The feudal ages and the role of women in a monastic community

Troubadours A medieval poet and musician who traveled from place to place, entertaining people with songs of courtly love Clovis 5th century Frankish leader of a large kingdom who converted to Christianity Benedict At 15, He left school and hiked up to the Sabine Hills, where he lived in a cave as a hermit. After learning about his deep religious conviction, a group of monks persuaded him to lead their monastery. Patron saint of nuns and children.

The feudal ages and the role of women in a monastic community

Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Men and women were regarded as essentially different, with different roles and rights, although why this was and what it meant in practice varied widely. Behavioral codes and ideals differed with religion, culture, and geography. All of these values evolved over the Middle Ages, as societies developed and came into contact with one another.

Despite these differences, Europe was increasingly united by a common religion—Roman Christianity—and by the common legal system and institutional infrastructure of that religion.

While regional and status-based differences remained, western Europe developed a common culture and ideology, which strongly shaped ideas about sex and gender. Christianity therefore played a significant role in influencing western European attitudes toward sex and gender throughout the Middle Ages.

Medieval theologians provided two dichotomous examples of women's behavior from the Christian Bible: Eve, they said, caused the exile from the Garden of Eden through her foolishness and disobedience.

Mary, by contrast, had helped to offer mankind salvation by obeying God and mothering the Christ child while preserving her chastity.

Both men and women had to be wary of falling into Eve's evilness, while Mary's goodness was a model but not actually achievable.

All people, however, had souls that were equal in the eyes of the Lord and in the church and could achieve sanctity, although medieval theologians believed that each gender faced different challenges.

Important early church fathers, highly influential throughout the Middle Ages, tended to see women as a direct challenge to a life of chastity and hence to the most pious existence.

Augustine — wrestled with his own desire—at one point famously asking God to give him chastity but not yet—before finally giving up sex entirely to devote himself to religion. Nonetheless, the early church fathers believed that marriage itself was not evil.

Numerous theologians recognized that marriage provided an appropriate Christian lifestyle for those not capable of sexual abstinence. The church required both partners, once married, to "pay the marriage debt," or to willingly engage in sexual activity with their spouse in order to meet the spouse's sexual needs and prevent adultery.

Even within marriage, however, sex acts that could not lead to children were viewed as suspect. The church therefore prohibited anything that interfered with conception, including both non-procreative sex acts and contraceptive measures, either in or outside of marriage.

Even for those who did marry, chastity was still desirable. From Radegunda, a queen in sixth-century Gaul modern Franceto Margery Kempea fifteenth-century townswoman in England, devout individuals occasionally persuaded their spouses to let them live chastely and to pursue religious lives.

Widows were encouraged to take vows of chastity, and although many did remarry, second marriages were held by some to be lustful. This is certainly implied in Geoffrey Chaucer 's description of the five marriages of his fictional character, the Wife of Bath, in his Canterbury Tales written in the late fourteenth century.

On the Day of Judgment, the benefits of being a faithful wife were thirtyfold; of being a chaste widow, sixtyfold; and of being a lifelong virgin, one hundred-fold. Especially for women, the church clearly favored total chastity.

But while chastity was always mandatory for nuns and other female religious, churchmen were legally allowed to marry until the fourth century and the practice was generally condoned for several centuries more.

By approximatelyhowever, the church had gained a secure enough religious and political position to enforce its regulations regarding sexuality fairly consistently.

Individuals and communities became increasingly willing to bring sexual indiscretions to light.

The feudal ages and the role of women in a monastic community

This included homosexual male activity, which the church prosecuted much more heavily after around Female homosexuality, however, rarely appears in court records. The heterosexual indiscretions of male clerics were always more likely to be tolerated by the community than those of the nuns or male homosexuality, although all were technically forbidden.

Through the Middle Ages, chastity was, however, both the ideal and, for the clergy, the law.En defi nitiva, Women in the Medieval Monastic World és la darrera aportació a la història del monacat femení.

S’han de felicitar els diversos autors per les seves investigacions i per la difusió que en fan, obrint noves vies de recerca.

Medieval Monastery. Interesting facts and information about life and the lives of men and women in the Medieval period of the Middle Ages. The Monastic community. Nov 22,  · T his is the second installment in the “Get Medieval” series, exploring the historical world of the Middle Ages in Europe, particularly in the 13th and 14th centuries in England, as a potential source for inspiration in D&D and other fantasy role-playing games.


The postclassical period in Western Europe, known as the Middle Ages, stretches between the fall of the Roman Empire and the 15th century. It also developed the monastic movement. Veneration of the Virgin Mary and other female religious figures gave positive role models for women.

Even though women were less restricted than females. What Was the Role of the Church in Medieval Times? In Medieval Times, the Roman Catholic Church exercised significant social and political authority.

The feudal ages and the role of women in a monastic community

Church worship was at the center of public life. As the only unified institution throughout Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire, the Church. A History of World Societies 4th ed. - By McKay – Chapter 12 – Europe in the Early and Central Middle Ages and Chapter 13 – Creativity and Crisis in the Central and Later Middle Ages.

Middle Ages | Definition & Facts |