History: Topic Courses

2024 Summer

HIS395H5S - Topics in History: Murderesses, Mothers, Sovereigns & Saints: Accomplished Women, 400–1100 (Instructor: G. Johnson)

The study of women in the Middle Ages is often biased towards the latter half of the period. Yet, the span of years from 400–1100 produced some of the most fascinating and consequential women of the Middle Ages, even if they are less well-known: Galla Placidia, Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, Empress Theodora, Saint Mathilda of Ringelheim. The (literally) cut-throat rivalry between Queens Fredegund and Brunhild inspired the stories that would one day become Wagner’s Ring Cycle. This class juxtaposes two important women every week in order to illuminate the truly diverse roles available to them in the Early Middle Ages.