Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 9846
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Warren , Nancy Bradley.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Kings, Saints, and Nuns: Gender, Religion, and Authority in the Reign of Henry V
  • Source: Viator 30, ( 1999): Pages 307 - 322.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Bridget of Sweden, Saint Genealogy Hagiography Henry V, King of England Kings Kingship Monasticism Patronage, Ecclesiastical Politics Succession Isleworth, Greater London, England- Syon Abbey, a Brigittine Double House
  • Geographic Area: British Isles
  • Century: 15
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  • Abstract: This article examines the versatility of female saints and holy women as sources of politically valuable symbolic capital in later medieval England. In particular, it explores the significance of the Virgin Mary, Saint Birgitta of Sweden, and the foundation of the Brigittine house of Syon in Lancastrian efforts to legitimate Henry V's authority as king of England and France. Analysis of a 1415 London pageant, the foundation charter of Syon, and the Brigittine "Myroure of Oure Ladye" reveal the simultaneous construction of an "apostolic" identity for Henry as king of England and an "incarnational" identity for him as king of France. Both associate Henry with Christ, although in somewhat contradictory fashions. In the former formulation, the Virgin Mary, Saint Birgitta, and the nuns at Syon intercede for Henry, a priest-king descended from a line of holy English Kings--a lineage which, like the apostolic succession, excludes women. The latter paradigm celebrates women's ability to transmit a divine essence which is made incarnate in a male heir and foregrounds women's place in lineages. These symbolic tasks are important to Henry's French kingship, the hereditary claim to which depended on succession through the female line. Finally, the article considers female saints and holy women as the stakes in political struggle, focusing on Edward IV's takeover of Henry V's representational credit as Edward strove to become Syon's "second founder." [Reproduced from the journal website: http://brepols.metapress.com/content/121213/?p=afdbc79947a4444b9739ff05942fde63&pi=0]
  • Author's Affiliation: Utah State University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1999.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00835897
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