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Women in the Middle Ages

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Women in the Middle Ages corrects the omissions of traditional history by focusing on the lives, expectations, and accomplishments of medieval women. The Gieses' lively text, illuminated by the illustrations from medieval manuscripts, art, and architecture, depicts the Middle Ages as a vibrant time in which women were powerful agents of change. The first part of the book gi Women in the Middle Ages corrects the omissions of traditional history by focusing on the lives, expectations, and accomplishments of medieval women. The Gieses' lively text, illuminated by the illustrations from medieval manuscripts, art, and architecture, depicts the Middle Ages as a vibrant time in which women were powerful agents of change. The first part of the book gives the historical and cultural background for the lives of the women discussed. The authors offer a succinct but penetrating review of the religious, scientific, and philosophical attitude that defined women's place in the medieval world. The seven women represent different classes, countries, and centuries: Hildegarde of Bingen, twelfth-century German nun and gifted mystic; Blanche of Castile, queen of France; Eleanor de Montfort, real-life inspiration for the thirteenth-century romantic tales; Agnes li Patiniere, a Flemish textile worker; Alice Beynt, an English peasant woman; Margherita Datini, wife of an Italian merchant; and Margaret Paston, partner of her husband and sons in the conflict of pre-Tudor England.


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Women in the Middle Ages corrects the omissions of traditional history by focusing on the lives, expectations, and accomplishments of medieval women. The Gieses' lively text, illuminated by the illustrations from medieval manuscripts, art, and architecture, depicts the Middle Ages as a vibrant time in which women were powerful agents of change. The first part of the book gi Women in the Middle Ages corrects the omissions of traditional history by focusing on the lives, expectations, and accomplishments of medieval women. The Gieses' lively text, illuminated by the illustrations from medieval manuscripts, art, and architecture, depicts the Middle Ages as a vibrant time in which women were powerful agents of change. The first part of the book gives the historical and cultural background for the lives of the women discussed. The authors offer a succinct but penetrating review of the religious, scientific, and philosophical attitude that defined women's place in the medieval world. The seven women represent different classes, countries, and centuries: Hildegarde of Bingen, twelfth-century German nun and gifted mystic; Blanche of Castile, queen of France; Eleanor de Montfort, real-life inspiration for the thirteenth-century romantic tales; Agnes li Patiniere, a Flemish textile worker; Alice Beynt, an English peasant woman; Margherita Datini, wife of an Italian merchant; and Margaret Paston, partner of her husband and sons in the conflict of pre-Tudor England.

