La differece of being woman

Research and Teaching of History




The alcabala is an old sales tax made in an indirect manner; its origin is Muslim, and it involved the taxation of the internal commercial transactions of a territory.

Aldonça de Montsoriu

Editor of Isabel de Villena.


Is the seed of the sesame.

Almodis de la Marca

Countess of Barcelona, she was the daughter of the countess and count Amelia and Bernardo de la Marca, she was the third wife of Ramón Berenguer I, count of Barcelona (1035-1076) who she was united with in the year 1052. Before she had been married to Hugo de Lesinhan and to Pons II, count of Tolosa. She was excommunicated by the Pope because of her illegitimate union with the count of Barcelona, since both were married; once their marriage had been forgiven and legalised, she ruled next to the count and collaborated in the writing down of the Codes of usajes. She was murdered by Pedro de Barcelona, son of Ramón Berenguer I and Elisabet, son of the first marriage of Ramón Berenguer, in the year 1071. she had children from the three marriages, who ruled in their respective territories; in relation to the earldom of Barcelona, she was the mother of the twins Ramón Berenguer II, and Berenguer Ramón II, counts of Barcelona and of Sancha de Barcelona, countess of Cerdaña.


Complete, absolute and free control, exempt of services and charges.

Andalusí territory

Belonging to lands of Al-Andalus, the territories of the Peninsula occupied by the Muslims after 711 were known as such.

Anna Maria van Schurman

(1607-1678) was a German poet and painter in possession of a vast learning, which included the ancient languages. A great defender of women’s education and of their scientific instruction, she remained single, devoting her life to study. Intellectuals, like Descartes, visited her and debated with her on very diverse matters.

Ann Coventry

Friend of Mary Astell.

Anne Dacier

Publisher and translator.

Anne Lefèvre Dacier

(1654-1720), publisher and translator of many classical texts, made a prose translation of Anacreon and Sappho. Her translation of the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey” gave rise to a controversy about Homer.

Anne of Denmark

Princess Anne of Denmark (1667-1714), Queen of Great Britain from 1702 until her death, known for her support of women’s causes, was prepared to donate ten thousand pounds for the realisation of Mary Astell’s project. But the intervention of the church, through the bishop Burnet, managed to ensure that this donation did not take place. However, as Virginia Woolf points out (Three Guineas), “Queen Anne died, bishop Burnet died and Mary Astell died. But the desire to found a university college for those belonging to Mary Astell’s sex did not die. On the contrary, it got stronger and stronger”.

Aphra Behn

(1640-1689), author of plays and narrator; she is considered to be the first woman to live from her literary activity in England.


The Book of the Apocalypse is the last canonical book of the New Testament. The Christian tradition attributes it to the apostle John, author of the fourth gospel, an attribution that has been and is questioned. The book is dated from between 94 and 96 and it is said that it was written on the island of Patmos (Asia Minor). It is addressed to the seven Churches of Asia, then victims of the Domitian persecution. The text tries to give the churches encouragement at such a difficult moment. It contains the revelation of Christ to John translated in seven letters, one for each community, and divided into three main parts: The first concerns itself with the situation of the Church in Asia; the second, with the divine plan of wellbeing for the Church until its final glorification, and the third, with the future of the Church. The prophecy about the Church is the promise that, in spite of all the sufferings, there will be a new world where all evil, including physical death, will disappear for evermore. Amongst the characteristics of the text we can highlight: the usage of enigmatic and mysterious terms, with fantastic and strange images, and with a great presence of symbols, the meaning of which is difficult for a reader of our time to decipher. It was written in Greek; however, it has many Semitic words.


The occupation of an uninhabited piece of land, without an owner, with the intention of breaking it and working it. According to the law in force, after having worked it for more than 30 years, those who had occupied it became its owners.


Greek goddess of wisdom equivalent to the Roman Minerva.


A word that comes from the Latin augere, meaning “to grow, to make grow”. Lia Cigarini, of the Milan Women’s Bookstore, says that it is a plus, a symbolic quality of relationships, that is, a quality of sense that is derived from non-instrumental relationships or relationships without an end.

