen, Chivalry, chivalry,

and

for

for descriptions of the evolution of the ethical aspects of

summaries of the principal guides, pp.

2,

4-13. See also Vale, pp.

25-26. 81

Cited

C. T. Allmand,

in

ed.. Society at

War (New

During the Hundred Years

War: The Experience of England and France York: Barnes and Noble, 1973), pp. 26-27.

82. Cited in Painter, p. 145. 83.

Painter, p. 146.

84. Cited in

Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages (Garden City, N.Y.:

Doubleday century,

Ramon

&

men Lull's

Company,

Inc., 1954), p. 75.

From

the late twelfth to the fifteenth

wrote guides and handbooks of behavior, the most popular being

Le Libre

Orde de Cauayleria (written

del

used into the fifteenth); the English Book of

St.

in

the thirteenth century,

Albans gave

levels of gentility

and

the requirements of each. 85. See Keen,

War, pp. 245-47.

86.

Le

87.

Fernandez,

p.

98.

88.

Fernandez,

p.

99; for the analysis of the gradual shift, see Keen, War, pp. 245-47;

fouvengel, cited in Vale, p. 30.

see also Keen, Chivalry,

pp. 238-47. Vale gives an

example from Burgundy, pp.

147-54. 89. Cited in

Regine Pernoud, The Retrial of Joan of Arc, translated by J.M. Cohen (New

York; Harcourt Brace and 90. See

Company,

Duby, Rural Economy,

1955),

pp. 260-61

p.

139.

and Georges Duby, The Early Growth of

.

NOTES TO PAGES

504

318-321

European Economy: Warriors and Peasants from the Seventh

the

Century, translated by

Howard

to the

Twelfth

B. Clarke (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press,

1974), p. 221.

91

See Marc Bloch, French Rural History:

An Essay on

Its

and Henry Kamen, The Iron Century: Social Change York: Praeger Publishers, 1971), 92.

Basic Characteristics, trans-

by Janet Sondheimer (Berkeley: University of California

lated

Margaret

Press, 1966) p. 120,

Europe

1 550-1660

(New

p. 73.

For the most complete description of the changes centuries, see

in

Wood, The

in

the design of houses in these

English Medieval House (London: Phoenix

House, 1965). 93.

Kemp- Welch, p. 107. Thomson, Life

94. Cladys S.

Michigan

of 95.

Harksen,

96.

Labarge, Household,

Noble Household,

1 67 1 -1700

(Ann Arbor: University

16.

p.

97. Joan Evans, ed.,

98.

in a

Press, 1959), p. 383.

p. 35.

The Flowering of the Middle Ages (New York: McCraw-Hill Book

Company, 1966), p. 172. Horace Dewey and Ann Kleimole, eds. and trans., Russian Private Law XIV-XVII Centuries: An Anthology of Documents (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan, 1973), pp. 222-23.

Duby, Family and

99. See

100.

Duby, Family and

101. Bonnassie in

Society, pp. 31-32.

Society,

Thrupp,

pp. 31-32.

ed., p. 121.

102.

Labarge, Saint Louis,

103.

Margaret Fell inherited £3,000 and the manor of Marsh Grange from her father

p.

235.

her marriage portion. Ross, Fell, sixteenth104.

J.

P.

p. 5.

See also Mingay, pp.

1

as

1-12, for examples of

and seventeenth-century bequests to daughters by English gentry

families.

Cooper, "Patterns of Inheritance and Settlement by Great Landowners from

the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries," in

Goody

et

al.,

eds..

Family and

Inheritance, p. 258.

105. This

in the studies done by Diane Owen Hughes. See "BrideMany historians have contributed to the analysis of these shifting

development emerges

price" in Kaplin, ed.

women's access to land. For summary descriptions, see Jack Goody and J. P. Cooper in Goody et al., eds.. Family and Inheritance, and the two articles by Jo Ann McNamara and Suzanne Wemple in Hartman and Banner, eds., and Bridenthal and Koonz, eds. Monographs have been written for regions of France, Italy, Spain, Germany, England, and Russia. Aside from patterns of European inheritance and their effects on

those already cited in the text see the following: for France, Duby, Rural Economy,

Ralph Giesey, "Rules of Inheritance and Strategies of Mobility France," American Historical Review, Italy,

David Herlihy, "Life Expectancies

Rosemarie Thee Morewedge, N.Y.: for

vol. 82, no. 2 (April

SUNY at Binghamton,

Germany,

Century:

A

K. Leyser,

Historical

ed..

for

The Role of

Women Woman

in

in

Pre-Revolutionary

1977), pp. 271-89; for

Medieval Society,"

in the

in

Middle Ages (Albany,

1975); for Spain, Dillard, "Reconquest," in Stuard, ed.;

"The German

Aristocracy from the 9th to the early 12th

and Cultural Sketch," Past and Present, no. 41 (December

1968), pp. 25-53; for Russia, Atkinson in Atkinson et

al.,

eds.

Notes to Pages 321-329

505

106. Secular Spirit, p. 254. 107.

Dewey and

108. Margaret

Kleimole, eds.,

Spufford,

p.

220.

"Peasant Inheritance Customs and Land Distribution

Cambridgeshire from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Centuries," eds.,

Family and Inheritance,

p.

in

Goody

in

et al,

57.

The Origins of English Individualism: The Family, Property and Social Transition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979), p. 134.

109. Alan Macfarlane,

110.

Laharge, Household,

111.

Cooper

112.

Flandrin,

113.

in

Goody

et

13.

p.

eds..

al.,

Family and Inheritance,

and Ferdinand were unlucky with

Isabella

p.

256.

14.

p.

their children: Juan the son died at

nineteen in 1497 and only one daughter's male child survived, Carlos, or Charles,

born to Juana

in 1500.

114. See Fernandez, pp. 14, 83. 115. For the

life

of Isabella, see the joint biography

by Fernandez.

116. Cited in Stenton, p. 20; see also Whitelock, ed.,

Documents, pp. 408, 429.

117. Slater, p. 53.

118. Stenton, p. 38-39. 119.

Duby, Rural Economy,

Zemon

234.

p.

Some Features of Family Modern France," in Alice S. Rossi, Jerome Kagan, and Tamara K. Haveren, eds., TTie Family (New York: W. W. Norton & Company Inc., 1978), p.

120. Cited in Natalie

Davis, "Ghosts, Kin, and Progeny:

Life in Early

108. 121. Cited in Stenton, p. 38.

122. Stenton, p. 36. 123. Cited in Stenton, p. 51. 124. See in

Sue Sheridan Walker,

Medieval England,"

"Widow and Ward: The

Feudal

Law

of Child

Custody

in Stuard, ed.

125. Cies, Castle, p. 77. 126. Walker, in Stuard, ed., p. 160. 127. Cited in Duckett, Portraits, p. 215. 128. Cited in Duckett, Portraits, p. 216. 129. Jackson, ed., Thornton, p. 234.

130.

Much

has been written describing the variations in provisions for widows from the

tenth to the seventeenth centuries. See in particular the following: for the Vikings, L.

M.

Larson, The Earliest Norwegian

1935); for Spain,

Lucy A. Sponslar,

Traditions (Lexington, Ky.:

Simms

in

The

Laws (New

Women

in the

York: Columbia University Press,

Medieval Spanish Epic and Lyric

University Press of Kentucky, 1975); for Ireland,

MacCurtain and O'Corrain,

Medieval Russian Laws (New York:

eds.; for Russia,

W. W.

Norton

&

George Vernadsky,

Company,

trans.,

Inc., 1969); for

England, Mingay; and for France, Brissaud.

Walker

131. Cited in

132.

Walker

in Stuard, ed., p. 171, note.

in Stuard, ed., p.

169, note.

133. See Pearl Hogrefe, "Legal Rights of

Men

and

104-105.

Women," The Sixteenth

Tudor

Women

and

Century Journal, Vol.

their

Ill,

no.

Circumvention by 1

(April 1972), pp.

NOTES TO PAGES

506

329-337

134. Cited in Slater, p. 51. 135.

Leyser,

51.

p.

136. Cited in Labarge, Saint Louis, p. 151. 137. Cited in Jones

139. Cited in

140. Cited in

PART 1.

and Underwood,

Dahmus, Dahmus, Dahmus,

138. Cited in

p. 26.

p. 257. p.

260.

p.

260.

The New Flowering

IV: 4.

See Gold, Lady,

of Ancient Traditions

for discussion of this

"ambivalence,"

in law, religion,

and

literature,

and Joan Ferrante and Ceorge Economou, eds.. In Pursuit of Perfection (Port Washington, N.Y.: Kennikat Press, 1975) for discussions of these aspects of lyrics and romances. pp. 145-52. See Dronke, Medieval Lyric,

2.

CitediwrnKiche, Daily Life, p. 98; Ferrante, ed., Gu///c7ume, p. 149; T^aou/, p. 115; Flamenca cited in G. G. Coulton, Life in the Middle Ages, Vol. Ill (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1930), p. 35.

3.

Nibelungenlied,

4.

Lancelot,

p.

5.

Tristan,

p.

172.

6.

Tristan,

p.

280.

7.

Cited

M.

Joan

in

p.

256.

329.

Ferrante,

Twelfth Century to Dante

book explores

Woman

(New

Image

as

in

Medieval Literature from the

York: Columbia University Press, 1975),

this aspect of the lyrics

195; see also p. 230.

8.

Tristan,

9.

In Provencal, the language of the troubadours of southern France, the

p.

times used to describe the lady was res 55 and

p.

10. Lancelot, 11.



in Latin, literally "thing."

word some-

See Bogin,

p.

55, note. p.

278. See also Keen, Chivalry,

on

this effect of love, pp.

116-17.

R. H. Bloch, pp. 144-45. For examples of the "pain" of love in the lyrics see for

example: Frederick Golden, "The Array of Perspectives Lyric," in Ferrante

and Economou,

Dronke, Medieval

12.

Cited

13.

Tristan,

p.

294.

14.

Tristan,

p.

227.

15.

For a Danish

in

in

Early Courtly Love

73-80.

Lyric, p. 134.

Legends of the North (Boston: Hough-

1951), pp. 146-47.

Ferrante, ed., Guillaume,

17. Erec,

eds., pp.

version, see Olivia E. Coolidge,

Company,

ton Mifflin 16.

p. 68; this

and the romances.

p.

151.

p. 33.

18.

Lancelot,

19.

Tristan,

p.

p.

279.

277.

20. Nibelungenlied, p. 300. 21.

Tristan,

p.

277.

22.

Tristan,

p.

280.

23.

Flores, ed., p. 152.

24.

Cited

in Claire

Richter Sherman, "Taking a Second Look: Observations on the

Iconography of a French Queen, Jeanne de Bourbon (1338-1378),"

in

Norma

Notes to Pages 337-341 Broude and Mary D. Garrard, Litany

(New

York: Harper

&

Feminism and Art

eds.,

Row,

507 History: Questioning the

on the

Publishers, 1982), p. 112. See Facinger,

diminution of the French queen's power, pp. 18-19, 20. 25. Froissart, p. 118. 26. Froissart, p. 109. 27. Froissart, p. 109. 28.

A

study of the use by noblewomen of seals from 1150-1350, the symbol of the

landholder's authority, reveals the

documents

member

in

of the family by the thirteenth century.

to identify the

the

same changes: From

woman on

affixing their seal to their

woman

The emblem on

the seal continued

with her husband's or her father's lineage, but the image of

the device changed: from a queen or

noblewoman standing

as

authority to a "lady" with her hawk, her body posed gracefully at ease. Brigitte

Rezak "Women, Seals and Power at

Fordham

own

the twelfth century to using their seal in conjunction with a male

University,

New

in

Medieval France

York City, March

1

if

in

Bedoz

150-1350," paper delivered

16, 1985.

29. SeeCalisse, p. 519. 30.

Cited

in Ian

Maclean, The Renaissance Notion of

of Scholasticism

and Medical Science

Cambridge University 31.

Cited

Study of the Fortunes

Intellectual Life

(New

York:

Press, 1980), p. 76.

Hogrefe, "Legal Rights,"

in

Woman: A

European and

in

p. 98.

32. See Atkinson in Atkinson et al, eds.

Coulton, Panorama,

33.

Cited

34.

See Stenton, pp. 30-31.

35. See

in

p.

McNamara and Wemple

617.

in Stuard, ed., pp.

103-104, and Riche, Early Life,

pp. 54-56, for discussion of the evolution of these policies. 36.

Marriage had not been considered a sacrament before. Augustine had disallowed because

it

led to sexual intercourse. See

Waterworth, Council of

it

Trent, for provisions

of Council of Trent canons, pp. 194-95. 37.

details of these and similar incidents see McNamara and Wemple in Stuard, ed., Duby, Medieval Marriage, and Angela M. Lucas, Women in the Middle Ages: Religion, Marriage and Letters (Brighton, England: The Harvester Press Ltd., 1983).

38.

The

For

control of marriage had always been an issue of

religious

and secular

and Marriage

in

rulers.

Jack

Goody

in his

hegemony fought over by

book, TTie Development of the Family

Europe (New York: Cambridge University

Press, 1983), suggests

that the Church's policies on marriage, adultery, and divorce had been intended to

create

more

heirless families

property, on which

ment 39.

and thus more opportunities

power ultimately

all

rested.

Church

for the

See especially pp. 32-47

to acquire for state-

of this argument.

Protestant sects would

make other compromises. For Catholic

Duby, Medieval Marriage,

McNamara and Wemple 40. See Eleanor

Como

Woman

2;

the policy of

policy, see especially

1215

is

summarized

in

in

in Stuard, ed., p. 112.

McLaughlin, "Equality of Souls, Inequality of Sexes:

Medieval Theology,"

Images of

Chapter

Rosemary Radford Ruether,

in the Jewish

and Christian

ed..

Traditions

Woman

in

Religion and Sexism:

(New

York:

Simon and

Schuster, 1974), pp. 227-28; Duby, Medieval Marriage, pp. 41-42; Maclean, Ren-

aissance Notion,

p.

15.

NOTES TO PAGES

508

341-346

41. Froissart, p. 243.

example the laws of thirteenth-century Languedoc

42. See for

in

Leah Lydia Otis,

Medieval Society (Chicago: University of Chicago

Prostitution in

Press, 1985).

43. Dillard, "Reconquest," in Stuard, ed., p. 85. 44. See

Waterworth, Council of

Trent, p. 203.

45. See Atkinson in Atkinson et al, eds., p. 21. 46. Froissart, p. 309. 47. Froissart, p. 310. 48. Froissart, p. 312.

49. In this instance the sort of reasoning

husband was victorious and the wife vindicated, but

and the

it is

this

such dishonor that led suspicious husbands of the

fears of

fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries to speak of chastity belts for their wives.

The

idea of "belt"

is

misnomer,

a

as the first illustration

manuscript of 1405 shows a leather-covered metal contrivance

wear

and protection

for support

of their genitals.

A

from

much

like

a military

what men

few examples of the apparatus

museums of Europe. There is, however, no evidence of their use. See Harvey Graham, Eternal Eve: The History of Gynecology and Obstetrics (Garstill

exist in the

den City, N.Y.: Doubleday

& Company Inc.,

Iconographia

A

Gyniatrica:

Pictorial

1951), pp. 122-23, and Harold Speert,

History

of

Gynecology

and

Obstetrics

(Philadelphia: F. A. Davis, 1973), pp. 452-53. 50.

For

stories of adulterous wives

and Venus,

Meaning 51.

An

Historical

of Courtly

See Michael

in

52.

Backer,

53.

Cited

54.

See Fawtier,

p. 53.

55.

See Stenton,

p.

56.

Cited

57. Njal,

their fates, see especially

of Courtly

Love (Albany, N.Y.:

M. Sheehan, "The

Women

Married

and

View

Love"

SUNY

Influence of

in F.

John F. Benton, "Clio

Newman,

X.

ed..

The

Press, 1968).

Canon Law on

England," Medieval Studies, Vol.

the Property Rights of

XXV

(1963), pp. 110-16.

245.

p.

in Slater, p. 44.

in p.

