The Middle Ages is often referred to as the era of retrogression of Western civilization. It was the execution ground for religious trials, the hell where the Black Death took 20 million lives, and the severe cold of swords and swords and endless wars. Women in the Middle Ages were just subordinates to their masters. This tradition of gender inequality is surprisingly similar to the oriental patriarchal thought. Peasant and petty bourgeois women toiled until they stopped breathing in order to obtain food for subsistence. Most of the high-class women spent their whole lives wandering in cold castles. Become the link to maintain the interests of the two families. But there are always exceptions in history. Seven or eight hundred years ago, there were such a group of noble women in England. According to literature records, although most of them were forgotten by later generations, their names could not be remembered, and there might be only a few words left behind, but Guided by self-improvement and self-reliance, they shoulder the responsibility given by life, capture all the splendor of life, and live proudly in the dark age of advocating force and obsessing with patriarchal violence.
The heroic mistress of the castle
In medieval England, like other countries, the country’s male labor force was mainly recruited to serve in internal and external wars. For aristocratic women, the huge manors left by their fathers, husbands, and adult sons when they went out to fight, castle defense work, and complicated internal affairs all required them to manage. Although they are not as powerful as men, once the territory is besieged, these aristocratic women still have to replace their husbands and lead the army to defend the city for self-defense, and it has been proved that women are no less capable of command and management than men. The historian Gloucester once recorded a heroic feat of Duchess Matilda from the Aigle region who helped her husband defend the castle. She once led the army alone to defend the city for 30 days and nights without losing an inch of ground, which is quite similar to the Chinese Mu Gui. The heroine who is in command of England does not give way to her eyebrows, which also makes her a model of English heroines in the 12th century. Another example comes from Richenda, the wife of the sheriff of Dover Castle at the same time. She was even more obsessed with the military management of the castle than her husband. She once boasted: “If my brother (then England With the permission of an important retainer of the king, I can lead the army to burn London.” And a female castellan named Gerald from Camville was in charge of Lincoln Castle (Lincoln Castle). For the enemy, she is nearly sixty years old.
However, the outstanding wisdom of the mistress of the castle is often more reflected in the art of management. On the one hand, women need to take custody of castles and manors when their husbands go out to fight, and some noble women will also inherit their original titles and territories due to the death of their fathers and husbands and have no male heirs. The widows manage the huge family business Seemed even more helpless. However, in the “History of Medieval England” written by the master historian Mary Bateson, there are many mistresses who managed the castle well. In daily management, the female castle is mainly familiar with the location and size of her territory, and whether there are sufficient production tools. When it comes to harvest time every year, she has to organize her servants to count the harvested grain. In order to ensure the reliability of the results, these retainers are all the confidantes of the female city lord, because these grains can be used for three purposes after they are handed over: one is to sell them immediately for exchange. The money is used to maintain the family’s food, clothing, wine cellar, and retainer salaries; the other part is stored and sold for profit when the price of food rises; the other part is used for charitable donations, helping the people and donating to the church. In addition, if the fiefdoms are relatively scattered, the female city lords have to plan a plan to inspect various places within a year. The hardships and dangers of the journey must be overcome, because they need to personally check the income and expenditure and tributes of various places. In order to maintain a dignified and refined image in the territory, perhaps because of women’s demanding external image, most jazz ladies have strict requirements on the dress and dining etiquette of their subordinates. From squire knights to handymen, they are required to dress appropriately, and they need to be neatly dressed when dining. Sleeveless cloaks, dirty cloaks, and thick woolen jackets are not allowed to be worn. Behavior is strictly regulated. Of course, in order to ensure a delicious and healthy diet, it is necessary to have a meal officer. From production to management, from city walls to kitchens, female city lords are the central nervous system for the smooth operation of the territory, which also creates their independent and courageous characters, and even creates their “masculinity”. Thoughts reveal delicacy and tenderness.
Education Creates the Disposition of Aristocratic Women
The noble and high-class women in the Middle Ages were also the leaders of social trends, which benefited from the comprehensive education they received from childhood. Home education for aristocratic women involved complex subjects such as astronomy, geometry, philosophy and literature. A collection of essays written by a Frenchman contains an educational plan involving women’s literacy from childhood to adulthood: from the moment the baby is born, the maid will prepare all the learning tools for the future, from children to teenagers, although women can’t be like boys Accept formal knight course education, but tutors will pay attention to teaching girls to acquire knowledge from small aspects, such as learning words from diet and clothing in life, and teachers should also predict possible doubts that students may have. In medieval England, proficiency in French was regarded as a symbol of erudition, so French lessons became one of the study items for noble women. At the same time, the family also pays attention to the physical education of the girls. Hunting and falconry are compulsory courses for the little nobles. Parents have an advantage in negotiating with the future in-laws. This kind of strict and comprehensive education promotes both civil and military advancement of noble women, and is also conducive to establishing an attitude of being neither humble nor overbearing, confident and modest in thinking. When Henry III reigned in the 13th century, a Countess Isabella from Arundel was treated lightly by the king’s language. We and you are both failures!” Henry III showed disdain and sarcasm: “Oh? Honorable Countess, despite your eloquence, has our country and our nobles granted you the right to bargain with me? ?” Isabella retorted: “Your Majesty, although I don’t have this right as a woman, you and my father and all the nobles have an appointment (referring to the Magna Carta in 1215), and you will end up He has served the country all his life and never regretted it, but now you wantonly tax us, which obviously violates the agreement, where is our freedom, why can the agreement be repeated?” A model of women’s pursuit of human dignity and gender equality.
