In my quest to call attention to important women of history via the TLCPL collection, let’s continue through the Medieval period. It may be no surprise to know that influential women of this era were often brushed over or overshadowed by the misogynist patriarchy. So, I have returned to the historical library blogging scene to shine the light on these amazing, strong, powerful women.
Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1201)
Not content as the wife of the King of France, Eleanor of Aquitaine divorced him and married King Henry of England. Ok. Then she decided she did not like Henry much and tried to run away back to France, taking his heirs with her. That did not sit well with ole Henry, so he locked her up for 15 years. When he died, their son, Richard I, succeeded to the throne and went off on a crusade, leaving the ruling of his country to his ole mum. She did a splendid job of it. After the Lionhearted (Richard) died, she made sure her second son John was crowned king. To our dismay, this is the King John we remember from the stories of Robin Hood! Eleanor lived to be 80 years old, which is quite a feat in the Middle Ages. You go girl.
Tomoe Gozen (1157-1247)
It is debated whether Tomoe Gozen was an actual historic figure, but for our purposes, she was. Women in literature are sometimes just as powerful as ones in the flesh. Tomoe Gozen was an onna-musha (the female equivalent to a samurai in feudal Japan). She commanded 300 samurai in a victorious fight against 2,000 warriors. Wow. The Tales of the Heike, describe Tomoe as a beautiful, skilled warrior worth a thousand, and ready to confront a demon or god. That is an impressive resume, Tomoe. Read more about her in these materials!