67.

Coulton, Life, Vol.

Ill, p.

16.

267.

58.

Tristan,

p. 66.

59.

Tristan,

p. 278.

60. Erec, p. 32. 61. Erec, p. 64.

62. Ferrante, ed., Guillaume, p. 278. 63. Raoul, p. 32.

64. Nibelungenlied, p. 281. 65. See Tristan, pp. 148, 147. 66.

For

a clear

and complete survey of

this didactic literature, see

Lady in the Tower: Medieval Courtesy Archon Books, 1983).

Literature for

Diane Bornstein, The

Women (Hamden,

Conn.:

67. Cited in Bornstein, p. 49. 68. Cited in

Rosemary Barton Tobin, "Vincent

Women," Journal of the History of Ideas,

vol.

of Beauvais

on the Education of

35 (July-September 1974),

69. See Bornstein, pp. 59-60.

70. See Coulton,

Panorama,

p.

617; Coulton, Life, Vol.

Ill, p. 7.

p.

486, note.

Notes to Pages 346-353 71.

Thomas Wright, Paul, Trench,

72.

La

The Book of the Knight oj La Tour-Landry (Lxjndon: Kegan

ed..

& Co.,

Trubner

Tour-Landry,

p.

509

Ltd., 1906), p. 79; note that there

is

a

1973 reprint.

10.

73. Cited in Gies, Castle, p. 79.

74. 75. 76. 77.

La La La La

Tour-Landry,

p.

Tour-Landry,

p.

128.

Tour-Landry,

p.

55.

Tour-Landry,

p.

58.

117.

"Book Owners,"

78. Bell,

pp. 756-57.

79. Cited in Bennett, p. 42. 80. Cited in Gardiner, p. 119. 81. Cited in

David Hunt, Parents and Children

Life in Early

Modem

France

(New

in History:

York: Harper

The Psychology of Family

& Row,

Publishers, 1972), p. 73.

82. Cited in Slater, p. 34. 83.

For discussion of

seeming contradiction see Sylvia Huot, "Seduction and Subli-

this

mation: Christine de Pizan, Jean de

Meun, and Dante," Romance Notes,

Vol.

no. 3 (Spring 1985), pp. 361-73; for the full text see Pizan, Three Virtues. are in

ies

Ruth

Kelso, Doctrine for the

Lady

XXV,

Summar-

of the Renaissance (Urbana,

111.:

University of Illinois Press, 1956), pp. 236-46, and in Bornstein, pp. 68-69, 85-87. 84.

Pizan, Three Virtues, p. 161.

85.

Pizan, Three Virtues, p. 68.

86. See Pizan, Three Virtues, pp. 86-105. 87. See Pizan, Three Virtues, pp. 45-48, 55, 58. 88.

Pizan, Three Virtues, pp. 55, 56.

89.

Anne de Beaujeu

1441-1522), the

(c.

late fifteenth-century regent for

her brother

Charles Vlll of France, had two copies of Christine de Pizan's book (Bornstein,

90.

When

p.

came to write a similar treatise for her daughter Suzanne, de Beaujeu repeated the same attitudes and presented the same image of the ideal wife. See summary in Kelso, pp. 212, 227, 246-47 and Bornstein. Lucy (Apsley) Hutchinson, Memoirs of the Life of Colonel Hutchinson, edited by 71

).

she

Rev. Julius Hutchinson (London: John C.

Nimmo,

1985), p. 24.

91. Hutchinson, p. 25.

92. Hutchinson, p. 35. 93. Cited in Stenton, p. 166. 94. Cited in Stenton, p. 166. 95.

Pizan, Three Virtues, pp. 62-64.

96.

Pizan, TTiree Virtues,

PART

p.

64.

WOMEN OF THE WALLED TOWNS:

V.

PROVIDERS AND PARTNERS

PART

v:

1.

The Townswoman's Daily

Life:

The Twelfth

to the Seventeenth

Centuries 1.

Fernand Braudel, 18th Century,

TTie Structures of

Vol.

\,

Everyday Life: Civilization

translated by Sian Reynolds

Publishers, 1981), p. 51.

(New

(5-

Capitalism ISth-

York: Harper

&

Row,

.

NOTES TO PAGES

510 2.

Carlo

M.

353-356 European Society and Economy

Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution:

W. W.

1000-1700 (New York:

&

Norton

Company

1976), p. 283. For

Inc.,

population figures, in addition to the works already cited, see Fernand Braudel,

(New

Capitalism and Material Life translated by Miriam Kochan

York: Harper

&

Row, Publishers, 1973), pp. 414-17, 431; Henry Kamen, The Iron Century: Social Change in Europe 1550-1660 (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971), p. 19; J. C. Russell "Population in Europe 500-1500," in Carlo M. Cipolla, ed., TTie Fontana Economic History of Europe: The Middle Ages (Glasgow: William Collins Sons and Co. Ltd., 1975), pp. 34-35; Fritz Rorig, The Medieval Town (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967), pp. 112-13. See these texts also for descriptions of urban

3.

development

in these centuries: Braudel, Structures,

Pope Pius

cited in James Bruce Ross

II,

(New

Portable Renaissance Reader 4.

Pietro Aretino cited in Ross

5.

See Braudel, Capitalism,

6.

Vol.

Chapter

I,

III.

and Mary Martin McLaughlin,

York: Penguin Books, 1980),

and McLaughlin,

p.

Renaissance Reader,

eds..

(New

and

the

in the

Age

Row,

Publishers, 1973), p. 427, for relative populations; see

&

York: Harper

241.

p.

435.

p.

Braudel, Capitalism, pp. 375-76 and Fernand Braudel, The Mediterranean

Mediterranean World

The

eds..

211.

Roger Mols, "Population

in

of Philip

II,

Vol.

Europe 1500-1700,"

I,

in

translated by Sian Reynolds

Carlo

M.

Cipolla, ed..

The

Fontana Economic History of Europe: The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Clasgow: William Collins Sons & Co., 1976), pp. 43-44, for population densities. 7.

For comparisons of north Herlihy,

Maurice Clogan, 8.

Italian

"The Tuscan Town ed.,

towns and those

in

Medievalia

et

Humanistica,

p.

A

Demographic

n.s.

series,

Profile," Paul

(1970), pp. 84-85.

1

in

Rural Pistoia 1201-

Vol. XVIII, no. 2 (August 1965),

231.

See Richard Goldthwaite, "The Florentine Palace

American Historical Review, 10.

other parts of Europe, see David

See David Herlihy, "Population, Plague and Social Change 1430," The Economic History Review, 2nd

9.

in

the Quattrocento:

Geoffrey Brereton, ed. and

vol.

Domestic Architecture,"

as

77, no. 4 (October 1972), p. 997.

trans., Froissart

Chronicles

(New

York: Penguin Books

Ltd., 1978), p. 239. 1 1

Marcelin Defourneaux, Daily Life

in

Spain

in the

Branch (London: George Allen and Unwin 12.

Sylvia L.

eds..

translated by

Thrupp, The Merchant Class of Medieval London

Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1977 ed.),

13.

Golden Age,

Renaissance Reader,

p.

p.

1

30,

3

(Ann

;

188.

p.

1

( 1300-1 SOO)

41 see also Ross and McLaughlin,

See for descriptions of houses: Braudel, Structures, Vol.

Thrupp, Merchant,

Newton

Ltd., 1970), p. 96.

1

,

note; for

Amsterdam and

I,

pp. 266-82; for

London,

Paris, Braudel, Capitalism,

pp. 201-203, 218; for France, The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1975), pp. 16, 17; for Nuremberg, see Gerald Strauss, Nuremberg in the Sixteenth Century: City Politics and Life

Between Middle Ages and Modern Times (New York: John Wiley

&

Sons

Inc.,

1966), p. 25. 14.

See Goldthwaite for a description of the evolution of the "private house," pp.

982-89 and

his book:

The Building of Renaissance Florence: An Economic and The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), pp. 13-26;

Social History (Baltimore:

Notes to Pages 356-359 for Datini, see

Origo, The Merchant of Prato: Francesco di

Iris

(London: Jonathan Cape, 1957), 15.

511

See Barbara Beuys, Familienleben

Marco Datini

136.

p.

in

Deutschland: Neue Bilder aus der deutschen

Vergangenheit (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1980), pp. 140-41; Secular

Spirit,

pp. 15, 19; Defourneaux, pp. 61-62. 16.

Kamen,

17.

For south German towns, see Merry E. Wiesner, Working

52.

p.

Germany (New Brunswick,

N.).:

Women

Rutgers University Press, 1986),

p.

in

Renaissance

191; Christiane

Klapisch, "Household and Family in Tuscany in 1427," in Peter Laslett, ed., House-

hold and Family

in

Past Time

(New

York: Cambridge University Press, 1974),

273. In Pistoia in 1427 female-headed households

Town,"

households; see Herlihy, "Tuscan 18.

p.

made up

p.

21.2 percent of the total

101.

D.V. Glass, "Notes on the Demography of London Century," Daedalus: Historical Population Studies,

at the

vol.

End

of the Seventeenth

97, no. 2 (Spring 1968), pp.

584, 586. 19.

See Mols

in Cipolla, ed.. Sixteenth

and Seventeenth

Centuries, for the traditional

description of the overall pattern; for specific ratios for towns in land, France,

and Spain see

J.

(Philadelphia: Transactions of the

David Herlihy, "Life Expectancies

Thee Morewedge,

SUNY

American Philosophical Society, 1958), p. 16; Women in Medieval Society" in Rosemarie

for

The Role of

ed..

Germany, Switzer-

C. Russell, Late Ancient and Medie^'al Population

Women

in the

Middle Ages (Albany, N.Y.:

Binghamton, 1975), pp. 12-13, 22; Glass, "Demography," pp. 584, 586; Benjamin Z. Kedar, "The Genoese Notaries of 1382: The Anatomy of an Urban at

Occupational Group," TTie

Working Women, 20.

21.

in

Harry A. Miskimin, David Herlihy, A.

Medieval City (New Haven: Yale University p.

Press,

L.

Udovitch,

eds.,

1977), p. 9; Wiesner,

5.

Mary Stenton, The English Woman in History (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1957 ed.), p. 85. Martha C. Howell, "Working Women in Early Modern Europe: A Cross-Cultural Approach," paper delivered at The Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Doris

held at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., June 1981. 22.

Eileen Power, Medieval

Women,

University Press, 1975)

p.

23.

See Wiesner, Working

Women,

24.

Emmanuel LeRoy 1979),

25.

edited by

M. M. Postan (New

York: Cambridge

109. pp. 83-84.

Ladurie, Carnival in

Romans (New

York: George Braziller, Inc.,

p. 4.

Sarah C. Maza, Servants and Masters in Eighteenth-Century France: The Uses of Loyalty (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1983),

p.

61, note.

26.

By the eighteenth century the relationship would have changed to the less familial one of wage contract between servant and employer. See Maza, for description of this change, p. 14, and Cissie Fairchilds, Domestic Enemies: Servants 6 TTieir Masters in Old Regime France (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press,

27.

Eileen Power, trans.. The

1984), pp. 17-18,

28.

Goodman

of Paris (Le Menagier de Paris) (London:

George Routledge

&

Sons, Ltd., 1928), pp. 16-17.

Origo, Merchant,

p.

206, note; Herlihy, "Tuscan

Town,"

p.

109, note. Slavery

NOTES TO PAGES

512 reemerged

"Women

Origo, Merchant,

30.

Cited

&

Row,

31.

Cited

32.

On

Mediterranean Europe

as a practice of

of the Fields," for a description of the

29.

in

359-362

Gene

in

end of

period. See Part

this

II,

slave labor in rural areas.

254.

p.

(New York: Harper

Brucker, ed.. The Society of Renaissance Florence

Inc., 1971), p. 223.

in

Origo, Merchant,

p.

209.

women, see for example, David Nicholas, The Women, Children and the Family in Fourteenth

the sexual vulnerability of servant

Domestic Life of a Medieval

City:

Century Ghent (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1985), pp. 67-68; Fairchilds,

Domestic Enemies, pp. 86-88, 165. From the fourteenth century on, in this predicament were a staple of popular tales. See especially the

young maids

Italian versions in

liam 33.

(New

Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron, translated by G. H. McWil-

York: Penguin Books, 1975), fourth story on the tenth day.

In fourteenth-century

Ghent, the child could

inherit

from the mother and her

kin.

See Nicholas, pp. 154-55. 34.

See Susan Mosher Stuard, in

Susan Mosher Stuard,

"Women in Charter and Statute Law: Medieval Ragusa," Women in Medieval Society (Philadelphia: University

ed..

and Julius Kirshner and Anthony Molho, "The Dowry Fund and the Marriage Market in Early Quattrocento Florence," TTie foumal of Modern History, vol. 50, no. 3 (September 1978), p. 429; Yvonne Maguire, The of Pennsylvania Press, 1976)

Women

of the Medici (London:

& Sons, Ltd.,

George Routledge

1927), pp. 45, 62;

Jacob Bronowski and Bruce Mazlish, The Western Intellectual Tradition

(New York:

&

35.

Row, Publishers, 1962), p. 5. See Walter Minchinton, "Patterns and Structure of Demand 1500-1750," Cipolla, ed.. Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, p. 97.

36.

Gene

Harper

Two Memoirs

Brucker, ed..

of Renaissance Florence: the Diaries of Buonac-

corso Pitti 6- Gregorio Dati, translated by Julia Martines Publishers, 1967), pp. 26-27. 37. Mary Elizabeth Perry, " 'Lost

Women'

Early

in

Prostitution," Feminist Studies, vol. 4, no.

(New York: Harper & Row,

Modern

the Politics of

Seville:

(February 1978),

1

p.

38.

Kamen,

39.

See James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin, Medieval

200.

p. 69.

lished manuscript, pp. 38-39; Natalie

Modem

in

Zemon

Davis, Society

France (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1975),

Women, unpub-

and Culture

p.

in

Early

291, note; for South

see Wiesner, Working Women, p. 93. and Dati, pp. 26-27. Maryanne Kowaleski, "Exeter, Bristol and Dartmouth," paper delivered at The Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, held at Smith College, Northamp-

German towns 40. Pitti 41.

ton, Massachusetts, June 1984. 42. See Strauss, pp. 7-8. 43. Cissie C. Fairchilds, Poverty

The Johns Hopkins 44.

and Charity

Ross and McLaughlin, Medieval

45. Davis, Society

and

in

Aix-en-Provence 1640-1789 (Baltimore:

University Press, 1976),

Women,

p. 75.

p. 39.

Culture, p. 291, note.

way bye

46.

Historians call manufacturing organized in this

47.

Historians are just beginning to collect information on the extent of this informal

industries.

Notes to Pages 362-365 retailing. In

for

Leyden

century 15 percent of the

in the sixteenth

pay were involved

in

513

some kind

women who worked

of retailing. For Leyden, see

Martha Howell,

"Working Women," unpublished manuscript, and her book Women, Production and Patriarchy in Late Medie\>al Cities (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1986), pp. 87-94; for English towns. Pearl Hogrefe, Tudor Women: Commoners and Queens (Ames, Iowa: The Iowa State University Press, 1975), p. 44; for Paris, see Ross and McLaughlin, Medieval Women, p. 12, and p. 27 for Brussels; for Florence, Judith Brown, "Working Women in Early Modern Europe," unpublished manu-

Woman (New Company, 1971), pp. 42-43, and Wiesner, Working Women, pp. 111-42; a good summary for English and French towns is in Louise A. Tilly and Joan W. Scott, Women, Work and Family (New York: Holt, Rinehart script, pp.

German

3-4;

towns, in Hannelore Sachs, TTie Renaissance

York: McGraw-Hill Book

and Winston, 1978), p. 49. and McLaughlin, Medieval Women,

48. Ross

"Women

49. See Barton C. Hacker,

A

Reconnaissance," Signs,

p.

and Military

195. Institutions in Early

Brucker, ed.. Renaissance Florence, pp. 191-92.

50.

Cited

51.

Brucker, ed, Renaissance Florence, pp. 190-91.

