How did women live in The Middle ages?Presentation Transcript
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The women role in The Middle Ages
The lives of Middle Ages women were
dependent on their role and status. All women
were expected to be subservient to the men in
Women were totally dominated by the male
members of their family. They were expected to
instantly obey not only their father, but also their
brothers and any other male members of
The family. Any unruly girls were beaten into
submission and disobedience was seen as a
crime against religion
The general attitude towards women was that
they were inferior to men. Generally, women
were taught that they should be meek and
obedient to their fathers and husbands, though
this did not prevent some women from
becoming among the most respected Christian
saints and scholars, or in some rare cases,
from changing history (like Joan of Arc).
In the day-to-day reality of things, medieval
women had a lot of responsibility and were not
at all inferior to men in terms of daily effort.
Most worked and did not stay at home,
contrary to some modern beliefs. Many toiled
alongside their families in the fields, and some
were employed in workshops or were trades-
Women sometimes had the responsibility of
running large estates, due to the death of a
husband (widows were permitted to hold land,
and a woman with a lot of land was just as
powerful and influential as a man with the same
They settled local disputes and arranged estate
finances.They even took equal responsibility
in defending castles or manors from invaders.
The noble lady played
an important part in the
efficiency of running the state
of her husband. She made sure everything
ran smoothly, from the provisioning of the
keep to the defense of the estate while her
husband was absent. The management position
held by many noble women wasn't a visible one
in comparison with the men in her family.
The peasant woman
The peasant woman played an important role
in her household. She worked very hard to
help support the family.
She kept the house, cooked, did the wash, made
the clothes, milked the cows, tended the fire,
cared for the children and basically took care
of any other task her husband did not
have the time for. She often earned extra
income outside of the home.
There were numerous opportunities available
to the peasant woman to make money,
including the making and
selling of cheese, butter
What did people do
Types of Medieval Entertainment varied
according to status but included feasts,
banquets, jousts and tournaments, Mystery
Plays, fairs, games and sports, hunting,
hawking, animal entertainment using dogs,
bears and monkeys
The star of Medieval Entertainment was
The Middle Ages was the great epoch
for dancing, especially in France.
There were an endless number of dancing
festivals. As soon as the two sexes were
assembled in sufficient numbers,
before or after the feasts,
the ball began, and men and
women took each other by the
hand and commenced the
performance in regular steps.
Women's involvement with medieval music
took a variety of forms.
They served at times as audience, as
participant, as sponsor,
and as creator.
The evidence for their roles,
like that for their
is sporadic at best.
Women were also active
as menestrelles and
Performers themselves, they
travelled as part of small groups of
entertainers, and were often wives or
daughters to male minstrels.
Perhaps the most famous of the medieval
women composers is Hildegard of Bingen.
She wrote major works
of theology and visionary
writings. When few women
were respect, she was
consulted by and advised
bishops, popes, and kings.
She used the curative powers of natural
objects for healing, and wrote treatises about
natural history and medicinal uses of plants,
animals, trees and stones. She is the first
composer whose biography is known. She
founded a vibrant convent, where her musical
plays were performed
Religion in Medieval Ages
The Catholic Church was the only church in
Europe during the Middle Ages, and it had its
own laws and large coffers. Church leaders
such as bishops and archbishops sat on the
king's council and played leading roles in
Bishops, who were often wealthy and came
from noble families, ruled over groups of
parishes called quot;diocese.quot;
Parish priests, on the other hand, came from
humbler backgrounds and often had little
The village priest tended to the sick and
indigent and, if he was able, taught Latin and
the Bible to the youth of the village.
Apart from the manor, the church was the main
focus of community life. Church parishes were
usually the manor villages.
The parish priest was appointed
by the lord of the manor and
was given a house.
He was obliged to carry money
for alms with him, keep up the
church, and provide hospitality
The inquisition was a machinery of repression,
whose mission was to match over the purity of
de religious principles, to prevent the spread of
the Protestantism and of the materialistic ideas,
considered harmful to the purity to the
The history of the Inquisition
marked the beginning of a
mortal pulse between
intolerance and freedom.
The act of a faith was a public manifestation of
the Inquisition. If the judgment of the
Inquisition was condemnatory, it implied that
the condemned had to take part in the
ceremony. The acts of a faith could be private
In that epoch there was just one way of
thinking, people were religious and if you
didn’t agree with their religious points of view
you would be condemned.
Today the Inquisition would be unthinkable
because every person is free to think what
he/she wants and believe or not in God and the
church. We would not be present at an act of
faith because it was a way of demonstrating
that you agreed with the Inquisition.
From the early 1300's until the late 1700's the
Inquisition set about to find and destroy those
that would not follow the Church blindly and
without question. The problem with this is that
many of the people tortured and killed for
quot;crimes against the churchquot; were innocent
The healing arts were not to be practiced
without cries of quot;She's a witch!quot;
Male practitioners of social rank were not as
often condemned. They had they excuse of
being doctors. Women on the other hand, were
guilty of all manner of things before they could
even open their mouths to defend themselves
Those were dark years for many people,
but particularly for the women.
Age and beauty did not matter. Even the rich
governor's wife could be held for questioning
and put to death for practicing witchcraft,
if there was another woman involved with the
husband, or a jealous previous girlfriend.
Children were often held and put to death with
their mothers, as all knew mothers taught their
Nowadays it does not exist such a big lack of
freedom as there was at this period although it
continues existing but is penalized in other
ways. The women are getting every day more
freedom and can express freely.
In that epoch there was just one way of thinking,
people were religious and if you didn’t agree with
their religious points of view you would be
Today it is not like that any more.
Healer and Medicine
What was medicine like in that period ?
Only graduated people could practice medicine
but woman could not access universities. Only
a few women could practice medicine and you
could find them in convents. Church allowed
them to help in some common illness.
In the middle ages, men
couldn’t examine women
when she had an illness.
So, they had to do it themselves.
Women learned to do many
home-made remedies and
The healer had some advantages.
They could take care of another woman and they
could be midwives and use the experience about
natural medicine to fix diseases.
When people called the widwife to assist the
birth, she had to prepare many
The midwife went to the pregnant
woman´s house and she heated
up water, took humid rags for the
labour and gave solutions to
the present. When the baby
was born the widwife
had to clean him/her and
Midwives had knowledge about home-made
remedies to relieve the pain to remedies
women’s illness or even miscarriages.
Midwives were seen like witches and they
were hated and persecuted
José Luis Gálvez
José Luis Díaz
1º Bachillerato Sociales 1
I.E.S La Rosaleda