As today is International Women’s day, and women hold such a huge focus in my blog, I thought it would be remiss of me to not do a post to celebrate. Over the past year and a half I have written about plenty of amazing royal women, and I am hoping to soon expand into other levels of society as well. As such, this post has a look back at some of my favourite past posts about women as individuals or a group, so please feel free to click the links and read further!
The banner image for Just History Posts’ social media is an image from Christine de Pisan’s Book of the City of the Ladies (1405) and shows the women she writes about in the book building the city and showing them as valued participants of society. Read more about Christine here.
1) Eleanor Cobham, Royal Witch?
My top post has to of course be my first ever post on this website, which explores the accusations levelled against Duchess Eleanor Cobham in the middle of the fifteenth century. Eleanor was at one point the highest lady in the land, being married to the uncle – and heir – of Henry VI of England. Her life was one of luxury and enjoyment, but sadly for her she was an easy target for her husband’s enemies at court and she was utterly destroyed by accusations of witchcraft levelled against her. It is a reminder of the struggles that women had in the past, and that even those at the highest levels were inherently vulnerable because of their sex. Read more about Eleanor and the accusations against her here.
2) Boudica, Queen of the Iceni
Queen Boudica was a Celtic woman I learnt about when I was about 7 years old and I have never forgotten her since. At a time when Romans were invading Britain, Boudica took a stand against injustice and led one of the most successful rebellions against the Romans, destroying numerous settlements and winning battles against the odds. Boudica is a perfect example of a powerful woman who had no time for the men who wronged her, and an inspiring figure for us today. Read more about Boudica and her rebellion here.
3) Female Highwaymen of the Seventeenth Century
My International Women’s Day post from last year, this explores some famous female highway robbers of the seventeenth century. Highwaymen have captured the popular imagination for decades, and have often been highly romanticised, but many do not realise that there were some prolific women who also took up the mantel of highway robber. Read about some of these notorious women here.
4) Fashion as Liberation
My latest post, this explores how 100 years ago women’s fashion accessories – large, sharp hatpins – were used as a tool of female liberation. In a period where many women were starting to leave the house unescorted for the first time, many men took advantage of these vulnerable women to assault them. Women used their fashion to fight back and take control in a very literal way – read how here.
5) Anna Komnene
A Byzantine Princess, Anna Komnene was one of the most educated women of her time. She was regarded as having reached “the highest summit of wisdom, both secular and divine”, being a historian, astronomer, physician, philosopher, teacher, and more. She was determined to exert her birth-given right as a regnant Byzantine Empress, but she encountered many struggles along the way. Although she was ultimately unsuccessful, her strong will and determination is an inspiration today. She may not have become Empress, but she is still greatly loved by historians for the invaluable insight into her time period given to them by her historical writings. Read more about Anna here.
6) Colonial Women of North America
A post written in response to what I viewed as a terrible review for the television programme “Jamestown”, this explores what life was like for an early female settler in North America. How strong did these women have to be to survive the ‘New’ world, and do popular portrayals of them give them justice? Find out here.
There are plenty of other fascinating women who can be found in the pages of this blog, and if you want to find more then I encourage you to explore; you can find all my posts broken up into handy categories via this page. History is full of women – funnily enough, they have always been there. Historians and feminists have done an excellent job in the last few decades to bring some of these stories to our attention, so please on this International Women’s Day, read about some of them!
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Buy my book on Amazon via the picture below! In the fifteenth century, lines between science and magic were blurred. Read the real stories of four women in the English Royal Family who were accused of practising witchcraft in order to kill or influence the king.