Timeline of women in Medieval warfare

Timeline of women in Medieval warfare

Warfare through history has mainly been a matter for men, but women have also played a role, often a leading one. The following list of prominent female warrors and their exploits from about 500 C.E. up to about 1500 C.E. can only indicate the involvement of women, some of them thrust into positions of leadership by accident of birth or family connection, others by force of circumstance from humble origins.

Warrior women in the Medieval era

* 5th century: Saint Genevieve is credited with averting Attila from Paris by rallying the people in prayer. [cite book | title=The Book of Religions: Comprising the Views, Creeds, Sentiments, Or Opinions of all the Principal Sects in the World, Particularly of All Christian Denominations in Europe and America to which are added Church and Missionary Statistics together with Biographical Sketches| author=Hayward, John| publisher=Boston: Sanborn, Carter, Bazin and Company |year=1857|pages=p.428]
* 6th century AD: A Saxon woman is buried with a knife and a shield in Lincolnshire, England. [cite web|url=http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/T/timeteam/2004_south.html|title=South Carlton Lincolnshire, 25 January 2004: Saxon Burials on the Ridge from channel.4.com|accessmonthday=May 07|accessyear=2008]
* Seventh century: Poetess Al-Khansa composes elegies for her relatives who had been killed in battle. [cite book|last=Zeidan|first=Joseph T.|coauthors=Juzif Zaydan|title=Arab Women Novelists: The Formative Years and Beyond |publisher=SUNY Press|year= 1995|isbn=0791421716|pages=p.281]
* Seventh century: Nusaybah Bint k’ab Al Maziniyyah fights in the Battle of Uhud on behalf of Muhammad after converting to his religion. [ [http://www.realnews247.com/girl_power.htm Girl Power] . ABC News.]
* Seventh century: Princess Pingyang of China helps overthrow the Sui Dynasty by organizing a "women's army". [cite book|last=Peterson|first=Barbara Bennett, editor in chief|coauthors=He Hong Fei, Wang Jiu, Han Tie, Zhang Guangyu, Associate editors|title=Notable Women of China: Shang Dynasty to the Early Twentieth Century|publisher=M.E. Sharpe Inc., New York|year= 2000|isbn=0-7656-0504-X |pages=p.177]
* Seventh century: Kahina leads Berber resistance against Muslim conquest. [cite book | title= "Post-Colonial Memories: The Legend of the Kahina, a North African Heroine" (Studies in African Literature)| author=Hannoum, Abdelmajid| year=2001|isbn=0-325-00253-3]
* Seventh century: Khaula, along with several other women, takes command of the Arab army at the Battle of the Yermonks against the Greeks. She was nearly beaten by a Greek when one of her female companions, Wafeira, beheaded her opponent with one blow. This act rallied the Arabs and they defeated the Greeks. [cite book | title=Woman's Record: Or, Sketches of All Distinguished Women, from "The Beginning Till A.D. 1850, Arranged in Four Eras, with Selections from Female Writers of Every Age| author=Hale, Sarah Josepha Buell |publisher=Harper Brothers|year=1853|pages=p.120]
* 624: Quraish Arab priestess Hind al-Hunnud leads her people against Muhammad in the Battle of Badr. Her father, uncle, and brother are killed. [cite book | title=Chronology of women's history | author=Olsen, Kirstin| publisher=Greenwood Publishing Group|year=1994|pages=p.31|isbn=0313288038]
* 625: Hind al-Hunnud is among fifteen women accompanying troops in a battle near Medina, singing songs to inspire warriors. She exults over the body of the man who killed her father, chews his liver, and makes jewellery from his skin and nails. [Olsen, p. 31]
* 628: Juwayriya bint al-Harith is taken captive when her father is defeated in battle by Muhammad. She marries Muhammad. [Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah, p. 490-493.]
