Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

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Marcus Woodhouse
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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:05 pm

But only as "novelty" and special acts-they may even been viewed as a joke-look at the ladies killing each other, what a giggle.


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Fox » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:26 pm

I'm making no special argument for women involved in fighting, but I find Marcus' characture of women as being considered "weak" and "pathetic" equally annoying and unsupportable.

I think more rounded reading of medieval social history would lead to something deeper than this simple parody.



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:42 pm

Aye right because you've read about the matter I'm sure.
What ever the true postion of women in medieval society was (and my own research-that's right stuff I have actually explored and not just wik'ed suggests that women could and did hold postions of trust and authority) literary sources all indicate that women were seen as being weaker and pathetic (that is requiring more support and a strong male presence to protect them) by most authors/poets/lawyers/churchmen/fathers/husbands etc.
You may not agree with that stance, I certainly hope you don't )and nor do I for that matter, but that doesn't change the fact that throughout the middle ages women were hold in lower esteem then men for a whole range of cultural/religious and social reasons.
If it were the norm for women to have been leading charges to drive out Burgundian troops as did Jeanne of the Axe then I doubt Louis XI would have expressed such amazement that a "mere weak and small woman of meanly station" could rally and lead the towns defenders-here displaying astonishment not only in her being a woman but a woman of low birth, a noble or gentle woman would have been expected to defend her husband's lands in his place. She was not only awarded with a pension but to get around the fact that the king usually only granted these to men was made an honourary man (Again sugeesting that women were inferior).
Charles the Bold was equally astonished to discover that his forces had been defeated by a woman, in fact until he actually met Jeanne Hace in person a year later he insisted that it must have been a man dressed as a woman who had picked up the French banner and that it had been done to shame the French defenders into acting "more like men and less like sad women" (could this be another suggestion that women were held as being less able then men?)
I'll tell you what Fox-you give me a list of book titles that argue that women were regarded as equal to men in the middle ages and I'll dig out the ones that do the opposite.


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Hellequin » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:13 am

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Aye right because you've read about the matter I'm sure.
What ever the true postion of women in medieval society was (and my own research-that's right stuff I have actually explored and not just wik'ed suggests that women could and did hold postions of trust and authority) literary sources all indicate that women were seen as being weaker and pathetic (that is requiring more support and a strong male presence to protect them) by most authors/poets/lawyers/churchmen/fathers/husbands etc etc etc

How much of it was written by women?



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Fox » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:02 am

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I'll tell you what Fox-you give me a list of book titles that argue that women were regarded as equal to men in the middle ages and I'll dig out the ones that do the opposite.

I think any book that said that medieval women were treated as equals to men is strongly misguided by more modern ideas.
They were clearly treated as inferiors in many respects, not least by the law.

I think it's also obvious that they were seen as physically inferior to men; indeed even in our empancipated society we still think the same (or why do we have seperate men's and women's sports).
But that is not the same the as being seen as incapable.
And I think we have to be a little bit careful of assuming that all men felt the same about the the capabilities of women, or that some women didn't have their own methods of getting and doing what they wanted.
Certainly there was a level of male chauvenism and general bigottry; but life was ever more complicated than that; and medieval fiction does tell us this.

There is no ideal analogue with modern history, but we can certainly think about some equivelency from the last 200 years where we have a better understanding of social history.



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Fox » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:03 am

Hellequin wrote:
Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Aye right because you've read about the matter I'm sure.
What ever the true postion of women in medieval society was (and my own research-that's right stuff I have actually explored and not just wik'ed suggests that women could and did hold postions of trust and authority) literary sources all indicate that women were seen as being weaker and pathetic (that is requiring more support and a strong male presence to protect them) by most authors/poets/lawyers/churchmen/fathers/husbands etc etc etc

How much of it was written by women?

Unfortuantely, I think that rather makes his point for him.



