Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 3544
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Peterson , Janine Larmon.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Social Roles, Gender Inversion, and the Heretical Sect: The Case of the Guglielmites
  • Source: Viator 35, ( 2004): Pages 203 - 219.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Authority Gender Guglielma of Milan, Mystic Guglielmites, Heretical Sect Heresy Inquisition Maifreda da Pirovano, Guglielmite Ordination of Women Women in Religion
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 13- 14
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  • Abstract: This article investigates the relationship between two leaders of a thirteenth-century Milanese heretical sect named the Guglielmites. The Guglielmites believed a woman named Guglielma of Milan was the female incarnation of the Holy Spirit, and with her predicted Second Coming there would be a new church with a female pope at the helm. Andrea Saramita, the primary disseminator of these heterodox ideas, and Maifreda da Pirovano, the chosen future pope, worked together to organize the activities and beliefs of the sect divided upon gender lines. The inquisitorial process reveals that they had a complementary but unequal partnership: Maifreda’s power gradually surpassed Andrea’s, leading to some resentment on Andrea’s part. It is precisely because the sect was heretical, the article argues, that Maifreda was able to invert socially constructed gender roles and become the supreme authority for the group. [Reproduced from the journal website: http://brepols.metapress.com/content/121213/?p=afdbc79947a4444b9739ff05942fde63&pi=0]
  • Author's Affiliation: Indiana University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2004.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00835897
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