Free Essay

Female Artists During the Medieval Ages

In: English and Literature

Submitted By eoandfabi
Words 1973
Pages 8
Female Artists during the Medieval Ages
Humanities I
Spring 2009
In the extremely hierarchical medieval society the social classes differed greatly from each other in their legal rights, economic circumstances and modes of living. Feudal society consisted of three classes, the Worshipers, Warriors, and the Workers. With few exceptions, women were ranked according to their husband’s or father’s status. They rarely achieved any status outside of their relationship with men as wives, mothers, and daughters. For this reason, it is interesting to explore how and why certain women were able to live separately from men in convents and create works of artistic value that survive today.
During the Pre-Romanesque (500-1000 AD) and Romanesque (1000-1200) period of the middle ages, most of the art was created in monasteries for religious purposes. This art was primarily in the form of illuminated or illustrated manuscripts. Illuminated manuscripts were hand-written books of religious texts, like a bible, or works by saints or religious leaders. Some illustrated manuscripts were also copies of Roman or Greek works of philosophy. These manuscripts were ornate and beautiful volumes that were expensive and time consuming to produce. It could take months or years to produce an illuminated manuscript. The manuscript included ornamental borders, capital letters and illustrations some in gold and silver leaf. The illustrations themselves used a very rich and vivid palette of colors like rich blues and deep reds. At a minimum, an illuminated manuscript only had ornamental capital letters, but many included heavily decorated borders along with miniature paintings which depict scenes from the book; some members of the nobility even had their portraits inserted into such miniatures. The bindings of the books were sometimes inlaid with jewels (Chadwick 52). Initially, illustrated manuscripts were produced in monasteries and then in the later middle ages in professional scriptoria. While the majority of the illustrated manuscripts were made my men, there were some women who led non-traditional medieval lives and were able to spend years creating art.
The development of the convent system during the early Middle Ages (500-1000 AD) allowed women to retain some independence from men and initiated a tradition of learned women as nuns. Women in Frankish society were more independent of their fathers and brothers, more capable of making decisions about their lives, and allowed to hold landed property and to play a role in political life than in Roman times. This more liberated woman conflicted with Roman family, legal, and political practice, and some Catholic bishops thought it conflicted with St. Paul’s view of women. St. Paul wanted women to keep quiet and take a back seat in the churches and be chaste and perfectly celibate (Cantor 119). As the Frankish nobility became more Romanized and Christianized, the traditions of the Roman law became more prominent and the status of women declined more and more. However, in more remote places like England or northern Germany, there was still some remaining sense of independence of the wealthy women of the nobility as there had been in Frankish society before 700. While this kind of woman eventually disappeared by the late middle ages, the women of the early middle ages left a kind of legacy behind. The sisters, widows, and daughters of Frankish kings, dukes, and counts chose not to marry or remarry and were encouraged by priests to ‘take the veil’. These wealthy women brought with them their dowries, usually in the form of land. Often, the wealthy older women who entered the convent became the abbess (Cantor 120). The women of this early medieval Frankish nobility played a very important role in starting the tradition of the convent life. It was a form of independence and maybe even a little bit of feminism that was acceptable since it came in the form of spiritual devotion.
Women during the middle ages would chose to enter convent life for a variety of reasons. Of course, spiritual reasons for entering a convent were present but some women would also take the veil because the convent allowed them relative freedom from male domination, a better schooling than they could get in the outside world, and if they became an abbess, they would have authority (Shahar 8). There were even some instances where women would enter a convent because they were unhappy in their marriage. In theory, any woman could decide to enter a convent. In reality, it was mostly women of the nobility or the wealthy bourgeoisie that became nuns. The main reason for this was that unmarried women who entered convent brought their dowries with them. And this was the main source of income for the convents. Women from the lower classes were sometimes also accepted but they came in as lay sisters or maid servants. This lower class of servants allowed nuns from the richer convents to dedicate their time to embroidery, illuminations of books and reading (Shahar 44). Education was necessary since one of the tasks of these privileged nuns would have been copying the text of manuscripts, prayers and the bible. Nuns with talent for art were allowed to work as an illuminator. Most nuns who came from noble families already had some kind of education which was further continued in the nunnery. Education in the middle ages for men began in the monasteries by monks and then later was switched to Dominican universities and colleges. The universities and colleges did not allow women so the only place a woman could continue to receive education was in the convents. Usually the abbess taught the nuns, however, some convents had monks come in to teach them (Shahar 50). This continued education allowed the sisters to copy and illuminate books. The Cistercian nunneries near Lierre, for example, were important centers of illumination and calligraphy during the thirteenth century. Even those authors of the middle ages who were hostile to women and opposed to their education felt that it was acceptable for a nun to be educated (Shahar 51). Some of these educated nuns, like Hildegard of Bingen and Herrad of Landsbert, became mystics and saints and their writings have survived to modern times.
