Read Opera Muliebria: Women And Work In Medieval Europe by David Herlihy Online


This original research traces the long,complex evolution of women's prominent participation in many forms of productive activity from antiquity to the late Middle Ages. Using primary sources,the author highlights women's work in the textile industry,agriculture,education and medicine,and explains their diminishing social and professional visibility toward the end of that eThis original research traces the long,complex evolution of women's prominent participation in many forms of productive activity from antiquity to the late Middle Ages. Using primary sources,the author highlights women's work in the textile industry,agriculture,education and medicine,and explains their diminishing social and professional visibility toward the end of that era....

Title : Opera Muliebria: Women And Work In Medieval Europe
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ISBN : 9780075577447
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 210 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Opera Muliebria: Women And Work In Medieval Europe Reviews

  • Sylvia McIvers
    2019-03-19 21:47

    If you want to know what people do for a living, just remember how the United States government trapped mobster Al Capone: Follow the Taxes. Notice what other people quote them as saying or doing. And when possible, track down their own words.This was an enjoyable book, well worth reading. David Herlihy goes into meticulous detail, full of colorful anecdotes and explanatory charts. It turns out that *factories, where many people get together to manufacture something more *quickly than any one of them can manage alone, goes back to the Greek and Roman empires, possibly earlier. *Women were doctors as well as midwives in ye ancient days.*Many gods and goddesses had priestess as well as priests.*The Middle Ages were not 500 years of doom and gloom. *Spinning and weaving – so definitively women’s work that unmarried women are still called spinsters – became men’s work as soon as there was real money in it.*~1300, here were wage-earning female heads of household, even in households where the male lived with his wife – but she was the chief wage-earner.Women were always associated with cloth making, in the Egyptian Empire and the Greek and Roman Empires. (Other peoples and nations left less evidence behind.) At on the pyramids show women delivering cloth and being paid in jewelry. The goddess Athena / Minerva first demonstrated weaving and dying wool. Penelope, wife of long-wandering Odysseus, was courted by men impatient to inherit her land. She wove an elaborate winding cloth for her dead father-in-law, and the impatient suitors considered this weaving a reasonable explanation for her delay. The Amazons, on the other hand, refuse to leave warfare and take up… weaving.The lady of the Greek house worked in an inner chamber, alongside her slave girls and free women. She taught them and her daughters to spin, die and weave. Women fulled, or finished, the cloth. Women owned fulling mills and dye works. In Rome, grave inscriptions praised the diseased, and female virtues are piety, modest, chastity, amiability, and dedication to working wool. They did not spin and weave only for their own families, but also to sell their work. Every household complex – the main house and associated buildings – had a cloth works, a big woolen factory. The wife of the villa’s steward had charge of keeping the slave girls working on wool, especially when it was too rainy or cold to work the fields. She supervised the sheep shearing and makes the cloth.Emperor Augustus insisted that his daughter and granddaughters learn to work wool. Emperor Diocletian started a system of state manufactures, based around fabric works, because there were labor shortages and essential commodities, like clothing for the military, must not run out. There were still not enough workers, so the cloth factory became a penitentiary where female prisoners worked.Christian women quietly talked about religion over the wool, when that was still a persecuted minority religion. The wool factory was a hotbed of secret learning.The ‘Edict on Prices’ which Emperor Diocletian decreed in 301, near the end of his life, set maximum (not minimum) wages for a long list of textile workers. Most of them did not receive room and board; they lived at home and came to the factory each day. Note that each day means each day, there was a seven day work week.When pagan days ended and Christians were in the majority, the State fabric shops were still used as penitentiaries. The fabric shops served the Emperor and his immediate family, who wore brocades and silks dyed in purple and embroidered in gold. Private persons wearing purple were convicted of treason. The shops also produced clothing which the emperors distributed to high officials as a major part of their salaries. And of course, soldiers always needed more cloaks and tunics. Gynacea, or woman’s houses, were found by archeologists to be very close to Roman frontiers, where the soldiers (customers) lived.During the reign of Charlemagne, and for centuries afterward, there are many references to women’s workshop throughout Europe. Women were in charge of drawing wool and linen, preparing the yarn , weaving, and dying. Countess Gisla of Saxony, who lived ~800, was a widow who administered her own domains. She built churches on lands recently converted to Christianity. Her two daughters became abbesses. Many young girls went to the abbey to learn spinning and weaving. They then went on to marry and raise their children. When the children were married off, the would return to the abbey to teach the new generation how to spin and weave. The abbeys were self-sufficient, earning enough to buy what they needed – and of course they wove their own clothing.Emperor Louis the Pius (814-841) gave gifts of clothing in varying quality to his noblemen and to the poor. Said clothing was manufactured by a women’s workshop. Clearly, the women did not only spin and weave for their own households.In 1073, a charter mentions a churchly women’s workshop which included a mill, presumably a fuller’s mill to finish the clothing. In 1220, another charter mentions the mill but not the women’s workshop. Since the charters were generally renewed by careful copying, what happened to it?Making linen from flax remained women’s work, but the more profitable wool trade became, start to finish, men’s work. (Except for some minor, boring prep work, in which women were allowed to participate.)Salerno had the oldest, most prestigious medieval medical school. Trotula of Salerno was a famous woman physician, quoted by her peers. There are several references to ‘women of Salerno’ as doctors. Male and female Jewish doctors were also prominent in Salerno, and in Paris. There were also women faith healers – lay on hands and heal! The most famous religious woman rarianed in medicine is the German abbess and mystic Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), who literally wrote the book of natural philosophy, and a book of cures, and a book of healing herbs.Women were midwives without male competition, as “they understand these thigns more correctly than do men.”Then came the licensing boards, which required specific training, which women couldn’t attend – and voila! No more women doctors, only unlicensed quacks…. But there weren’t enough licensed physicians, so many people went right on going to women healers.Paris gets its own chapter due to King Philip The Fair’s tax rolls. He passed seven taxes on urban population, and the tax men were very, very meticulous about recording every tax-paying citizen. Four of these tax rolls have been published, and are available to historians.It is interesting to find out how many roles women were taxed on, and how many were taxed separately from their husbands – they must have worked separately, too. There were female heads of household ~1300.Flip to the back – there’s no list of sources which are accessible to the general reader, and no ‘recommended reading’ which this reviewer has come to expect from a book like this. Also, most of the Notes are the original Latin or Greek which is quoted in-text in English. This is not a failure of the book per se, but it does mean the reader can’t jump to a new angle on this topic.