Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


Previous Translations of the Month

November 2023

The Roman de Thèbes and The Roman d'Eneas. Translated with an introduction by Glyn S. Burgess and Douglas Kelly. Exeter Studies in Medieval Europe. Liverpool University Press, 2021. Distributed by Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781800348615 (hbk) and 9781802073706 (pbk, Feb. 2024)

Image from a manuscript depicting Trojan refugees under the leadership of Aeneas disembarking in Latium founding Rome, their ships burning in the background
Maïtre François, Aeneas leads Trojan refugees to Latium, ca. 1475-80, French, The Hague, RMMW, 10 A 11 (Source: Europeana, Public domain). Record from Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National Library of the Netherlands)

"The two romances translated in this volume, the Roman de Thèbes and the Roman d'Eneas, form, along with the Roman de Troie by Benoît de Sainte-Maure, a group of texts that are of considerable importance within French and European literature and culture. Composed between c. 1150 and c. 1165, these romances create a bridge between classical tales (the Thèbes is based on the Thebaid of Statius, the Eneas on the Aeneid of Virgil) and the burgeoning vernacular romances, represented especially by Chrétien de Troyes. As a group, these three works are frequently known as the romances of antiquity (romans d'antiquité) and they introduce into French literature the dominant contemporary themes of chivalry and love. They are set against a feudal and courtly background in which themes such as war, prowess inheritance and the possession of land are crucial. As they adapt their Latin sources, these romances, especially the Eneas, exploit the works of Ovid, especially in the presentation of the theme of love, and they also make use of the principles of rhetorical composition as studied in the schools (both romances contain remarkable examples of descriptions of both people and objects).

This is the first volume to contain two complete translations of the three romances of antiquity. The translation of the Roman d'Eneas is the first English translation of this text since that of John A. Yunck in 1974."— [Reproduced from the publisher's website]

October 2023

The Household Accounts of Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509): From the Archives of St John's College, Cambridge. Edited by Susan Powell. A British Academy Publication. Oxford University Press, 2022. ISBN 9780197267042 (print).

Portrait of Lady Margaret Beaufort from the Master's Lodge, St John's College. University of Cambridge
Meynnart Wewyck, Portrait of Lady Margaret Beaufort, ca. 1510, Master's Lodge, St John's College, University of Cambridge (Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain).

"Lady Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509) was the mother of Henry Tudor (1457-1509) by her first husband, Edmund Tudor, who died before his son was born. A strong and determined woman, after many vicissitudes she was instrumental in the overthrow of Richard III and the accession of her son to the throne after the Battle of Bosworth (1485). The documents edited here are the principal household accounts, extant in St John's College, Cambridge, for the period 1498-1509, during which she ran her own household, variously at Collyweston, Croydon and Hatfield, independent of her third husband, Thomas Stanley, earl of Derby. The accounts record the economy and management of the household at the height of Lady Margaret's power, wealth, and influence and offer unique evidence of both the household and Lady Margaret herself."— [Reproduced from the publisher's website]

In this book, see the General Index for extensive references in the household accounts to books, clothing, documents, feasts of the Christian calendar, horses, legal and financial arrangements and processes, textiles, and different kinds of food. — Feminae editor.

September 2023

John Geometres. Life of the Virgin Mary. Edited and translated by Maximos Constas and Christos Simelidis. Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library. Harvard University Press, 2023. ISBN 9780674290808 (print).

Detail of a mural on the wall of the Panagia tou Araka church
Virgin Arakiotissa, detail of upper half, Church of Panagia tou Arakos, south wall, east side,1182-83, Lagoudera, Cyprus (Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain). See 121 photographs of wall paintings from the church on this Harvard University website.

"John Geometres (ca. 935–ca. 1000) was one of the most highly esteemed poets and authors in Byzantium; yet his most important text, the Life of the Virgin Mary, remains largely unknown today. This literary and rhetorical masterpiece stands as a work of outstanding theological sophistication, animated by deeply felt devotion to the Mother of God. Geometres’s distinctive and idiosyncratic narrative offers a comprehensive biography, from Mary’s ancestry to her death and beyond, with special emphasis on her direction of Christ’s female disciples, her active participation in the passion and resurrection, and her leadership of the nascent Church. The Life has been rightly considered a critical missing piece in a larger puzzle connecting early Marian writings with later works. Based on a completely new edition of the Byzantine Greek text, this is the first complete translation of the Life of the Virgin Mary into a modern language."— [Reproduced from the publisher's website]

July 2023

A Mother's Manual for the Women of Ferrara: A Fifteenth-Century Guide to Pregnancy and Pediatrics. Edited by Gabriella Zuccolin and translated by Martin Marafioti. Iter Press, 2022. ISBN 9781649590305 (print); 9781649590312 (online)

Image of a medieval illumination, depicting the birth of Alexander the Great
Maître d'Edouard IV and an unknown artist, Birth of Alexander the Great, Quintus Curtius Rufus, Faits et gestes d'Alexandre, 1475-1500, French, Geneva, Bibliothèque de Genève, Ms. fr. 76, f. 18r (Source: E-codices, CC BY-NC). Full image and catalog record (E-codices - Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland, Switzerland)