Bathsua Makin

British educator of the seventeenth century who was in charge of the education of the sons of Charles I; she was a great defender of the education of English women, for which she founded a school in Tottenham High Cross. She wrote “An Essay to Revive the Antient Education of Gentlewomen” (1673), as well as poems in different languages.

Beatriz de Bovadilla

She had been maid of the Queen Isabel I of Castile, la Católica, when the latter was princess.

Beatus de Girona

It is a miniature manuscript. Miniar means to illustrate or decorate a manuscript. Originally miniar or miniat and miniature referred to the painting made with minium name of the colour red in Latin. Some medieval manuscripts were true artistic objects of luxury and had a great name of miniatures on every page or with initials of large or medium size decorated made by miniaturists of great quality; a very clear example of this is the Beato de Girona, made by En.


Son of Borrell, Count of Barcelona.

Black death

An infectious disease, very serious and contagious, caused by the Yersin bacillus, transmitted by fleas spread, in turn, by the black rat. It came to the West from Kaffa, a port of export of cereal on the Crimean peninsula, in 1346; from there it spread to Constantinople, Sicily, Genoa, Provence, England and the Iberian Peninsula in 1348; in 1350 it had reached Germany, Scandinavia and Poland.


Daughter of Borrell, Count of Barcelona.


The Carrer of Bòria goes from Via Laietana to the Plaça de la Llana.


The Carrer of Bou de Sant Pere now goes from Sant Pere Mitjà to Sant Pere més Alt.


Dark colour.




A woman devoted to spirituality between a monastery and the secular world. She took a vow of chastity and of obedience, but not of poverty, which allowed to have her wealth freely at her disposal, if she had any. Frequently they were cultured women and devoted themselves to teaching. The first we know of the Beguines they seem to be linked to some institutions of canonesses of the end of the twelfth century.

Catherine Jones

Friend of Mary Astell.


Emperor of Rome and King of France.

Christian expansion

The name given by some women and men historians to the process of new Christian political and administrative colonisation and/or organisation of the territories that men and women were taking up in Al-Andalus and were being incorporated into the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon.

Christine Delphy

Christine Delphy is one of the most well-known feminist thinkers of the so-called materialist feminism, applying Marxist theories to women’s situation of oppression in what she calls the “domestic mode of production”, that co-exists with other modes of production, such as the capitalist one. She is the author of For a Materialist Feminism (1975).

Christine de Pisan

(1364-1420) French writer of the fifteenth century. She is considered to be the first French woman author. She actively participated in the controversy of the “querelle des femmes”, writing a novel in defence of women, the gynecotopy called La cité des dames. Christine de Pisan was born in Venice in 1364. Her mother was the daughter of the anatomist Mondino de Luzzi; her father, the doctor Tomasso di Benvenuto da Pizzano. At the age of three or four, she went to live in the court of Charles V de Valois, in Paris, where her father was named as the King’s doctor. She received an exquisite humanist education and had access to the Bibliothèque Royale, recently set up in a part of what today is the Museum of the Louvre. When she was twenty five years old and had three children, her husband Etiénne Castel, notary of the King, died, and she began her career as a prolific writer and great intellectual, managing to maintain her family with her work. She was the great promotor of the Parisian episode of the Querelle des femmes, and a master of the politics that knew how to respond to masculine attacks with the firmness of the between-women, and without forgetting the maternal order.

Clarice Lispector

Ukraine 1920-Río de Janeiro 1977. She wrote in the Brazilian language the most interesting mystical novels of the twentieth century, such as A Maçã no Escuro (The Apple in the Dark) (1961), A Paixão segundo G.H. (The Passion According to G.H) (1964) or A hora da Estrela (The Hour of the Star) (1977).


Document or additional clause that modifies, clears up or substitutes what a will maker had disposed.

Constitutions of Catalonia

(Constitucions i altres drets de Catalunya). Compilation of Catalan law in force in Catalonia until the Decree de Nueva Planta in 1716, with the exception of family law, which continued in force. It includes the Usages of Barcelona and the laws passed by the Catalan courts until the aforementioned decree.


