Seminar: “Frames of Holy War: Crusading Culture in the Lives of Thirteenth-Century Women”
Lydia Walker (Mellon Fellow, PIMS)
This paper will consider the diverse ways that crusading appears in the accounts of thirteenth-century holy women in Northern Europe. In some cases, women appear as enthusiastic prophetesses of Holy War and powerful intercessors for dead and dying soldiers. But in other narratives, such women are presented as openly opposed to certain new crusading initiatives, even invalidating proposed incentives. This presentation will inspect these ambivalent portrayals in light of these women’s particular political and religious networks, together with the agendas of their hagiographers. It will reflect on how holy women—real and imagined—played a part in cultivating and perpetuating popular confidence in Holy War as a legitimate moral good.