"In muliere exhibeas virum" : women, power and authority in early twelfth-century Anglo-Norman chronicles
Mercan, F. Özden
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This thesis analyses the relationship of women with power and authority within the context of the evidence provided by early twelfth-century Anglo-Norman chronicles between 1095 and 1154. It discusses the basic factors that affected the chroniclers’ approaches to royal and noble women and examines the perception of female power and authority in Anglo-Norman society together with a close assessment of certain developments in society. In the framework of these, it also evaluates the case of Empress Matilda, the first woman to deserve the right to gain the throne in English history. This study presents us with the conclusion that, contrary to the contemporary assumptions that emphasize a change for the worse for the position of high-ranking women, the chroniclers of early twelfth-century did not mention about such a weakening or decrease in female power and authority. The evidence offered by the chronicle sources reveals that the chroniclers recognized the power and authority exercised by the high-ranking women in politics and government of Anglo-Norman realm. They also encouraged those women who took active roles in society by praising them in masculine terms.