Unfortunately, the names of most female artists have been lost over time for several reasons. The lives of nuns were dedicated to their faith and this included a renunciation of worldly esteem. Nuns adopted a different name when they entered a convent and their previous life and name no longer existed. So the work of nuns often tended to be anonymous. It would have been against their religious vows to claim ownership of illuminations they had painted. The exception to this would have been the leader of the convent or nunnery, the abbess. However, the names and works of art that survive show us that there was a group of literate, well trained, scholarly and artistic group of women living during the middle ages.
The first documented example of an extended work on miniatures was the work by Ende. Ende was a female manuscript illuminator who worked on a 10th century group of manuscripts, of which there are 24 known copies with illustrations. These manuscripts are the Commentary on the Apocalypse compiled by the Spanish monk Beatus of Liébana in 786. The manuscripts were done in a style developed in Spain that uses elements of Islamic art. They used geometric designs, rich colors, ornamented grounds, and stylized figures. She signed the work as DEPINTRIX (paintress) and DIE AIUTRIX (helper of god). Her involvement proves that monks were not the only ones who worked in the scriptoria (Chadwick 53). Image: Ende, The Battle Dragon with Child of the Woman-Beatns, Apocalypse of Gerona-975.
Claricia was a 13th century illuminator. She included a self-portrait in a South German psalter of c. 1200. In the self-portrait, she depicts herself as swinging from the tail of a letter Q and above her head, she inscribed her name. As was normal for manuscript illustration, Claricia was just one of several artists that worked on this manuscript. Because of her dress and appearance, it seems that Claricia was a lay student at the convent. (Chadwick 53). Image: Claricia, Self-Portrait-Ger.,Plaster, C.1200
Guda was a 12th century nun and illuminator. She created a self-portrait in an initial letter in a manuscript. Along with her self-portrait, she wrote an inscription, "Guda, a sinner, wrote and painted this book" (Chadwick 53). Image: Guda, Self-Portrait,(Homeliary) 12th Century, Frankfurt-Bibliothck.
Diemoth of the Cloister of Wessbrun in Bavaria was a pious recluse born about 1060 of a noble Bavarian. At an early age she entered the Benedictine nunnery where she spent most of her life in prayer and in transcribing valuable books. On account of her exceptionally beautiful handwriting she was styled the beautiful scribe. She copied about 45 volumes the titles of which are given by Becker in his Catalogi bibliothecarum antiqui (Bonn 1885), 155-136. The most important are: the Bible, the Moralia and other works of St. Gregory the Great, seven works of St. Augustine, four of St. Jerome, two of Origen, and about 15 liturgical works. (Ott)
These next two women were the most well known of their time. Primarily because they were both heads of convents and because their work went beyond simply illuminating someone else’s work, but rather they wrote their own religious texts and influenced events around them.
Herrad of Landsberg was a 12th century Alsatian nun and abbess of Hohenburg Abbey in the Vosges mountains. She is the author of the illustrated encyclopedia Hortus deliciarum (The Garden of Delights). The work is adorned with symbols throughout. Some of the symbols are historical, some are scenes from Herrad’s life and there are even some portraits of the sisters in her convent. Her work is much admired for her artistic imagination (Chadwick, p. 55). Image left: Harrade von Landsburg, "Horticus Deiciarum", 12th Century, line drawing. Image right: Harrade von Landsberg, The Nuns Hohenburg, line drawing, Hortus Deliciarum.
Hildegard of Bingen was one of the better known religious women of the middle ages. She even had her own biographer after her death because of her involvement with religious and political figures of her time and her religious writings. Hildegard’s first and greatest work is The Scivias. She worked on The Scivias for 10 years and in it, she describes her religious experiences. The images of her visions are why she is important to art historians. The Scivias consists of 35 visions relating and illustrating the history of salvation. It seems to be the first medieval manuscript in which line and color are used to reveal the images of a “supernatural contemplation”. The paintings are characterized by a “highly individualized sensibility” (Chadwick, 53). Image left: Hildegarde von Bingen, "Cosmos", from Seivins Book. Image right: Hildegard von Bingen, The Chained Beast, Seivias Book, 1165.
While today we may see the life of a nun in a convent as a restrictive one, in truth, some women of the middle ages chose life as a nun in order to gain some measure of independence from the childbearing and wifely duties of a medieval woman. Even the development of the convents themselves seems like a stance against loss of authority by the early Frankish nobility women. Some noble women were even able to cultivate their talents in art and writing and devote themselves to this scholarly work.