* 656: Aisha, widow of Muhammad, leads troops at the Battle of the Camel. She is defeated.cite book|last=Black|first=Edwin|title=Banking on Baghdad: Inside Iraq's 7,000 Year History of War, Profit, and Conflict|publisher=John Wiley and Sons|year= 2004|isbn=047170895X|pages=p.34]
* 8th century: [cite book|title=Scandinavian History|author= Otté, Elise C.|year=1874|publisher=Macmillan & co.|pages=p.28] Shieldmaidens fight at the Battle of Bråvalla on the side of the Danes. [cite book|title=The Celtic and Scandinavian Religions|author=Macculloch, J.A.|isbn=1596054166|year=2005|publisher=Cosimo, Inc.pages=p.125]
* 722: Queen Aethelburg of Wessex destroys the town of Taunton. [cite book | title=Women Warriors: a history | author=Jones, David E.| publisher=Brassey's. Dulles, Virginia.|year=1997|pages=p.57|isbn=1-57488-206-6]
* 730: A Khazar noblewoman named Parsbit commands an army against Armenia. [cite book | title= "Khazar Studies: An Historio-Philological Inquiry into the Origins of the Khazars| author=Golden, Peter| publisher=Budapest: Akademia Kiado| year=1980]
* 750: Veborg, as well as many other Shieldmaidens, participate in the Battle of Bråvalla in Sweden.
* 783: Saxon women throw themselves barebreasted into battle against Charlemagne's forces. Among the participants is Fastrada, who eventually became Charlemagne's fourth wife. [cite book | title=German Memories in Asia| author= Kanagasingam, Rajkumar | publisher=Authorhouse|year=2007|pages=p.74|isbn=1434315827]
* Early 9th century: Cwenthryth fights Wulfred, Archbishop of Canterbury, for control of her abbey estates. [cite book|title=The Encyclopedia of Amazons|author=Salmonson, Jessica Amanda|publisher=Paragon House|year=1991|isbn=1-55778-420-5|pages=p.66]
* 9th century: Euphrosyne warns Emperor Theophilos of a rebellion in Constantinople while he was fighting the Arabs, prompting his return. [cite book|title=Women in Purple: Rulers of Medieval Byzantium| author=Herrin Judith| publisher=Phoenix Press, London|year= 2001| isbn=978-0691095004| pages= p.176-77]
* 880: Ermengarda defends Vienne. [cite book|title=Blair's Chronological Tables, Revised and Enlarged: Comprehending the Chronology and History of the World from the Earliest Times to the Russian Treaty of Peace, April 1856 | author=Blair, John| coauthors=J. Willoughby Rosse|publisher=H.G. Bohn, York Street, Convent Garden, London|year=1856 |pages=p.300]
* 912-922: Reign of Ethelfleda, ruler of Mercia. She commanded armies, fortified towns, and defeated the Danes. She also defeated the Welsh and forced them to pay tribute to her. [cite book|title=Woman; Her Position, Influence, and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Her Biography and History| author=King, William C.|publisher=The King-Richardson co., Springfield, Mass.|year=1902|pages=p.177]
* Mid 10th century: Queen Thyra of Denmark leads an army against the Germans. [Salmonson, p. 251]
* 971: The Scandinavian ruler of Kiev attacked the Byzantines in Bulgaria in 971. When the Norsemen had been defeated, the victors were stunned at discovering shieldmaidens among the fallen warriors.Harrison, D. & Svensson, K. (2007). "Vikingaliv". Fälth & Hässler, Värnamo. ISBN 978-91-27-35725-9. p. 71]
*Late 10th century: Judith rebels against the Axumite Dynasty in Ethiopia. [cite book|title=The Falashas: A Short History of the Ethiopian Jews| author=Kessler, David|publisher=Routledge|year=1996|isbn=0714646466|pages=p.79|language=English]
* Early 11th century: Freydís Eiríksdóttir, a Viking woman, sails to Vinland with Thorfinn Karlsefni. When she faced hostile natives while pregnant, she exposed her breasts and beat her chest with a sword. This caused the natives to run away. [cite book|last=Thrapp|first=Dan L.|title=Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography: In Three Volumes |publisher=University of Nebraska Press|year=1991 |isbn=0803294182 |pages=p.521]