52.

in

G. R. Quaife, Wanton Wenches and Wayward Wives: Peasants and Early Seventeenth Century England 1979,

53.

Modern Europe:

4 (Summer 1981), pp. 643-71.

vol. 6, no.

p.

(New Brunswick,

N.J.:

Sex

in

150.

For Florence see Brucker,

Renaissance Florence, pp. 196-98, 200-201; for

ed.,

Venice, Fernando Henriques, Prostitution and Society:

and

Illicit

Rutgers University Press,

Oriental, Vol.

Rich and Poor

II

(New

York:

The

A

Survey, Primitive, Classical

Citadel Press, 1965),

p.

89,

and Brian Pullan,

Renaissance Venice (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press,

in

1971), p. 382; for Seville, Perry and

Ruth

Pike, Aristocrats

and

Traders: Sevillian

Society in the Sixteenth Century (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1972), pp.

201, 208. 54.

See Lydia Leah" Otis, Prostitution

Chicago 55.

For information on sance

in

Medieval Society (Chicago: University of

Press, 1985), p. 64.

(New

York:

Rome

see Georgina Masson, Courtesans of the Italian Renais-

Martin's Press, 1976), pp. 25-26.

St.

56.

See Henriques,

p.

50; Otis, p. 54.

57.

See Henriques,

p.

78;

Prostitution

Vern and Bonnie Bullough, An

(New York: Crown

Illustrated Social History of

Publishers, Inc., 1978), p. 136; Otis, pp. 20-37, 54n,

201, 203, 210. 58.

See Andrew McCall, The Medie\>al Underworld (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1979), p. 191, note, for streets in

indicating areas

where

Gattecon (Scratchcunt 59. Pitti

and

fourteenth-century

London and

sixteenth-century Paris,

prostitutes practiced their trade, like Slut's

Hole and Rue

Street).

Dati, p. 190.

60. See, for example, Henriques, pp. 47-52, 83-85; Ladurie, Carnival, p. 224; Sachs, pp.

52-53; Strauss,

German towns

p.

212; Otis, pp. 30-31, 55-59, 79-83, 94-98; for regulations in other

see Wiesner,

Working Women,

61. See Bullough, Prostitution, p. 142, 62. Cited in Sachs, p. 53.

and

pp. 98-104.

Otis, pp. 42-43.

.

NOTES TO PAGES

514

365-369

63. Cited in Perry, p. 206. 64. Otis, pp. 84-88. 65.

Henriques, pp. 52-53, Defourneaux,

p.

224; see also Perry, pp. 207-10, and Pike,

pp. 204-205.

and Lauro Martines,

66. Cited in Julia O'Faolain

eds.,

(New

History from the Greeks to the Victorians

Not

in

God's Image:

&

York; Harper

Row,

Women

in

Publishers,

1973), p. 294. 67.

Masson, pp. 1 29, 1 37. The Venetian house was attached to the hospital and between 1553 and 1620 had between 220 and 400 members, Pullan, p. 378. See also Mary Martin McLaughlin, "Survivors and Surrogates: Children and Parents from the

Ninth to the Thirteenth Centuries," in Lloyd de Mause, ed., The History of Childhood (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1974), p. 159, note. James A. Brundage, "Prostitution in the Medieval p.

68.

Hugo Rahner, 1960),

69.

Canon Law,"

Signs, vol.

1,

no.

4 (Summer 1976),

842; McCall, pp. 189-90; for French foundations see Otis, pp. 72-76.

p.

S.J.,

Saint Ignatius Loyola

(New

York: Herder and Herder Inc.,

80.

For information on Venice's refuges, see Pullan, pp. 386-90; on Rome, see Rahner, pp. 13-20, Masson, pp. 132-33; for Florence, see Brucker, ed.. Renaissance Flo-

and Ruth

pp. 211-12;

rence,

Repentant Prostitutes

P.

Conference on the History of

Nuns and

Liebowitz, "Voices from Convents:

Late Renaissance

in

Women,

Italy,"

held at

paper delivered at

Mount Holyoke

The

Berkshire

College, South

Hadley, Massachusetts, August 1978; for Aix-en-Provence, see Fairchilds, Charity, p.

19; for Seville, see Perry, p. 198.

Hogrefe, Tudor

71

Carlo Calisse,

Women,

70.

A

p. 90.

History of Italian Law, translated by Layton B. Register

Augustus Kelley, 1969),

p.

72. Cited in Stenton, p. 65. In south

they

stole.

(New York:

373.

German towns, women rarely attacked Women, pp. 108-109.

people

when

See Wiesner, Working

73. Cited in Ross

and McLaughlin,

eds..

Renaissance Reader,

543.

p.

74. Origo, Merchant, p. 68.

75. Natalie

Zemon

Davis,

Studies, vol. 8, no.

76.

Maza, For

Italy,

"Women

in

the Crafts in Sixteenth-Century Lyon," Feminist

(Spring 1982);

p. 52;

Davis, Society

and

Culture, p. 332, note.

82.

Maza,

77. See

78.

p.

1

p. 64.

see Klapisch in Laslett, ed.. Past Time, p. 277; for

Germany,

Russell,

Medieval Population, pp. 53, 55; for France, Ladurie, Carnival p. 3; for England, Peter Laslett, The World We Have Lost (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1965), p. 1.

For

a discussion of

the recent literature on family size and the persistence of

the "nuclear" family pattern, see Nicholas, pp. 7-12. 79. See Braudel, Capitalism, pp. 201-202. 80.

81.

G. G. Coulton, Medieval Panorama: The English Scene from Conquest tion

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1939),

The

information on women's participation

comes from lin,

studies of individual

Medieval Women,

for

town

in guilds

p.

on

this

Reforma-

and subsequent pages

records. See in particular Ross

Germany and

to

310.

and McLaugh-

France; for Germany, Howell,

Women,

Notes to Pages 369-375 Rudolf Hiibner,

Company,

A

(Boston: Little,

Brown and

1918), Nicholas, and Rorig; for France, Davis, "Crafts," Frances and

Joseph Gies,

Women

in the

Middle Ages (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company,

1978); for England, Hogrefe, Tudor

Women

Law

History of Germanic Private

515

in the

Seventeenth Century

Women, and Alice Clark, Working Life of (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Howe, 1920).

82. See Rorig, p. 115.

and McLaughlin, Medieval Women, pp. 24-26.

83. See Ross

Miriam Usher Chrisman, Lay Culture, Learned Culture: Books and Social Change in Strasbourg M80-1S99 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), pp.

84. See

22-23; Clark,

p.

167.

"Widowhood and Remarriage in SixteenthThe Berkshire Conference on the History of

85. See for example, Barbara B. Diefendorf,

Century

Paris," paper delivered at

Women,

held at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie,

New

York, June 1981.

Working Women, Chapter 4; Sachs, p. 42. See for example, Ross and McLaughlin, Medieval Women, pp. 32, 27; Davis, "Crafts," pp. 62-64; Nicholas, pp. 94-95, 99, 102, and Steven Ozment, When Fathers Ruled: Family Life in Reformation Europe (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard

86. See Wiesner, 87.

University Press, 1983), 88. Clark, pp. 89.

p.

13.

201-208, 215-19.

Joan Evans, Life in Medieval France

(New

York: Phaidon Publishers, Inc., 1969),

p. 48.

90.

Ross and McLaughlin, Medieval

91. See

Thrupp,

and Scott,

92. Tilly 93.

Merc/jflnf,

Women,

p. 24.

172.

p. 35.

Marian K. Dale, "The London Silkwomen of the Fifteenth Century," Economic History Review, Vol.

IV (1932-1934),

pp. 326-27.

and McLaughlin, Medieval Women,

94. Ross 95.

p.

Maria Fowler,

"Women

manuscript,

10.

p.

as Secular

p.

in

Medieval France," unpublished

and McLaughlin, Medieval Women, pp. 24-26;

96. Ross

Women, (New

York: Octagon Books, 1969),

Ross and McLaughlin, Medieval

98. See Ross

for

Cologne see Howell,

pp. 95-97, 124-29; for Frankfurt-am-Main, see Beuys, pp. 147, 150; for

Frankfurt, Ernest McDonnell, The Beguines

97.

19.

Musicians

and Beghards

Women,

100.

79; for

London, TTirupp, Merchant,

Thxu^^, Merchant,

101. For information

p.

Medieval Culture

pp. 7-10.

and McLaughlin, Medieval Women,

p.

13.

99. For Ragusa, Stuard in Stuard, ed.. Medieval Society, p. 200; for p.

in

p. 85.

p.

Nuremberg,

Strauss,

51.

139.

on the houses,

living arrangements, and possessions see the followGermany, Beuys, p. 141; for Italy, Goldthwaite, "Palace," p. 1004; for England, Thrupp, Merc/idnf, pp. 132, 138-41 and Braudel, Ca/JiWzsm, pp. 213-25, and Secular Spirit, pp. 21-22. ing:

for

;

102. Origo, Merchant, pp. 260-63, 270-71. 103. Cited in Maguire, pp. 64, 65.

104. Origo, Merchant, pp. 281-88.

NOTES TO PAGES

516

375-382

105. Menagier, pp. 36, 310. pp. 30, 32; Janet Shirley, trans.,

106. See Secular Spirit,

Clarendon

A

Parisian Journal (Oxford:

Press, 1968), p. 37.

107. See Menagier, p. 21; Origo, Merchant, pp. 289-90; for England,

Dorothy Hartley,

Lost Country Life (New York: Pantheon Books, 1979), p. 101; for Nuremberg, Walter French, Medieval Civilization as Illustrated by the Fastnachtspiele of Hans Sachs (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1925), 108.

Ongo, Merchant,

p. 55.

p. 241.

109. Strauss, p. 93. 1

10.

Cited

in Clark, p. 37; for

"Patrician

XXI

Women

other wives see Nicholas, pp. 44, 81-82; Stanley Chojnacki,

in Early

Renaissance Venice," Studies in the Renaissance, Vol.

(1974), p. 198; Maguire; Janet Ross, ed. and trans.. Letters of the Early Medici

as told in their Correspondence (Boston:

Diefendorf,

PART

v: 2.

14; Beuys;

p.

The Gorham Press, Women, p. 67.

Dangers and Remedies pp. 332-33.

1.

Shirley, ed., /ouma/,

2.

Joseph and Frances Gies, Life in a Medieval City

&

Company,

3.

Braudel, Mediterranean, Vol. Shirley, ed.. Journal,

5.

Herlihy, "Tuscan

6.

Henry Vol.

V

Lucas,

p.

Shirley, ed.. Journal, p. 140.

9.

Cited

and

14.

p.

328.

1315, 1316, and I'M! ," Speculum,

Women of the Reformation in Germany and Italy

(Boston:

Press, 1971), p. 263.

See C. V. Wedgewood, The Thirty Years War (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1961), pp. 493-96. Wedgewood, p. 400. Davis, Society and Culture, p. 301, note. Nuremberg had fifty public privies. See Strauss, p. 192. Muriel Joy Hughes, Women Healers in Medieval Life and Literature (New York: King's Crown Press, 1943), p. 29.

15.

See Braudel, Capitalism,

16.

Kamen,

17.

See Philip Ziegler, The Black Death p. 84;

p.

240.

pp. 25, 29.

Braudel, Mediterranean, Vol.

Seventeenth Centuries,

p.

Decameron, pp. 54-56.

19.

Shirley, ed., /oumd/,

20.

Cited

in

Kamen,

21.

Cited

in

Maguire,

p.

131.

p. 30, p.

38.

(New I,

p.

York: Harper

& Row,

Publishers, 1969),

333; Mols in Cipolla, ed.. Sixteenth

and

75; Ladurie, Carnival, p. 3; Braudel, Capitalism, pp. 50,

46, 48. 18.

Y. Crowell

Dati, p. 42.

Roland Bainton,

in

Beacon

13.

Thomas

(1930), pp. 353-54.

Pitti

12.

I,

Town," p. 85. "The Great European Famine of

8.

11.

York:

322.

7.

10.

(New

1973), p. 192.

4.

S.

1911), pp. 10, 48, 63;

Hogrefe, Tudor

Notes to Pages 383-386 22.

Marvin Lowenthal,

23.

See Herlihy

in

(New

York:

51.

p.

Morewedge,

Working Women,

The Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln

trans.,

Schocken Books, 1977),

517

ed., pp. 14, 22; for

south

German

towns, see Wiesner,

5.

p.

24. Christiane Klapisch-Zuber has suggested that the practice of leaving girls with a

nurse longer than boys

and Ritual

made

Renaissance

in

their survival less sure.

Italy

See her book

wet

Women, Family

(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), pp.

102, 105-106.

and

25.

See

26.

See Klapisch, Family and Ritual,

Pitti

Dati, pp. 112, 127, 128. p.

158; Thrupp, Merchant,

Former Times: Kinship, Household and

Flandrin, Families in

by Richard Southern (New York; Cambridge University 27.

In contrast,

women from

p.

231, and J-L.

Sexuality, translated

Press, 1979), p. 29.

artisan or laborers' families married later (in their twenties)

and brought fewer pregnancies

to term.

The Book of Her Life, in The Collected Works, Vol. I translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez (Washington, D.C.: ICS

28. Saint Teresa of Avila,

Publications, 1976), 29. Origo, 30. Pitti 31.

Merchant,

and

Cited

Dati,

p.

Family Life Hareven,

in

eds..

1.

230.

132.

Zemon

Davis, "Ghosts, Kin, and Progeny: Some Features of Modern France," in Alice S. Rossi, Jerome Kagan, Tamara K. The Family (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1978),

Natalie

in

p.

p.

Early

p. 99.

Merchant,

32.

Cited

33.

For York, see Ursula M. Cowgill, "The People of York 1538-1815,"

in Origo,

American,

vol.

222, no.

1

303.

p.

Scientific

(January 1970), pp. 104, 106, 110; see Pitti and Dati,

p.

22. 34.

Rates

rise

and

fall

for

Genoa

in

the twelfth century, for Venice from the sixteenth

London from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, in French towns in the seventeenth century, and in Geneva in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Only the fact of higher mortality among the poorer members of the towns and communes holds consistently. See for example, J. C. Russell, Medie\'al Population, p. 21; Diane Owen Hughes, "Urban Growth and Family Structure in Medieval Genoa," Past and Present, vol. 66 (February 1975), p. 23, note; Elizabeth Wirth Marvick, "Nature Versus Nurture: Patterns and Trends to the eighteenth centuries, for

in de Mause, ed., p. 283; David and Renaissance Pistoia (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967), p. 98; Herlihy, Pistoia p. 98; Thrupp, Merchant^ pp. 206, note, 231; Richard W. and Dorothy C. Wertz, Lying-in: A History of Childbirth in America (New York: Schocken Books, 1977), p. 20; Mols in Cipolla, ed.. Sixteenth and Seventeenth

in

Seventeenth-Century French Child-Rearing"

Herlihy, Medieval

Centuries, p. 69. 35. Cited in Origo, Merchant, p. 309.

144.

36.

Gliickel,

37.

For a description of the evolution of

p.

Medie\'al and Tudor

Drama (New

this

York:

kind of drama, see John Gassner, ed.,

Bantam Books,

1968), p. 44; and Alfred

— NOTES TO PAGES

518

W.

386-391

and

Pollard, ed., Miracle Plays, Moralities

Interludes (Oxford: Clarendon Press,

1895), pp. xxxi-xxxv. 38.

Granger Ryan and Helmut Ripperger, Voragine,

39.

To

create this composite

Mary meant combining many

thew 26:6-13; 27:56 and 61, 12:1-8, 19:25, 20:1;

Mary's 41.

Mark

end of the

40. Already at the

sister,

Mat-

parts of the Gospels:

Luke 7:37-50, 24:10; John 2:1-10; 11:1-45, and 47, 16:1.

28:1;

15:40,

sixth century

Pope Gregory the Great acknowledged her

and had combined three of the

holiness

The Golden Legend of Jacobus de

trans.,

221.

p.

women

of the Gospels as the

Magdalen

the anointing sinner, and the witness of the resurrection.

