Galeries

Female literacy in the Middle Ages

Female literacy during the Middle Ages was surprisingly high. Nuns were authors and scribes. Many other women encouraged reading and learning, especially noble woman. One example was Christine de Pizan, a poet at the court of King Charles VI of France.

Erythraea writing from BL Royal 20 C V, f. 32v
Diana reading from BL Harley 4431, f. 107
St. Catherine of Alexandria holding a sword and reading a book
St. Barbara reading a book and holding a palm; standing before a tower
St. Barbara reading a book, a tower beside her
St. Barbara reading a book, a tower beside her
St. Mary of Egypt holding a book
Mary teaching from BL Eg 2045, f. 216v
Christine de Pisan from BL Harley 4431, f. 3
Christine de Pizan from BL Harley 4431, f. 178
A female saint holding a book
Boccaccio from BL Royal 20 C V, f. 5
Patron and Virgin and Child from BL Harley 2952, ff. 19v-20
A female saint (St. Catherine of Alexandria?) reading
Almathea reading from BL Royal 20 C V, f. 38v
Elthedreda from BL King's 9, ff. 64v-65
Katherine of Alexandria from BL YT 3, f. 281v
Der von Wildonie
Cornificia from BL Royal 16 G V, f. 99
The Abbess Delivered from BL YT 13, f. 157v
Nuns from BL YT 11, f. 6v
Lover and God of Love from BL Royal 19 B XIII, f. 3v