Of course, the deepening of education has broadened people’s horizons, and noble women have become more open. Needlework, wool combing and other domestic skills were abandoned, and noble women also launched a free pursuit of their love and preferences, followed by a more open style of female literature. By the 15th century, that is, the late Middle Ages, the scope and openness of literary works involving the lives of ladies were unprecedented. Henry VII, the founder of the Tudor dynasty, married Elizabeth of the York family in order to quell the succession dispute between the York and Lancaster families. This political marriage should have been sacred and solemn, but the literary works at that time did not There are different opinions: Elizabeth is described as a woman lacking in quaintness, rebellious and fashionable, and this marriage is described as a political transaction between two families, which is full of intrigue and bargaining, among which unofficial rumors naturally emerge in endlessly. However, most of the literary works involving women in this period are still positive and sunny. The love and hatred between knights and ladies have been passed down for centuries. Putting aside the old concept of restraint and self-denial, the countess walked out of the palace wall and enjoyed freedom Between the secular etiquette and the pursuit of personal freedom and happiness, a large number of people choose the latter, which makes us marvel at the great influence of the medieval education methods on aristocratic women, making these originally family diplomacy and patriarchal society The victimized women did not feel sorry for themselves, but instead lived a colorful life.
The noble body shines on the historical stage
After the 13th century, the historical records about women increased significantly. History is no longer just a world for men, and women are equally brilliant. Dr. Stubbs, a great Western historian and founder of the “Oxford School”, once praised this period of history when he reviewed it. Plus, of course, the aristocratic women are well-deserved protagonists. The husband is away on an expedition, and the young woman is bored. The main activity is singing and playing games with the servants, talking to each other about family affairs, and passing the time. Ella, Countess of Salisbury County, England, married William Longsword, a relative of King Richard I of the Lionheart, at the age of 11. This man was nearly half a century old, and soon he went abroad, Ella, who stayed alone in the castle, liked to tell some anecdotes to the servants. When she grew up, she compiled the stories she collected all the year round into a collection of anecdotes. In the 13th century, the Duchess of Senchia in the Cornwall region of England (now the capital of Wales), one of the hobbies, was to correspond with her good sisters. These well-educated and upper-class women were not just talking about the trivialities of life, they were actually supporters of the famous Franciscan movement in the Middle Ages, which was a pursuit of a life of poverty promoted by monks from aristocratic families. and religious agitation against paganism. The letters written in fluent French by Sencia and others had a major effect on the spread of the Franciscan movement, and they became advocates in the secular field of this movement.
Although the Western world has a longer history of pursuing equality between men and women than the East, in the Middle Ages when speaking by force and advocating power is the truth, women were not only inferior to men, but were even vilified as the source of evil. We seem to be able to get a glimpse of this point from the description of the beauty Helen in Homer’s Epic: Paris, the little prince of Troy, was attracted by the beauty of Queen Helen of Sparta and brought her back to the city-state. The Trojan War lasted ten years. Behind this war triggered by a beautiful woman, lies the conservative thought of degrading and discriminating against women in the West. Most scholars in the early Middle Ages also had a dislike for women, or at least excluded women from the historical stage. However, with the progress of the times and the influence of women can not be ignored, people’s views on women have changed. In the 12th century, most aristocratic tutors near Lincolnshire, England, had begun to teach male and female students equally. A local Marquess named Hugh for the first time allowed widows to sit on the same table with him, and encouraged his friends to do the same. Do. He often said: “Since God created women, he will naturally love women. We should not only call our God our heavenly father, but our great heavenly parents.
” The long night has long been dissipated by the light of science and reason, and the busy city and skyscrapers have buried the iron horse Jinge deep under their feet. The extreme masculinity in the feudal era made it difficult for women to walk in the painful and narrow living space, struggling to bow to fate and defend their self-esteem. However, there are still a group of aristocratic women who are like blooming roses and have won the respect of men. It has left an indelible mark in the long river of history. It is true that their names and appearances will be eclipsed with the passage of time, but what is more eye-catching and shocking is that they are in awe of the nobility and greatness of life, use strength as a shield, courage as a shield, freedom as a sword, and pursue happiness and no regrets all their lives Go forward bravely on the road of life. History therefore remembers this group of people, and we salute them!