A cloth interwoven with gold or fine material that women wore tied to their head as an adornment and to tie their hair back.


In the legal documents drawn up in a first attempt to canonise the two women in the first half of the seventeenth century, their healing and miracle-working powers are cited when they are the object of devotion and prayer by the parishioners (the healing of Elisabeth Pujol’s blindness, alter being informed through the mediation of the servant of the monastery, Eulalia, of the “power” of the “saints”) or the community itself (intercession to the saints because of the plague that attacked Barcelona, with the promise to burn forever a “lamp in honour of the two saints”). We also know of the healing powers of Santa Clare of Assisi, above all in illnesses of the throat and ear.


A collection of one hundred chosen stories, told in ten days by seven girls and three boys, written by Giovanni Boccaccio between 1349 and 1353, a masterwork of prose in Italian. They were brought to the cinema in the twentieth century by Pier Paolo Passolini.


A collection of one hundred chosen stories, told in ten days by seven girls and three boys, written by Giovanni Boccaccio between 1349 and 1353, a masterwork of prose in Italian. They were brought to the cinema in the twentieth century by Pier Paolo Passolini.

De Ornatu

Medieval treatise on adornment.




Dhuoda was a cultured Frankish noblewoman of Germanic mother tongue, born around the year 803. On the 29th June 824 she got married in the palace chapel of Aquisgrán to Bernard of Septimania, second nephew of Charlemagne, becoming Marquess of Septimania and Countess of Barcelona, Gerona, Ampurias and Rosellón. She lived in Uzès, where, on the 29th November 826, her “most desired” son Guillermo was born; almost fifteen years later, on the 22nd March 841, her son Bernard was born. Shortly afterwards, her husband took away the two boys, to use them as pawns in his power interests. To relieve her pain and help them to think about her and be educated according to her desire, Dhuoda wrote to them then, in Latin, a manual book – that is, a book to carry and have to hand-. She began it on 30th November 841 and she finished it on 2nd February 843, still without knowing what name had been given to her small son.

Dorotea Çarovira

As it is stated in the obituaries of the archive of the monastery, Dorotea took the habit on the 29th April 1586, she took vows on the 18th January, 1594, she was prioress and finally abbess of the monastery between 1637-1644. In so doing she formed part of a lineage that was quite united and present in the community. In the fourteenth century, el daybook also cites Soberana Çarovira (1373-1376), and Catalina Çarovira (1620-1622).

Elisabeth Elstob

Linguist. Published an Anglo-Saxon grammar and various learned translations.

Elisabeth Hasting

Friend of Mary Astell.

Elizabeth Montague

Friend of Mary Astell.

Emma de Barcelona

First Abbess of the monastery of San Juan, daughter of the count and countess of Barcelona, Guinedilda and Wifredo I el Velloso, she was offered by her parents to the monastery that they had founded for her when she was still a child; she was the abbess (897-942), she promoted the settling and ploughing of lands and founded parishes in the extensive domains of the monastery.


En or Ende. Painter of the miniatures of the Beato de Girona. We do not have almost any information about this painter. Historiography sustains that it may be a religious woman of some of the double monasteries that were abundant in the western kingdoms during the early Middle Ages. The historiography of art still has discrepancies when it comes to naming the miniaturist of that codex En or Ende. For Jaume Marquès the illustrator would be called En, because the verbal form depintrix is more correct than pintrix, and Anscari Manuel Mundó also inclines towards that name, saying that it is a woman’s name that is found in the Asturian/Galician/Leonese of the early Middle Ages. Vid. J. Marqués Casanovas ed. facsimile of the manuscript published in Madrid in 1975, p. 216, and A.M. Mundó, Sobre los códices de Beato, in Actas del Simposio para el estudio de los códices del “Comentario al Apocalipsis” de Beato de Liébana, Madrid, 1976, vol. I (1978), p. 115.

