"For the salvation of my soul": women and wills in medieval and early modern France
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This volume seeks to investigate the testamentary practices of women in medieval and early modern France, examining the experience of a cross-section of the population, from artisans to the elite, in Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Marseille, Montpellier, La Rochelle, Brittany, and Burgundy. The making of a will was perhaps the single most prominent moment in women’s lives for the assertion of agency. Though constrained to some degree by customary practice and the increasing influence of Roman law, women demonstrated remarkable initiative in the formulation of their last wishes. Wills permitted women to reward friendship and loyalty, to designate universal heirs as major beneficiaries, to stipulate conditions of inheritance so that last wishes were carried out, and, perhaps most importantly, to make pious donations to the Church for the salvation of the testators’ souls. They chose their burial sites and arranged for funeral processions, and they endowed anniversary masses for their souls in perpetuity. Individual testamentary decisions differed, as did spousal strategies, but the reinforcement of family ties, even the assertion of relationship, was possible in wills.
Rollo-Koster, J. and Reyerson, K. L. (eds.). (2012). "For the salvation of my soul": women and wills in medieval and early modern France. St Andrews Studies in French History and Culture, no. 5. Centre for French History and Culture of the University of St Andrews.
St Andrews Studies in French History and Culture, no. 5
(c) The authors 2012. This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of the Centre for French History and Culture.
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