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:27 pm

Well I can think of Christine Du Pisan and Hidegaard von Bingen (though one bishop who wrote a patoral letter in which he poured scorn upon her writing one text as "no woman could write such a thing" was told to apologise by the pope who had first hand knowledge that she had).
Of course Christine was writting in part to defend herself as a widow who was watching her dead husbands lands be taken away without any regard to her legal rights. (Another indication of the relative "weakness" of women and of how "pathetic" they were (had her husband been alive we would have never have heard of her.)
I actually think that looking at the literature of the time is a very good way of seeing how women were regarded. Take Chaucer's Canterbury Tales for instance and the two strong women featured would hardly have been seen in that light at the time. The Wife of Bath would fall into the category of the somewhat overbearing husnabd (b)eater that is a feature of morality tales that warn men what will happen if they let women have too much say in marriage while the Prioress does all the things that would have riled "right" thinking men (and women) into demanding reform of the church or at least to the religous orders for women.
I have no doubt that inside private chambers and away from prying eyes women were every bit as capable as men BUT that is not the way they are shown in nearly all literature of the time, and I don't just mean history books written 500 years after the even but in song/verse/sermon/story/legal documents/peace treaties contemporary with the time.
Just because I don't believe in those stereotypes does not mean that they were not once widely held as being true and thus acted upon. Thats why the past is such a different country, they not only wore funny clothes and spoke in a funny way they had strange, alien ideas as well.


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Fox » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:52 am

I took some time to think about your reply.

Even after consideration, it sounds like sophistry.

You've created a couple of straw men, and then knocked them down with an opinion rather than evidence.

And it's not even that there isn't, in my opinion, some merit in what your saying.

But it seems to me that you are still trying create an absolute; your examples are actually reasonable illustrations, all be they fictional, of a more complex situation.



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:07 am

I would say that the opinion and evidence would come in Chaucer's tribute to the Duchess of Lancaster and his "sermon" on the degeneracy of his time (and the apology he writes for the Tales which is a medieval equivalent of the views and opinoons expressed may not be my own).
I grew up in a very chauvanistic society that was at the same time strongly maternal in that the matriaric of the home was often the one "wearing the trousers".
I am aware that outward appearences, what might be said on stage, screen, in the pulpit, in the pup may not reflect the whole truth, that doesn't stop that from being what the establishment and society of the time expected, or at least wanted to be the standard postion.
I have studied the role and lives of women such as Queen Margaret, Elizabeth Woodville, Bianca Viscontii, and there are certainly examples beyond the usual one of Jeanne of orleans to show that women could play a part in government and even the waging of war I am very wary though of an effort to use these rare examples as eviedence to support it being so widespread that it should allow women in kirtles to fight at re-enactments or stuff like that, and that is where this thread seems to be heading.


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Fox » Wed Aug 04, 2010 9:10 am

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I am very wary though of an effort to use these rare examples as eviedence to support it being so widespread that it should allow women in kirtles to fight at re-enactments or stuff like that, and that is where this thread seems to be heading.


But that was my origianl point; I was warning against a baby/bath water disposal interface problem.

Largely I think we agree; what I think I disagree with is your presentation and how other people might interpret that.
Or alternatively, it's possible we bitterly disagree, but on the fine tuning.



