Philobiblon: The ruling abbesses

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The ruling abbesses

First little gem from the Mediev-L email list, the information that there were German mini-states ruled only by women (abbesses) for hundreds of years.

"...the female abbey of Essen which lasted 873-1803, and was I believe territorially the largest of them. ... The bucolic town of Essen was founded in the tenth century by the abbess Hedwig I. ... It became a principality of the empire in 1275. The ruling abbess was assisted by a chapter of ten other nuns, who were largely aristocratic...
Here is a snip from the 14th century.
Kunigunde II of Berg 1328-1336
Katarina of La Marck 1336-1360
Irmgard II of Bruch 1360-1370
Elizabeth III of Nassau 1370-1412"

I'm keen to find a source to find out more. (In English - can't do German, sorry!)


Blogger clanger said...

Here's a start...

Harrison, Dick.
The age of abbesses and queens: gender and political culture in early medieval Europe.
Lund: Nordic Academic Press, c.1998.

Sue, Eugène.
The abbatial crosier, or, Bonaik and Septimine: a tale of a medieval abbess.
Trans. Daniel De Leon.
New York: New York Labor News Co., 1908.

Grisé, C. Annette.
Syon Abbey in late-medieval England: gender and reading, bodies and communities, piety and politics.
Canadian PhD, BL 3045.350F, Vol: NQ-31152.

Partner, Nancy F., ed.
Studying medieval women: sex, gender, feminism.
Cambridge, Mass: Medieval Academy of America, 1993.

Peters, Christine.
Patterns of piety: women, gender, and religion in late medieval and Reformation England.
Cambridge: CUP, 2003.

Phillips, Kim M.
Medieval maidens: young women and gender in England, 1270-1540.
Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003.

Aers, David.
The powers of the Holy: religion, politics, and gender in late medieval English culture.
University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, c.1996.

3/26/2006 10:31:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

As ever Clanger - you are a wonder. I'm going to have to work really hard to think up a history topic on which you won't be able to make a suggestion :-) Definitely a challenge.

3/26/2006 11:55:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you find results online, I'd be happy to translate (the gist) of them from German: I used to do a lot of philosophical and religious research bilingually. There's a lot of great stuff out there in German.

3/27/2006 06:13:00 am  

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