By Sarah Sheehan, Ann Dooley (eds.)
Medieval Irish texts exhibit specified and unforeseen buildings of gender. developing Gender in Medieval eire illuminates those rules via its clean and provocative re-readings of a variety of texts, together with saga, romance, criminal texts, Fenian narrative, hagiography, and ecclesiastical verse.
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Additional info for Constructing Gender in Medieval Ireland
But the term echlach when used of women nearly always occurs in contexts that indicate low social class. For instance, in the versified Banshenchas [Lore of women], an account of famous Irish noblewomen completed in 1147, the author Gilla Mo-Dutu úa Caiside declares that he will omit all mention of “echlach s and base offspring and bad women” [eachlacha is daorchlanna is drochmhná]. ” Echlach is used of males and females in the sense of “messenger,”57 but appears to have sexual connotations only in the case of females.
The validity of this dichotomy has been questioned and the term ‘mandarin class’ has been enthusiastically taken up . . it has been contended that the practitioners of all forms of literate learning belonged to a single class or caste, sustained or at least endorsed by the church. 5 In his Uraicecht na Ríar [The primer of stipulations], Breatnach argued that the hierarchy of poets mirrors the sevenfold categorization of clerical orders. 8 SE X I N T H E CI V I TAS 41 The specifics of where and how such men might have been educated have not been explored in the same detail.
Not difficult: a woman whom men have not known before you . . i. u. e. 18 The poets were one of the most mobile groups in society, and a visiting poet was a veritable magnet for attracting the poorer classes to the residence of the patron in expectation of sharing in the largesse that the patron was honor bound to provide there. Learned poets, historians, and other schoolmen at the top of their profession are also known to have kept open house for guests. In a wide-ranging study of guesting and feasting in the later Middle Ages, Katharine Simms argues that “the burden of keeping open guest-houses was surprisingly evenly distributed between three social groups,”19 namely, the churchmen, the professional scholars of poetry, history, medicine, and law, and the wealthy “hospitallers” to whom the term briugu (later spelled brugaid ) was applied in the early period and biattach in the later.