Golden Legend on the

In addition to the

stories

and worship of Mary Magdalen,

Helen Meredith Garth, "Saint Mary Magdalene

see for example;

The Johns Hopkins University Studies

in

Medieval

and Political Science, Series LXVII, no. 3 (1950), pp. 12-15, 29, 33-37, 89; A. C. Cawley, ed., Everyman and Medieval Miracle Plays (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc., 1959), pp. 82, Literature,"

in Historical

136; and Perry, p. 205. 42.

Kamen,

p.

12.

43. See Defourneaux.

44.

Edward Noble Stone, I

(New

trans.,

"Adam,"

in Barrett

York: D. Appleton and Co., 1933),

45.

Golden Legend,

46.

The

stories

p.

H. Clark,

ed.,

World Drama, Vol.

312.

p.

205.

came from the many apocryphal works such

as the Protevangel of

and the pseudo-Matthew omitted from authorized versions of the 47.

In the eighteenth century Benedict XIII oflEcial

48.

49.

made

James

Bible.

the feast day, "Lady of Sorrows,"

and "Stabat Mater" commemorating Mary's sadness part of the

liturgy.

Mary was emphasized even at Vatican II with the additional title granted to her in 1964, "Mother of the Church." Gregory of Tours made the first collection at the end of the sixth century. The tales multiplied in the fifteenth century, Voragine's Golden Legend and Johannes HeIn the twentieth century this maternal image of

rolt's

Miracles of the Blessed Virgin becoming the collections most widely dissemi-

nated and repeated. 50.

Marina Warner, Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (New York: Pocket Books, 1978), p. 115. See also on the meaning of her worship.

Penny Schine Gold, The Lady and

the Virgin: Image, Attitude

and Experience

in

Twelfth-Century France (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), pp. 68-75. 51.

Cited

in

Ross and McLaughlin,

eds.,

Renaissance Reader, pp. 228-29. Despite the

popularity of this image, the Assumption

did 52.

"Queen

of

Heaven" become one

became dogma only

of the Virgin's official

For descriptions of the evolution of the popular worship and the Virgin and her

many

faces, see Part III,

"Women

in 1950; only in

1954

titles.

official

veneration of

of the Churches,"

and

in

addition to the works cited in the text, the following: Yrjo Hirn, The Sacred Shrine:

A

Study of the Poetry and Art of the Catholic Church (Boston: Beacon Press, 1932);

GeofTrey Ashe, The Virgin (London: Routledge ern, TTie

Making

of the Middle Ages

Emile Male, The Gothic Image: Religious Art translated by

& Kegan

Paul, 1976); R.

(New Haven: Yale in

Dora Nussey (New York: Harper

W.

South-

University Press, 1963);

France of the Thirteenth Century,

&

Row,

Publishers,

1958); Ian

Notes to Pages 392-395

Woman

Maclean,

Triumphant: Feminism

Clarendon

Press, 1977).

PART

The World

v:

3.

in

519

French Literature 1610-16S2 (Oxford:

Commercial Capitalism: The Thirteenth

of

to the

Seventeenth Centuries 1.

See Braudel, Mediterranean, Vol.

Northern

p.

I,

427, and Braudel, Capitalism, pp. 375-76.

was the exception. By the end of the thirteenth century and the

Italy

beginning of the fourteenth century, 26.3 percent of the region's population lived in ten of its towns; see Herlihy,

that 10-15 percent of

England's population in

"Tuscan Town," pp. 84-85. Demographers estimate lived a town life in 1340, 10 percent of

Germany's people

in

1377, Beuys,

p.

"Tuscan Town,"

125; Herlihy,

the 1700s in France, 16 percent of the people had

the urban areas. In addition, before

1

p. 84.

the land and

left

Even

moved

to

500, 90-95 percent of the towns had only 2,000

inhabitants or fewer. 2.

See Georges Duby, The Early Growth of the European Economy: Warriors and

Howard

Peasants from the Seventh to the Twelfth Century, translated by (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1974), p. 263; as fact

that the capitalist system

is,

Panorama, 3.

p.

is

far older

than

has often been represented,"

it

652.

Martha C. Howell, "Citizenship and Gender: The Problem Status in Late Medieval Cities of Northern Europe,"

March

sity,

16, 1985, unpublished. Historians

ism caused

They

New

of

Women's

York:

have suggested that the

identify the cause of the diminution of rights, status,

Political

Fordham Univerrise of capital-

and the other adverse developments. Howell and Wiesner

this

capitalism as

B. Clarke

Coulton remarked: "The

disagree.

and opportunity not with

broadly defined, but with the specific shift from household produc-

it is

tion to large-scale enterprise that

was characteristic of

4.

Women, pp. See Howell, Women,

5.

Menagier,

6.

Decameron,

7.

Robert Hellman and Richard F. O'Gorman,

Howell,

early capitalist industry.

Women,

30-36, and Wiesner, Working

p.

See

3.

pp. 36, 43.

p. 88.

135.

p.

France (New York:

Thomas

8.

Gliickel,

9.

See concluding sections

p.

Y. Crowell

eds.. Fabliaux:

Company,

Ribald Tales from Old

1965), p. 151.

2.

in

Howell,

Women, and Wiesner, Working Women, on

the

significance of the "ideology of patriarchy." 10.

On

and Seventeenth Centuries, p. American Historians, Materials on Women, "The European Marriage Pattern," unpublished manumarriage ages see Mols

in Cipolla, ed.. Sixteenth

72; Cowgill; Thrupp, Merchant,

p.

193; Organization of

script.

11.

See Diane

min

Owen

Hughes, "Kinsmen and Neighbors

Medieval Genoa,"

in

in

Miski-

Rene Girard, "Marriage in Avignon in the Second Half of the Fifteenth Century," Speculum, Vol. XXVIII, no. (January 1953), passim, pp. et

al.,

eds., p. 26;

1

485-98. 12.

Owen Hughes

13.

Girard, pp. 488,486,

14.

Tilly

in

and Scott,

Miskimin

p.

et

al.,

eds., p. 23.

43; for Paris examples, see also Diefendorf,

p.

32, note.

NOTESTOPAGES

520 15.

395-398

For information about marriage customs and statutes Stuard

16.

Pittiand Dati,

17.

A

p.

46.

nineteen interrelationships; see Lawrence Stone, The Family, Sex and

total of

Marriage (New York: Harper 18.

Tilly

19.

The

and Scott,

&

Row,

Publishers, 1977), p. 131.

p. 41.

By the

practice began as early as the twelfth century in Pisa.

exclusio propter gift of

Ragusa/Dubrovnik see

in

in Stuard, ed.

dotem

her dowry

"Women,

— the exclusion

—had become common throughout

Dowries, and Capital Investment

ion A. Kaplan, ed.,

thirteenth century

of a daughter from inheritance because of the

in

See Eleanor

Italy.

S.

Thirteenth-Century Siena,"

Riemer, in

Mar-

Women and Dowries in European History 1985), pp. 62, 65, and Diane Owen Hughes,

The Marriage Bargain:

(New York: Harrington Park Press, "From Brideprice to Dowry in Mediterranean Europe,"

Kaplan, ed., pp. 32-35.

in

women from

Fourteenth-century Florentine statutes specifically excluded

all

inheri-

tance except their dowry. Susan Mosher Stuard comments, "Law, Society and

Women

Medieval and Renaissance

in

Italy,"

New

York, Convention of the Ameri-

can Historical Association, December 28, 1985. 20.

Cited Past

ed.. Beyond Their Sex: Learned Women of the European New York University Press, 1980), p. 3. In addition to the works the text, see Owen Hughes, in Miskimin et al., eds., pp. 16-19; J. P. Cooper,

Labalme,

in Patricia

(New

cited in

York:

"Patterns of inheritance and settlement by great landowners from the fifteenth to

the eighteenth centuries," in Jack Goody, Joan Thirsk and E. P.

Family and Inheritance: Rural Society

21.

in

Thompson,

eds..

Western Europe 1200-1800 (New York:

Cambridge University Press, 1978), pp. 280-82. See Pitti and Dati, pp. 1 14, 123, 134; see also Riemer in Kaplan, ed., p. 64, and Susan Mosher Stuard, "Dowry Increase and Increments in Wealth in Medieval Rugusa (Dubrovnik)," Journal of Economic History, vol. 16, no. 4 (December 1981), pp. 795-812.

22. See Alison

Hanham, ed.. The Cely Letters 1472-1488 (New York: Oxford

University

Press, 1975), p. xv. 23.

Cited

Maurice Ashley, The Stuarts

in

pany, 1964),

in

Love (New York: The Macmillan Com-

26.

p.

24.

See Girard,

25.

Gliickel,

p. 96.

26.

See

and

27.

See Kirshner, and Molhs, especially pp. 409, 435-38; Klapisch-Zuber, Family and Ritual, pp. 213-24.

28.

See Pullan, pp. 164-65, 184-85.

29.

Pitti

486.

p.

Dati, p. 17.

For Spain, see Heath Dillard, Sepulveda and Cuenca," ed., pp.

"Women

in

in Stuard, ed., pp.

Reconquest

200-04; for Prato, see Origo, Merchant,

Women,"

Castile:

The Fueros

77-78; for Ragusa, see Stuard p.

of

in Stuard,

203; for Venice see Chojnacki,

and Stanley Chojnacki, "Dowries and Kinsmen in Early Renaissance Venice," Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol. 4 (Spring 1975), p. "Patrician

572; for Siena, see 30. See

Ozment,

Medieval

p. 194,

Riemer

in

pp. 28-30; for

City,

Kaplan,

p. 66.

Genoa, see

Owen Hughes

in

pp. 18-19; for Florence, Lauro Martines,

Miskimin

"A Way

of

et

al.,

eds..

Looking

at

Notes

Women

in

399-403

521

Renaissance Florence," The Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Stud-

vol. 4, no.

ies,

to Pages

(Spring 1974),

1

p.

20, note;

French towns, David Hunt, Parents and

Children in History: The Psychology of Family Life in Early

&

York: Harper

Row,

Geneva, William E. Monter,

p. 107;

Signs, vol. 6, no. 2 31.

Publishers, 1972), pp. 60-61,

(Winter 1980),

For marriage ages, see Klapisch

"Women

p.

Modem

and Davis

in Calvinist

Geneva (1550-1800),"

194.

in Laslett, ed..

Household and Family,

Khpisch-Zuher, Family and Ritual, pp. 110-11

for the Florentine

towns see the following: Riemer

p.

in

France (New

in Rossi et al., eds.,

Kaplan, ed.,

69; Herlihy,

272, and

p.

example; for other

"Tuscan Town," and

David Herlihy, "The Medieval Marriage Market," in Dale B. J. Randall, ed.. Medieval and Renaissance Studies Series, no. 6 (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1976); Chojnacki "Patrician

Women"; Thrupp,

Merchant;

for Protestants see

J.

Hajnal, "European Marriage Patterns in Perspective," in D. V. Glass and D. E. Eversley, eds.. Population in History (London: E. Arnold, 1965), p. 114. 32.

Maguire, pp. 70-72.

33.

Sachs, of

p. 22;

see also Origo, Merchant, pp. 265-66; Herlihy, Pistoia, for descriptions

more modest weddings.

34.

Medici

Letters,

p.

108.

35.

Medici

Letters,

p.

110.

36.

Medici

Letters, p. 133.

37. See Maguire, pp. 139-41. 38.

See for

Law

582; for France, Jean Brissaud,

Italy, Calisse, p.

(Boston: Little,

Brown and Gompany,

A

History of French Private

1912), pp. 171-72, and Diefendorf, p.

Germany, Hiibner, pp. 632-38, 643, and Beuys, p. 144. Germany and Switzerland, Ozment, pp. 92-93, 83-85, Davis, Society and Culture, p. 90, note, and Jane Dempsey Douglass, "Women and the Gontinental Reformation" in Rosemary Radford Ruether, ed.. Religion and Sexism: Images of Woman in the Jewish and Christian Traditions (New York: Simon and Schuster, 5; for

39. See for

1974), pp. 303-04; for England, Stone, Family, pp. 37-38. 40. See Girard, pp. ed., p. 36,

41. See 42.

Kamen,

See Pullan, of

493-97

for

Avignon examples;

and Ghojnacki, "Patrician

for Italy, see

Women,"

p.

Owen Hughes

in

Kaplan,

188.

pp. 389,410.

p.

390; Strauss,

p.

197,

and

Fairchilds, Charity, p. 19, for other examples

dowry and trousseau contributions.

43. Harold Speert, Iconographia Gyniatrica:

A

Pictorial History of

Gynecology and

Obstetrics (Philadelphia: F. A. Davis, 1973), p. 497. 44. Gited in Ross

and McLaughlin,

45. This shift in attitude

eds.,

good, to fear and charity as a

405-406;

Renaissance Reader,

—from sympathy with the poor and order— way to insure

in Braudel, Capitalism, p. 40,

is

p.

351.

charity as a

means of doing Kamen, pp.

discussed in

and extensively documented

in Fairchilds,

Charity, see especially ix-x. 46. Gited in Pullan, p. 299. 47. See Davis, "Grafts," p. 51.

48. See Fairchilds, Charity,

pp.

29-34

for Aix-en-Provence; Pullan, for

239-40; Davis, Society and Culture, pp. 39-51, for Lyons. 49. Pitti

and

Dati, p. 233.

Venice, pp.

NOTESTOPAGES

522 50.

When

the English town of Norwich did a census of the indigent poor in

of the 832

women were

destitute because they

pp. 38-39,

bands. See Stone, Family, Charity, p. 73, 51.

Cited

403-404

in

and Kamen,

many

570,

1

had been abandoned by

their hus-

389. See also Fairchilds,

p.

on the other categories of poor.

Richard C. Trexler, "The Foundlings of Florence 1395-1455," History of

Childhood Quarterly, Vol.

no. 2 (Fall 1973), p. 269.

1,

"Foundlings,"

52.

Cited

53.

Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century accounts from these institutions indicate that

in Trexler,

relegation to the foundling

the wet nurse, the to feed

and care

surprised.

woman

275.

p.

home meant

in

the country

for the infants. In fact,

some money

leaving the baby and

who

to pay

contracted with the town authorities

most of these babies died, and no one was

SeeOlwen H. Hufton, The Poor of Eighteenth-Century France 1750-1789

(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), pp. 326-32, and William L. Langer, "Infanticide:

A 54.

Historical Survey," History of

Childhood Quarterly (Winter 1974), pp. 353-65. A Case Study,"

For Nuremberg, see Merry E. Wiesner, "Early Modern Midwifery: International Journal of 39; for English

Women's

towns see M.

J.

Studies, vol. 6, no.

1

(January/February 1983),

p.

Tucker, "The Child as Beginning and End: Fifteenth

and Sixteenth Century English Childhood," de Mause, ed., p. 244, and Barbara A. Kellum, "Infanticide in England in the Later Middle Ages," History of Childhood Quarterly, Vol.

I,

no. 3

(Winter 1974),

p.

371.

55.

Cited

56.

For descriptions of young women's choices and circumstances see Quaife, pp. 60-63; David Levine and Keith Wrightson, "The Social Context of Illegitimacy in Early

in

Quaife,

p.

52.

Modern England," unpublished manuscript; 57.

Fairchilds, "Sexual Attitudes," pp.

628-29 and 635; Langer gives figures for Nuremberg, see p. 356. See Ceorge C. Homans, English Villagers of the Thirteenth Century (New York:

W. Norton & Company, A Comment," in Goody

W.

Thompson, "The Grid of Inheritance: et al., eds., p. 351, note; Carl Ludwig von Bar, A History of Continental Criminal Law (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1916), pp. 1975),

p.

172; E. P.

166-67. 58.

See R. H. Helmholtz, "Infanticide

in the

Province of Canterbury during the Fif-

teenth Century," History of Childhood Quarterly, Vol.

382-83; Kellum,

p.

II,

no. 3

(Winter 1975), pp.

