Frances And Joseph Gies
I must note that this book came out over thirty years ago, so the information in Women In The Middle Ages may well have been contradicted since. With that caveat in mind, I have to say that Frances and Joseph Gies write interesting, informative and readable books.
The core aspect of this book is the series of chapters which consist of biographies of women from various times covered in the Middle Ages: Blanche of Castile, Hildegard von Bingen and Alice Beynt, just to name three of the women covered. There's also the Paston family (about which these two have written an entire book) and several others from England, Italy and the rest of Europe
That's one of the things I liked about this book. It's not limited to just one region or time period, (as in Life In A Medieval Village). On the other hand, I'm more interested in the era of the Crusades, the eleventh through early thirteenth centuries, so the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, which seem to have made up at least half of the book were a bit later than my true interest.
There's discussions of:
- family life
- marriage and dowry considerations, also the marriage ceremony
- politics and law as they concerned women
- women and their role in medieval guilds
- how women's roles changed through the centuries
Women in the Middle Ages also contains the proper endnotes and bibliography, which might well be one of the most useful parts of the book. Certainly it makes for a useful introduction to the study of medieval women.