IMC 2005: Sessions

Session 1213: Breaking the Life-Cycle?: Ageing Virgins, Manly Widows, and Sterile Mothers in Anglo-Saxon England

Wednesday 13 July 2005, 14.15-15.45

Organiser:Naomi Beaumont, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
Moderator/Chair:Katy Cubitt, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
Paper 1213-a'She Creates a Living Creature from a Lifeless Mother': Edith's Sterile Maternity in the Vita Aedwardi Regis
(Language: English)
Naomi Beaumont, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York
Index terms: Genealogy and Prosopography, Sexuality, Social History, Theology
Paper 1213-bÆthelflæd of Damerham: Political Pawn or Professional Widow?
(Language: English)
Alaric A. Trousdale, School of History, Classics & Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
Index terms: Gender Studies, Genealogy and Prosopography, Social History, Women's Studies
Paper 1213-cHusbands and Widows: Bequest and the Life-Cycle in Late Anglo-Saxon England
(Language: English)
Linda Tollerton Hall, Department of History, University of York
Index terms: Charters and Diplomatics, Daily Life, Gender Studies, Literacy and Orality

This session uses literary, religious, archaeological and testamentary sources from 700-1070 to examine the female life-cycle in Anglo-Saxon England. Early Anglo-Saxon monastic texts construct a vision of mixed-age communities, mixed-gender communities, a picture not fully supported by archaeological remains. Anglo-Saxon wills show that widowhood allowed some women to use their life-cycle to transcend their gender. Edith’s “”Vita Aedwardi”” used maternal models to promote the power of a childless queen, yet displayed great anxiety about non-fertile
mothers. These papers argue that where the life-cycle was most contested, it was simultaneously enforced, as it was still used to structure debate