IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 1217: Articulating the 'Rules' of Female Aggression

Wednesday 11 July 2012, 14.15-15.45

Organiser:Tracey-Anne Cooper, Department of History, St John's University, Queens, New York
Moderator/Chair:Kimm Curran, History Lab+, Institute of Historical Research, University of London
Paper 1217-aRules of Aggression: Violent Female Role Models in Late Anglo-Saxon England
(Language: English)
Tracey-Anne Cooper, Department of History, St John's University, Queens, New York
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Mentalities, Military History, Women's Studies
Paper 1217-bThe Good, the Bad, and the Masculine: 12th-Century Chroniclers' Assessment of Militancy and Queenship
(Language: English)
Christine Senecal, Department of History, Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania
Index terms: Gender Studies, Historiography - Medieval, Women's Studies
Paper 1217-cPlaying by the Rules: Noblewomen's Employment of Just War Theory in 13th-Century France
(Language: English)
Katrin E. Sjursen, College of Arts & Sciences, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
Index terms: Gender Studies, Military History, Women's Studies

As modern depictions of medieval women in film and fiction have shifted recently from damsel in distress to warrior princess, it is a pertinent time for this panel to examine the evidence for medieval perceptions of, and rules for, female aggression and combat. These three papers reveal respectively that late Anglo-Saxon poetry and homilies stressed spiritual struggle over corporal prowess when women attacked, 12th-century chroniclers condoned queens who provided military leadership despite their typical disapproval of a queen who exhibited unfeminine qualities, and 13th-century French chroniclers and legal documents demonstrate that noblewomen played by the stipulated rules of a just war.