30 review for Women in the Middle Ages

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karen Brooks

    I love anything written by this couple; always entertaining, always educational, they do their research, combine it with their sound knowledge of the era or people they are writing about and produce something that history buffs, writers, or just those with a healthy curiousity about the past will thoroughly enjoy. Women in the Middle Ages is no exception. A concise book it starts with a working definition of the Middle Ages (around 600AD to the end of the Fourteenth Century) before explaining pop I love anything written by this couple; always entertaining, always educational, they do their research, combine it with their sound knowledge of the era or people they are writing about and produce something that history buffs, writers, or just those with a healthy curiousity about the past will thoroughly enjoy. Women in the Middle Ages is no exception. A concise book it starts with a working definition of the Middle Ages (around 600AD to the end of the Fourteenth Century) before explaining popular misconceptions and some facts about the role women played in these fraught and fascinating times. They then explain the primary models against which women were measured – Eve and Mary – sinner and saint, mother and whore, basically. Reductive they might be and yet they set the framework against which women lived, worked, loved, worshipped, ruled, and died. The second part explores specific women, using contemporary sources, in more detail. We are introduced to (or reacquainted with) Hildegarde of Bingen, one of the most highly educated and clever women of the Middle Ages, an Abbess; the magnificent Queen Blanche of Castille a canny ruler who, despite enemies seeking to capture her throne managed to rule beside her husband and later, as a regent, handling the power thrust upon her with courage and intelligence; Eleanor of Montefort, sister to Henry III, devoted mother, wife to the courtier and warrior Simon de Montefort (their relationship is beautifully and sympathetically explored by Sharon Kay Penman who, though working in fiction does extensive research and she paints a softer portrait of Eleanor), and someone very aware of and prepared to fight for her rights. We also meet Agnes Patiniere of Douai, a woman who lived in a city and who had a successful trade, negotiating the politics of the guilds. Then there’s Margherita Datini, an Italian woman who became literate later in life, helped run her husband’s business and avoided succumbing to the plague. Finally, there’s Margaret Paston, member of one of the most successful families of the Middle Ages who rose from crofters to wealthy landowners (and later, Earls) and who are survived by abundant correspondence (the book of their letters, The Pastons, is enthralling) that reveals their daily lives, enmities, private and more public relationships and even their ambitions for themselves and each other. While it seems sad that there are so few women to draw on in order to explore their diverse roles over such a long stretch of time, when considering the division that occurred in medieval lives – men = public, women= private, and the fact most females were confined to domestic space, it’s fortunate we have anything. The Gies’ also ensure they compare and contrast the women they discuss in relation to place and class and draw analogies with literature (eg. Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales) as well demonstrating how women’s role altered (for better and worse) over time. The contradictions in women’s roles are evident in this book, as is how women worked within and against popular and religious expectations, how they managed, sometimes against impossible odds, to find and create their own spaces and lives – some more successful than others. Overall, this was an interesting and enjoyable read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pauline Ross

    I read a lot of fantasy novels, many of which are set in a gloomy created world not unlike the European middle ages. This book was my attempt to see whether the truly dismal picture painted therein has any truth in it. The book discusses the life of women in the thousand years or so from around 600AD to 1600AD, illustrated by a detailed look at the lives of a few specific women of whom accurate records exist. It's fairly dry, academic stuff, but there is a great deal of information in there. How a I read a lot of fantasy novels, many of which are set in a gloomy created world not unlike the European middle ages. This book was my attempt to see whether the truly dismal picture painted therein has any truth in it. The book discusses the life of women in the thousand years or so from around 600AD to 1600AD, illustrated by a detailed look at the lives of a few specific women of whom accurate records exist. It's fairly dry, academic stuff, but there is a great deal of information in there. How accurate are the fantasies? It's true that women's lives were very hard, and few below the level of royalty were able to sit around waited on by servants while they embroidered. Childbirth was risky, children routinely died before maturity, and adults, too, were often carried off prematurely by illness or accident. Medical knowledge was rudimentary, at best. Wealthier families had to fight to maintain and improve their position in society (sometimes literally) while peasants struggled to find enough to eat and pay their rents. It's true, too, that women were regarded as subservient to men - their fathers, brothers, husbands and local lords (but men were also subservient to their masters and lords). Nevertheless, they could and did work and run businesses on their own account, they could inherit property and land, they could resort to law to defend their rights. Widows in particular could take over the rights of their dead husband, carrying on his business or craft, training apprentices and so on. And although marriage was an economic, not romantic, proposition for all ranks, wives were an essential adjunct to the partnership and (royalty apart) not just there to produce children. So although inequality was enshrined in law, the practical application was very different.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Linda (Miss Greedybooks)

    I would keep these (all by Gies books) next to me while reading historical fiction books that I like. I would look up castles or other items of interest. fantastic books!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Petra

    Women in the Middle Ages is a good introduction to someone who wants to know more the period. It is informative and well-written but often a bit too superficial and simplified for my taste.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Bashaar