* 1046-1115: Lifetime of Matilda of Tuscany, who conducted wars to defend the papacy. [cite book | title=History of Warfare, volume III: Crusaders, Condottieri, and Cannon: Medieval Warfare in Societies Around the Mediterranean | author=Kagay, Donald J.|coauthor=L.J. Andrew Villalon|publisher=BRILL| year=2003|isbn=9004125531|pages=p.355-356]
* 1047: Akkadevi, an Indian princess, sieges the fort of Gokage. [cite book|author=Campbell, James M|coauthors=R E Enthoven|title=Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, Volume I, Part II, History of the Konkan Dahkan and Southern Maratha Country|publisher=Govt. Central Press, Bombay, India|year=1904|pages=p.435]
* Mid to Late 11th century: Sichelgaita, wife of Robert Guiscard, accompanies her husband on military campaigns, and regularly puts on full armor and rides into battle at his side. [cite book|title=Battle Cries and Lullabies: Women in War from Prehistory to the Present| author=De Pauw, Linda Grant|publisher=University of Oklahoma Press|year=2000|isbn=0806132884|pages=p.86]
* 1071: Richilde, Countess of Mons and Hainaut is captured fighting in the Battle of Cassel. [cite book|last=Saunders|first=Corinne J.|coauthors=Françoise Hazel Marie Le Saux, Neil Thomas|title=Writing War: Medieval Literary Responses to Warfare|publisher=DS Brewer|year=2004|isbn=0859918432|pages=p.190]
* 1072: Urraca of Zamora, Infanta of Castile, defends the city of Zamora against her brother, Sancho II of Castile. [cite book|author=Williams, Henry Smith|title=The Historians' History of the World|publisher=Hooper & Jackson|year=1908|pages=p.611]
* 1075: Emma de Guader, Countess of Norfolk defends Norwich castle while it is under siege. [Salmonson, p.81]
* 1090: Norman woman Isabel of Conches rides armed as a knight. [cite book | title= Gendering the Crusades| author=Edgington, Susan|coauthors=Sarah Lambert|publisher=Columbia University Press| year=2002|isbn=0231125984|pages=p.53-54]
* 1121:Urraca of Castile fights her half-sister, Theresa, Countess of Portugal when she refuses to surrender the city of Tuy. [cite book | title=The Story of the Nations: Portugal| author=Stephens, H. Morse|publisher=New York, G.P Putnam's Sons, London, T. Fisher Unwin|year=1891|pages=p.29]
* 1130: Female Chinese general Liang Hongyu, wife of general Han Shizhong of the Song army, blocks the advance of the Jin army with her husband. Her drumming invigorated the Song army and rallied them to defeat the Jin. [cite book|author=Jinhua Dai|coauthors=JingWang, Tani E. Barlow|title=Cinema and Desire: Feminist Marxism and Cultural Politics in the Work of Dai Jinhua|publisher=Verso|year=2002|isbn=185984264X|pages=p.147]
* Late 12th century: Eva MacMurrough conducts battles on behalf of her husband, the Earl of Pembroke. [Salmonson, p. 160]
* 1136: Welsh princess Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd leads an army against the Normans. She is defeated and killed. [cite book | title= A History of Carmarthenshire| author=Lloyd, Sir John E.| publisher=Pub. Caerdydd| year=1935|pages=p.140]
* 1145: Eleanor of Aquitaine accompanies her husband on the Second Crusade. [cite book|last=Weiss|first=Sonia|coauthors=Lorna Biddle Rinear, Contributor AdrianaLeshko |title=The Complete Idiot's Guide to Women's History |publisher=Alpha Books|year=2002 |isbn=0028642015|pages=p.87]
* 1172: Alrude Countess of Bertinoro ends a siege of Aucona by leading an army into battle and crushing imperial troops. [Salmonson, p. 7]
* 11801185: Female Japanese warrior Tomoe Gozen fights in the Genpei War alongside men. [cite book|last=Deal|first=William E.|title=Handbook to Life in Medieval and Early Modern Japan |publisher=Oxford University Press, US|year=2007|isbn=0195331265|pages=p.48]
