Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

Article of the Month

Indexers select an article or essay at the beginning of each month that is outstanding in its line of argument, wealth of significances, and writing style. We particularly look for pieces that will be useful as course readings.

September 2016 [Posted July 2017]

Gold pendant decorated with filigree and garnets
Gold pendant decorated with filigree and garnets, mid to late 7th century, Yorkshire. (Source: Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.)

Hamerow, Helena. “Furnished Female Burial in Seventh-Century England: Gender and Sacral Authority in the Conversion Period.“ Early Medieval Europe 24, 4 (2016): 423-447.

Abstract: "A new, refined chronology for graves and grave-goods in Anglo-Saxon England has revealed a marked increase in well-furnished female burials beginning in the second quarter of the seventh century. The present study considers what gave rise to this phenomenon and concludes that the small number of royal nuns and abbesses who figure so prominently in written accounts of the Conversion were part of a wider, undocumented change in the role of women that began several decades before the founding of the first female houses. It is argued that these well-furnished graves reflect a new investment in the commemoration of females who came to represent their family's interests in newly acquired estates and whose importance was enhanced by their ability to confer supernatural legitimacy onto dynastic claims.” [Reproduced from the journal page on the Wiley Online Library website.]