Medieval Elite Women and the Exercise of Power, 1100–1400

Moving beyond the Exceptionalist Debate

  • Heather J. Tanner

Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Heather J. Tanner, Laura L. Gathagan, Lois L. Huneycutt
    Pages 1-18
  3. Charlotte Cartwright
    Pages 91-111
  4. Theresa Earenfight
    Pages 271-293
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 295-310

About this book


For decades, medieval scholarship has been dominated by the paradigm that women who wielded power after c. 1100 were exceptions to the “rule” of female exclusion from governance and the public sphere. This collection makes a powerful case for a new paradigm. Building on the premise that elite women in positions of authority were expected, accepted, and routine, these essays traverse the cities and kingdoms of France, England, Germany, Portugal, and the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in order to illuminate women’s roles in medieval power structures. Without losing sight of the predominance of patriarchy and misogyny, contributors lay the groundwork for the acceptance of female public authority as normal in medieval society, fostering a new framework for understanding medieval elite women and power.


Medieval Women Ann McNamara Suzanne Wemple primogeniture central Middle Ages monarchy lordship queenship Royal women Medieval queens Viragos Queen Anne Emma of Ivry Countess Ermengard of Brittany Constance of Antioch Isabella de Clare female religious communities Salian queens Catherine of Aragon

Editors and affiliations

  • Heather J. Tanner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-01345-5
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-01346-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site