Lady Knight: Who are they?

“Chevalese”, a term used in the Middle Ages

In the 21st century, the French are asking themselves: Should we feminize the name of the profession? Well, it seems more modern, the Middle Ages have already done it! We find the words “surgeon”, “mayor” or “avenger” in the texts of that time … and also “chevalares”!

With “chevalière”, these two words are used in the Middle Ages. They do not nominate the knight’s wife, no, but the warrior on horseback. The word hides a reality unfortunately very often forgotten, that is excellent work Chevaleresses, feminine chivalry (Perrin, 2013) by Sophie Cassagnes-Brouquet Highlights.

The result: We discovered that Joan of Arc was not the only knight in history, just the opposite! From the 12th to the 15th century, in France, Scotland, Spain or Italy, women took up arms to defend their lands.

3 Chevalier D’Eon, male or female? What the archive says about her sex

The Hundred Years War

In the Middle Ages, the West was in a state of permanent war, especially in the 13th and 14th centuries, during the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453). Inevitably, society is becoming militarized. In the absence of men, who may leave for months or even years, women have no choice but to defend their estate.

The plague has devastated more than a third of Europe’s population, so we lack weapons. This is how we see French, English but also Spanish or Italian elite women leading the army. They are all sisters, wives or mothers of knights so they always know trade.

These warriors do not hesitate to mail their helmets and chains. They ride horses and galvanize soldiers like men. In the Middle Ages, this is what we think of women: “Women are unfit for war. Their bodies are weak, their reasoning is limited, their character is terrible,” said historian Collette Beaune. So they overthrow both the enemy and the established order and show that they are capable of defending a fortress, feeding, treating, collecting ransom, negotiating treaties, besieging …

Two exceptions: the Crusades.

In two special cases, women have the right to bear arms. The first is the Crusades. A woman can cross the path like a man because every Christian has a duty to do so. Pilgrims, sometimes wearing postal coats, wield swords against enemies on their way.

In 1187, Margaret of Beverly arrived in Jerusalem on a crusade. He fought for fifteen days. His brother, Cistercian monk Thomas de Freudmont, described his adventures as follows: “I wore a breastplate like a man; I leaned against the wall with a cauldron over my head as a helmet. Although a woman, my appearance was that of a warrior, I was a weapon. And though full of fear, I have learned to hide my weakness. “

Muslim leaders are surprised. In front of the women carrying weapons they tell themselves that the Crusaders are completely degraded!

3 Jerusalem during the Crusades: The crushing victory of the Knights of Christ

… And blockade

The other exception is seats. Whether you are rich or poor, male or female, everyone has the right and even the duty to protect their town or village. The blockade constitutes an emergency where the rules are set aside.

Peret de la Rivie’s husband was involved in the battle of Agincourt, so he was the one who made the heroic siege against the English at the fortress of La Roche-guয়ne.

This is also the case with Julian, the sister of Constable Bertrand du Guesslin. In 1362, his Ponterson castle was attacked by the English at midnight. Not one or two, he gets out of bed, puts on his brother’s mail coat, holds a sword and pushes back the attackers’ ladder, which is against the wall of the enclosure.

Evidence that war is not reserved for the male elite, philosopher and poet Christine de Pizan even wrote a manual of management and military strategy for women. This Three green books, Where Women’s city treasure (1405).

Towards the end of the Middle Ages, the fall of heroism sounded the death knell for Knighthood. In the 16th century, humanitarians returned women to the home and their main role: the role of the mother.

Read more:

Why the Crusades?

Who was Eleanor of Aquita, Queen of France and England?

Who was Eleanor of Aquita, Queen of France and England?

Who was the last Knight King Henry II?

Who was the last Knight King Henry II?

Did King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table exist?

Did King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table exist?

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