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Women in the Medieval Court (Hardback)

Consorts and Concubines

Medieval History P&S History Social History Colour Books Women of History Medieval

By Rebecca Holdorph
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 280
Illustrations: 20 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781526739810
Published: 28th February 2022


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RRP £20.00

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While the courts of medieval Europe ate up tales of knights in shining armour and damsels in distress, the reality for the elite women who inhabited those courts could be very different. Medieval society might expect the noblewomen who decorated its courts to play the role of Queen Guinevere, but many of these women had very different ideas.

In a society dominated by men, women who stood out from the crowd could experience great success – and greater failure. Great queens, who sometimes ruled in their own right, fought wars and forged empires. Noblewomen acted behind the scenes to change the course of politics. Far from cloistered off from the world, powerful abbesses played the role of kingmaker. And concubines had a role to play as well, both as political actors and as mothers of children who might change a country’s destiny. They experienced tremendous success and dramatic downfalls.

Meet women from across medieval Europe, from a Danish queen who waged political war to form a Scandinavian empire, to a Tuscan countess who joined her troops on the battlefield. Whether they wielded power in battle, from a convent or throne room, or even in the bedchamber, these women were far from damsels in distress.

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About Rebecca Holdorph

Rebecca Holdorph holds an MA in Medieval and Renaissance Culture and a PhD in History from the University of Southampton. Her doctoral research looked at the relationships between men, women, marriage, and power in late medieval England. Today she lives in Fort Collins, Colorado and spends her time balancing her love of history, travel, and good cooking.

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