M. Gamer, Medieval and Studies No. 29 (New

370; and John T. McNeill and Helena

Handbooks of Penance, Records of Civilization Sources York: Columbia University Press, 1938), p. 96, for an example assigned. For the severe attitude see Inga Dahlsgard,

59.

Women

in

of the penances

Denmark

Yesterday

and Today (Copenhagen: Det Danske Selskab, 1980), pp. 24-25; McLaughlin in de Mause, ed., p. 158, note; Pitti and Dati, p. 147. This custom is evident among the Germanic peoples of the eighth century, and continuing in Scotland and Norway, and into the 1930s in Yugoslavia. Surveys of English parish records from 1550 to 1820

list

1,855 brides for

whom

the baptismal

records of their first-born children suggest that almost 50 percent of

them were

pregnant at the time of their marriage. See P. E. H. Hair, "Bridal Pregnancy

England

in Earlier

Centuries," Population Studies,

Vol.

1966), pp. 235-36. 60. See Fairchilds, "Sexual Attitudes," for these conclusions.

XX,

no. 2

in

Rural

(November

Notes

405-410

to Pages

523

61. Cited in Origo, Merchant, p. 93.

Nuremberg, Langer,

62. See for

towns, R. V. Schnucker,

p.

356, and Wiesner, "Midwifery,"

"The English

38; English

p.

Puritans and Pregnancy, Delivery and Breast-

Feeding," History of Childhood Quarterly, Vol.

4 (Spring 1974),

no.

I,

p.

654, note;

France and Switzerland, Monter, "Geneva," pp. 196-97.

for

63. Cited in Quaife, p. 103. 64.

Much

of the information that follows

comes from the round-table

discussion,

"Working Women in Early Modern Europe: A Cross-Cultural Approach," with Merry Wiesner Wood on Nuremberg, Natalie Zemon Davis on Lyons, Judith Brown on Florence, Martha Howell on Dutch and Flemish cities, and Nancy Adamson on London, The Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, held at

Vassar College, Poughkeepsie,

Wiesner

New

see a relative increase in

as long as production

York, June 1981. In their books Howell and

women's

guild

pp. 43, 87, 152-55, 161-62, and Wiesner, 65.

The major

membership

was tied to the household. See

entries are cited in Ross

for

in

the early centuries

example, Howell,

Working Women,

Women,

pp. 3, 33.

and McLaughlin, Medieval Women,

p.

20.

66. Clark, p. 155.

67.

Davis, "Crafts," p. 68. For the pattern of gradual exclusion in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century

Cologne see Wiesner, Working Women, pp. 133, 137, 157, 185,

and Howell, Women, pp. 115-16;

for

Chent

see Nicholas, pp. 98-101.

68. Clark, p. 167. 69.

For

a discussion of the

phenomenon

in

the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, see

the following: for Geneva, Monter, "Geneva,"

70.

p.

200; for France, Tilly and Scott,

Germany, Jean H. Quataert, "The Shaping of Women's Work in Manufacturing Guilds, Households, and the State in Central Europe 1648-1870," The American Historical Review, vol. 90, no. 5 (December 1985), pp. 1126-33. for descriptions of this practice in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries see Ross p.

49; for

and McLaughlin, Medie\>al Women, pp. 6-10. and McLaughlin, Medieval Women,

71. See Ross

pp.

30-33, and Gies and Gies,

Women. 11.

For descriptions of

his firm, see

Ross and McLaughlin, Medieval

Women,

pp.

35-36, and Florence Edler de Roover, "Andrea Banchi, Florentine Silk Manufacturer in

and Merchant

in

the Fifteenth Century," in William

Medieval and Renaissance History, Vol.

Ill

M. Bowsky,

ed.. Studies

(Lincoln, Neb.: University of

Ne-

braska Press, 1966), pp. 241-43, 260-61. 73. See Roover, p. 248 74.

Roover,

p.

and note.

247.

75. Figures for 1663 dramatically

show the

shifts in

Though

only 38 percent of the workers in wool,

weavers

in

employment from women

men

one section of Florence and 65 percent

percent of the 14,034 of the workers in

silk,

in

Florence," Journal of

men.

in another.

They represented 84

78 percent of the master weavers, 59

percent of the weaver apprentices. Judith C. Brown and Jordan

and Industry

to

represented 96 percent of the

Economic

History,

Goodman, "Women XL, no. 1 (March

Vol.

1980), pp. 79-80. 76. For

Leyden see Howell, Women, pp. 1\-11, 88-90; see

Women,

pp. 174-85.

also

Wiesner, Working

NOTES TO PAGES

524

410-419

77. For descriptions of these developments see the following: for Italian towns, Ross

McLaughlin, Mec/zeva/ Women, pp. 34-35, Roover, pp. 251-53; Dale, pp. 331-32, 331, note, Kowaleski, pp. 11-12, Clark,

79.

and Enghsh towns.

158, Power, Medieval

"Working Women." See for example, Davis, Society and Culture, p. 291, note; Kamen, pp. 361-62, 384. Cited in E. A. McArthur, "Women Petitioners and the Long Parliament," English Historical Review, no. XCIII (January 1909), p. 701. See also David Weigall, "Women Militants in the English Civil War," History Today, Vol. XXII, no. 6

Women,

78.

p.

for

p.

60; for

(June 1972), 80. Cited in

German and Dutch

towns, Howell,

435.

p.

McArthur, pp. 202-203.

81. Cited in Patricia Higgins,

"The Reactions

of

Women,

with Special Reference to

Women Petitioners," in Brian Manning, ed., Politics, Religion and the English War

(London: Edward Arnold, 1973),

201, see also

p.

p.

203; McArthur,

p.

Civil

707.

82. Cited in Higgins, p. 203. 83. 84.

in McArthur, p. 708. Germaine Creer, The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes

Cited

of

Women

85.

Work (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1979), p. 160. Cited in Ann Sutherland Harris and Linda Nochlin, Women (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978), p. 25.

86.

On

the unorthodoxy of the painting, the

the details of the

Susanna,"

in

trial

artist's identification

of her accused rapist, see

Painters

and Their

Artists 1 550-1 9 SO

with the subject, and

Mary D. Garrard, "Artemisia and

Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard, eds.. Feminism and Art History: (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1982), p. 165.

Questioning the Litany 87.

The husband

disappears from the historical records; there are references to one

daughter Prudentia and perhaps another,

listed in the

Roman

census of 1624 as

Palmira. 88.

Cited

in Harris

and Nochlin,

p. 119.

89.

Cited

in Harris

and Nochlin,

p.

90.

Longhi, Tintoretto, and

Others married and began the

artist

120.

Van Dyck

all

had daughters and trained them

artistic dynasties.

Jan Breughel. See Greer for the

Mayken Verhulst

list

as painters.

trained her grandson,

of factors that deterred

women

artists

before the nineteenth century. 91. Cited in Harris

and Nochlin,

p. 25.

92. Cited in Harris

and Nochlin,

p. 31.

93. Cited in Harris

and Nochlin,

p.

94. 95.

Harris and Nochlin, p.

Most

of the

names

the monograph by

1

107.

59.

women medical practitioners listed in this section come from M. J. Hughes, pp. 139-47; her classifications have not been

of

followed, however. 96. See Kate

Times

Campbell Hurd-Mead,

to the

A

History of

Women

in

Medicine from the Earliest

Beginning of the Nineteenth Century (Haddam, Conn.: The

Haddam

Press, 1938), p. 521.

97.

M.

J.

Hughes,

98. Cited in 99.

Mead,

p.

M.

J.

p. 83.

Hughes,

p. 83.

404.

100. For the description of the trial

and her remarks see James Bruce Ross and Mary

Notes Martin McLaughlin, Press, 1966), pp.

M.

101. Cited in

419-425

to Pages

525

The Portable Medieval Reader (New York: The Viking

eds.,

636-39.

Hughes, pp. 85-86, note.

J.

102. Cited in Clark, p. 260. For other English examples see p. 260; for

see

Mary Chamberlain, Old Wives'

Tales:

(London: Virago Press Limited, 1981),

p.

Church

edicts

Their History, Remedies and Spells

43; for France see Davis, "Crafts," p. 69.

103. See Speert, pp. 102-16. 104. For fees, see Wiesner, "Midwifery," pp. 27-28, 29, 36,

Women,

pp. 55-64; see R. L. Petrelli,

"The Regulation

the Ancien Regime, "Journal of the History of Medicine, passim; see also

Thomas Benedek, "The Changing

and her book Working

of French Midwifery during vol.

26 (1971),

281 and

p.

Relationship Between Midwives

and Physicians During the Renaissance," Bulletin and History of Medicine, no. 4 (Winter 1977), pp. 550-64.

vol. 51,

105. Speert, p. 71. 106.

Mead,

107.

Scholars have argued over female authorship. Given the knowledge of

395.

p.



ailments and of childbirth

even master physicians

tioners,

involved in the writing even

was

this

need

for

women

women's

areas usually closed to thirteenth-century male practi-

if

—an experienced female

practitioner

must have been

she was not the sole author. Trotula explains that

to deal with

women's

ailments, given the sex's modesty

it

and

reluctance to speak with a male physician, that brought her to the study of medicine.

See for example, John F. Benton, "Trotula, alization of

Medicine

in

Women's

Problems, and the Profession-

the Middle Ages," Bulletin of the History of Medicine,

vol.

59 (1985), pp. 30-53. 108. Elizabeth

Mason-Hohl,

trans..

The Diseases of

Women

by Trotula of Salerno (Los

The Ward Ritchie Press, 1940), pp. 1, 2. usually known by her maiden name "Bourgeois."

Angeles:

110.

She is Mead,

111.

Mead,

109.

420.

p.

fn. p.

112. Bourgeois

429.

had

lost favor at

court

when one

of her patients, the

Duchess of Orleans,

died of puerperal fever, probably because the surgeon had not removed placenta.

She wrote her

of the

all

text to prove her expertise.

113. See Trotula, p. 23. 1

14.

Cited tific

in

Carolyn Merchant, The Death of Nature:

Revolution

(New

York: Harper

115. See James Hitchcock, ed.,

History of Medicine,

vol.

"A

&

Row,

Women, Ecology and

the Scien-

Publishers, 1980), p. 153.

Sixteenth Century Midwife's License," Bulletin of the

41 (January/February 1967),

p.

76; see also

Thomas

Forbes, "Midwifery and Witchcraft," Journal of the History of Medicine, (April 1962), p. 280,

and Chamberlain, Remedies,

p. 54, for sixteenth-

teenth-century restrictions and prosecutions; see Wiesner, Working for

vol.

R.

17

and seven-

Women,

p. 69,

examples from Germany.

116. Cited in Clark, p. 282. 117. Called the widow's portion, the donatio propter nuptias, the sponsalitium. 118. Cited in Davis, "Crafts," p. 54.

119.

Russian customs into the seventeenth century remain the exception, giving the responsibility for the

widow

to the son.

The

charters for

Novgorod and Pskov

in the

NOTES TO PAGES

526

century enjoined sons to act and care for widowed mothers. In Pskov

late fifteenth

a son could be disinherited

Norton

&

Hughes

in

Company,

he did not provide

if

See George Vernadsky,

old.

425-428

trans.,

for

both parents when they were

W. W. Owen

Medieval Russian Laws (New York:

Inc., 1969), p. 86.

For other information on widows,

Kaplan, ed., gives a complete analysis of the evolution of the widow's

portion, tracing

Morgengabe

to the

it

"Marriage,"

p. 8;

of

Germanic and Celtic marriages,

Owen

Hughes, "Urban Growth," pp. Maguire, pp. 132-33, Calisse, pp. 579, 625;

examples see

for Italian

15,

pp. 29-30;

24-25; Herlihy,

for France, Girard,

Goody et al., eds., p. 225, John H. Mundy, "The Influence of Women in the Medieval Economy Comments," paper delivered at The Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, held at Mount Holyoke College, South p.

487, Cooper in



Hadley, Massachusetts, August 24, 1978; Diefendorf, pp. gland,

Cooper

leski, p. 2; for

6,

8-9, 10-12; for En-

Goody et al, eds., p. 296, Thrupp, Merchant, Ghent in Belgium see Nicholas, pp. 28, 119. in

"Women,

120. See Eleanor S. Riemer,

Century Siena,"

p. 106,

Dowries, and Capital Investment

in

and Kowa-

Thirteenth-

Kaplan, ed.

in

and

121. For Italy, see Pitti

Dati, p. 50, Chojnacki, "Patrician

Women,"

199; for

p.

Yugoslavia (Ragusa/Dubrovnik) Stuard in Stuard, ed., pp. 200-203, Riemer in

Kaplan, ed., pp. 64-65, 75; for France, Diefendorf, pp. 18-25, Davis, Society and Culture, 122.

London

p.

69, Brissaud, p. 157.

wills studied for

of the survivors.

the years 1271-1330 show wives to have been 61.4 percent

The 1427

environs identifies

women

catasto (census for tax purposes) for Florence

as

and

its

heads of 21.1 percent of the households. In Florence

the percentage increased as the population aged, from 11.2 percent ages 33-37, to 25.2 percent ages 43-47, to over 50 percent over the age of for

1

527 show

1

2 percent of the

Seville the percentage rose to

A. Miskimin,

Klapisch-Zuber,

Town,"

20 percent

"The Legacies

Women,

fifty.

Parisian tax rolls

households headed by females. In sixteenth-century in the

1

534 census. See the following: Harry

London 1259-1330,"

of

in

Miskimin

et al, eds.;

pp. 120-21; Herlihy, Pz'stow, p. 117; Herlihy,

"Tuscan

97; Herlihy in Martines, ed., p. 149; Diefendorf, p. 3, note; Pike, p.

p.

7.

123. See Clark, pp. 32-34. 124. Sachs, p. 42.

125.

Monter, "Geneva,"

126. See

Owen Hughes

Hogrefe, Tudor

p.

in

201.

Miskimin

Women,

et al, eds., p. 142; Harksen, p.

p. 37,

1

1,

Kowaleski,

p.

5flf,

Dale, pp. 327-28, Clark, pp. 30-31.

127. Beuys, p. 147.

Tudor Women, pp. 40-41. Ann Crabb, "Motherhood and Power

128. Hogrefe, 129.

in

cinghi Strozzi and her Sons, 1441-1471,"

March

Renaissance Florence: Alessandra

Fordham

University,

New

Ma-

York City,

15, 1985.

130. Cited in Martines, p. 25. 131. Cited in Martines, p. 25.

132. See also Richard A. Goldthwaite, Private

Wealth

in

Renaissance Florence: Four

Florentine Families (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1969), especially pp. 45-59.

133. Ross, ed.,

Medici

Letters, p. 245.

S

.

Notes to Pages 429-434

527

134. Gluckel, p. 34. 135. Gluckel, p. 255. 136. Gluckel, p. 264.

PART 1.

v: 4.

"Adam,"

The

showing the

and Visible Bonds of Misogyny

Invisible

H. Clark,

in B.

Fall.

ed.. Vol.

For example,

I,

313. This

p.

is

message of the plays

typically the

another cycle, the York Coopers play of the

in

and sixteenth centuries, Adam realizes his sin and his nakedness right away. He quickly accuses Eve of "this bad bargain," and is sorry that he believed her stories.

fifteenth

Cawley, 2. 3.

p. 23.

"Adam," See Bede

Jarrett, O.P., Social Theories of the

Newman

Bookshop, 1942),

in B.

H. Clark,

ed.. Vol.

p.

81,

311.

p.

I,

Middle Ages (Westminster, Md.: The ed.. The Exempla

and Thomas Frederick Crane,

or Illustrative Stories from the Sermones Vulgares of Jacques de Vitry

(New

York:

more important because of its wide circulation in these centuries as a source of anecdotes and parables used by priests and friars was the Gesta Romanorum (c. 1340). It gave the same picture of the female sex. Burt Franklin, 1971),

4.

Cited

in E.

T. Healy,

p.

235; even

Women According to Saint Bonaventure (New York:

Georgian

Press, 1955), p. 46. 5.

The

first

versions of the fabliaux are from the thirteenth

In their crudest form, they appeared in the towns

women

as a group, rarely as individuals,

negative lesson about the female sex.

all

and fourteenth

centuries.

