In the Middle Ages, women were subject to legal and social discrimination, enjoyed no economic independence, were placed under men’s protection and custody, and forced to conform to strict rules of conduct. A woman was ipso facto a rebel if she refused to fulfil her family's wishes, obey men, fathers, husbands or masters, or displayed independence in her judgment or behaviour. This book tells the story of these women - some famous and some unknown, including saints, queens, abbesses, simple nuns, humble peasants, servants, slaves, heretics, witches and prostitutes. They defied society and chose to elude their destiny by resisting, opposing, fleeing, travelling, learning, teaching, working, fighting, preaching... Or they merely defended themselves from abusive husbands, brutal masters, or being burned at the stake by the Inquisition. The text features Margery Kempe, Joan of Arc, Saint Bridget, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and many other nameless, forgotten women yearning for freedom.
Maria Serena Mazzi formerly taught Medieval History at the University of Ferrara.