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed Aug 04, 2010 10:36 am

I am trying to point towards there being some very specific examples of very specific individauls in very specific occassions as not being good enough cause to justify a "re-encatorisim" of women commonly taking to the battlefield.
As I understand your POV it is that although the majority of documentary and pictoral eviedence does not suppport this there were odd circumstances in which it happened.
I agree totally, what I don't want to happen is the huge jump of faith that would make it a commonly held "fact".
On a seperate forum thread at the moment ther is a simialr theme of trying to make history fit in with our thankfully more PC age.
I have no problem with women fighting, my daughter loves the battle re-enactments and finds the rest of the stuff as dull as dishwater (whereas I am the opposite). There are a number of women who I know certainly enjoy the fights more than I do and are better at it.
Nor do I have any problem with anyone of colour in re-encatcing, or of people re-encating non-English/Eurpoean groups either.
But there is a trend of teaking for instance an allegorical picture of women fighting such as the one shown on this thread, or of a "historical" picture of Amazons as being proof that women donned armour and fought in campaigns alongside men. A simialr thing is ahppening on the thread about the asian lass who wants to join the Ferrers, an Italian picture of a black female slave (in Italy mind you) is being touted as proof that black/asian/arabic peoples were a pretty commonplace sight in 15th century England because there were Italain merchants in England at this time-in fact there were about 2000 Italians at the very, very most spread throughout the whole of the country so meeting one of them would be a rare event.
I enjoy working with God's Company but I find the backstory the give of being mercenary troops in the employ of Charles the Bold and Richard III a ridiculaous notion given that both men were very orthodox in their catholic credtionals, certainly in the case of Charles the Rash undertook the prosecution of heresy seriously, and were able to aquire plenty of mercenary troops (in the case of Charles) without recourse to Hussite refuges. Mind you they are no different then all the Burgundian gunners that are found at every WOTR event dispite only being mentioned in passing in three accounts of the period (twice in 1461 as members of Warwicks army and as being hired to protect some abbots lands as part of the 1461 campaighn and as part of Edwards army in 1471)
This trend of using very circumstancial eveidence to support broad claims is not something I want to be part of, I'm far happier to say well most of the evidence we have suggets that women didn't fight, that there were few foriegn mercenaries that non-eurpoeans were not resident at the time but that there would always be an anomoly to this if you look hard enough.


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Fox » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:01 am

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:As I understand your POV it is that although the majority of documentary and pictoral eviedence does not suppport this there were odd circumstances in which it happened.


Not what I said. Please reread my original post:
Fox wrote:I'm making no special argument for women involved in fighting.


My point is that you have to take great care in using the rhetoric of some medieval writers to completely characterise the role of and attitudes towards woman, and that we also have to look at some of the broader evidence to get a fuller picture.

I am worried that, in mounting your defence of your position, you were equally misleading.

Going back to your original example, is it more likely that woman are involved with crossbows and guns in seiges, and other desperate moments, because there is a very short training period and martial activites would not be their normal roles?

Marcus Woodhouse wrote: <Some stuff about Hussites and Burgundians>
This trend of using very circumstancial eveidence to support broad claims is not something I want to be part of, I'm far happier to say well most of the evidence we have suggets that women didn't fight, that there were few foriegn mercenaries that non-eurpoeans were not resident at the time but that there would always be an anomoly to this if you look hard enough.

Again, while I broadly support what you are saying, another note of caution.
We know much less about gunnery in this country than we would like. I think there is an increasing awareness it was more signifcant in the WotR than had been previously considered.
The finds from the recent Bosworth dig would support that hypothesis.
Obviously the information we have about Northampton also indicate that. I'm really looking forward to a proper dig of that site.
Also I believe Barnet is due for a large scale survey, and it's my hunch, reading the accounts, that this too will turn up some interesting, possibly revolutionary, gunnery related finds.



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sat Aug 07, 2010 12:29 pm

I agree that we may find out that gunnery was far more important then its portrayal at events suggests (which I hope will end commentary about how dangerous and ineffective they were compared to the trusty longbow etc).
I am not so sure that it will support any arguement that England's artillery was run by Burgundian mercenaries (as is often claimed), I hope it will start to prove that England had a pool of skilled and dedicated gunners of its own (but will wait until that day comes if indeed it does.)


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Dickie » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:58 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I enjoy working with God's Company but I find the backstory the give of being mercenary troops in the employ of Charles the Bold and Richard III a ridiculaous notion given that both men were very orthodox in their catholic credtionals, certainly in the case of Charles the Rash undertook the prosecution of heresy seriously, and were able to aquire plenty of mercenary troops (in the case of Charles) without recourse to Hussite refuges. Mind you they are no different then all the Burgundian gunners that are found at every WOTR event dispite only being mentioned in passing in three accounts of the period (twice in 1461 as members of Warwicks army and as being hired to protect some abbots lands as part of the 1461 campaighn and as part of Edwards army in 1471)
This trend of using very circumstancial eveidence to support broad claims is not something I want to be part of, I'm far happier to say well most of the evidence we have suggets that women didn't fight, that there were few foriegn mercenaries that non-eurpoeans were not resident at the time but that there would always be an anomoly to this if you look hard enough.