Works Cited

Cantor, Norman F. “The Civilization of the Middle Ages.” New York: Harper Perennial, 1994
Chadwick, Whitney. “Women, Art, and Society.” Thames and Hudson, London, 1990
Ott, Michael. "Diemoth." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 21 Apr. 2009 <>.
Shahar, Shulamith. “The Fourth Estate : A History of Women in the Middle Ages.” New York Taylor & Francis, 2003.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Medieval Theatre

...1. INTRODUCTION Medieval theatre refers to the theatre of Europe between the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century A.D. and the beginning of the Renaissance in approximately the 15th century A.D. Medieval theatre covers all drama produced in Europe over that thousand year period and refers to a variety of genres, including liturgical drama, mystery plays, morality plays, farces and masques. A theatrical performance in the Middle Ages was much more than just an example of a literary genre; it was often a social, religious, and commercial event affecting a whole community and involving not only the spoken word, but also spectacle, music, and even dance. 2. HIGH AND LATE MEDIEVAL THEATRE As the Viking invasions ceased in the middle of the 11th century A.D., liturgical drama had spread from Russia to Scandinavia to Italy. Only in Muslim-occupied Spain were liturgical dramas not presented at all. Despite the large number of liturgical dramas that have survived from the period, many churches would have only performed one or two per year and a larger number never performed any at all. The Feast of Fools was especially important in the development of comedy. The festival inverted the status of the lesser clergy and allowed them to ridicule their superiors and the routine of church life. Sometimes plays were staged as part of the occasion and a certain amount of burlesque and comedy crept into these performances. Although comic episodes had to truly wait......

Words: 3428 - Pages: 14

Premium Essay

Medieval Ages

...During the Medieval Ages, numerous religions had emerged as well as subsided. It is known to be that majority groups such as Christianity and Islam overpowered the minority groups such as Judaism. Irrespective of the diverse cultures, and religions, Jews had not been supported by numerous individuals and were looked down upon. It was up to the scarce amount of Jews left during this period of time to amplify their religion, their culture, and share it with the world. Savoring as much tradition as possible to be passed down to their children, taught day and night, the Jews struggled severely to value their religion and to remain who they are today, who they were in the past, and who they will transform into the future. According to the article the Success of the Jewish Medieval Ideal, the author goes into depth displaying to its readers the amount of profundity, which existed within their home, synagogue, customs, and traditions in the European Age. Often referred to as Master Benedict as the Rabbi, and his wife as Mistress Rachel, the couple would first wake upon reminding themselves to thank God for all he has provided for them. Furthermore, remembering to appreciate their one God “Hashem”, reciting prayers and celebrating all the goodness that God had to offer for all his children. Attending the bet haknesset, was where the Jews would reunite and travel as a unity. Disregarding “special training”, and not individualizing anyone out, this was a harmonious place......

