1st Edition

Women and Violence in the Late Medieval Mediterranean, ca. 1100-1500

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    This pioneering work explores the theme of women and violence in the late medieval Mediterranean, bringing together medievalists of different specialties and methodologies to offer readers an updated outline of how different disciplines can contribute to the study of gender-based violence in medieval times.


    Building on the contributions of the social sciences, and in particular feminist criminology, the book analyses the rich theme of women and violence in its full spectrum, including both violence committed against women and violence perpetrated by women themselves, in order to show how medieval assumptions postulated a tight connection between the two. Violent crime, verbal offences, war and peace-making are among the themes approached by the book, which assesses to what extent coexisting elaborations on the relationship between femininity and violence in the Mediterranean were conflicting or collaborating. Geographical regions explored include Western Europe, Byzantium, and the Islamic world.


    This multidisciplinary book will appeal to scholars and students of history, literature, gender studies, and legal studies.

    Introduction: Medieval and Modern Gender-Based Violence

    Lidia L. Zanetti Domingues, Lorenzo Caravaggi, Giulia M. Paoletti

    Part I: Women and War

    1. "Both General and Lady": the 1135 Defence of Gangra by its Amira

    Maximilian Lau

    2. Representations of women’s violence in the epic: the female ‘furor’ in the Old French Guillaume d’Orange Cycle, the Byzantine Digenis Akritis and the Persian Shahnameh by Ferdowsi

    Nina Soleymani Majd

    3. Reflections on Women’s Behaviour in War Contexts in Communal Italy (Twelfth-Thirteenth centuries)

    Alberto Luongo

    4. À l’épreuve des guerres seigneuriales. Des rôles féminins dans la trame de l’Histoire de Corse (quinzième siècle)

    Lucie Arrighi

    Part II: Women and Criminal Courts

    5. Opportunities to Charge Rape in Thirteenth-Century Bologna

    Carol Lansing

    6. Legal regulation of sex crimes in medieval Serbia and its Mediterranean communes under its rule

    Nina Kršljanin

    7. Lascivious crimes and legitimate proofs: women and the juridical transformation of Norman and Staufen Sicily

    Philippa Byrne

    Part III: Violence and Female Social Roles

    8. La parrèsia comme expression de la violence féminine à Byzance

    Élisabeth Malamut

    9. Slavery and Violence Against Women in Renaissance Central Italy

    Loek Luiten

    10. ‘With her aid, direction, and fervor’: Women and the Politics of Lordship in Fourteenth-Century Tuscany

    Joseph Figliulo-Rosswurm

    11. Gendering Crime in Byzantium: Abortion, Infanticide and Female Violence

    Stephanie Novasio


    Annick Peters-Custot


    Lidia L. Zanetti Domingues holds a DPhil in History from the University of Oxford. She is currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Università di Milano Statale. She held research positions in the UK, Canada, and Italy. Her work focuses on the influence of Christian spirituality on the development of criminal justice in the late medieval Italian communes.

    Lorenzo Caravaggi completed his doctorate at Balliol College, University of Oxford, with a thesis on the dynamics of peacekeeping in late-medieval Italy. He is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at The University of East Anglia, with a project on the ethical and literary underpinnings of criminal law in fourteenth-century Europe.

    Giulia Maria Paoletti holds an M.St. in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies DPhil in Medieval and Modern Languages from the University of Oxford. She was awarded an Ernst Mach Grant to work at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. Her work focuses on Byzantine poetry, monastic literature and more broadly on the Palaiologan period.