I didn't think you did work with us Marcus. However, I have evidence of C to the B employing Hussite Mercenaries, I may even find the relevant article somewhere and show you, there is also quite a bit written on their use by the Teutonic Order in the 1460's. I concede that there is no hard evidence of Hussites being involved in the WotR (nor indeed of there being any of the Duke of Burglary's Hurgundries either) but I do not believe I have ever made that statement without also making certain caveats to it, that is generally the case the rest of the group as far as I am aware.

We appear to be as correct as people poncing about in posh kit talking to commoners... :wink:


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Aug 09, 2010 7:29 pm

I've been in the tenatage next door to you at Detling you dopey so and so!
And waiting for you to finish your shouting so I can shout God bless the Pope is the only enjoyment I get from a Tewkesbury battle re-enactment.
I would love any articles you have about a possible Hussite presence, while the Italian and English companys are quite well documented the Flemish/German?Hungarian levied and hired units are not.
I know that the Teutonic Order made greater and greater use of mercenaries throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, I'd have thought it odd that a catholic refligous fighting order (that had sent a small detachment to serve Ferdinand in his crusades against the Huss) would trun a blind eye to heretics in their midst but maybe they were in such dire straights that they were forced to do exactly that-it must of made mess times interesting!
I did read that there is a diffenate possibility of former Hussites fighting in the Hungarian armies against the Turks and Venetians that Matthew fella being keen to modernise and westernise his forces. I can dig that out and swop.
As for telling people about Richard hiring Huss one of the God's Co. members who is also with the Woodvilles spent a pint or two trying to convince me of the truth in it so maybe not everyone is singing the same party message.
I can quite easily talk to you, anyone with that amount of harness is clearly not a jack peasent but a brute of note.


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Dickie » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:27 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I did read that there is a diffenate possibility of former Hussites fighting in the Hungarian armies against the Turks and Venetians that Matthew fella being keen to modernise and westernise his forces. I can dig that out and swop.


It's not a possibility it's absolutely certain, the activities of Jan Giskra of Brandys are very well documented. Without going too far off-topic the struggle between the Teutons and King of Poland is as documented.

As for the other things you note;
Not done Detling for a couple of years
Words of a drinking/drunken re-enactor..?
Well, if you think you're large enough to fill a ponces boots.... :^)


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby KedlestonCraig » Tue Aug 10, 2010 11:41 pm

Dickie wrote:
Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I did read that there is a diffenate possibility of former Hussites fighting in the Hungarian armies against the Turks and Venetians that Matthew fella being keen to modernise and westernise his forces. I can dig that out and swop.


It's not a possibility it's absolutely certain, the activities of Jan Giskra of Brandys are very well documented. Without going too far off-topic the struggle between the Teutons and King of Poland is as documented.


abso-flippin-lutely - after the Hussite Wars, many decamped eastwards and ended up operating autonomously in the north of Hungary. They initially came into conflict with Corvinus' father Janos Hunyadi but joined with him in the fight against the Ottomans. They then went on to form the rump of the Corvinus' Black Army.
(incidentally Leo of Rozmital and emissary of the Hussite king Jiri Podebrady came over here with his retinue in the 1460s meeting amongst others Elizabeth Woodville :P )


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby behanner » Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:23 pm

Dickie wrote: However, I have evidence of C to the B employing Hussite Mercenaries, I may even find the relevant article somewhere and show you,


Now that is something I'd want to see.



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Harrington » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:21 am

Back to topic!

Documentation from the early Royal Navy tells us that women posing as men got employed as ship hands and were sometimes not found out for quite some time. Any pictorial evidence would always point to the fact that there were only men employed on the ships even if these discuised women were present in the picture. The same would count with women fighting during the 15th century posing as men so we cannot conclude that women did not fight just from pictures.