* Late 12th century: Eva MacMurrough conducts battles on behalf of her husband, the Earl of Pembroke. [Salmonson, p. 160]
* 1184-1212: Reign of queen Tamar of Georgia. Georgia achieved military superiority in the Middle East under her rule. [cite book|last=Kaufman|first=Stuart J.|title=Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War |publisher=Cornell University Press|year=2001|isbn=0801487366|pages=p.91]
* 1201: Japanese woman Hangaku Gozen defends a fort as an archer until she is killed by an arrow fired by the enemy. [cite book|last=Friday|first=Karl F.|title=Samurai, Warfare and the State in Early Medieval Japan: a military study |publisher=Routledge|year=2003|isbn=0415329620|pages=p.193]
* Mid 13th century: Eleanor of Castile accompanies her husband on his crusade. According to legend, she saved his life by sucking poison from his wound when he was injured. [cite book|last=Low|first=Sidney James|coauthors=Frederick Sanders Pulling|title=The Dictionary of English History |publisher=Cassell and Company Limited, London, New York, Toronto, and Melbourne|year=1910|pages=p.421]
* 1261-1289: Reign of Indian queen Rani Rudrama Devi. She leads her troops in battle, and may have been killed in battle in 1289. [citebook|author=Ramusack, Barbara N.|coauthor=Sharon L. Sievers|title=Women in Asia: Restoring Women to History|publisher=Indiana University Press|year=1999|ISBN=0253212677]
* 1264: Eleanor of Provence raises troops in France for her husband during the Baron's War. [cite book|author=Houghton MifflinCompany|coauthor=Justin Kaplan|title=The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Biography|year=2003|ISBN=061825210Xpages=p.487]
* 1271: Isabella of Aragon dies at Consenza on the way back from the Crusades. [cite book|last=Williamson|first=Paul|title=Gothic Sculpture, 1140-1300 |publisher=Yale University Press|year=1998|isbn=:0300074522|pages=p.171]
* 1290: Manuscript I.33 is written. It depicts fighters. An illustration of a woman named Walpurgis training in sword and buckler techniques is in the manuscript among others. [citeweb|url=http://freywild.ch/i33/i33en.html|title=I.33|author=Bachmann, Dieter|date=2003|accessdate=2008-06-20]
* Late 13th century: Khutulun, a relative of Kublai Khan, is described as a superb warrior and accompanies her father Khaidu on military campaigns. [cite book | title=Khubilai Khan: His Life and Times |author=Rossabi, Morris|publisher=University of California Press| year=1989|isbn=0520067401|pages=p.104-105]
* 14th century: Urduja, a Filipino princess, takes part in several battles. Many historians believe that she was mythical, however. [cite book|title=Women Warriors: Adventures from History's Greatest Female Fighters |author=Apeles, Teena|publisher=Seal Press|year=2004|isbn=1580051111|pages=p.65]
* 14th century: Jane, Countess of Montfort leads troops into battle. [Salmonson, 131-132] Countess Jeanne de Penthievre was among her antagonists. [Salmonson, 132]
* 1326: Isabella of France invades England with Roger de Mortimer, and overthrows Edward II, replacing him with her son Edward III, with her and de Mortimer acting as regents. [citebook|title=The Riverside Dictionary of Biography|author=AmericanHeritage Dictionary Editors|publisher=Houghton MifflinReference Books|year=2005|isbn=0618493379|pages=p.410]
* 1334: Agnes Dunbar successfully defends her castle against a siege by England's earl of Salisbury. [Salmonson, p.34]
* 1347: Philippa of Hainault persuades her husband not to execute the The Burghers of Calais, whom he had defeated. [cite book | title=The Routledge Companion to Medieval Warfare | author=Bradbury, Jim| publisher=Routledge|year=2004|isbn=0415221269|pages=p.199]
