CLARK HIST 252 - Royal and Aristocratic Women in the Middle Ages (6 pages)

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Royal and Aristocratic Women in the Middle Ages



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Royal and Aristocratic Women in the Middle Ages

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Pages:
6
School:
Clark College
Course:
Hist 252 - Women In World Hist II

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ROYAL AND ARISTOCRATIC WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE AGES In the early and high middle ages royal and aristocratic women were often both politically and economically powerful Because of the mainly feudal organization of society during these centuries women could be lords or vassals If the ladies were liege lords then they controlled their vassals just like the men As land was the source of status and wealth and as women could claim ownership in land then they too were able to reap the benefits While women generally did not fight in the wars they could hire stand ins which process became formalized with the scutage fee a monetary payment in lieu of forty days in arms for a lord In the late Middle Ages as nation states developed with their bureaucracies high born women lost much of their power except for some specific women who ruled in their own right These upper class women throughout the one thousand years of the middle ages acted in a variety of capacities and it is difficult to generalize as they had different personalities and circumstances We can point to the areas where their contributions were evident with land and its connections determining their power Women could inherit land in their own right and by marriage increase their holdings with their dowry If a young child became king when his father died then his mother would often times be regent These women by endowing land giving benefices to churches hospitals and other charitable organizations thus they could affect which place was economically viable Many of these women defended their castles both economically and militarily if their husbands were gone Management of the estates ensured that these women gained valuable administrative experience including financial and judicial matters A woman s ability to carry out her prescribed role as an aristocrat usually meant that she had acquired schooling either in a convent was tutored at home or occasionally she learned with boys in local schools Religious schools produced



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