"Around 1460, Michele Savonarola — incidentally the grandfather of the even more famous Savonarola, the Florentine prophet Girolamo — produced the extraordinary Mother's Manual for the Women of Ferrara. This gynecological, obstetrical, and pediatric treatise is the first of its kind written in a European vernacular, so that it could be potentially read not only by the learned, who communicated in Latin, but also by pregnant and nursing mothers and the midwives and wet nurses who presided over childbirth. Yet Savonarola's work is no trivial set of instructions but the work of a learned scholar who draws on, among others, the ancient Greek physicians Hippocrates and Galen, and Avicenna's Canon of Medicine."— [Reproduced from the publisher's website]

June 2023

A Female Apostle in Medieval Italy: The Life of Clare of Rimini. By Jacques Dalarun, Sean L. Field and Valerio Cappozzo. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2023. ISBN 9781512823042 (pbk); 9781512823035 (hbk); 9781512823059 (online).

The Vision of the Blessed Clare of Rimini / Francesco da Rimini (Master of the Blessed Clare)
Francesco da Rimini, The Vision of the Blessed Clare of Rimini, c. 1333-40, Italian, London, National Gallery, NG6503 (Source: Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

"This book centers on a fascinating woman, Clare of Rimini (c. 1260 to c. 1324-29), whose story is preserved in a fascinating text. Composed by an anonymous Franciscan, the Life of the Blessed Clare of Rimini is the earliest known saint's life originally written in Italian, and one of the few such lives to be written while its subject was still living. It tells the story of a controversial woman, set against the background of her roiling city, her star-crossed family, and the tumultuous political and religious landscape of her age.
Twice married, twice widowed, and twice exiled, Clare established herself as a penitent living in a roofless cell in the ruins of the Roman walls of Rimini. She sought a life of solitary self-denial, but was denounced as a demonic danger by local churchmen. Yet she also gained important and influential supporters, allowing her to establish a fledgling community of like-minded sisters. She traveled to Assisi, Urbino, and Venice, spoke out as a teacher and preacher, but also suffered a revolt by her spiritual daughters.
A Female Apostle in Medieval Italy presents the text of the Life in English translation for the first time, bringing modern readers into Clare's world in all its excitement and complexity. Each chapter opens a different window into medieval society, exploring topics from political power to marriage and sexuality, gender roles to religious change, pilgrimage to urban structures, sanctity to heresy. Through the expert guidance of scholars and translators Jacques Dalarun, Sean L. Field, and Valerio Cappozzo, Clare's life and context become a springboard for readers to discover what life was like in a medieval Italian city."— [Reproduced from the publisher's website]

March 2023

The Roman de Troie by Benoît de Sainte-Maure: A Translation. Translated by Glyn S. Burgess and Douglas Kelly. Boydell and Brewer, 2017. ISBN 9781843845430 (pbk); 9781843844693 (hbk); 9781787440258 (online).

Miniature from Benoît de Sainte-Maure's "Le Roman de Troie".
Jason and the dragon, the capture of Helen and the burning of Troy, Roman de Troie, c. 1330, French, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS Français 60, fol. 42 (Source: Wikimedia Commons, C.C. 3.0).

"Benoît de Sainte-Maure's Roman de Troie, dating to around 1165, is, along with the Roman de Thèbes and the Roman d'Eneas, one of the three "romances of antiquity" (romans d'antiquité). These romances launched the plots, themes and structures of the genre, then blossoming in the hands of authors such as Chrétien de Troyes. As an account of the Trojan War, Benoît's work is of necessity a poem about war and its causes, how it was fought and what its consequences were for the combatants. But the author's choice of the octosyllabic rhyming couplet, his fondness for description, his ability to recount the intensity of personal struggles, and above all his fascination with the trials and tribulations of Love, which affect some of the work's most prominent warriors (among them Paris and his love for Helen, and Troilus and his love for Briseida), all combine to fashion this romance - in which events from long ago are presented as a reflection of the poet's own feudal and courtly worlds.
This translation, the first into English, aims to bring the poem and the author to a wider audience. It is accompanied by an introduction and notes."— [Reproduced from the publisher's website]

Ikone der Heiligen Eudokia, Einlegearbeit in Stein und Elfenbein, 10. Jh.Indexers select a translation each month that is significant in the ideas it presents.  This gives users an opportunity to see a range of newly translated medieval works of importance for women’s and gender studies.  It also will build an archive of references to translations that will be useful as classroom readings.

Depending upon the content, an entire work may be indexed as a single title like the vita of a saint or the collected cartularies of a countess.  But in many cases the translation deals only in part with issues involving women and gender.  In those instances, indexing goes to a deeper level, identifying and describing specific sections within a text.  For example, there are 93 records for pertinent sections in the Siete Partidas.

To see more translations, go to the Advanced Search Page  and put “Translation” in the Article Type box.  Add specific terms to Keyword, Century or Geographical Area as needed.

There are currently over 3000 records for translations in Feminae.  There are also over 500 records for editions in original languages.

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