    This book was both entertaining and educational. I expected to find the same thing that I found in Caleb's Crossing: that women have few rights and limited roles in economically primitive societies. Not really the case in the Middle Ages in Europe. The book told the general story of how women fared in Medieval Europe, and then told the specific stories of several women of different class backgrounds, who happened to leave a record of their lives in some form. Women were certainly not the legal e This book was both entertaining and educational. I expected to find the same thing that I found in Caleb's Crossing: that women have few rights and limited roles in economically primitive societies. Not really the case in the Middle Ages in Europe. The book told the general story of how women fared in Medieval Europe, and then told the specific stories of several women of different class backgrounds, who happened to leave a record of their lives in some form. Women were certainly not the legal equals of men, but they did have some rights, often worked in the same professions as men, and had a respected role as keepers of the household: a much more demanding and serious role then than it is now.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    Books that rely too much on quoted material and too little on real analysis are tiresome. For every two original sentences by the author are two paragraphs of quoted material. These passages only serve to indicate that this person, at this time, once said such and such, and if the author doesn't put the information in thorough context, then the passages are essentially meaningless. This is not a very valuable history of women in the Middle Ages unless you're coming at the topic from the perspect Books that rely too much on quoted material and too little on real analysis are tiresome. For every two original sentences by the author are two paragraphs of quoted material. These passages only serve to indicate that this person, at this time, once said such and such, and if the author doesn't put the information in thorough context, then the passages are essentially meaningless. This is not a very valuable history of women in the Middle Ages unless you're coming at the topic from the perspective of a complete lack of knowledge.

  7. 5 out of 5

    English

    I liked most of the Gies' books I have read- at this is no exception. A fascinating and useful introduction to the source material revealing Medieval Women in every guise. Perhaps it will serve to challenge the misconceptions that they were an universally repressed and downtrodden class with no rights. From noblewomen to Merchants, there was far more to the fairer sex in the Middle Ages than being locked on towers.....also it has proved useful for a number of academic pursuits and assignments. I liked most of the Gies' books I have read- at this is no exception. A fascinating and useful introduction to the source material revealing Medieval Women in every guise. Perhaps it will serve to challenge the misconceptions that they were an universally repressed and downtrodden class with no rights. From noblewomen to Merchants, there was far more to the fairer sex in the Middle Ages than being locked on towers.....also it has proved useful for a number of academic pursuits and assignments.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    This book is so poorly written. One star for being the most boring book EVER on a really interesting topic, one for faithfully putting me to sleep every time I'm having a hard time nodding off. I've almost made it through, which is sad, but I figure I can start over again at the beginning since it didn't make much sense the first time around. This book is so poorly written. One star for being the most boring book EVER on a really interesting topic, one for faithfully putting me to sleep every time I'm having a hard time nodding off. I've almost made it through, which is sad, but I figure I can start over again at the beginning since it didn't make much sense the first time around.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    I love these little historical books. Easy to read, easy to reference.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is a okay read. It’s fairly different from most general overviews of women in historical times I’ve read before in that there is no real focus on the daily life of medieval women. Divided in two parts, the first – “background” – provides a historical overview of the attitudes towards women and the economic and legal positions of women, while the second – “the women” – is a series of biographies of seven different women across of a range of locations and socio-economic standing. I found the This is a okay read. It’s fairly different from most general overviews of women in historical times I’ve read before in that there is no real focus on the daily life of medieval women. Divided in two parts, the first – “background” – provides a historical overview of the attitudes towards women and the economic and legal positions of women, while the second – “the women” – is a series of biographies of seven different women across of a range of locations and socio-economic standing. I found the first section fairly dull – it’s important to give detail on legal and economic histories, of course, but it can make for an uninteresting read. The second part was more interesting, though some biographies are more of an overview of a ‘type’ of woman than the individual (e.g. Hildegarde of Bingen’s chapter deals more with women in religious orders than Hildegarde, while Blanche of Castile’s chapter is focused solely on her life). The broad selection of women makes a varied read, but at times I wondered if it was too broad. Also important to note is that the book was published in 1978 and the information is sometimes dated.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alice

