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Women in the Middle Ages

Women in the Middle Ages

Illuminating the World of Peasants, Nuns, and Queens

By (author) Gemma Hollman


Publishing 15th Oct 2024
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    • The biggest and best-illustrated book about the lives of medieval women
    • Illuminates the lives of women at all levels of society, from nameless peasants to world-historical figures like Joan of Arc and Eleanor of Aquitaine
    • Draws not only on written sources (which are often fragmentary and biased) but also on medieval art, which is full of surprising clues about women’s lives
    • Abundantly illustrated with medieval artworks in every medium, from colourful miniatures to imposing statues
    • Gemma Hollman is an experienced author of popular history whose previous books include the well-received Royal Witches
    Full Description

    A magnificently illustrated oversize book that uses art to illuminate the lives of medieval women, from peasants to queens.

    Medieval women ruled over kingdoms, abbeys, and households; produced stunning works of art and craft; and did the hard work that kept ordinary families fed and clothed. In medieval written accounts, however, women’s contributions were often diminished or completely ignored. Yet art tells a different story: women appear everywhere, from manuscript miniatures to statues in cathedrals. In this book, historian Gemma Hollman uncovers the captivating story of medieval European women through the art of their time.

    Hollman traces the lives of women across society, with chapters dedicated to nuns like Hildegarde of Bingen, abbess, mystic, and polymath; courtiers like Christine de Pizan, author of pioneering works on women’s role in society; warriors like Joan of Arc; and the everyday women whose names are lost to history. She illustrates her text with some 150 varied works of medieval art, revealing what they tell us about the real lives of medieval women, and about medieval attitudes toward women — which were exemplified at once by Eve, the symbol of moral fallibility, and by the Virgin Mary, the paragon of virtue.

    With its eye-opening new perspective on the lives of medieval women and how they were portrayed, this book will be a treasure for anyone interested in the Middle Ages or women’s history.

    About the Author

    Gemma Hollman is a historian and author of The Queen and the Mistress: The Women of Edward III and Royal Witches: Witchcraft and the Nobility in Fifteenth Century England. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, she works full-time in the heritage industry while running her historical blog, Just History Posts.

    Abbeville Press
    Publish date
    15th Oct 2024
    World excluding USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia
    304 mm x 228 mm
    208 Pages
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