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.

April 2024

Image of a medieval manuscript, with text above an illuminated illustration depicting crusaders climbing ladders over the walls of a stronghold.
Crusaders attack Antioch, Jacob van Maerlant, Spieghel Historiael, West Flanders, ca 1325-1335 (The Hague, KB, KA 20, 253v) (Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

Davis-Secord, Sarah. " In Battle and in Bed: Wanton Women and Women Warriors in Muslim and Christian Crusade Narratives." Gender & History 35, 1 (2023): 3-19

Abstract: "This article analyses the parallel representations of enemy warrior women as sexually profligate and inappropriately martial in selected Latin and Arabic texts from the period of the first three crusades (late eleventh to late twelfth centuries). Cross-cultural comparison of depictions of fighting women demonstrates that both cultures portrayed the other side as dominated, and thus undermined, by women who were unnaturally assertive in both sexual and military affairs. Both Muslim and Christian authors sexualised and militarised the bodies of enemy women in order to define which men were the strongest, best and most deserving of battlefield victory in the holy wars of crusade and jihad." — [Reproduced from the article page on the Wiley Online Library website.]