    Yes, this is the type of nonfiction that I devour. Daily life history woven around stories of real life people. The details are grounding while the narratives are exciting. It's succinct yet brimming with vibrancy of these women's lives. I found myself caring about all of these women, and that interest made me want to keep reading. This book was hard to put down! What really sets this book apart is the attention to detail and that lens being turned on all walks of life in the medieval ages. Read Yes, this is the type of nonfiction that I devour. Daily life history woven around stories of real life people. The details are grounding while the narratives are exciting. It's succinct yet brimming with vibrancy of these women's lives. I found myself caring about all of these women, and that interest made me want to keep reading. This book was hard to put down! What really sets this book apart is the attention to detail and that lens being turned on all walks of life in the medieval ages. Readers learn about nuns with Abbess Hildegarde of Bingen, royal women with Blanche of Castile and Eleanor de Montfort, peasant women and Agnes li Patiniere, and then upper-middle class women in Margherita Dating and Margaret Paston. It's a very comprehensive view of medieval life, and I loved it. With such fascinating women, the book was constantly interesting. The only time it really faltered was when it was discussing peasant women, and that is because there is a dearth of information regarding medieval peasants, in general. Gies had to get her information from manorial court records and church books of major life events. Even so, it was interesting reading about the guildswomen and the struggles they went through. Their fight for workers' rights echoed today's struggles, and it makes them seem more human. These weren't just mindless people going about their work, but people with thoughts and feelings who demanded justice. I will say that some sections were more focused on the historical figures than the life of all women of that status, which made sense. There were a lot of nuns, so Hildegard's life was mostly glossed over in favor of revealing convent life to readers. Meanwhile, the lives of Blanche of Castile and Eleanor de Montfort took center stage in their sections. As royal women, their lives were certainly more unique, but no less fascinating. Honestly, the standout for me was Margherita Datini. She is sort of the Italian Margaret Paston, in that historians understand a lot about medieval life from her letters to her husband, which have survived centuries. Additionally, Margherita taught herself to read and write as an adult woman so that she could correspond with her husband in private while Margaret relied on others to write her letters for her, and I just think that is the sweetest and neatest detail. There aren't any battles or treaties in this book. In fact, it's as different from Gies's The Knight in History as you can get. Nevertheless, this is a must read for anyone interested in medieval history or women's history. I happen to love both, so I was in heaven reading this book, and I would totally read it again.

  12. 4 out of 5

    mark

    "The rising affluence of the high Middle Ages, most visible in the growth and prosperity of the cities, brought improvement in condition and status to a great number of city women. By comparison with later times, their situation remained hard and hazardous, but what is most striking to the modern eye is the extent of medieval women's direct participation in production and distribution. In the last quarter of the twentieth century, in the most advanced countries, the economic contribution of city "The rising affluence of the high Middle Ages, most visible in the growth and prosperity of the cities, brought improvement in condition and status to a great number of city women. By comparison with later times, their situation remained hard and hazardous, but what is most striking to the modern eye is the extent of medieval women's direct participation in production and distribution. In the last quarter of the twentieth century, in the most advanced countries, the economic contribution of city women remains less significant." If any of the above surprises you, you should read this book--and with the most open mind possible. And if it does not, you should read it with all of the enjoyment in being validated in your knowledge.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Menzies

    This book shows stories about the lives of many women in the Middle Ages. Many biography books focus only on the public and private lives of the rich and famous in history. However common folk also make up the history of the era. This book focuses more on the poor and working class lives of people in the Middle Ages in comparison to the average history book. Both the good and bad of marriage, courtship, and divorce in history are discussed. In addition the lives of nuns who wrote and edited book This book shows stories about the lives of many women in the Middle Ages. Many biography books focus only on the public and private lives of the rich and famous in history. However common folk also make up the history of the era. This book focuses more on the poor and working class lives of people in the Middle Ages in comparison to the average history book. Both the good and bad of marriage, courtship, and divorce in history are discussed. In addition the lives of nuns who wrote and edited books are displayed. A fascinating book for women’s history month. Hear my full review on YouTube at user Andrea Menzies or the podcast episodes at FH7PUBLISHING.com