* 1354: Ibn Battuta reports seeing female warriors in Southeast Asia. [cite web|author=Svinth, Joseph R.|title=Women’s Martial Arts: A Chronological History, 479 BCE-1896 CE.|Publisher=Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences Guelph School of Japanese Sword Arts, July, 2003|url=http://ejmas.com/proceedings/GSJSA03svinth.htm|accessdate=2008-06-27]
* 1351-1363: Han E serves as a soldier in the Chinese army as a man under the name Han Guanbao, and is promoted to lieutenant. [cite web|url=http://www.colorq.org/Articles/article.aspx?d=asianwomen&x=hane|title=Han E - the 'Hua Mulan' of Sichuan Province| publisher = Colorq.org| accessdate = 06-03-08]
* 1364-1405: Tamerlane uses female archers to defend baggage trains. [cite web|author=Svinth, Joseph R.|title=Women’s Martial Arts: A Chronological History, 479 BCE-1896 CE.|Publisher=Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences Guelph School of Japanese Sword Arts, July, 2003|url=http://ejmas.com/proceedings/GSJSA03svinth.htm|accessdate=2008-06-27]
* 1383: Eleanor of Arborea, ruler of Sardinia, conducts a defensive war against Aragon. [Houghton Mifflin Company, p.487]
* 15th century: Maire o Ciaragain leads Irish clans in rebellion. [Salmonson, p. 163]
* 15th century: Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine, leads an army to rescue her husband from the Duke of Burgundy. [Salmonson, p.126-7]
* 15th century: Mandukhai Khatun takes command of the Mongol army and defeats the Oirats. [cite book | title=Warrior Women, An Archaeologist's Search for History's Hidden Heroines| author=Davis-Kimball, Jeannine| publisher=Warner Books Inc.|year=2002|pages=p.226-228|isbn= 0-446-52546-4]
* 1429: Joan of Arc leads the French army. [citebook|title=Joan of Arc: Reality and Myth|author=Berents, Dirk Arend|coauthor= Marina Warner, J. van Herwaarden|publisher=Uitgeverij Verloren|year=1994|ISBN=9065504125|pages=p.29] Yolande of Aragon supports her. [Berents, p.32] Pierronne, a contemporary of hers, also hears voices and fights for the king of France. [Salmonson, p. 213]
* Mid 15th century: Zaydi Yemeni chieftan Sharifa Fatima conquers San‘a’. [cite book | title=The Forgotten Queens of Islam |author=Mernissi, Fatima, translated by Mary Jo Lakeland|publisher=University of Minnesota Press| year=1997|isbn=0816624399|pages=p.20]
* Mid 15th century : Brita Tott serves as a spy in the war between Sweden and Denmark.
* 1461: Queen Margaret of Anjou defeats the Earl of Warwick in the Wars of the Roses. [Salmonson, p.166]
* 1461: Lady Knyvet defends Buckingham Castle at Norfolk against Sir Gilbert of Debenhem. [cite news|title=The Secret History of Women|publisher=Sunday Mirror|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4161/is_20000102/ai_n9706473|date=January 2, 2000|accessdate=2008-06-20]
*1471: Queen Margaret of Anjou is defeated in battle at Tewksbury. She and her son escaped to Flanders. The Yorkists eventually captured her and ransomed her to Louis XI, after she had sworn an oath not to go to war anymore. [Salmonson, p.166-167]
* 1472: Onorata Rodiana from Cremona, Italy is mortally wounded in battle. She had disguised herself as a man to become a soldier. [cite book|author=Waters, Clara Erskine Clement|title=Stories of Art and Artists|publisher=Ticknor and company|year=1886|pages=p.86-87]
* June 27, 1472: Jeanne Hachette rips down the flag of the invading Burgundians at Beauvais, inspiring the garrison to win the fight. [citebook|title=The Encyclopædia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information, eleventh edition, volume XII|publisher=Cambridge, England, at the University Press, New York 35 West 32nd street|year=1910|pages=p.793]



ee also

*Timeline of women in ancient warfare
*Timeline of women in early modern warfare

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