Words: 333 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

The Artist

...Introduction In current world of moviemaking, films are often created to meet the formula that appeal to today’s audiences. Modern movies offer high action, incredible special effects, 3D, or 3D animation to capture the audience’s attention, but one Oscar winning film deviated from this traditional recipe, “The Artist”. French director Michel Hazanavicius brought back to life the bygone era of silent movies and broke the current Hollywood blueprint. A quote from the novel “The Chosen” seems appropriate when describing this film, “I've begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own” (Potok, 1967). “The Artist” The year is 1927 and Hollywood is in its last few years of silent movie production. A new and exciting medium is starting to make its way into the theaters, the “talkies.” George Valentine (Jean Dujardin), a mixture of Rudolf Valentino, Errol Flynn, and Douglas Fairbanks, is the biggest superstar at the studio he works for and on the silent screen. Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) is the fledgling extra looking to find her way in Hollywood. Peppy, with her unforgettable smile and charm makes an impression on George who happens to be at odds with his wife in his personal life. There is obvious chemistry between the two that is sparked in a playful dance scene when George mimics the steps of Peppy, but doesn’t realize who it is because he can only see her legs. George and......

Words: 1459 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

The Beginning of Capitalism During the Middle Age

...naissance du capitalisme au Moyen Age Sommaire I. C’est dans la décomposition de l’ordre féodal que va s’enraciner la formation du capitalisme marchand 6 a. Un ordre féodal qui, à l’origine, est un frein structurel à l’apparition d’une économie de marché 6 i. Une économie domaniale fermée, caractéristique du monde féodal 6 ii. La condamnation de l’usure par l’Eglise 7 b. Croissance démographique et urbanisation 9 iii. La croissance démographique engendrée par les progrès réalisés dans l’agriculture constitue un premier levier de développement 9 iv. Le développement des villes du Xème au XIIIème siècle 9 v. Le mouvement communal 11 vi. Les nouveaux acteurs qui apparaissent dans ces villes 13 c. De nouvelles techniques qui permettent une augmentation de la production 14 vii. Le rôle des constructions d’églises 14 viii. Les innovations des campagnes 15 II. Le renouveau du commerce 16 d. Les conditions matérielles du commerce 16 ix. Les transports 16 x. La monnaie et le crédit : la naissance d’un système bancaire 18 xi. Les innovations juridiques liées aux besoins croissants de capitaux 20 e. Les lieux du commerce 29 xii. Les foires 29 xiii. Le grand commerce international au XIIIe siècle 30 xiv. Les « centres » du commerce en Europe occidentale 31 III. Peut-on réellement parler de « naissance » du capitalisme au Moyen Âge ? 35 f. La thèse récente de Jacques Le Goff dans Le Moyen Age et l’argent publié en......

Words: 9908 - Pages: 40

Free Essay

Old English Literature During the Dark Ages

...OLD ENGLISH LITERATURE DURING THE DARK AGES ABSTRACT This period extends from about 450 to 1066 A.D. The sources of Old English literature, as we know it, are rooted in their Teutonic origins and were evolved by the spirit that drove the times. In addition to reflecting the violence of the age, however, Old English literature also provides insight into the hearts and souls of a culture that had a strong attachment to nature; where loyalty and honor were more important than life. And for a culture that did not believe in the immortality of the human soul. Beowulf is the oldest and longest known poem of the Old English period. The passionate struggle between Beowulf and the sea monster Grendel is a reflection of the struggle between man and the forces of nature. INTRODUCTION The Medieval Times encompass one of the most turbulent periods in the History of England and scatter the Medieval History books and other historical documents. Middle Ages embraced two quite different periods of literary history, the Old English (or Anglo-Saxon) and the Middle English, sharply divided from each other by the Norman duke William´s conquest of the island in 1066. Both English culture and the English language changed radically in the years following this event, and English literature was given a new spirit. (The Norton Anthology of English Literature) Old English was the West Germanic language spoken in the area now known as England between the 5th and 11th centuries.......

