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Bad Girls in the Middle Ages: Gender, Law, and German Literature

Bad Girls in the Middle Ages: Gender, Law, and German Literature Chapter 8 : Gender, Law, and German Literature University of South Carolina Throughout the long time period of the Middle Ages, legal authority regarded women as "girls." Officially, adult women were not able to perform as judges or advocates or in any official capacity in a court of law. Nor were they able to bring suit themselves except in special circumstances such as rape cases. Rather, they were required to be represented by another person before the law which controlled key aspects of their lives. This other person might be a father if the woman were young and unmarried, or a husband if she were a wife, or a close male relative if neither husband nor father were living. One measure of women's progress in the development of medieval law is the increasing control she had over her choice of guardian and the recourse she had if he were unfair or unjust.1 Yet this principle of representation, called Munt, Muntschaft, or mundium in German and gender-based guardianship in English, was never eliminated. It was reaffirmed with new vigor in the Early Modern period.2 Because of it adult women had the same relationship to the institutions and procedures of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Essays in Medieval Studies West Virginia University Press

Bad Girls in the Middle Ages: Gender, Law, and German Literature

Essays in Medieval Studies , Volume 19 (1)

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 Illinois Medieval Association.
ISSN
1538-4608
Publisher site
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Abstract

Chapter 8 : Gender, Law, and German Literature University of South Carolina Throughout the long time period of the Middle Ages, legal authority regarded women as "girls." Officially, adult women were not able to perform as judges or advocates or in any official capacity in a court of law. Nor were they able to bring suit themselves except in special circumstances such as rape cases. Rather, they were required to be represented by another person before the law which controlled key aspects of their lives. This other person might be a father if the woman were young and unmarried, or a husband if she were a wife, or a close male relative if neither husband nor father were living. One measure of women's progress in the development of medieval law is the increasing control she had over her choice of guardian and the recourse she had if he were unfair or unjust.1 Yet this principle of representation, called Munt, Muntschaft, or mundium in German and gender-based guardianship in English, was never eliminated. It was reaffirmed with new vigor in the Early Modern period.2 Because of it adult women had the same relationship to the institutions and procedures of

Journal

Essays in Medieval StudiesWest Virginia University Press

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