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    My goodness, I read these decades ago. I understand there to be some controversy over the Gies books, but they wetted my appetite for more Medieval history books so, in my opinion, it is all good. An excellent bridge or intro to the various subjects they cover in their various titles. If you wonder about the controversial points, well, keep on reading (more books) on the subject(s), you can ask and perhaps answer those questions yourself.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ericka

    Really good compendium of women's lives in the Middle Ages. Well written and not dry. It took me long to read it because we started redoing my house and I lost it, but it's actually quick to read. I pulled up colour pictures of the imprints on my phone as I read. Even my 12 year old found some of it fascinating. Really good compendium of women's lives in the Middle Ages. Well written and not dry. It took me long to read it because we started redoing my house and I lost it, but it's actually quick to read. I pulled up colour pictures of the imprints on my phone as I read. Even my 12 year old found some of it fascinating.

  16. 5 out of 5

    marilynn alexander

    Women in Transition I liked this book. It was a good quick read on an oft over looked segment of middle ages life. The historical peak into women of varied social and economic circumstances was informative and entertaining. I recommend this book to anyone wishing to understand this often overlooked historical segment in an easy to read book. Thank you for a good read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Silvio

    A glimpse of the evolution of women position in societies A good summary of women's life in the Medieval Europe. Not only the famous names and women that are most well known: queens and princesses, but also a travel and view on the day life of peasants and the new emergent bouguoise middle class: guilds, commerce and emergent industrial class. A glimpse of the evolution of women position in societies A good summary of women's life in the Medieval Europe. Not only the famous names and women that are most well known: queens and princesses, but also a travel and view on the day life of peasants and the new emergent bouguoise middle class: guilds, commerce and emergent industrial class.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alaine

    I skim-read this one, trying to find any connection to Elizabeth Woodville or someone from that same time period. There was about one sentence I could use as a source for my senior thesis paper if I became desperate for sources, but I didn't end up using it. So -- terrible if you want to write about Elizabeth Woodville, but an interesting read other than that. I skim-read this one, trying to find any connection to Elizabeth Woodville or someone from that same time period. There was about one sentence I could use as a source for my senior thesis paper if I became desperate for sources, but I didn't end up using it. So -- terrible if you want to write about Elizabeth Woodville, but an interesting read other than that.

  19. 4 out of 5

    The Overflowing Inkwell

    Really enjoyed reading this; a very quick read (just one day, reading on breaks at work). While others mentioned they found this book dry, I found the writing style immensely easy to read and engrossing. The Middle Ages isn't an area I usually read about; a great choice for an overview of the period. Really enjoyed reading this; a very quick read (just one day, reading on breaks at work). While others mentioned they found this book dry, I found the writing style immensely easy to read and engrossing. The Middle Ages isn't an area I usually read about; a great choice for an overview of the period.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

