Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guy talk

This sounds like a potentially fascinating project, documenting the lives of men in the Middle Ages.

One of the themes that emerged at the University of Huddersfield conference was that there considerably more resistance to clerical celibacy than previously thought, said Dr Cullum.

She added that research into medieval masculinity is a much more recent development than the study of women’s lives in the Middle Ages – a well-established field.

“But we have had relatively little study of men as gendered beings, so we need to think about whether elements that we have identified as, for example, women’s piety really were that or whether they were something that men participated in as well. We are trying to explore whether men did other things or did them differently,” said Dr Cullum.

I do know men who have a sort of distorted nostalgia about this period. This was a time when men were men, had their choice of beautiful women much younger than themselves, and spent their days hunting exotic game. Well yes, nobles had those options. Most men were sources of cheap-to-free labor, and that's about it.

Of course the truth about any time is complicated, so these scholars should be turning up some unexpected stuff.


susan said...

It sounds like an interesting idea for study. I've always thought the rule of celibacy in the church was inhumane in that it immediately put half the population into a secondary role.

Ben said...

I don't think that in all cases the celibacy rule would do that, but under the historical circumstances that's what wound up happening.