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Susan M. Johns

conclusion 10 Conclusion he place of noblewomen in the twelfth century was not marginalised by the increasing shift to patrilineal primogeniture and the bio-politics of lineage, two of the key broader changes in the way that society was organised. These were seismic shifts in societal organisation, rightly identified by Bloch, Duby, Goody and Holt as fundamental.1 Within these changes the sources show that, increasingly, the place and roles of noblewomen were articulated with greater clarity through the definition of appropriate gender roles. These wider

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

emphasis on complex interactions of the political context of textual production, increasing attentions paid to critiques of wealth, power and gender definition in the twelfth century, and the origination of a new language to effect this.5 The roots of this new attention to the language which articulated queenly power, innovated in the writings of William of Malmesbury, lie in literature commissioned by royal female patrons in the specific political climate of late eleventh-century England. A key to Stafford’s approach is the importance of the female life cycle in

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

important forms of male–female interaction and collaboration. The Life of St Hugh of Lincoln by Adam of Eynsham was written as part of the campaign for Hugh’s canonisation.41 It depicts a courtly political bishop attending to the spiritual needs of his flock, including, for example, ‘devout matrons’ and the bereaved Queen Berengaria following the death of Richard I, and adjudicating in cases of adultery.42 More interestingly, women’s voices can be detected as witnesses to his sanctity. A significant number of those who testified to miracle cures were women; of twentynine

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

interested in explaining queenly power in terms of the impact of the female life cycle and the specific political and cultural contexts of late eleventh-century England. In particular Stafford and Nelson are clear on the antipathy of male clerical writers to the portrayal of powerful women, a phenomenon not unique to eleventh-century England.5 Constructions of male power and influence as lords in their own right rested on enfeoffment of their lands or inheritance, or knighting. Both were the keys to public function, as well as office holding. For women marriage as entrée

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

of the source material itself, but examples of other powerful countesses who acted in similar roles to those of the countesses of Chester do show useful patterns in the way that women of comital rank exerted power throughout the female life cycle. C 53 noblewomen and power The Chester evidence The earls of Chester were among the greatest nobles of the Norman and Angevin realms, the high political élite of twelfth-century society. Their power was rooted in extensive land holdings in Cheshire and beyond, which by 1086 consisted of land scattered throughout

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

women’s seals divorces the interpretation of the meaning of seals from differences in the meaning of power to men and women based on the interactions of gender, the impact of the female life cycle upon women’s power, their place in lordship and the impact of status upon their identity. In order to study seals in their full complexity we need a framework which acknowledges the problems of analysing them as symbols of female power. There is a need to be aware of the ambiguities inherent in female power, the impact of the female life cycle upon that power, and thus the

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

writcharter is addressed specifically to Mabel, his mother, his bailli and his Norman men, and commanded her to maintain Savigny’s rights in proper lordship by the use of his power. It is thus evidence that Mabel was in control of, and responsible for, the Norman territories of the earldom of Gloucester.113 Mabel’s role, her power and authority changed as she moved through the female life cycle from wife of the earl to dowager countess. Thus the witnessing activity of both countesses of Gloucester should be seen in their social and political contexts and her importance as

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
The Rotuli de Dominabus et Pueris et Puellis de XII Comitatibus of 1185
Susan M. Johns

royal will.13 By contrast Janet Senderowitz Loengard and Sue Sheridan Walker have placed the study of the Rotuli de Dominabus in the context of the study of dower, the importance and rates of remarriage, and the operation of wardship, and so suggested that the victimisation of women at the hands of a more or less effective government was not the only possible reading of the document.14 The following discussion will place the analysis of the Rotuli de Dominabus in a framework which takes account of the way that social status, gender, the female life cycle and patterns

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Simha Goldin

does the Jewish reader discover that there were Christians in Palestine and that they were defeated by the Muslims, who slaughtered them and stole their sacred objects.1 Nevertheless, one may find an echo of the Jewish theological frustration in light of the political situation and the Christian victories. In only one source, that of R. Yitzhak ben Saadya, does the author of the piyyut depict Goldin, Apostasy and Jewish identity.indd 31 20/08/2014 12:34:43 32 Apostasy and Jewish identity this problem in a heartfelt manner, without any attempt at concealment. The

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe
Simha Goldin

the group.4 If, previously, the convert to Christianity had been referred to using the Talmudic term ‘a convert out of appetite’ (mumar le-te’avon), implying that he was still considered a brother whom one was required to ‘sustain in life,’ the halakhic writers now used the term ‘a convert out of spite’ (mumar le-hakh’is), which was tantamount to the term meshumad (‘apostate’), thereby changing both the definition and the implied attitude. The ‘apostate,’ who is a ‘heretic out of spite,’ has removed himself from brotherhood with the Jewish group; hence, there is no

in Apostasy and Jewish identity in High Middle Ages Northern Europe