    Always enjoy the Gieses. The material may be dated now, but still worth the read. Full review to come. +++++++++ http://allthebookblognamesaretaken.bl... www.facebook.com/AllTheBookBlogNamesA... www.Twitter.com/SarahsBookNook Rating: 4 Stars I have read several books by this husband and wife team and enjoyed them all. This one is no exception. Though it was written in 1978 and comes across at some points as dated now, it is a thoroughly researched and well-written look at the lives of women in what we Always enjoy the Gieses. The material may be dated now, but still worth the read. Full review to come. +++++++++ http://allthebookblognamesaretaken.bl... www.facebook.com/AllTheBookBlogNamesA... www.Twitter.com/SarahsBookNook Rating: 4 Stars I have read several books by this husband and wife team and enjoyed them all. This one is no exception. Though it was written in 1978 and comes across at some points as dated now, it is a thoroughly researched and well-written look at the lives of women in what we refer to as the Middle Ages, roughly 600 AD to 1600 AD. Of course there is always debate as to when the actual Middle Ages occurred - some dismiss the term 'Dark Ages' completely now, others say this time period begins with Alfred the Great and ends with Richard III's defeat at Bosworth. A strict start and end date is of little consequence to this book, as the authors look at seven women who lived in the centuries from roughly 1000 through 1400. And, though Eleanor of Aquitaine is not one of the women profiled in the book (sad face), she does make an appearance and I quite enjoyed that she is given brief but proper due in the chapter dedicated to Blanche of Castile (her granddaughter): "Heading the party was John's mother, and the princesses grandmother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, an almost fabulous queen who had astounded her contemporaries 50 years earlier by coolly deserting one king (Louis VII of France) to marry another (Henry II of England and Anjou), and who, at the age of 80, still played an active role in politics" (page 97). Page 99 then shows a photograph of Eleanor's effigy at Fontevraud Abbey, next to her favorite son, Richard. As an aside, I am forever amused that she was laid to rest next to her son, instead of Henry II, who was also entombed there. Whether this was purposeful planning or not, one would assume she would not want to spend eternity next to the husband who imprisoned her for years due to her habit of helping their sons rebel against him. While Henry was a great king, he was not a great husband (as viewed from our century, at least, though it would have been of little matter in the 12th century). Now, back to the book... Question: Even in the Middle Ages, people knew the world was not flat. And this fact was about them knowing this was known in 1978. So why the heck were we still taught in the 90s that people in that time thought the world was flat? It makes no sense. I like that the authors use the first section of the book to give background and general information, not only about women in the Middle Ages, but in history as well. For readers who do not know much about this time period, this is valuable to give some insight into life for women in a time so different from our own - or even those in 1978 when this was first published. The second section is devoted to seven specific women, spanning the centuries of the Middle Ages. I loved that the authors profiled women from all over Europe, not just England (though I do love England quite a bit). Here we meet Hildegarde a German nun who lived in the 1100s; Blanche of Castile (Eleanor's granddaughter), who became queen of France; Eleanor de Montfort, youngest daughter of King John (and another granddaughter to Eleanor of Aquitaine - are you picking up on her importance yet?);Agnes li Patiniere, a textile worker who lived in Flanders in the 1200s; Alice Beynet, who lived in England; Margherita Dantini, an Italian woman whose home, built by her husband (an Italian merchant) still stands today - or least did so at the time of publication; and finally, Margaret Paston, of whom we know so much about because of the multitudes of correspondences between her and her husband and sons that survived the Wars of the Roses. These women are so fascinating because of the varied lives they lived. From peasant women, to the granddaughters of queens. The authors present these women as they deserve. They are made real, not just distant figures in time, as people who might have existed. There are existing documents that prove as much. It was great to see these women stand on their own and not be defined by the men in their lives, whether that be their fathers or brothers or husbands. This is important, because when we think of that time period, we don't think of women being successful in their own right in a very male-dominated society. The only thing that bothered me was the photos. They're all black and white, and directly on the page with the text - no fancy glossy paper stuck in the middle of the book here. I would have loved to see some of these paintings in color, they would have been beautiful On page 35 there was also a chart of consanguinity from the 13th century which I would love to see in a more clear photo. You can't read the writing at all, so it would have been helpful to have not only the full photo, but then a close-up of the writing so it would actually be legible. Otherwise, I have no real complaints. Frances and Joseph Gies were fantastic and thoughtful researchers who were thorough in their work. Both have passed away now, but have left many books behind to introduce the new readers to the world in the Middle Ages. Highly recommended.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Erika