They them to

across Europe.

and almost always use

A number of articles

portray

teach a

have been written on the

audience for the fabliaux and their misogyny. See the bibliography by Roberta L.

Krueger and E. Jane Burns

mance Notes, Vol. XXV, Lacy, "Fabliau

for

Women,"

in

White, "Sexual Language and tive

Studies in Society

discussion of

them

"Women

in

Medieval French Literature,"

no. 3 (Spring 1985), pp.

375-90 and

in

Ro-

especially Norris

J.

the same volume, pp. 318-27, and Sarah Melhado

Human

and History,

vol.

as a source for

Conflict in

Old French Fabliaux," Compara-

24,no. 2 (1982), pp. 185-210. For historians'

townsmen's attitudes toward women, see

for

example Howell, Women, pp. 181-83. 6.

Menagier,

7.

See Judith C. Brown, Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), pp. 133-34.

8.

See examples

9.

p.

50.

for Nuremberg in Strauss, p. 113. M. Margaret Newett, "The Sumptuary Laws of Venice

Nun

in

in

Renaissance Italy

the Fourteenth and

Fifteenth Centuries" in T. F. Tout and James Tait, eds., Historical Essays by

Members of Owens p.

College, Manchester (London:

Longmans Green and Co.,

1902),

247.

Renaissance Florence,

10.

Cited

1 1

For additional examples see the following:

in Brucker, ed..

242-43,

Owen Hughes

Germany, Herzfeld

Sybille Harksen,

(New

Kaplan, ed.,

Women

p.

in the

York: Abner Schram, 1975),

Philippe Erlanger, The

(New

in

York: Harper

&

p.

181.

for Italy, Klapisch-Zuber,

42, Origo, Merchant,

Middle Ages, p.

Women,

pp.

pp. 260-69; for

translated by

Marianne

22, Sachs, p. 33, Strauss, pp.

1 1

3-14,

Age of Courts and Kings: Manners and Morals I S 58- J 71 Row, Publishers, 1967), p. 257; for England, Thrupp, Mer-

NOTES TO PAGES

528

pp. 146-48; for France, R.

chant,

434-438

Turner Wilcox,

York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1944), 12.

Cited

13.

See Katharine M. Rogers, The Troublesome Helpmate:

Hiibner,

in

Cited

Origo, Merchant,

in

Costume (New

in

p. 67.

Literature (Seattle: University of 14.

Mode

TTie

96; for Spain, Defourneaux, pp. 56-58.

p.

Washington

A

History of Misogyny in

Press, 1966), p. 70.

259; for other examples, see Henriques,

p.

p.

45, Sachs,

p. 52.

15.

Decameron,

p.

201.

16.

Decameron,

p.

318.

17.

See "The Miller and the

image of

humor

insatiability

to old

Two Clerics,"

women. "Unchastity"

Charterhouse near Avignon

Hellman and O'Gorman,

is

Garrard, eds.,

p. 79.

The

their

portrayed in relief on the twelfth-century

of

a goat.

Women,"

Medieval

in

See Henry

Broude and

popular storytellers of the fabliaux and the clerical author

mocked the

of the Fifteen Joys of Marriage lusting in a decrepit body.

The

old

woman

no

old widow,

less insatiable

but

now

always rejoices in her husband's death,

ready for "the delight and pleasure of young flesh." Elisabeth Abbott, trans.,

The Fifteen Joys of Marriage (London: The Orion Hellman and O'Corman, eds., pp. 148, 152, 156. 18.

The

eds., p. 57.

when men turned

naked hag having intercourse with

as a

"Eve and Mary: Conflicting Images

Kraus,

now

in

took a particularly loathsome form

The term "cuckold" came from

the cuckoo,

who

Press, 1959), p. 192.

See also

lays eggs in other birds' nests

and

they, unsuspecting, raise them. 19.

See Hellman and O'Gorman,

20.

For examples of laws see

21.

eds., pp.

171-77.

for Italy, Calisse, pp. 438, 571; for France, Girard, p. 495,

Brissaud, pp.

138-40; for England, Stone, Family,

Dahlsgard,

42; for Switzerland, Monter, "Geneva," p. 192.

p.

pp. 22, 145; for

abandoned babies

In the years of famine 1430-1439, 66.3 percent of the rence's girls

San Gallo were female. Trexler, "Foundlings,"

was higher than that

New

for boys.

p.

Denmark,

268.

The

See Richard C. Trexler, "Infanticide

in Florence:

Sources and First Results," History of Childhood Quarterly, Vol.

(Summer

24.

The

no. 7

"Tuscan

101.

p.

23. Kirshner

I,

1973), pp. 101-102.

22. See Herlihy in Martines, ed., p. 146; see also the figures for Pistoia, Herlihy,

Town,"

at Flo-

mortality rate for

and Mallio, "Dowry Fund,"

p.

420.

attacks continued into the next year,

when he was

accused, convicted, and

executed. Brucker, ed.. Renaissance Florence, pp. 152-53. 25. Cited in Ross 26.

and McLaughlin, Medieval Women,

York:

The Devin- Adair Company,

27. See cases

from Brucker,

ed.,

13.

Brucker, ed.. Renaissance Florence,

29.

See Clark,

30. Cited in

p.

Butler-Bowden (New

p.

121.

191.

Ozment,

"About the

W.

1944), p. 49.

Renaissance Florence.

28.

31.

p.

Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe, edited by

p. 3.

Men Who Came

to

translated by Peter Rickard, Alan

Heaven," Brewer

ed., in

Medieval Comic

Tales,

Deyermond, Peter King, David Blamires, Michael

Notes to Pages 438-443 Lapidge, and Derek Brewer (Cambridge, Eng.: D,

529 S.

Brewer Ltd., 1972), pp. 53-

54.

32. Abbott, Fifteen Joys,

pp. 43, 137.

35.

Hans Sachs, Seven Shrovetide Plays, translated by E. V. Ouless (London; H. F. W. Deane & Sons, The Year Book Press Ltd., 1930), p. 33. Cited in Davis, Society and Culture, p. 116. See for example. Crane, ed., Vitry, pp. 222-23, 231; William Woods, England in

36.

Decameron, pp. 715-17.

33.

34.

the

Age

Chaucer (New York: Stein and Day Publishers, 1976), pp. 97-98.

of

37. Menagier, p. 150. 38. Menagier, p. 145. 39. Menagier,

52.

p.

White, "Sexual Language,"

40. Menagier, p. 168; see

an

for

earlier version, p. 201.

41. Brucker, ed.. Renaissance Florence, pp. 38-39.

Eugene

42. Cited in

F. Policelli,

Women: A

"Medieval

Women's

Preacher's Point of View,"

(May/June, 1978), p. 287; Leah King, "Caldiera and the Barbaros on Marriage and the Family: Humanist Reflections of Venetian Realities," The Journal of Medieval and

International Journal of

Studies, Vol.

I,

no. 3

see also Margaret

Renaissance Studies,

vol. 6, no.

(Spring 1976), pp. 32-34, for

1

baro's secular view in his treatise

De

summary

of Bar-

re uxoria.

43. Cited in Origo, Merchant, p. 25}. 44. Hogrefe,

Tudor Women,

45. Cited in

James Bruce Ross, "The Middle-Class Child

p.

147.

Mause,

to Early Sixteenth Century," in de

in

Urban

Italy,

Fourteenth

ed., p. 204.

46. Cited in Policelli, p. 286. 47. Menagier, pp. 40, 147. 48. 49.

"Adam," "Adam,"

in B.

ed.. Vol.

ed.. Vol.

Origo, Merchant,

50.

Cited

51.

Menagier,

52.

This image and

in

H. Clark,

H. Clark,

B.

p.

p.

I,

I,

p.

p.

305.

305.

194.

108. this theory of political hierarchy

became

a

commonplace

of seven-

teenth-century political writing. 53.

Decameron,

54.

Sachs, Shrovetide,

55.

See

56.

Menagier,

p.

188.

57.

Menagier,

p.

189.

p.

721.

Policelli, pp.

p. 53.

286-87.

58.

See Origo, Merchant,

59.

Menagier, pp. 171-72.

p.

385.

60. Menagier, p. 173. 61. Menagier, pp. 171-72. 62.

Gliickel,

63.

On

p.

142.

girls, see the summary in Phyllis Stock, Better Than Rubies: A History of Women's Education (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1978), Chapter II; for Florence, see Jacques LeGoflF, "The Town as an Agent of

the establishment of schools for

NOTESTOPAGES

530

443-444

1200-1500," in Cipolla, ed., The Middle Ages, p. 85; Harksen, p. Thrupp, MerchanU pp. 156, 171, and for Paris, see 304. Douglas in Ruether, ed.. Religion and Sexism, p.

for

London, see

Civilisation

64. Menagier, p. 43. 65. Titled "Patient Griselda" in English tale, see

Klapisch-Zuber,

Women,

and French

p. 228, note.

versions.

^ On

17; for

Geneva,

i r ..u the popularity ot the ,

..

.

Bibliography

This bibliography useful

is

selective

2.

Works about women Works about women

3.

General works (part by

1

and

is

designed to give the reader the names of the most

and most accessible secondary works. useful to

many

by part)

(part

information about

in

narrative.

women

not found

else-

to their lives.

References to primary sources and to very specialized

be found

and

essential to the analysis

part), including

where or giving necessary context

arranged as follows:

It is

parts.

articles

and monographs may

the Notes.

Works About

Women

Useful to All Sections

Women

Atkinson, Dorothy, Alexander Dallin, and Gail Warshofsky Lapidus, eds.

in

Russia. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1977.

Becoming Visible: Women Company, 1977.

Bridenthal, Renate, and Claudia Koonz, eds. History.

Clark, Alice.

Brace

Boston:

Houghton

Working Life of & Howe, 1920.

Dahlsgard, Inga.

Women

in

Mifflin

Women

Denmark

in the

Seventeenth Century.

Yesterday

New

in

European

York: Harcourt,

and Today. Copenhagen: Det Danske

Selskab, 1980.

Duckett, Eleanor Shipley. Medieval Portraits from East and West. of

Michigan

Women

Gies, Frances and Joseph.

Company, Harksen, Sybille.

Ann

Arbor: University

Press, 1972. in the

Middle Ages.

New

York:

Thomas

Y. Crowell

1978.

Women

in the

Middle Ages. Translated by Marianne Herzfeld.

New

York: Abner Schram, 1975.

Kaplan, Marion A., ed. TTie Marriage Bargain:

New

Women and Dowries in

European

History.

York: Harrington Park Press, 1985.

MacCurtain, Margaret, and Donncha 6'Corrain, Historical Dimension.

Ruether, Rosemary, and Eleanor McLaughlin, eds.

and Schuster, 1979.

eds.

Women

in Irish Society:

The

Dublin: Arlen House, 1978.

Women

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York:

Simon

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532

Woman

Ruether, Rosemary Radford, ed. Religion and Sexism: Images of

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New

York:

Simon and

in the Jewish

Schuster, 1974.

Concubines and Dowagers: The King's Wife

Stafford, Pauline. Queens,

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Woman

Stenton, Doris Mary. TTie English

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New

in History.

The Macmillan

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Women

in

Medieval

Society.

Philadelphia:

The

University of

Pennsylvania Press, 1976.

Uglow, Jennifer

S.

New

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York:

Continuum, 1982.

Women

Wilson, Katharina, ed. Medieval

Writers.

Athens, Ga.:

The

University of

Georgia Press, 1984.

PART

TRADITIONS INHERITED

I

Women

Works About

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Agonito, Rosemary, ed. History of Ideas on Balsdon,). P. V.

D.Roman Women:

York: Capricorn, 1977.

Their History and Habits.

New York:

Harper

& Row,

Publishers, 1962.

Brownmiller, Susan. Against

Our

Will:

Men,

Women

and Rape.

New

York:

Simon and

Schuster, 1975.

Cameron,

Averil,

and Amelie Kuhrt,

eds.

Images of

Women

in Antiquity. Detroit:

Wayne

State University Press, 1983.

Women's

Carroll, Berenice A., ed. Liberating

Urbana,

111.:

History: Theoretical

and

Critical Essays.

University of Illinois Press, 1976.

Chodorow, Nancy. The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and Gender Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978. Dahlberg, Frances, ed.

Woman

the Gatherer

New

the Sociology of

Haven, Conn.: Yale University

Press,

1981.

Danielou, Jean. The Ministry of

Women

in the Early

Church.

London: Faith

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1961.

D'Avino, Michele. The

Women

Monica Hope Jones and

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Luigi

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Duckett, Eleanor Shipley.

Women and

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Ann

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Women

Grant, Michael. Cleopatra. Hallett, Judith P.

Under Monasticism. New York: Russell and New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972.

"Sappho and Her

Social Context: Sense

Russell, 1963.

and Sensuality,"

Signs, vol. 4,

no. 3 (Spring 1979), pp. 447-464. Harris, Marvin.

"Why Men Dominate Women," New

York Times Magazine.

November

13, 1977, p. 46ff.

Hays, H. R. The Dangerous Sex: The 1964.

Myth

of Feminine Evil.

New

York: G. P. Putnam,

533

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femme dans

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la

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1

INDEX

Age

Abbesses, 183-93, 203

Abbeys, 73, 292 Abduction of women, of noble families,

of marriage, 399, 473n69,

in early cultures,

in

n70

36

noble families, 284

population control, 136

283-84

in warrior cultures, 279,

Abelard, Peter, 194-95, 255

284

Abortion, 82, 137-38

Aggression, male,

Abraham, Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, 187 Abuse of women, 436-40 female servants, 359 widows, noblewomen, 324-27

Aging, physical difference between sexes, 10 Agnes, Abbess of Quedlinburg, 201

Agnes, Countess of Dunbar, 277 Agnes,

Agnes

Acarie, Barbe (1566-1618), 250

Adela (sister of Henry I of England), 277, 299 Adelaide of Burgundy, Empress (c.93 1-999),

276

Queen

of France,

Adelaide of Monserrat, 277

(14th-century Beguine), 223

(mistress of Philip Augustus of France)

285

by dowries, 397 Accusations of adultery, 343 See also Adultery Acquests, 400, 425 Actresses, in ancient cultures, 47 capital,

Adelaide of Maurienne,

Dame

Agnes, Saint, 71

wives, in peasant cultures, 149

Accumulation of

1

300

Agnes ate Toursheade, 142 Agnes II, abbess of Jouarre, 191 Agnes of Bohemia, 197 Agnes of Burgundy, 292 Agnes of Weldon, 144 Agricultural economy, 318 production, 466-67n24, 471n30 Agricultural societies, 6, 174 yearly cycle,

93-104

Adele of Champagne, 277, 319

Agricultural work by

Adelheid, Empress (c.93 1-999), 276

Agrippina

Adelheid

(sister of

Otto

111),

198-99, 275

II,

women, 130-31

Empress

of

Rome

383-84

Anna (1504^-1564), 262 Admission to convents, 198-99, 202

Ahumada,

Adultery:

Ailred of Rievaulx, 204, 217

Adlischweiler,

early Christian views,

82

in early cultures,

38-39

laws

341^2, 343

of. 22,

339,

punishment for, 435 Northhampton, 277 Abbess of Repton, 184

Aelfgifu of Aelfthrith,

Aeneid, Vergil, 32

(15-59 ad),

43 Beatriz de,

Aidan, Saint, 185 Aix-en-Provence:

403 domestic servants, 368 prostitution, 366 charities,

wages, 361 Alais (sister of Philip Augustus of France),

285

282

Aethelfled, ruler of Mercia (d.918), 277

Alais (12th-century troubadour),

Afra, Saint, 71

Alamanda (early 12th century), 307, 308 Alberti, Leone Battista, 440, 442

Age Age

at betrothal,

399

of consent to marriage, 284, 398

Albigensians, 215, 226, 234-35

5

1

554 Albrecht IV,

Duke

of Austria, 364

Alen^on, Duke

153-55

of,

Apostolic Church,

461nl4

Apothecaries, 417

Alcantara, Peter de, 208

guild membership,

419

Alfonso V, King of Castile, 390

Apprenticeship of women, 371

Aliscons, 314

Aquinas. See TTiomas Aquinas, Saint

Allin, Rose,

Arbaliste, Charlotte d', 325

242

All Saint's Day,

Archaeological indication of women's status,

97

Almshouses, noblewomen as founders, 292 Alternative authorities, in monarchies, 339 Alvastra, Cistercian convent, 219

