Italian queens in the ninth and tenth centuries
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This thesis investigates the role of queens in ninth and tenth century Italy. During the Carolingian period the Italian kingdom saw significant involvement of royal women in political affairs. This trend continued after the Carolingian empire collapsed in 888, as Italy became the theatre of struggles for the royal and imperial title, which resulted in a quick succession of local rulers. By investigating Italian queens, my work aims at reassessing some aspects of Italian royal politics. Furthermore, it contributes to the study of medieval queenship, exploring a context which has been overlooked with regard to female authority. The work which has been done on queens over the last decades has attempted to build a coherent model of early medieval queenship; scholars have often privileged the analysis of continuities and similarities in the study of queens’ prerogatives and resources. This thesis challenges this model and underlines the peculiarities of individual queens. My analysis demonstrates that, by deconstructing the coherent model established by historiography, it is possible to underline the individual experiences, resources and strengths of each royal woman, and therefore create a new way to look at the history of queens and queenship. The thesis is divided into four main thematic sections. After having introduced the subject and the relevant historiography on the topic in the introduction, in Chapter 2 I consider ideas about queenship as expressed by narrative and normative sources. Chapter 3 deals with royal diplomas, which are a valuable resource for the understanding of queens’ reigns. Chapter 4 analyses queens’ dowers and monastic patronage. Chapter 5 examines the experience of Italian royal widows. Finally, the conclusive chapter outlines the significance of this thesis for the broader understanding of medieval queenship.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2024-04-15
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 15th April 2024
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