    I was hoping for details about daily living, but this book gives a history of women's place in the economy. It focuses more on women's rights in medieval times and what role they played in matters of property and business. It was entertaining and educational. I was hoping for details about daily living, but this book gives a history of women's place in the economy. It focuses more on women's rights in medieval times and what role they played in matters of property and business. It was entertaining and educational.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Aubree Bowling

    hpHopelessly boring but I finished it. I kept thinking the next chapter would get more interesting, but nothing ever did.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    This book is focused on the economic and legal position of women with little to say about the day to day life of these women. I found that to be unfortunate.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mason

    Read for German 140 - Fall 2019

  25. 5 out of 5

    Annemarie Plenert

    Very readable and interesting profiles of women in the Middle Ages.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    Includes a nicely diversified set of mini-biographies. I learned a lot.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Interesting read about a lot of people you've never thought about before. Some chapters felt better written than others, but it's something I'm glad I read. Interesting read about a lot of people you've never thought about before. Some chapters felt better written than others, but it's something I'm glad I read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan Abernethy

    Should be required reading for anyone studying medieval history.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    “Women in Middle Ages” is very interesting and useful especially when you make a study about it and what it feels like to be the women in middle ages. In this book you will meet some people/women that are not usually indicate in some history books and what I always say on the entire review, as a women they give pride to some or maybe all women because of their (women) achievement, they prove everything and nothing is impossible. As I read the other comments of readers of this book they say that t “Women in Middle Ages” is very interesting and useful especially when you make a study about it and what it feels like to be the women in middle ages. In this book you will meet some people/women that are not usually indicate in some history books and what I always say on the entire review, as a women they give pride to some or maybe all women because of their (women) achievement, they prove everything and nothing is impossible. As I read the other comments of readers of this book they say that this is very interesting, they love the book and they rate this as 4-5 (which is the highest score), from these comments and ratings from other audience it just shows that this book of Gies is worthwhile and outstanding. I’m really proud to those authors who write about women because for me it is very challenging. The accounts, evidences and written history are few and when they find resources and information it just stated the typical characteristics and roles of a women and it ends with that. But the authors challenge themselves to serve more and new information and facts about the lives of women in the society. This book provides more information that some are not indicate on other history books. Some women that the authors introduce are new to me; it is the strength of the book because they always provide new information because for me, sometimes the repetition of information makes me feel bored. I feel tired to finish the entire book because I know what will happen next and what will be the content on the other chapter, so when I always read and learn new information it helps me to read the entire book because I know that every chapter has new evidences to present. The book is not feminist although it is about women; I say this because even though it is about the life of women still the authors don’t blocked or hit any perspective. What I really like in making of this book is that the authors used the life of women that not only belong in the Aristocrat but also belong to the other status like middle class and peasant, for me it is one of the reason why this book is interesting. But some words in this book are hard to understand and I don’t know if those words are old English. And one of the weaknesses of this book, the shifting of information is hard to follow so it makes me hard to understand easily the flow of story of the chapter.

  30. 5 out of 5

    ☼Bookish in Virginia☼

    The Gies present and support the 'classic opinions' of male-centric history and historians. This particular work was written before many of the important archeological discovers of the last few decades. My particular bone to pick is that in discussing the Early Medieval period that they did not recognize the obvious examples of women wielding power. Women ran Abbeys and frequently were thought to be 'in rebellion'. They had money and they used it to influence others and were apparently forces to The Gies present and support the 'classic opinions' of male-centric history and historians. This particular work was written before many of the important archeological discovers of the last few decades. My particular bone to pick is that in discussing the Early Medieval period that they did not recognize the obvious examples of women wielding power. Women ran Abbeys and frequently were thought to be 'in rebellion'. They had money and they used it to influence others and were apparently forces to be contended with. In addition, the line of thinking that the Gies inherited fails to recognize the significance of the 'mobile wealth' that women inherited. Land inheritance was certainly extremely important, but the 'mobile wealth' of goods that woman took with them when they married is ignored as insignificant, despite the fact marriages were often arranged based on the wealth that a woman could bring to her new family. This is a minor work in the literature but one that is well written and accessible to non-historians. It should be read with a grain of salt...

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