Words: 1003 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Annotative Bibliography Marriage in Medieval Ages

...Marriage in Medieval Times Marriage: a union of two loved ones. In medieval ages women did not have a choice about who to marry. The arrangement was done by the children’s parents, in those ages children were married at a young age girls were as young as 12 and boys were as young as 17. Medieval society’s expectation of marriage was quite different from the expectations of marriage now days. Men were sometimes able to choose their wives. Marriage back then was not based on love, but actually a political arrangement. Amt, Emilie. Life in a Medieval Village. 5 November 2013 <>. There were a lot of reasons why marriage could be prohibited as opposed to today; one of the reasons was if the two were closely related it was prohibited for them to get married. If the boy and the girl had taken any vows before it was also prohibited for them to be married. Other reasons included rape, adultery and incest. Carter, Rachelle. Marriage in medieval times. 5 11 2013 <>. In those times there were two types of marriages: Secular and the ecclesiastical type. Secular was meant to be a protection for the social order. Ecclesiastical marriage was to protection the divine order. Secular marriage was most common during the middle ages, because marriage was seen as a civil contract between to families. It was seen as an exchange of property and money. Women were seen as part of the property being exchanged. ...

Words: 330 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay


...ANDERSON HUMA205 12/06/2013 One of the Artist I’m choosing is Taylor Swift, she is a young country pop singer-songwriter, guitarist and actress. Swift was born December 13, 1989 in Reading Pennsylvania, U.S. and her Birth name is Taylor Alison Swift. Swift is a multi- Grammy award – winning American singer/songwriter. And some interesting facts about Swift, she grew up on a Christmas-tree farm in Pennsylvania, and her Grandmother was a professional opera singer, Swift also began performing at the age of 10, and at 14 was the youngest staff songwriter ever hired by Sony Tree publishing house in Nashville, and she also wrote or co-wrote all of her songs on her self- titled debut album, and in 2009 made her acting debut,and in 2010 became the youngest artist in history to win the Grammy award for Album of the Year, and Swift was only 20 years old at the time. Also Swift was named Billboard’s Women of the Year in 2011. She was also named the American Music Awards Artist of the Year, as well as the Entertainer of the Year for both Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music. Swift is also the top-selling digital artist in music history. My next artist I am going to discuss is Leonardo de Vinci, perhaps most noted for an artist da Vinci was also an inventor an architect and chronicler of science, he was born April 15, 1542 in Vinci, Italy, and was born out......

Words: 1334 - Pages: 6

Free Essay


...means "skill method" or "technique", and conveys a connotation of beauty. During the Middle Ages the word artist already existed in some countries such as Italy, but the meaning was something resembling craftsman, while the word artesan was still unknown. An artist was someone able to do a work better than others, so the skilled excellency was underlined, rather than the activity field. In this period some "artisanal" products (such as textiles) were much more precious and expensive than paintings or sculptures. The first division into major and minor arts dates back at least to the works of Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472): De re aedificatoria, De statua, De pictura, which focused on the importance of the intellectual skills of the artist rather than the manual skills (even if in other forms of art there was a project behind).[3] With the Academies in Europe (second half of 16th century) the gap between fine and applied arts was definitely set. Many contemporary definitions of "artist" and "art" are highly contingent on culture, resisting aesthetic prescription, in much the same way that the features constituting beauty and the beautiful cannot be standardized easily without corruption into kitsch. ------------------------------------------------- The present day concept of an 'artist'[edit] Artist is a descriptive term applied to a person who engages in an activity deemed to be an art. An artist also may be defined unofficially as "a person who expresses him- or......

