Medieval Misconception: All Women Were Chattel
By Kim Rendfeld
Early medieval women were far from passive damsels waiting for a knight to rescue them.
Of course, this time period is hardly an ideal time for women: childbirth so risky expectant mothers were urged to confess their sins before they went into labor, fathers choosing whom a girl would marry, age 13 considered marriageable, wife beating defined as a right.
But to say that girls were nothing but pawns valued only for their ability to produce sons grossly oversimplifies medieval women’s reality, and it gives a false impression that women in this era were merely victims who contributed little to their society. Truth is, they tried to shape their situations.
In the mid-eighth century, Saint Boniface depended on both nuns and monks to assist him in his mission to strengthen the church in Europe and spread Christianity. The women left the…
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