It’s safe to say that many readers have actually grown up with a healthy dosage of the legends of King Arthur, the excellent British king who went on an impressive mission for the Holy Grail and was ultimately laid to rest in Avalon. However where did King Arthur live in the time in between? Well, it was none aside from the famous court of Camelot, where he and his knights provided at the Round Table.

Courtly intrigue is fascinating to modern-day audiences.

Medieval Courts Through the Eyes of Women

That stated, almost all the legends of King Arthur are male-centric, with the two essential female characters– Morgan le Fay and Queen Guinevere– being pigeon-holed as evil sorceress and adulteress, respectively. To be frank, their stories have usually been informed by males.

Regrettably, in spite of his iconic status, King Arthur’s life is just a legend, suggesting that we’ll never know the real nature of the ladies at his court. Fortunately, there were plenty of (genuine) female courtiers who lived in various medieval courts and penned everything from histories to poems. Thanks to them, we can a minimum of have a female perspective of court life beyond the male look.

Female Writers From Middle Ages Japan

Middle ages Japan saw the increase of feudalism and is normally burglarized 2 significant periods: Kamakura (1185–1333) and Muromachi (1336–1573). The Azuchi– Momoyama period (1568–1600) is sometimes included.

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Middle ages Japanese literature continued the classical custom of monogatari (court fiction) and waka poetry, which is court poetry from the Sixth century to 14 th century.

Sacred Rites in Moonlight: Ben No Naishi Nikki cover Ben no Naishi (perhaps 1228–1270)

Noteworthy work: Spiritual Rites in Moonlight: Ben No Naishi Nikki

Ben no Naishi was a naishi (female courtier) who served in the court of Emperor Go-Fukakusa, the 89 th emperor of Japan. She is popular for her narrative Spiritual Rites in Moonlight: Ben No Naishi Nikki however is also considered an accomplished poet.

Kenreimon-in Ukyō no Daibu (perhaps 1157–1233)

Noteworthy work: Kenreimon-in Ukyō no Daibu Shū

Kenreimon-in Ukyō no Daibu served Taira no Tokuko, the Empress-consort of Emperor Takakura, from 1173 to ~1178 Twenty-three of her poems were consisted of in chokusen wakashū (imperial Japanese anthologies of waka poetry), and she also completed her individual anthology Kenreimon-in Ukyō no Daibu Shū

Princess Shikishi poems cover Princess Shikishi (1149–1201 *)

Noteworthy work: String of Beads: Total Poems of Princess Shikishi

Princess Shikishi was the thirrd child of Emperor Go-Shirakawa, the 77 th Emperor of Japan. A respected poet, 399 of her poems are recognized today.

Although Princess Shikishi is considered a classical poet, I am including her in our list of middle ages authors because her life extended well into the early Kamakura period (which started in 1185).

Kaki Mon’ in (unidentified–1380 s)

Noteworthy work: Kaki Mon’ in Go-shū

Kaki Mon’ in was a noblewoman, Buddhist nun, and waka poet of the Nanboku-chō duration (1336–1392), which happened at the very beginning of the broader Muromachi period (1336–1573). At court, she functioned as the concubine of Emperor Go-Murakami, the 97 th emperor of Japan and was the mother of Emperor Go-Kameyama, the 99 th emperor of Japan (some sources recommend that she was also the mother of Emperor Chōkei, the 98 th emperor of Japan).

Her personal collection of waka poetry, Kaki Mon’ in Go-shū, is considered a valuable resource on the accession of Emperor Chōkei. Seventeen poems from this personal collection were consisted of in the Shin’ yō Wakashū, a crucial 14 th century anthology.

Female Writers From Medieval Europe

The time duration of middle ages Europe, understood as the Middle Ages, typically begins with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and ends at the Renaissance.

During the Middle Ages, literature was mainly made up of religious works along with some nonreligious works.

Lais of Marie de France cover Marie de France (1160–1215)

Significant work: Lais of Marie de France

Nation: England (however potentially born in France)

Marie de France was a poet who resided in England and was probably born in France. Practically absolutely nothing is learnt about her life; historians are even not sure which court she lived and wrote at. However, she was understood in the royal court of King Henry II of England.

Marie de France is concerned as the very first lady to compose in francophone, a Love language of the Indo-European household.

Leonor López de Córdoba cover Leonor López de Córdoba (1362–1420)

Significant work: Memorias

Country: Spain

Leonor López de Córdoba was a Spanish noblewoman best understood for her autobiography aptly names Memorias Her moms and dads were Martin López de Córdoba and Sancha Carrillo, who were well-connected to the Spanish royal household.

In 1403, Leonor López de Córdoba lived in the court of Henry III of Castile and became an advisor to his queen Catherine of Lancaster; nevertheless, de Córdoba was banished from the court after falling out of favor.

The Book of the City of Ladies cover Christine de Pizan (1364–1430)

Noteworthy work: Le Livre de la Cité des Dames( The Book of the City of Ladies)

Nation: France (but born in Venice, Italy)

Christine de Pizan was a poet and writer in the court of King Charles VI of France. She was born in Venice, Italy, but relocated to France after her dad accepted a consultation as an astrologist in the court of Charles V.

Christine de Pizan is famous for her defense of females in Le Livre de la Cité des Dames( The Book of the City of Ladie s), which is in fact her official reaction to Roman de la Ros e ( The Love of the Rose) by Jean de Meun.

The Alexiad cover Anna Comnena (1083–1153)

Significant work: The Alexiad

Nation: Byzantine Empire (born in Constantinople, which is modern-day Istanbul, Turkey)

Anna Comnena had a quite eventful life. Born upon December 1, 1083 to none besides Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and his partner Irene Doukaina, she is infamous for her unsuccessful effort to usurp her sibling John II Komnenos.

Maturing, she was well-educated in Greek literature, history, approach, faith, mathematics, and medicine. The reason for her detailed education was that she and her fiancé were next in line for the Byzantine throne … until her brother, John II Komnenos, was born. When her dad died in 1118, Anna Comnena and her mother failed to take over the throne from John II Komnenos, who banished his sis to an abbey. It was there that she wrote The Alexiad, an account of her dad’s reign as emperor.

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