Words: 769 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

The Gothic Age

...The Gothic Age Possible Introduction Standing before a piece of Gothic art, whether it is a painting, sculpture or a cathedral, you are drawn to a visual exploration like none you have ever seen.  Where does the art start and end? The style of Gothic art draws the eye's attention at every turn. A choir of medieval spiritual beliefs is told in art, singing harmoniously in a language from long ago, which eludes us at the frontier of our memory reminding us of stories told throughout the years. History of Gothic Art Gothic is the name given to the style of architecture, painting, and sculpture which flourished in Western Europe, mainly France and England, between the 12th and 15th centuries. The label of 'Gothic' was coined in Italy, during the Renaissance, as a derogatory reference to the art and architecture of these earlier centuries. The defamation was a comparison to the earlier Goth barbarians. Goths were an ancient Teutonic people, who were an important power in the Roman world from the 3rd to the 6th century AD. The entire Goth population divided into the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths, aligned themselves with the Roman Empire, and set out to conquer and rule. It is during this timeframe that the artistic influence of the Goths took hold and began to spread, mixing Gothic and Roman artistic styles. With the passing centuries, Gothic became more clearly associated with the closing era of the medieval age. In time, the separating point......

Words: 1806 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Medieval Literature

...Medieval literature As the Western Roman Empire started collapsing, many government positions were taken over by Christians who condemned drama for its making fun of religion, its debauchery and paganism. It is then in the 5th century that the medieval era began and miracle plays were established. Medieval miracle plays, also known as Saints plays, are one of the three principal kinds of vernacular drama that emerged from the European Middle ages. A miracle play is based on incidents from the lives and works of the Saints. During this era people believed that the power of saints could solve their problems. Holy relics supposedly taken from the bodies of saints were kept by the church. The people believed that by praying to these relics it could cure illness. This genre originated and developed from religion, specifically Christianity as the church held the power of authority during the medieval era. The church only targeted the privileged few who were educated and understood Latin, which was the language the bible, was written in. In order to expand their followers the church decided to dramatize key Bible stories from the Creation of the Universe and the Last Judgment. The cycles were usually performed in connection with the new early summer feast of Corpus Christi, which was instituted in 1311. The Mary plays consistently involve her in the role of deus ex machina, coming to the aid of all who invoke her, be they worthy or wanton. She saves, for example, a......

Words: 722 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Medieval Age

...Hypotheses and assumptions on the movie: 5 4. Christianity in the medieval age 6 5.1. Aslan, the Lion parallel to Jesus Christ 6 5.2. The Table of Stone. 7 6. The seven deadly sins 8 6.1. Gluttony – sin by Edmund 9 7. Knighthood 10 7.1. The battle and the coronation 11 8. Conclusion 12 9. List of References 13 Abstract The purpose of this study is to analyze the medieval influences and aspects in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia; The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The movie emphasizes important elements of the Middle age. It is about the four Pevensie children, Peter, Suzy, Edmund and Lucy who entered the magic land of Narnia and with the help of Aslan, the Lion, fought the Wicked White Witch Judas. Thus they gave freedom to the other animals and restored peace and harmony in Cair Paravel and Narnia. The film captures brilliantly these moments and transmits them to the public. One of the main focuses of the film was the religious belief ‘Christianity’. The movie responds to the quasi- spiritual Christian beliefs and truths of good versus bad, highlighting the defeat of the Witch and her death. Secondly, it shows how the younger brother Edmund fell in the trap of the White Witch due to his “gluttony” of the Turkish delights and betrayed his brother and sisters. Last but not the least; the movie stresses another important aspect of medieval age “knighthood”. Peter fought with the Witch and the......

Words: 2688 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Themes During the Romantic Age

...Themes During the Romantic Age The Romantic Age consists of many different authors that come from many different backgrounds. The authors that make up this era never group themselves together. The focuses of various ideas throughout their works are why Victorian critics first identified this group of authors as “the Romantics” (Greenbalt 1418). Hays says the writers of this time period “were joined by shared ideals” and they “were, in many respects divided, but were also united by their oppositional politics, by the depth of their convictions, and by their youth” (xix). Another reason many critics group these particular authors together is the reoccurring themes they use throughout their stories and poems. Three main themes these romantic authors use are nature, imagination, and individualism. The Romantic Age writers focus on the theme of nature throughout many works. Keats directly compares writing and nature together by saying, “if poetry comes not as naturally as the Leaves to a tree it had better not come at all” (qtd. in Coombs 41). Romantic writers “were interested primarily in universals, in looking at nature as the mirror of universal truth seen not in its particulars, that is, in celandines, daisies, birds, one man’s life, or remote regions of the past, but rather in the ordered harmony of sun, moons, stars, and seasons, and in the lives of men in general” (Coleridge in his Time 31). Coombs also states nature “offers a completely new set of spiritual values”......

