I’m very pleased to announce that the short documentary which I made as part of the PIMIC training network can now be seen online! It’s a short biography of Abbess Mathilda of Quedlinburg, a remarkable woman who successfully managed both a political and religious career in the tenth century. Check out the video at the link … More Born to Rule documentary now available online!
On July 2nd, 1936, an impressive ceremony was held in a small city in Saxony. Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the SS, led a procession of Nazi officials through the streets, past ranks of SS troopers and Hitler Youth, winding their way up to the tenth-century monastery that sat on a hill in the middle of … More Nazis in the nunnery*
Who is she? Mathilda was the wife of King Henry I, the first Ottonian king of the East Frankish empire. Renowned for her piety (helped by the fact that the two most detailed sources for her life are her Lives, hagiographical works designed to prove her sanctity), Mathilda was the mother of Otto I and Henry … More Spotlight on: Queen Mathilda of Saxony
I know it’s been quiet on the blog front lately, and part of the reason for that is the subject of today’s post. I’m very fortunate to be part of a research group on Power and Institutions in Medieval Islam and Christendom (or PIMIC for short). A number of other researchers like me are spread … More Making a historical documentary or: how I learned to stop worrying about footnotes
Over the past weekend I was lucky enough to go to on a whirlwind tour of some early medieval sites in Germany: chief amongst them being Aachen, Cologne and Essen. Unsurprisingly, I was incredibly excited to get to see some of the places that I’ve been working on. Judging by the swarming crowds at Aachen, however, … More Time shock – the hazards of visiting medieval sites
Who is she? Hrosvitha (AKA Rosvita, Hrotsvit, Hroswitha, Roswitha, Hrotsuit plus many other variations) was a canoness* from Germany who lived in the mid to late tenth century. We don’t know her exact date of birth or death, but she was most active around the 960s to 970s. As her name implies, Hrotsvitha lived at Gandersheim, … More Spotlight on Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim
As you may have gathered from my previous entries, I study female monasteries in the early Middle Ages. When I tell people this, it’s often accompanied by a blank look, until I follow it up with “or, nunneries”. This has happened often enough that I wondered if I should avoid the problem completely and stick … More A nunnery by any other name
When I explain to people that I study women and politics in the medieval world, I’ve repeatedly heard the response ‘Oh, so you’re a gender historian then?’ At first, I would nod and say ‘Yes, I suppose so’. However, as I’ve gone further with my research I’ve become increasingly uneasy with this response.
Our image of women in the medieval world tends to be somewhat grim. As one historian has put it, we see them as having two choices in life: either marriage or the cloister. When we look at the sources from this period, those women who appear are frequently being criticised, condemned or ill-treated by men … More Medieval women – only marriage and the cloister?