Women and Economic Power in Premodern Royal Courts

Uniquely, this study examines money and power at premodern royal courts through the lens of gender; it explores how women used their economic knowledge and resources for their own and their kingdom’s gain.


£59.00 ISBN-13: 9781641892728

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Cathleen Sarti

Premodern kings and queens had splendid courts to show their God-given power. But where did the money for these come from? Following the money trail back often leads to unexpectedly savvy women who knew how to deal with money, and how to manage huge estates, treasuries, or accounts. This volume focuses on the economic and financial dimensions of the premodern royal court, and especially on the women using money as an instrument of power. Methodological and theoretical reflections on an economic history of royal courts frame case studies from medieval England to early modern Denmark and the Holy Roman Empire. Empresses and queens, but also mistresses and favourites are discussed, including considerations of their spheres of influence, their financial strategies and means, and their successes and failures.


Introduction: Women and Economic Power at Premodern Royal Courts, Cathleen Sarti
The Medieval English Queen as Landholder: Some Reflections on Sources and Methodology, Michele Seah and Katia Wright
Financial Power of Empresses and Princesses of the Holy Roman Empire, Charlotte Backerra and Cathérine Ludwig-Ockenfels
“Edward III’s Gold Digging Mistress”: Alice Perrers, Gender and Financial Power at the English Royal Court, 1360-1377, Laura Tompkins
Counselling the Danish King: Sigbrit Villoms as Financial Mastermind for Christian II, 1513-1523, Cathleen Sarti
Afterword: “Power is Money”? Reflections on Money, Power, Sex and Gender in Premodern Royal Courts, Elena Woodacre
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