Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 7316
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Stabler , Tanya
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Women's Choices, Women's Charities: Gender and Testamentary Practice in High Medieval Paris
  • Source: Seeing Gender: Perspectives on Medieval Gender and Sexuality. Gender and Medieval Studies Conference, King's College, London, January 4-6, 2002.. 2002.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Gender Inheritance Paris Wills
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 13- 14
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations:
  • Table:
  • Abstract: This paper will focus on the ways in which an analysis of the testaments of propertied men and women in late medieval Paris can enhance perceptions of medieval gender. As consciously conceived documents, wills provided Parisian women with a rare opportunity to express their hopes, fears, and affections. Significantly, Parisian women used this opportunity in ways that differed from men. A close examination of the testaments of bourgeois women in thirteenth and early fourteenth-century Paris reveal that these women were less concerned with issues of inheritance when they made their wills than Parisian men were. Bourgeois women used property to create or maintain social ties, express pious and personal devotions, and even to pass on a part of themselves as a reminder to their community of their brief life among them. Women donated gifts, money, and personal items to a wide range of individuals, typically distributing wealth among women: female friends and neighbors, female monasteries as well as charity institutions dedicated to the care of women in need. Although most studies of women’s wills have emphasized the limitations on women’s freedom to dispose of property, Parisian women in this period had almost as much freedom to inherit and dispose of property as did Parisian men. By examining the testaments of a group of women who were free to make them without interference, we are able to get a sense of the concerns and values of working, non-elite urban Parisian women. [Reproduced by permission of the Gender and Medieval Studies Conference Organizers].
  • Author's Affiliation: University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available
  • Material/Technique :
  • Rights: