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Five Euphemias: Women in Medieval Scotland,…
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Five Euphemias: Women in Medieval Scotland, 1200-1420

by Elizabeth Sutherland

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This book takes the lives of five real women, living during some of the most turbulent times in Scottish history, and through their surviving records gives us the experience of living at that time. This is always a difficult task as the written record is patchy, and women's lives in particular are not well recorded.However this does a good job of weaving a narrative from their specific records and more general historical sources. The women's positions range from the daughter of a minor lord to eventually a queen and a nun, poorer women are even less well recorded. The author does a good job in describing what their roles and responsibilities would be and how they were affected by political events.I would advise bookmarking the genealogical tables in the appendix, to follow the complex family interrealtions.

In the end I enjoyed this book more more than I expected to. As someone who has read a fair amount of 'straight' history, I wasn't sure of this framing device, but it does work quite well. For someone, perhaps, who has been reading historical fiction and wants something more 'academic', this would make a great introduction to the period. ( )
  antisyzygy | Apr 4, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031222284X, Hardcover)

Through the lives of the five women, all related, all called Euphemia, and one of them Queen of the Scots, Elizabeth Sutherland provides a unique insight into a popular period of Scottish history. While medieval battles are well recorded, there is little written about the important influence of the women behind the scenes. Through arranged marriages, profitable alliances were made, territory gained and bridges built. But the women--though technically the possessions of their menfolk--were far from passive creatures. There are accounts of bravery and love affairs, papal separations and religious devotion. It was a turbulent time in Scottish history, and this original book casts new light on the Scots' fierce fight for freedom.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:14:14 -0400)

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