Session 1241: Fasting or Feasting: Noble Women in Conflict
Wednesday 6 July 2016, 14.15-15.45
|Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz / Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft
|Käthe Sonnleitner, Institut für Geschichte, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
|Sieglinde Hartmann, Oswald von Wolkenstein-Gesellschaft, Frankfurt am Main
|Theodora of Byzantium: A Feasting Empress?
|Fasting: A Cornerstone of Holy Queenship?
Index terms: Gender Studies, Political Thought, Religious Life, Women's Studies
|Beatrix and Matilda of Canossa: Fasting and Feasting as Symbols of Power
The papers address the significance of food for aristocratic women based on a variety of historiographic sources from the Early and High Middle Ages. Food was an important part of aristocratic lifestyle and played a key role in representing power. Festivities, which are generally considered a female sphere of interest, demonstrate this clearly. On the other hand, women had to demonstrate their exceptional piety as a further element to stabilise power. Their piety required an exceptional display of asceticism towards food and included the care for the poor. The session attempts to depict the conflicts which resulted from these two approaches towards food.