HSTAM 111 Lecture 3: Lecture Notes 3

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University of Washington
Ancient and Medieval History
Charity Urbanski

Lecture Notes 3 Wednesday, April 5, 2017 Abbesses and holy women - Few options as a woman o Enter convent or monastery o Get married and raise family - To join a monastery, must generally be of noble status o Oblation – giving children to a monastery or convent - Benefits o Safety from political violence o Access to education – could follow their intellectual interests o Longer lifespan b/c no childbearing o Very powerful o Revered by society around them - Non-convent noblewomen – taught social conventions, housekeeping, knitting/sewing; not reading or writing, necessarily - Women in cloister (“contained” within monastery) – often assumed roles of men; became near equals to male counterparts In 4 c. women were pushed out of official church position b/c Constantinople declares Christianity as Europe (?)’s official religion Scriptoria – rooms in monasteries for writing and copying manuscripts Monasteries - Nobility found and grant property to monasteries - The person running it very powerful political player (abbot or abbess) - Double monastery – house for women and house for men; segregated o Abbess usually in charge of both houses o Example: Fulda - Often used as a political prison - Laybrother(sister) – do the manual labor in monasteries; commoners who join monastery Synod of Whitby (664) – Hilda convenes council to decide when to hold Easter Miracles - Storm o Community seeks safety at monastery
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