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Fox » Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:05 am

Harrington wrote:...and were sometimes not found out for quite some time.

But, in as much as it relates to re-enactment, I think you've made the key point; they appeared to be men, such that no-one noticed.



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Friesian » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:59 pm

Harrington wrote:Back to topic!

Documentation from the early Royal Navy tells us that women posing as men got employed as ship hands and were sometimes not found out for quite some time. ......................................... The same would count with women fighting during the 15th century posing as men .


Why would it ? Any more than what happened in Monmouth's Rebelion would count the same as is happening now - its a similar time difference as 15thc to 18thc ? This odd reasoning gets re-used every time the (now tedious) subject of women fighting in Medieval times is dragged up , (usually at approx 6 month intervals) .



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Fox » Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:45 pm

Friesian wrote:
Harrington wrote:Documentation from the early Royal Navy tells us that women posing as men got employed as ship hands and were sometimes not found out for quite some time. ......................................... The same would count with women fighting during the 15th century posing as men .


Why would it ? Any more than what happened in Monmouth's Rebelion would count the same as is happening now - its a similar time difference as 15thc to 18thc ? This odd reasoning gets re-used every time the (now tedious) subject of women fighting in Medieval times is dragged up , (usually at approx 6 month intervals) .

I'd suggest that rather blunt repost is almost as misguided.

If the early Royal navy example was isolated, then fair enough.
But it isn't; there are similar incidents going forward through into the Napoleonic era and so on.
And more importantly, there indications going back. Mary Read is supposed to have joined the military at the beginning of the 18thC. Wycherley is writing about gender disguising in the 17thC, Shakespeare in the 16thC.
The idea of a maiden disguised as a soldier is ubiqutous in folk songs and folk tales.

While that isn't good evidence for it happening in the 15thC, but I wouldn't dismiss the idea quite so easily.

But perhaps the real point is: What good does it do anyone, from a re-enactment point of view, even if you could prove it happened?
None. Either a woman can successfully disguise herself as a bloke, in which case it's a moot point; or she can't, in which case that isn't what she's representing.



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Harrington » Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:34 pm

Friesian wrote:
Harrington wrote:Back to topic!

Documentation from the early Royal Navy tells us that women posing as men got employed as ship hands and were sometimes not found out for quite some time. ......................................... The same would count with women fighting during the 15th century posing as men .


Why would it ? Any more than what happened in Monmouth's Rebelion would count the same as is happening now - its a similar time difference as 15thc to 18thc ? This odd reasoning gets re-used every time the (now tedious) subject of women fighting in Medieval times is dragged up , (usually at approx 6 month intervals) .


The point I am making is that where pictoral evidence does not point to women serving in the Navy the documantation does. Thus relying on pictoral evidence can not be a trusted source to make a judgement. If this " odd reasoning " is made each time this topic is raised by multiple people that would suggest that it is a feasble point.


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Friesian » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:10 pm

Fox wrote:
Friesian wrote:
Harrington wrote:Documentation from the early Royal Navy tells us that women posing as men got employed as ship hands and were sometimes not found out for quite some time. ......................................... The same would count with women fighting during the 15th century posing as men .


Why would it ? Any more than what happened in Monmouth's Rebelion would count the same as is happening now - its a similar time difference as 15thc to 18thc ? This odd reasoning gets re-used every time the (now tedious) subject of women fighting in Medieval times is dragged up , (usually at approx 6 month intervals) .

I'd suggest that rather blunt repost is almost as misguided.

If the early Royal navy example was isolated, then fair enough.
But it isn't; there are similar incidents going forward through into the Napoleonic era and so on.
And more importantly, there indications going back. Mary Read is supposed to have joined the military at the beginning of the 18thC. Wycherley is writing about gender disguising in the 17thC, Shakespeare in the 16thC.
The idea of a maiden disguised as a soldier is ubiqutous in folk songs and folk tales.

While that isn't good evidence for it happening in the 15thC, but I wouldn't dismiss the idea quite so easily.

