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“Stronger Than Men And Braver Than Knights:” Women And Devotional Pilgrimage

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates women's experiences of devotional pilgrimages as they were recorded in some twenty-five pilgrimage accounts, written primarily by men, between 1300 and 1500. Becoming a pilgrim, especially to Jerusalem or Rome, was a serious commitment for later medieval Europeans. It entailed an investment of both money and time, and willingness to place one's physical and spiritual well-being at risk outside the safety of one's home community. ?Before or during the course of the voyage," wrote Pierre-André Sigal, ?pilgrims sought to form groups." Women might have difficulty finding a group with which to travel, particularly when they had to form such a group by meeting and striking functional agreements with strangers. Female pilgrims employed a variety of strategies to cope with the antipathy of male pilgrims. These attempts to reinterpret female pilgrims to Jerusalem or Rome were founded in an attempt to conform to or appropriate normative female roles.

Keywords: devotional pilgrimage; female pilgrims; Jerusalem; Rome



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