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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


This thesis seeks to examine the degree to which 12th century chronicles do or do not accurately represent the position of 12th century noblewomen in England. Since the chroniclers partly based their women on what had been written before, the extent to which the 12th century chronicles follow the two borrowed motifs of women as intellectuals and warriors from their sources will also be discussed. The works of Geoffrey of Monmouth, William of Malmesbury, Orderic Vitalis, and William of Newburgh represent the 12th century chronicles. This thesis will also look at the chroniclers’ Latin sources, specifically Bede, Virgil, and Ovid. Ultimately, the male authors of the 12th century chronicles both depended on earlier sources and also crafted their women to conform to contemporary ideas of female acceptability. They made them more plausible for their era by altering the two motifs in four main ways: by an emphasis on familial ties, by the inclusion of all noblewomen, by acknowledgement of the current political situation, and by the addition of contemporary details.

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