But perhaps the real point is: What good does it do anyone, from a re-enactment point of view, even if you could prove it happened?
None. Either a woman can successfully disguise herself as a bloke, in which case it's a moot point; or she can't, in which case that isn't what she's representing.


The point i was trying to make was that this line of thought has been done to death . All the thread is lacking now is a link to the Lothene web site :roll:



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Fox » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:20 pm

Friesian wrote:The point i was trying to make was that this line of thought has been done to death . All the thread is lacking now is a link to the Lothene web site :roll:

Sorry, Then I misunderstood.
Thanks for your valuable contribution. :roll:



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Friesian » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:29 pm

Fox wrote:
Friesian wrote:The point i was trying to make was that this line of thought has been done to death . All the thread is lacking now is a link to the Lothene web site :roll:

Sorry, Then I misunderstood.
Thanks for your valuable contribution. :roll:


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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Friesian » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:34 pm

Harrington wrote:
Friesian wrote:
Harrington wrote:Back to topic!

Documentation from the early Royal Navy tells us that women posing as men got employed as ship hands and were sometimes not found out for quite some time. ......................................... The same would count with women fighting during the 15th century posing as men .


Why would it ? Any more than what happened in Monmouth's Rebelion would count the same as is happening now - its a similar time difference as 15thc to 18thc ? This odd reasoning gets re-used every time the (now tedious) subject of women fighting in Medieval times is dragged up , (usually at approx 6 month intervals) .


The point I am making is that where pictoral evidence does not point to women serving in the Navy the documantation does. Thus relying on pictoral evidence can not be a trusted source to make a judgement. If this " odd reasoning " is made each time this topic is raised by multiple people that would suggest that it is a feasble point.


Reply was not meant to sound rude - appologies . I stand by the sentiment though .



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Fox
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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby Fox » Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:12 pm

Friesian wrote:Glad you enjoyed it

:D



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behanner
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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby behanner » Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:55 pm

Fox wrote:But perhaps the real point is: What good does it do anyone, from a re-enactment point of view, even if you could prove it happened?
None. Either a woman can successfully disguise herself as a bloke, in which case it's a moot point; or she can't, in which case that isn't what she's representing.


Ding Ding Ding, we have a Winner. That is what that boils down to.
Although I'm surprised no one mentioned Charles the Bold's unit of women. not soldiers but still formed a unit.



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Re: Pictoral evidence of women fighting in C14th

Postby gregory23b » Fri Aug 20, 2010 10:13 am

"Although I'm surprised no one mentioned Charles the Bold's unit of women. not soldiers but still formed a unit."

Because few actually research to prove their points, even at a rudimentary level, they use commonly held reenactment beliefs or use 'common sense', so creating a belief system.

Foxy
"My point is that you have to take great care in using the rhetoric of some medieval writers to completely characterise the role of and attitudes towards woman, and that we also have to look at some of the broader evidence to get a fuller picture."

The broader evidence shows a clear differences between the way women and men were viewed and how they were a part of medieval society, women's legal position, 'traditionally held views' etc. That evidence is a mixture of first person and contextual. What makes it really complicated is the localised nature of differences (in the specific) in say legal rights for women, especially in Germany, where one town may confer one set of rights to women that another might not. Erika Uitz's Women in the Medieval Town is a good starting point for Medieval European attitudes to women's rights and how they were established, she does mention England in parts.

I suspect that Marcus's point is based on that wider view rather than himself holding it.

"How much of it was written by women?"

Pisan, Kottarnerin, degli strozzi - notably from wealthy backgrounds.

You could include Margaret Paston, who I don't think wrote reflecting on her lot, rather her letters illustrate at times, her status as a women, ie under normal circumstances having to defer to her husband or even her son, in terms of running the estates.

But actual documentary evidence written by women is less than for men, so the balance of where the official opinion (clergy, romance writers etc) and the actual opinion lies has to be looked at elsewhere, ie laws, guild regulations etc.

I would also recommend Henrietta Leyser's Medieval Women: Social History Of Women In England 450-1500, long time since I read it.


middle english dictionary

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