IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 1515: Enacting and Depicting Queenship

Thursday 5 July 2018, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Cordelia Beattie, School of History, Classics & Archaeology, University of Edinburgh
Paper 1515-aEvoking Queenship: The King's Widow and Memorial Practice
(Language: English)
Anne Foerster, Historisches Institut, Universit├Ąt Paderborn
Index terms: Economics - General, Mentalities, Politics and Diplomacy, Women's Studies
Paper 1515-bEleanor of Aquitaine at the Interstices of History and Fiction
(Language: English)
Karen Sullivan, Division of Languages & Literature, Bard College, New York
Index terms: Historiography - Medieval, Language and Literature - French or Occitan
Paper 1515-cRemembering Queens as Land-Holders: A Reappraisal of Medieval Queenship in Economic Terms
(Language: English)
Michele Seah, School of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of Newcastle, New South Wales
Index terms: Economics - General, Women's Studies

Paper -a:
To ensure the salvation of the late king’s soul was considered the principal duty of a dowager queen. Through pious donations the royal widow compelled others to add to her own prayers for the deceased. As a side effect she underlined her connection to the late king and her social status, which derived from him. By providing for her burial within the sphere of royal memoria she secured her rank for posterity. This paper will compare the memorial practice of dowager queens in England and Germany during the High Middle Ages to demonstrate how financial and social aspects influenced their chances to maintain a queenly status.

Paper -b:
Despite her fame, Eleanor of Aquitaine has traditionally posed a conundrum to her biographers. Many of the most important writings about this queen from the 12th and the 13th centuries fall in between the categories of literature and history as we conceive of them: they include Bernart de Ventadorn’s vida, a story from the Minstrel of Reims’ narration, and the tales of the ‘Courts of Love’ from Andreas Capellanus’s De Amore. While historians have tended to dismiss these accounts as insufficiently historical, literary scholars have tended to dismiss them as insufficiently literary. In this paper, I would like to argue for the value of these accounts, not as history, but as interpretations of history, and, in doing so, to propose a new way of interpreting these hybrid texts.

Paper -c:
Medieval queens are not often remembered primarily in economic terms. They are typically represented as royal wives and mothers first and foremost, their roles as queens being underscored by these representations. In contrast, the concept of queens as individual landholders and landlords does not sit comfortably within the ideological and legal frameworks that shaped the lives of medieval women in general. This paper seeks to re-explore the roles of queens as landholders and landlords by discussing two 15th-century queens consort of England. In doing so, it shows that, far from being passive participants in their financial affairs, they were among the most powerful, and actively engaged, economic managers in England, whether male or female.