Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Were there women knights?

In HIST 4505, Topics in Medieval History, otherwise known as the Chivalry seminar, we were all wondering why Ramon Lull, who wrote an early treatise on knighthood and chivalry, went out of his way to say, twice, that women could not be knights.

A contributor to the MEDIEV-L list contributes this link, which goes to a description at heraldica.org of the Order of the Hatchet of the late 12th century:

There is a case of a clearly military order of knighthood for women. It is the order of the Hatchet (orden de la Hacha) in Catalonia. It was founded in 1149 by Raymond Berenger, count of Barcelona, to honor the women who fought for the defense of the town of Tortosa against a Moor attack. The dames admitted to the order received many privileges, including exemption from all taxes, and took precedence over men in public assemblies. I presume the order died out with the original members.

Well, old Ramon Lull lived in Aragon (where Barcelona is located) in the 13th century. Maybe this was what he was thinking of!


Blogger Wolfy said...

Yes, there have been lots of good historical accounts of women knights all through the Middle Ages. Jessica Amanda Salmanson's "Encyclopedia Of Amazons" has plenty of stories. For more info and art about women warriors, please go to Werewolfking's Howl blog at www.werewolfking.blogspot.com

4:27 PM  

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