Category Archives: Women

The Mamluk Revolution, 1250

Under the last real Ayyubid Sultan, as-Salih, the Mamluk corps was built up to unprecedented size and strength. They were a neat solution to a political problem because as slaves, they did what they were told, but as people with … Continue reading

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The Saint and the Seventh Crusade, 1248-50

Of course, the Pope called a new crusade. But Europe was in bad shape for a Crusade. In the Sixth Crusade, the King of Hungary had led, but now Hungary was in ruins. Europe’s bad boy Frederick was not only … Continue reading

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The Jerusalem Family and Saladin, 1177-1187

The rulers of the Crusader kingdoms are difficult to track through this period without careful focus, although they helped by reliably naming the heir of Tripoli “Raymond,” of Antioch “Bohemund,” and of Jerusalem “Baldwin.” Lifespans were short, due not only … Continue reading

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Baldwin II’s daughter Hodierna of Tripoli, 1137

Note: this one should have been posted before the Second Crusade entries. Hodierna, Baldwin’s third daughter, didn’t marry until she was about 25 (in 1137). It’s not clear why she stayed home so long when her sister Alice was married … Continue reading

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Queen Eleanor of the 2nd Crusade

If you singled out just one person to stand for the Second Crusade, it should be Queen Eleanor. She was the grand-daughter of Duke William of Aquitaine, the troubadour who just barely survived the First Crusade. William had gone home … Continue reading

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Melisende and Fulk

Melisende was named for the Countess of Rethel, Baldwin II’s mother; it’s a variant of Millicent, an old Germanic compound name. Now it has become the name of a fairy-tale heroine of an opera, so it sounds fanciful, but when … Continue reading

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Alice, Princess of Antioch, 1126-1136

Alice began her married life conventionally enough by bearing a daughter in the first two years. But her course of life was derailed when Bohemund II died in battle with the Danishmends (the same tribe that had taken his father … Continue reading

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Baldwin’s Feminist Daughters

I’ve described King Baldwin II as a family man, the fact that sets him apart from the other First Crusaders. Coming with the Boulogne brothers as a landless knight, he had inherited Edessa and immediately married Morphia, the heiress of … Continue reading

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Hostages and ransoms, 1103-1108

Keeping up with the Roupenians: “Baby Blues” [Morphia’s baby is due, but her husband is in Mosul. Her father just got killed, and now Arda has a divorce shocker! How will the family cope?] By 1103, Count Baldwin II of … Continue reading

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Cosmetic, elective and women’s surgery

Elective surgery was only a concept in the Greek tradition that Northern Europe didn’t learn until the late medieval, when textbook education about surgery spread north from Bologna. I’m still not sure if the Greek world had been using opium … Continue reading

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