Amazons, 54 Ambrose (Church Father), 81 Amsterdam, 355 plague deaths, 382 Anabaptists, 243, 258-59

persecution of, 242 visionary

women, 244

Anastasia, Saint, 71

Anatomical differences, gender-related, 9-1 The Ancren Riwle, 194, 255

Andromache, 19 Androsmayden, Emma, 119 Anduza, Clara d', of Languedoc, 307 Angela Merici, Saint (1474-1540), 238-39 Anglican Church, Elizabeth 1 and, 232 Anglo-Saxons, 31

5-8 Architecture, urban, 356

Aretaeus of Cappodocia, 29 Aristophanes, 51

The Congresswomen, 32 137-38, 451n4 and age for marriage, 36 on reproductive process, 29-30 Aries, tradeswomen, 370 Arms, restriction of access, 3 1 Arranged marriages, 284, 399-400

Aristotle, 27, 28, 30, 41,

37

in early cultures, in

peasant societies, 121

Arsinoe

II,

Queen

of Egypt, 57

Art: in

medieval convents, 201

of Virgin Mary, 216 Artemis (Diana), 17, 18, 53 temple dedications, 35

adultery laws, 39

Artevelde, Philip van, of Ghent, 341

marriage agreement, 281

Artisans, 355,

widows, laws protecting, 324 Anguissola, Sofonisba, 415

Anne, Duchess of Brittany, 325 Anne, Saint, 105

Anne Anne

of Austria,

Queen

of France, 278, 391

Bohemia, Queen of England, 293, 305

of

Annulment

among

of marriage,

nobility,

339-40

342

See also Divorce Annunciation: Feast

of,

98, 103

portrayals of, 216, 389

Anthropological basis of male dominance,

13-15

birth rate,

in

367-73 517n27

412-16, 424, 524n90

Artists,

ancient cultures, 60-66

Art of the Ancient World, 41 Arundell, Lady, 291 Asceticism, early Christian, 73-77

Aspasia (5th century

Assumption, Feast

B.C.),

47

391, 518n51

of,

Astralabe, 194, 195

Athena (Minerva), 17 Athens, divorce laws, 40 Atkin, Margaret, 168 Atkins, Alice, 235

Atkinson, Joan, 99, 102

Anthropological view of Mariolatry, 486nl

Atropos (Fate), 52 Audland, Ann, 237

Anticlericalism, 16th century, 247

Augusta, Empress (388-450), 59

Antigone, 34 Antonia, Monna, 409

Antonia (1456-1491) (daughter of Ucello), 412 Antony, Mark, 58 Antwerp, 16th century, 355 Anyte of Tegea, 63 Aphrodite (Venus), 16, 17-18 statues of, 54

Apocrypha, 455n80 and Virgin Mary, 216 Apollo, 18

Augustine, Saint, 75, 79, 138 views of marriage, 82

Augustinian convent. Avila,

Augustinian

Aulon

Our Lady

of Grace,

207-8

sisters,

nursing by, 239

(squire to Joan of Arc), 154, 155

Aurelian, Emperor, 56

Austen, Jane, Northanger Abbey, xiv Austin, Anne, 236 Austria:

family patterns, 134

landholdings, 124

1

555

Auvray, Anne, 368

Behavior, handbooks, 503n84

Ave Maria, 390

Belers, Margaret,

Avice

(sheriff of

Nottinghamshire's daughter),

292

203

Belgium, religious communities, 75, 196 Ben Azzai, Rabbi, 32 Benedicti, Jean, 256

Avignon:

Benedictine orders, 76

dowries, 397

marriage documents, 395 Azalais de Porcairages (born c.1140), 309

St.

Michael's at Stamford, 204

St.

Redegund, England, 202

Benincasa, Catherine Bacchanalia, 457-58n3

Bachofen,

J.

J, 4

Baking, by peasant

women, 95

Baldino, Giovanna

di,

Ball,

250-51 Bernardino, Saint, 434, 440-41, 443

of,

Bernard of Clairvaux, 189, 196, 255, 388 view of Virgin Mary, 216, 389 Berry, Duke de. Book of Hours, 96

398

Baptism: in early

Church, 461 n26

of infants, in noble families, 294

Duchess

277

of,

Bertha, Bertha,

Baptists, 228, 235

Bar,

1347-1 380), 220-21

Bernadette of Lourdes, Saint (1844-1879),

438

John, 144

Banns, posting

(c.

ben Sirach, Joshua, 50 fieowu//, 38, 50, 334 Berkshire, Thatcham, 162-63

Babylonian Talmud, 32

Bertha,

Queen Queen Queen

of Franks (8th century),

of Kent, 73

Barbara, Saint, 71

Berthold of Regensburg, 165

Barbaro, Francesco, 441-42

Beruriah, 62,

459n34 Bessof Hardwick(b.l518), 329 Betrothal, 279, 280, 398-99

Barber surgeons, 417, 419

Barking Abbey, England, 200 Barnes, Giles, 137

in early cultures,

and divorce, 455n83 grounds

Bible:

marriage annulment, 340

for

37

Beverages, of peasants, 96

Barrenness, 20, 29, 39-40

as

Basel, persecution of Beguines,

226

New

Testament, 69, 78, 460n2 15, 22, 24, 26

Old Testament,

Bath houses, 381

Genesis, 20, 21

Baudonivia, 185

Hosea, 44

Baudricourt, Robert de, 152-53

Isaiah,

Bauem, 128 Baulacre, Elizabeth (1613-1693),

426

Bayeux, marriage contract, 395

Bayeux

tapestry, 201

Beaseley, Elizabeth, 371 Beatas, Spanish, 222

Beating of wives, 149, 259-60, 338 Beatrice (godmother of Joan of Arc), 152 Beatrice of Savoy, 275 Beatriz,

Countess of Dia (born c.1140), 307-9

Beaufort, Margaret (1444-1509), 293, 329

Anne

de,

(c.

1441-1 522), 509n89

Beauty, feminine, 35, 333

Beck,

Weedon, 102

Bedding, 319 Bedford, Duchess

of,

34-35

male dominance, 20, 21, 77 Proverbs, 37-38, 41 Bidun, Alice de, 325 Biology, and status of women, 8-1 Birth rates, 134-36 in artisan families, 517n27 control of, in noble families, 298 and female infanticide, 138-39 Black Death, 114, 382-83

and birth rate, 135 and women's wages, 132 Farm Women, 144 Blanchard, Antoine, 260 Blanche de Laurac, 227 Blanche of Castile (1187-1252), 329, 347 Blanche of Namur, 219 Black

Beaufow, Alice de, 325 Beaujeau,

319

Blandina, Saint, 71

Beer, peasant, 96

Blaugdone, Barbara, 236

Beggar women, 143 Beghards, 224, 225 Beguinages, 222

Bloodletting, 417

Catholic Church and, 224-27

223 Beguines, 215, 222-24, 410, 487n23, n24, n26 support

for,

340 276

of France (11th century),

The Bloody

Theater, van Braght, 242

Boccaccio, 360, 441

Decameron, 382, 435, 439, 443-44 Bocchi, Dorotea, 416

Bodin, 166

1

556 Body, female, early Christian views, 82-83 Boinbroke, Jehan, 408-9 Boke of St. Albans, prioress of Sopwell, 247 Boleyn, Anne,

Queen

of England,

229

Boylet, Nicolette, (1381-1447), 251

Brabant, Duchess

279, 282

of,

Bracton, Henry de, 322 Braght, Thieleman van. The Bloody Theater,

Bologna, fourteenth-century population, 357 Bolton, Robert, 257

Branchi, Andrea, 409-10

Bonaventure, Saint, 432, 433

Brasier,

Bondswomen, 125-26 Bone structure, physical

Breast-feeding, 109

difference between

sexes, 10

Boniface, Saint, 75, 191

Boniface VllI, Pope, 193

Bonnichon, Marie Jeanne, 144 of Crafts, Boileau, 372 of Divine Works, Hildegard of Bingen, 188-89 Book of Hours, 87, 92, 95, 96, 347, 390 of Catherine of Cleves, 100 harvest time, 94 horizontal loom, 101 peasant life, 98 spring season, 102-3

Book Book

women's work, 361 Book of Life s Rewards, Hildegard

Bride

gifts,

36

Bridget of Sweden, Saint (1303-1373), 199,

218-20, 289, 330 wedding of, 280-81 Brigid, Saint (c.450-523), 72, 75 Briseis (Iliad),

21

Bristol, fourteenth-century

wages, 360

Bromyard, John, 434 Brothels, 46, 363-64 Beguines, 224 Brunhild,

Queen

of Franks (6th century), 43

of Martyrs, Foxe, 264

Brunhild (heroine of Nibelungenlied), 345

of Medicine Carefully Arranged,

Bruno, bishop of Olmiitz, 225 Brussels, women's work, 361-62

Hildegard of Bingen, 189

Book Book Book

Protestant views, 260 Breech presentation childbirth, 107 Breslau, bishop of, 226 Breteuil, Eustace de, 275 Brethren of the Common Life, 226

Bruges, 355 of Bingen,

189

Book Book

William, 143

of Proverbs, 37-38, 41

of St Albans,

503n84

of Simple Medicine, Hildegard of

Bingen, 189

The Book of Special Grace (Liber specialis gratiae), IQl Book of the City of Ladies, de Pizan, xiii, 56 Book of Three Virtues, de Pizan, 289, 348 Books, medieval, 304 illuminated manuscripts, 201-2 Booty, in war, 317 Bora, Katherine von, (1499-1550), 261-62,

258, 264

Bubonic plague, 114, 382-83 and birth rate, 135 and women's wages, 132 Bucer, Martin, 262 Bulgaria, literacy rates, 177 Bull of Suppression (1631),

249

Bull Periculoso (1293), 193, 200, 202,

214

Bullinger, Henry, 262

Bures, Idelette de (?-1549), 262

Burgundians, status of women,

Burgundy, Duke

Book

3

362

of,

of Hours,

98

Busch, Johann, 248, 250

Borgia, Lucrezia, 384

Business functions, of merchant wives, 376-77

Bornelh, Giraut de, 334

Butchering season, 96

Bossuet, Jacques-Benigne, 191

Butter, 104

Boucicaut, French Marshal, 315-16

Boudica (d.62 a.d.), 52, 56 Bouesque, Jean de, 157-58 Bourbon, Antoine de, 232-33 Bourbon-Conde, Anne-Genevieve de, Duchesse de Longueville, 278 Bourgeois, Lxjuise (1563-1636), 421-22,

525nll2 Bourges, France, 356, 381 Bourges, Cathedral, 385 Boursier, Martin, 421

Bowes, Elizabeth, 263 Bowes, Margery (1538?-1560), 263

Caedmon, 185 Caesar, Julius, 42, 57 Caesarius, bishop of Aries, 76

Calbot, Margery, 149 Caldiera, Giovanni, 441

Calenda, Costanza, 416-17 Caleston,

Gena

de,

329

Caligula, 43 Calpurnia (Julius Caesar's wife), 42 Calvin, John, 262

and celibacy, 256 and child-bearing, 260

1

557 Catholic Church (cont.)

Calvin, John (cont.)

Inquisition, 169, 227

164

Institutes,

Isabella of Castile and,

views of marriage, 256, 258

women,

views of

246, 254-55, 257

2M

Calvinists, 228, 230,

and women's roles, 246 Cambi, Helene, 397 Cambridge, endowment of Camerino, Duke of, 230

colleges,

293

and and and and and and

323

Joan of Arc, 160 marriage, 123, 258, 401, 507n38

Mary Magdalen, 387 mysticism of women, 213 peasant values, 148 procreation, 105, 137-38

Camm, John, 237 Camp followers, 362

reform movements, 162 religious practice,

146-47

Candlemas, 98

and remarriage of and slavery, 359 and Virgin Mary, and women, 182, See also Church;

widows, 326

Canonesses, 185

Canonization of women, 251

Canute, 325 Capital, access by widows,

424-25

388-89 214-15, 238, 263, 265-66 Protestant sects

Capitalism, 373, 392-430, 519n2, n3

Catholic women:

Capito, Wolfgang, 262

and Protestantism, 234 and Reformation, 238-41 Caton, William, 237 ne Cattle Raid of Cuchulainn, 28

Capuchin

order,

230

Caranza, Lady (12th-century troubadour), 282 Carlisle,

Joan^415

Catullus, 34

Carmelite convents, 197 Carrouges, Jean de,

Car\ing, prehistoric, Cary,

341^2

Cauchon, Pierre, bishop of Beauvais, 156-57, 159-60 Cauer, Minna, xv Causae et curae (Liber compositae medicinae. Book of Medicine Carefully Arranged),

3

Mary (Rande), 245

Castel del Rio,

Mona

Fiore da, 367

Castelloza (born c.1200), 307

Hildegard of Bingen, 189

Caster, Drutgin van, 372 Castles, 286-87, 288,

318-19

Cazalla, Maria, 241

Castration, fear of, 12

Cecchi, Anna, 117-18, 177-78

Catechism of 1566, 258 Caterina (mother of Leonardo da Vinci), 360 Cathari, 226, 234-35

Cecilia of Oxford,

sculptural depiction of

Catherine,

Queen

women, 432

of England (wife of

Henry

Cellini,

Benvenuto, 367

Celtic cultures, 26, 27, 28, 32-33, 35, 36, 38 child care, 109

Catherine, Saint, 71, 157

Catherine (daughter of Isabella of Castile), 283

Catherine de' Medici, Queen of France (1519-1589), 233, 278 Catherine de Parthenay, Madame de Rohan,

230 Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England, 323 Catherine of Bologna, Saint, 412 Catherine of Cleves, 100 Catherine of Siena, Saint 220-21

(c.

