IMC 2017: Sessions

Session 719: The Other Children: Illegitimacy in the Middle Ages

Tuesday 4 July 2017, 14.15-15.45

Sponsor:Historisches Institut, Universität zu Köln
Organiser:Clara Harder, Historisches Institut, Universität zu Köln
Moderator/Chair:Christof Rolker, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften und Europäische Ethnologie, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg
Paper 719-aA (Double) Standard?: Male and Female Illegitimacy in Medieval Germany
(Language: English)
Clara Harder, Historisches Institut, Universität zu Köln
Index terms: Gender Studies, Historiography - Medieval, Mentalities, Social History
Paper 719-b'Bastard Feudalism?': Illegitimacy and Landed Society in Late Medieval England
(Language: English)
Helen Matthews, Faculty of Social & Historical Sciences, University College London
Index terms: Mentalities, Social History
Paper 719-cThe Golden Age of Noble Bastards Revisited: Bastards as Reservoir Children in the French Nobility during the Hundred Years War
(Language: English)
Simona Slanicka, Historisches Institut, Universität Bern
Index terms: Mentalities, Social History

This session aims to exemplify the various ramifications of illegitimacy in the high and late Middle Ages. Children born out of wedlock are associated with being legally and socially discriminated. Their rank within their families and society in general differed from their brothers and sisters conceived in wedlock. The amount of discrimination, however, cannot be generalised. It seems that the existence of illegitimate children was not only a well-known fact of medieval societies, but could also be an advantage in the attempts of their families to secure and expand property and influence. Therefore, the roles ascribed to these children have to be examined with proper caution.