Words: 1231 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Medieval Cociety Roles of Women and Men

...Reversing the Roles of Medieval Women Throughout the Medieval period women were forced to take background roles in society. They were considered inferior to men and reduced to roles that were limited to motherly figures and skilled work. Unlike men, they were not allowed to take arms and once married their ownership was passed on to men. In Beowulf, whose author is unknown, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Geoffrey Chaucer, women took more active roles in the lives of them than society allowed them. In Beowulf, Grendel’s mother is portrayed as a monstrous woman who attacks men to avenge the death of her son Grendel. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Lady Bertilak and Morgan le Faye diminish the roles of men proving them to be cowards that don’t live up to the standards of powerful men. These women proved to be exceptions to the ideal medieval woman who were ultimately separate from men. Women play a minor role Beowulf, Grendel’s mother plays a significant role as she is known as just that, Grendel’s mother. She is not given a name as other women in the poem although she comes in direct contact with the poem’s main character, Beowulf. As a descendent of Cain, she invades Heorot to avenge the death of her son Grendel, who is killed by Beowulf to save their civilization. Throughout medieval literature women play background roles as mothers, caregivers, and peacemakers; they were not allowed to take arms but were reduced to their roles as women. The role that......

Words: 1037 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay


...Part I: Textual Identification Passage 2. This passage is from The Song of Roland. The author of this manuscript is unknown. The Song of Roland was believed to be written during the early 11th century. The passage describes the death of Count Roland after a battle with the Saracens. Count Roland had been fighting admirably all battle. The battle looked to be over, and then his horse and the archbishop were killed by the Saracens. Roland realized this and went to go take a break from battle under a tree. However, one of the enemy soldiers spotted Count Roland as he laid down beside the tree. When Roland’s back was turned, the Saracen soldier stabbed him in the back. Roland ended up killing the man, but he suffered a pretty substantial wound. The passage begins with Count Roland laying back down under the tree and realizing that his life on this earth is coming to an end. It seems as if he is having a moment where is remembering all the great things he has done in his life. These thoughts make him really emotional and bring him to tears. He then shifts his attention to the Christian God. He asks him for forgiveness for all the sins he has committed in his life. The next part of the passage is very interesting as Saint Gabriele comes down from heaven to bring Count Roland to heaven. Gabriele is arguably one of the most famous angels in the bible because he was the angel that came down to the Virgin Mary to tell her she was pregnant with Jesus. The......

Words: 1499 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Medieval Weapons Medieval Weapons

...Conclusion III. Castle (Defense and Offense) A. Topic sentence B. Trebuchet C. Catapult D. Cross-bow E. Conclusion IV. Coat and Arms Weapons A. Long-bow B. Flail C. Mace D. War hammer E. Conclusion V. Final Conclusion Medieval Weapons C. Wilburn 2 Have you ever wanted to know about the weapons knights used? Well the knights used different things including battle axes, bow-and-arrows, and catapults. Some were used by different people though. Some spent years of training, while others spent just a year. Some knights had armor while others didn’t. But the kind of weapons in use was the types of weaponry of the Medieval Ages. All in all, the knights had some good weapons. Medieval knights used some cool weapons. Usually when knighted, the knights would get spurs which are sharp spikes behind the heels of the knight’s shoe, to guide the horse, a shield to protect themselves in battle, and a sword to fight with. Some swords could be the slashing swords that were flat and wide sharp-edged swords to make a very destructive blow. Later in the Medieval Ages, sword makers would make thrusting swords which were longer and more pointed than slashing swords. The point of the sword can fit between armor of the knight and the chain mail which is the knights used as extra protection. Other swords were the hand-and-a-half......

Words: 729 - Pages: 3