1347-1 380),

Catholic Church, 76, 183

and Beguinages, 223, 224-27

women, 251

255-56 charitable gifts to, 291-92 charitable orders, 402 and education, 443 celibacy of clergy,

feast days,

255-56

Cellier, Elizabeth, 421

V), 291

canonization of

Celibacy, 80 of priesthood,

Cathedrals, 385, 391

418

Celebrations, religious, 388

93-94, 103

customary laws, 39, 450-5 ln2 female heroes, 56 and prostitution, 46 slavery in, 45, 126 Cely family, marriage prospects, 397 Ceres (Demeter), 18, 53, 457n3 Cesarean section, 108 Cettina of Torregreca, 88 Chaitivel, Marie de France, 313

Chansons, 306, 307-9 Chansons de geste, 270, 272, 314, 334, 344 portrayal of widows, 327

Chapman,

Nell,

1 1

Character traits, gender-related, Charitable orders, 239-40 Charity, 143 church-administered, 402

401-2 noblewomen, 291-92

individual, in towns,

of

9, 14

558 Christian V, King of Denmark, 167

Charity (cont.)

by nuns, 238 public, 393, 402

Christianity, 24, 91, 181,

Charlemagne, Emperor, 24, 191, 339 education of daughters, 304 marriage of daughters, 283 wives of, 42, 340 Charles I, King of England, 278 Charles II, King of England, 234, 237, 244 Charles V, Emperor, 166-67, 405 and Mary Tudor, 231 Charles V, King of France, 337 Charles VI, King of France, 279, 282 Charles VIII, King of France, 325 Charles the Bald, King of Franks, 276 Charybdis, 50

Chastisement of

386

views of death, 385

women's role in Church, 247 Charivaris, 438-39 as

Women, Robert

of Blois, 346

Chastity, 33, 38-39, 346

Chastity belts, 508n49 Chatelaines, 270, 285-96, 318

Chaucer, Geoffrey, portrayal of women, 435 Cheese, 104 Chester, Alice, 427 Chidley, Catherine, 234, 236, 264 Childbearing, 9, 12-13, 20, 39-40, 440 early Christian views, 81

noble families, 294-96

mysticism, 204-13

peasant values from, 146-49

54

priestesses,

and

slavery,

spread

of,

status of

126

women's

women,

roles,

229, 243-44

25, 67-77, 181-82,

226-27, 244, 253 subordination of

and

superstition,

women, 77-84

163-64

Christian texts, 450-5 ln2

Christina of

Long Bennington,

99, 102

Christina of Markyate, Saint (c.ll23), 198,

205-6, 210, 282, 284 St. Trand, 223 Christmas, 97-98

Christina of

Chrysostom, John, 79, 81, 82 Church, 76 branches of, 491nlO and charity, 402 and education, 443 and illegitimate children, 404, 405 and procreation, 105 view of prostitutes, 365-66 regulation of marriage, 326, 339-43, 398,

507n38

See also Midwives Child care, 13

323 and slavery, 126, 359 and sorcery, 163-64 and warfare, 316-17 and weddings, 123-24, 280 See also Catholic Church; Protestant Church Fathers, 74-75 subordination of women, 77-83 Churching, after childbirth, 80, 147-48 of queens, 294 Cibo,Caterina( 1501-1 577), 230 Cicero, 27, 45-46 The Cid, 275, 276 ideal women, 344

Childhood, gender differences, 10

Circe, 50

in

women, 104-12

of peasant

and

power, 303-4

political

prayers to Virgin Mary, 390-91

Protestant views, 260 of urban

women, 383-85

in warrior cultures,

38

Childbirth, 14, 31, 36, 41-42, 106-9, 147-48,

383 early Christian beliefs, in

contemporary

Italy,

ritual impurity, 23,

Childlessness,

80 176

463n65

39-40

Cistercian convents, 196, 197, 219,

of,

483n39

Clare, Saint, 196-97

293

mortality rates, 295

Clark, Alice, 144, 406

urban, guardianship of, 425

Class, socioeconomic, xix

of

sects

Citizenship, 393

Children;

education

royal control,

widowed mothers, 326, 328

Chilperic, King of Franks, 276

Chimera, 50 Chivalry, 271, 304-16

Chodorow, Nancy, 11-12 Chretien de Troyes, 305, 306 Erec et Enide, H'\-l'^, 335 Lancelot, 11 '\, 314, 334 portrayal of

women,

333, 344

Claudius, 43

A Godly Form of Household Government, 259, 260 Clement VI, Pope, 220 Clement VII, Pope, 230 Clement of Alexandria, 78 Cleopatra VII, Queen of Egypt (69-32 b.c), Cleaver, Robert,

44, 52, 57-58, 59

Clerc, Jeanette, 170

5

559 women, 255 Climate conditions, 112-1? Elizabeth, 260 Clinton, Cloistered communities, 77, 183-85, 192-93, 198-204, 214 and Reformation movement, 238, 247-50 Cloistering of nuns, 197-98 Clergy, and sexuality of

Clothar

1,

Coningsby, Judith, 278 Consanguinity, as grounds

marriage

to marriage, 82, 280, 281-82, 398

in early cultures,

36

Constantine, Emperor, 72 divorce laws, 40

Construction work, 361

King of the Franks, 75

Clothilde (6th century), 72-73

Conti, Darsena, 145

Clothing:

Contraception, 136-37

in chivalrous courts,

for

annulment, 340

Consent

in ancient cultures,

305

46 82

of merchant wives, 374

early Christian views,

of peasants, 102

Protestant views, 260

regulation of, 433-34, 477n37 Cloth making, 40-41, 99-102, 132 symbolic of fate, 52 See also Textile manufacture

Convent Convent

Clotho (Fate), 52 Clovis, King of the Franks, 72-73 Cluniac convents, 197 Cocorde, Madeleine, 397 Coe, Mary, 91 Coeur, Jacques, 356 Coitus intemiptus, 136-37

198-204 366 Protestant views, 247 Conversion to Christianity, women's roles, 229 Convertite Rule, 366 Conway, Anne, 230 Cookbooks, 375 Cornelia (wife of Julius Caesar), 42 Corpus Christi celebrations, 209, 388

of the Penitents, 366 Convents, 73, 182, 183, 195, 248-49 from Beguinages, 226 cloistered,

for prostitutes,

Calvin's views on, 260

Coke, Edward,

Institutes,

of St. Lucia, 401

338

122

Colin, Jean, 152

Corredo,

Colinet, Marie, 417

Corvinus, Antonius, 229

Colleges, establishment of, 293

Cossutia (engaged to Julius Caesar), 42

Collier,

Cottars, 128, 129

Mary, 109

Cologne, 353, 379 archbishop of, 226 Beguinages, 222

membership, 369, 372, 407 tradeswomen, 370

guild

Columban, Saint, 184 Commercial economies, 130, 318, 373, 392-430 and feudal society, 298 and peasant life, 125

Common

property, 425

Communities

of devout

women. See Beguines;

Cloistered communities

Community Companion

of acquests, 400, 425 roles, in warrior cultures,

Courtoisie, 313, 315

274

Courts, chivalrous, 305-6

Craft guilds, 367-73

Conception, 29-30 prevention of, 136-37 after rape, medieval beliefs,

Cotton thread, 100 Council of Chalcedon, 73-74 Council of Lyons (1274), 225 Council of Mainz, rulings on Beguines, 225 Council of Nicaea, 73-74 Council of Trent, 123, 451 n4 celibacy of clergy, 256 and marriage, 123, 280, 284, 340, 341 and nunneries, 248-49 and priesthood, 238 Council of Vienne (1312), 225-26 Courtesans, 46-48, 366 Courtly love, 313-16

1 1

See also Childbearing; Contraception Concerning Female Training and How a Daughter Should Guide Her Conduct and Life, Bullinger, 262 Concerning the Disorders of Women, Trotula, 421 Concubines, 22, 44, 341 Congregationalists, 228, 235 The Congresswomen, Aristophanes, 32

dowry funds, 397 Craftswomen, 392-93, 406 urban, 355,406-12

Creation myths, 21,49-50 Crespin, Jean, 242 Crete, 7-8, 15 art of, 447nl7 Crewel embroidery, 501-2n30 Crime, by peasant women, 144 Cromwell, Oliver, Lord Protector

236. 244, 245. 321

of England,

560 Crusader Kingdoms, 501 n 19 Crusades, 277, 304-5, 500n6

and Eleanor of Aquitaine, 300-301 Cuckolds, 341-42, 528nl8 Cultural basis of gender characteristics, 9 Cultural influences on status of

women, 24-25

empowering, 52-66 subordinating, 26-51

Cunning

162-64, 173

folk,

Custody of children of widowed mothers, 326, 328 Custumals, French, sixteenth century, 338 Cybele, 53

Deborah (Hebrew prophetess), 52, 55 Decameron, Boccaccio, 382, 435, 439, 443^H Decretals, Gratian, 280 Decretals, Gregory IX, 342 Defense of towns, 379 Defense of Women, Dentiere, 246 Deity, female aspects, 70, 209-10, 228, 463 n66 Demeter (Ceres), 18, 53, 457n3 Demonology, 164, 166, 478n58 Demosthenes, 39 Demut, Anna, 168 Denmark, 109, 113, 147,330-31 servitude laws, 127

widows, 142, 143, 328

Dairy products, 104

Damian,

witchcraft persecutions, 167, 168, 171

Peter, 293

Dent, Joan, 426

Dangers: to

noblewomen, 283

in

peasant societies, 112-18

to urban

Dentiere, Marie, Defense of Women, 246 Dependency of women, in warrior cultures,

279 Les Deus Amanz, Marie de France, 313 Devil, powers of, 163-66 Devout women, Catholic, 239-41 Virgin Mary as role model, 217-18

women, 378-85

in warrior cultures,

275-76

Danish culture, slavery in, 126 Dati, Bandecca, 384 Dati, Berta, 383 Dati, Ginevra, 383, 384

Dexter, Alice, 235

Dati, Gregorio, 383, 384, 397, 399 Datini, Francesco, 365, 375, 376, 384, 404-5,

Diaz, Maria, 222

410 slave trade,

Dido, 32

359

Datini, Margherita, 139, 374, 375, 376, 379,

385, 440, 442, 443 rosaries,

Daughters, 33-35, 199

524n90

of craftsmen, dowries, 395

forced marriages, 284 illegitimate, in towns,

359-60

ancient cultures, 59

education marriage

of, of,

in

293-94 282-83

Discipline:

398

peasant societies, 145-46

Dauphin

merchant households, 375 noble households, 290 Dirks, Elizabeth, 242 Discalced Carmelites, 211, 250 in in

of noble families, 320-23

parents' control of maniages,

and age of puberty, 105 of merchant families, 375 in noble households, 290 of peasants, 95-97 Dietof Augsburg (1530), 229 Dietrich, Justina (c.l645-?), 422 Dinner:

inheritance rights, 122, 124-25, 320-23 in

Diemud(c.l057-1130), 201 Diet:

390

Datini family, domestic servants, 368

artists,

Dhouda, wife of Bernard of Septimania, 327 Diana (Artemis), 17, 18, 53

of France, 153, 155-56

of peasant children, 110 of wives,

439-40

Disease, in towns, 381-83

Davia, Saint, 71

Dishonorable roles for women,

Davies, Eleanor, 245

44-49 Dissenters, women, 234

Day

laborers, 129,

Death

130

ancient

Dissolution of marriage, 339, 342, 401

duties, 141

aspects, 342-43, 401 See also Annulment of marriage; Divorce

economic

Deaths.

from bubonic plague, 114-15 in childbirth, 294-96, 384 children of poor people, 403 in peasant societies, 111-12

Distaff side, 41,

99

Division of labor, gender-related, 13-14

Divorce, 339, 401, 455n83, n85 for barrenness,

from plague, 382 religious views of,

in

cultures,

385

See also Infant mortality; Mortality rates

39

Biblical regulations, in early cultures,

463n73

21-22, 40

1

561

Dubrovnik, dowries for illegitimate daughters, 359

Divorce (cont.) by Jewish women, 450n77 among nobility, 342 in Protestant sects,

Dunois (French commander), 154 Diirer, Agnes, 370 Diirer, Albrecht, 412

492n27

Doctors, 416-19

St.

Catherine of

Dolni \ estonice, Czechoslovakia,

3,

xvi

noblewomen, 318 in religious orders, 184 See also Responsibilities of

Documentation of Joan of Arc, 151-52 Doddington, Edith, 426 Dodgson, Peggy, 132 Domestic

women,

Duties of

in early cultures, 61

Doctors of the Church, Siena, 220-21

women

Dyeing of thread, 100-101 Dynastic function of wives, 42-43

5-6

Dynasties, 273

322

royal, 316,

servants:

dowries, 394-95

Dysentery, 113

404-5 peasant, 131, 132, 472n50 urban, 358-59, 367

Earnings of prostitutes, 363

illegitimate children of,

Dominance

patterns, gender-related, 8,

Easter, 94, 97, 103 1

Dominic, Saint, 196, 197 Dominican convents, 196, 201-2 St.

Catherine's of Nuremberg, 203

Eastern Church, 491 n 10 Eastern Europe: property rights, 125

serfdoms, 127-28, 129 utensils, sixteenth century, 374 Echidna (mythical monster), 50 conditions, 162, 287-88, 298, 316, 360 of castles, 290-91 in convents, 202-3

Dominican monasteries, and women's groups,

Eating

226 Dominicans, and Ave Maria, 390 Domremy, France, 103, 152

Economic

Doria, Andrea, 355-56 textile industry, 408-9 Double burden of women's work, xvi, 41, 174 Double monasteries, 183, 185, 481 nl Double standard of sexual behavior, 39, 436 in ancient cultures, 45, 46 in warrior cultures, 21-22 Dowdall, Katherine, 284 Dower, of noblewomen, 281, 324 Dowries, 36, 42, 199, 281, 399-400 in ancient cultures, 454n64 charitably provided, 402 in commercial economy, 396, 397 control of, 400 for convent endowment, 202-3 for illegitimate daughters, 359-60 and inheritance, 520nl9 of noblewomen, 321 in peasant cultures, 120, 121-22 royal, 319-20

Douai, Flanders,

of urban

women, 395

servants,

Dowry

279

426 199, 397-98

Drax, Frances, 295 Dress: in chivalrous courts,

305

of merchant wives, 374 of peasants, 102

regulation of, 433-34,

477n37

Droit du seigneur, 120-21

Drought, 113

membership, 407-10

population growth, 135-36 serfdoms, 128-29 slavery,

126

Economic opportunities of women, 392-93 Edicts of Persecution, 461n24 Edmund, Agnes, 235 Education: in

ancient cultures, 60-62

in

convents, 184-93, 201, 203, 239, 250

in feudal societies,

304-5

of guildswomen, 371 in

Hebrew

culture, 32

442-44 merchant wives, 376 of noblewomen, 293-94 of ideal wives, of

reformation

movement

and, 264-65

townswomen, 424 345-49

in warrior cultures,

rights, 324,

trusts,

family size, 384 guild

of wealthy

368

in warrior cultures,

widows'

and and and and and

The Education of His Daughters, Geoffrey de la Tour-Landry, 346-47 Edward II, King of England, 282 Edward III, King of England, 275 Edward IV, King of England, 326 Edward VI, King of England, 231 Edwards, Thomas, 257, 264 Edwin, King of Northumbria, 73 Egypt, ancient, divorce, 455n85 Eighteenth century, 113, 117, 134-36, 139 artists,

416

562 Embroiders guild, 371, 406 Embroidery, 501-2n30

Eighteenth century (cont.) consent to marriage, 282 dowries of servants, 368

Employment,

folk magic, 173

Empowerment

in

towns, 358, 412, 418

of

women:

ancient cultures, 52-66

highway robbery, 144

in

peasant

Christianity and,

life,

95, 102, 115, 120, 121, 122,

124, 129-33

67-77

by mysticism, 211

rebellions, 145

in

serfdom, 129

noble families, 297-99

in religious

241

Sisters of Charity,

Engelberge,

communities, 194

Queen

of Franks (d.891),

wages, 361

Engels, Friedrich, 4, 6

wedding

England:

dresses, 123

Eighth century:

birth control, 136

education, 184

birth rates, 135

marriage, 36

charity, 291

martyrs, 72

childbirth, 106,

communities, 75

religious

rule of queens, slavery,

294-95

chivalrous courts, 305

Church subjugation

276

283, 284

death duties, 141

Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204), 196, 198, 269-70, 273, 276, 283, 299, 300-304

employment

dowries, 321-22

education, 184 regulations,

estate

Fontevrault, 292

marriages of daughters, 283, 284

Eleanor of Provence,

Queen

of England, 306

folk magic, 173

forced marriages, 284

Eleusinian Mysteries, 457n3

gentry, 289

Eleventh century, 297-98

guild

birth rates, 135

membership, 369, 371, 406, 407 139 inheritance patterns, 320-21, 322 infanticide, 138,

286-87

feudal obligations, 288

land holdings, 124, 129

foundations, 292

legal status of

illuminated manuscripts, 293

licensing of doctors,

338 marriage agreement, 281 marriage laws, 341, 342 peasant life, 96, 132 queens, 277, 336 slavery, 126 trade, 392

literacy,

legal status of wives,

warfare, 273,

499n2

women, 338

mortality rates of mystics,

names

women,

119, 337

noble households, 318-19 peasant

life,

93-96, 98, 99, 102, 103,

108-11, 113, 120-22, 128, 131, 133 political protests,

Eliezar, Rabbi, 32

queens, 277, 337

Elisabeth of Braunschweig (1510-1588), 229,

religious conflict,

rights,

410-11

powerful abbesses, 191 prostitution, 363

234

serfdom, 127

264 Elizabeth, Saint (mother of John the Baptist),

105 1,

noblewomen, 294

221-22

of

324 Elfled of Northumbria, 198 Eliduc, Marie de France, 310, 312-13

Elizabeth

418

264

plague, 114-15

wet nurses, 295 widows'