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Medieval Gender and Sexuality
Gendered Sexuality
Increasingly, studies of medieval sexuality have begun to address directly medieval
attitudes toward male and female sexuality.
Feminist scholars have been path breaking in this approach, primarily because they
recognise that most texts on sexuality have been about male sexuality.
Modern scholars have been understandably careful drawing conclusions about what is
biological and what is social.
Medieval thinkers saw biology as destiny.
Exclusions of gender norms (hermaphrodites, homosexuals, feminine men etc.…read more

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Sperm was believed to come from various places; including the brain and blood
(greek).These theories co-existed with middle ages and influenced people's views of
masculinity. They further point to the relationship between masculinity and
rationality. If semen comes from the brain and the essence of the man, then
masculinity is equated with reason.
Semen also seen as pure and valuable, defined the essence and the best of man.
Menstruation defined the essence of female.…read more

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Justin's law was said to have been to help women who through `the weakness of their
sex' have fallen into an unworthy lifestyle to return to an honest way of life. - Law also
ensure any children from such marriage would be legitimate.
Procopious complains the law opened the door for a number of marriages between
senators and courtesans, however little number of ex-actresses existed, showing the
law was custom-made for Theodora.…read more

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Although Procopious most likely exaggerated how Theodora misused her power, she
still obviously possessed power and was involved heavily with Justinian's decision
Theodoras most famous role involved her actions during the Nika revolt.
It is seriously doubted whether she gave the speech at the Nika revolt as Procopious
wrote, though the sentiments of it were most likely his Cameron notes the speech is a
rhetorical set-piece and an illustration of the theme of the resolute female.…read more

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Monastic writers, although acknowledging some of his virtues, looked askance at his
morals. By associating him with `effeminate fashions' and hinting at homosexuality.
Since he never married and is not known to have any bastard, it was generally
accepted. On the other hand he had no `lovers' or `favourites' at court and most of his
close associates were heterosexual, he also considered marrying Edith of Scots.
Rufus also judges as irreligious or heretical.…read more

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Eunuchs existed outside of the dominant social values and institution of family,
offspring and procreation - Ideally suited to serve as servants, agents, and proxies for
their masters, male or female.
In a culture that saw celibacy, ascetism, and holiness as related/desirable traits and
that firmly believe in spiritual realms that were not accessible but normal
men/women, people readily assumed eunuchs had access to spiritual realms that
were otherwise inaccessible.…read more

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Byzantine authors wrestled with the question of how a eunuch could be an effective
military leader.
If he proved to be successful general he was applauded for his skills, with the
inevitable comment "he was skilled, for a eunuch."
If he was unsuccessful he would be described as effeminate and thus unable to leader
men successfully.
NORSES most famous eunuch commander, sent to assist Justinian's general Belisarius
in his conquest of Italy.
Procopious depicts Norses as an anomalous example of his gender.…read more

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portrayals of vulgarity and insatiable lust combined with shrewish and calculating
Procopius belongs to the school of late antique secular historians who continued the
traditions of the Second Sophistic ; they wrote in Attic Greek, their models
were Herodotus and especially Thucydides , and their subject matter was secular
The secular historians eschewed the history of the Christian church, which they left to
ecclesiastical history--a genre that was founded by Eusebius of Caesarea .…read more

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flood of light upon the manners and ideas of his own age, and sometimes comments
with surprising shrewdness upon the broader aspects and tendencies of history.
English historian,theologian, and ecclesiastic.
Eadmer was born of Anglo-Saxon parentage, shortly before the Norman conquest of
England in 1066. He became a monk in the Benedictinemonastery
of Christ Church,
Canterbury , where he made the acquaintance of Anselm, at that time visiting England
as abbot of the Abbey of Bec .…read more


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