Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

  • Record Number: 36735
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Pietro da Eboli , ,
  • Contributor(s): Hood, Gwenyth, trans.
  • Title: Book in Honor of Augustus
  • Source: Book in Honor of Augustus (Liber ad Honorem Augusti).Pietro da Eboli  Edited by Gwenyth HoodMedieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 398.  ACMRS (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies), 2012.  Pages 73 - 361.
  • Description:

    In his poem, Pietro da Eboli celebrates the success of the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI of Hohenstaufen, in his struggle to gain control of Sicily. The last Norman king, William II, named Henry as his heir to Sicily. Henry had married the heiress of the kingdom, Constance of Hauteville, the daughter of Roger II, the powerful ruler of Sicily in the previous generation. Tancred, count of Lecce, opposed the succession, and armed warfare ensued. Constance plays an active role in the poem, rallying soldiers, behaving bravely when taken prisoner by Tancred, and delivering a son at the age of 40. This was particularly important for Henry's cause since his lack of heirs to that point compared unfavorably with Tancred's sons. Constance's infant, the later emperor Frederick II, is pictured in the manuscript being given by his mother to the countess of Spoleto for safekeeping.

    Further gender concerns in the poem involve the portrayal of Tancred as weak and depraved. He is reported to have two wives at the same time and bathe in the blood of children for relief of a skin disease. His deformity (a very short stature) is so pronounced that an attendant at his birth shields her eyes. The cause is explained by an analogy to an aborted sheep. The single surviving manuscript has 53 pages of illustrations capturing details of marriages, childcare, gender norms, and further scenes of social history. All of the illustrations are reproduced in black and white along with the Latin text, English translation, and extensive notes.

  • Article Type: Translation
  • Subject (See Also): Constance, Queen of Sicily, Wife of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor Empresses Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor Queens
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 12
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence: Poem; Latin poem written by Pietro da Eboli who describes himself as a servant of the emperor, Henry VI.
  • Illustrations:
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  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2012.
  • Language: English; Latin
  • ISSN/ISBN: 9780866984461
  • Material/Technique :
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