Medieval Women-Status and Education of Women in Middle Ages. List of special women in medieval times. Joan of Arc, Saint Agnes of Bohemia, Anna Comnena, Christine de Pizan, Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Women in the middle ages had a number of different social roles to play. The middle age started from the 5th century and lasted till the 15th century. Medieval women occupied the role of wife, mother, peasant, nun, artisan and of course some of the important roles such as a queen or an abbess. However, the concept of woman during the middle ages changed in a number of ways.
Medieval England was not a very comfortable place for women though. As the medieval society was totally dominated by men, women were considered to be soulless creatures. There was no role of women in the society. The noble ladies were considered pieces of chess and they were used by their fathers and brothers. Women had a lot of family responsibilities. 90 percent of the women used to live in the rural areas therefore they were found busy in the farm work most of the time. Women’s education was never preferred even when the boys were provided with education. Only the royal females were allowed to get educated because but home schooling was proffered only.
Medieval women were not allowed to marry without the consent of their parents. They were not even allowed to divorce their husbands. If they had any brothers, they were not allowed to inherit any land from their parents either. Only widows could own property. The females from the rich families used to get married earlier than the females from the poor families. Many of the women spent a great time of their married life being pregnant because it was vital to have a son.
Women right existed but they were less tolerated because men were the dominant in the society. Women had to obey men and in return often men also treated them well. When Chivalry was introduced, the royal women lived really luxurious lives. Men started to respect them more. However there was a problem. Women were treated on the basis of their social rank only.
Despite of such a status of women, there were some great ladies in the medieval times too.
List of Special Medieval Women
Joan of Arc was an unconventional French woman. She led and inspired French army in fight against England during Hundred Years War.
Agnes of Bohemia (Saint Agnes, Anezka Ceska). Agnes was a Czech princess from Premyslid dynasty. She was youngest daughter of Ottokar I of Bohemia. She was beautiful and well educated medieval lady. She refused to play part in a politically arranged marriage (she was engaged to German emperor and also to English king). She decided to devote her life to religious works, with the St. Agnes of Bohemia 250×300 St. Agnes of Bohemia, the princess sainthelp of Pope Gregory IX. She became a member of the Franciscan Poor Clares, a religious order founded by Saint Clare of Assisi.
Agnes was well educated, whe was able to speak and to write in several languages. Agnes was lucky because she was supported in her special decisions by her father and later by her brother (both of them were Czech kings).
Saint Agnes founded Franciscan hospital and two convents in Prague. She also founded Order of Knights with Cross and Red star. The order established many hospitals in medieval Czech kingdom, today Germany and in Austria. Agnes was not only a founder. She personally took care of sick, lepres and poor. Agnes won hearth of Czech forever.
Premyslid kings were one of the most powerful kings in medieval Europe so imagine that Wenceslaus I often consulted affairs of state with his younger sister before he decided. This sounds like a heresy:).
There were a next special and creative princesses in the Czech lands. Saint Ludmila was an another Premyslid lady who lived in 10th century. Anne of Bohemia is known as Good Queen Anne in England. Anne was wife of Richard II, king of England. Anne won heart of Englishmen by her beauty and kindness. She saved many convicts from execution, she supported poor people and pregnant women. She even invented a special saddle for women.
Eleanor of Aquitaine was famous for her literacy and patronage of poets. She was educated at the court of the Duke of Aquitaine by tutors.
Christine de Pizan was the daughter of an important physician at the court of King Charles V of France. She became a professional writer, supporting her family with her poetry. She also wrote commentaries on the failures of the code of chivalry, the misogyny of her era, and the inequities of the status of women. She is said to have been self educated, though her education was certainly very good.
Anna Comnena, who was a Byzantine princess, is regarded as the most important historian of her time and place. She was educated by tutors.