Enric de Villena

Father of Isabel de Villena.


Son of Borrell, Count of Barcelona

Ermesenda de Carcasona

Countess of Barcelona, daughter of Adelaida and Rogelio, count and countess of Carcassonne, she got married around 993 to the count of Barcelona Ramón Borrell (992-1017). She participated actively in matters of government at the side of her husband, or in his name, in his absence. Once widowed, she governed as regent of her son Berenguer Ramón I, count of Barcelona (1017-1023) and when he had gone, as regent of her grandson Ramón Berenguer I (1035-1041); amongst her first advisors there figure people of great prestige such as the Abbott Oliba, abbott of Ripoll and of Cuixà and bishop of Vic. She died in the year 1058, at about eighty years of age, she wanted to be buried in the cathedral of Gerona that she had had built.

Ermessenda of Carcassonne

Countess of Barcelona, daughter of Adelaida and Roger, count and countess of Carcassonne, she got married around 993 to the count of Barcelona Ramon Borrell (992-1017). She participated actively in government affairs at her husband’s side, or in his name, in his absence. Once widowed she governed as regent of her son Berenguer Ramon I, count of Barcelona (1017-1023) and when he disappeared, as regent of her grandson Ramon Berenguer I (1035-1041); amongst her advisors there figure personages of great prestige such as the abbot Oliba, abbot of Ripoll and of Cuixà and bishop of Vic. She died in 1058, at around the age of eighty, she wanted to be buried in Gerona cathedral which she had had built.

Estefania de Requesens i Roís de Liori

Estefania de Requesens i Roís de Liori (1526? - Barcelona 1549). Baroness of Castellvell and of Molins de Rei. Daughter of the governor of Catalunya Lluís de Requesens i Joan de Soler, count of Palamós, and of his second wife Hipòlita Roís de Liori, she belonged to one of the most influential Catalan families of the time. She formed part of the circle of followers of Ignasi de Loiola during his stay in Barcelona (1524-26). Married in 1526 to Juan de Zúñiga y Avellaneda (1488-1546), son of the count of Miranda, on his being named preceptor of the Prince of Girona Felip (future Felip II), she goes to reside at the court (1534) until, as a widow (1546), she returned to Barcelona. She wrote, in Castilian, to her son Lluís (future governor of Milan and the Low Countries) some moral recommendations (published in 1904-05). To the couple, intimately joined to the Jesuits, was dedicated, in 1536, the translation into Castilian of a book by Erasmus: Libro del aparejo... para bien morir. With her mother she brought a lawsuit for the county of Palamós against her first cousin Isabel de Requesens i Enríquez and won it, but later she ceded it to her. Estefania, her husband and some of their sons are buried in the crypt in the chapel of the Palau Reial Menor of Barcelona.

Esteve Rollà

Author of a Latin-Catalan version of the Crònica de Sant Pere.

Expulsion of the Jewish people

During the reign of the Reyes Católicos, Isabel I of Castile and Fernando II of Aragon, there began the long exodus forced onto the men, women, boys and girls of the Jewish religion but belonging to the different kingdoms that the Peninsula was divided into. The King and Queen signed the decree of expulsion that had to be carried out during the year 1492.

Felipe el Hermoso

Felipe I el Hermoso (1478-1506) King of The Netherlands (1482-1506) and King of Castile (1504-1506) through his marriage to Juana I of Castile. Son of María of Borgoña and of Maximiliano I, Emperor of Germany.

Feminine freedom

A discovery of Lia Cigarini, taking place in the seventies of the twentieth century, which consists of becoming aware that freedom is not neutral but rather sexed. Which means to say that in history there exists a form of women’s freedom that is relational freedom, that which takes the other into account, instead of being guided by individualism, which is the way of the freedom that is historically masculine. To find out more: Lia Cigarini, Libertad femenina y norma, Duoda. Revista de Estudios Feministas, 8 (1995), 85-90.

Feminine genealogy

A concept that can be used to show, socially and symbolically, the feminine gender. To think through reality with fidelity to our sex is to find the link between women (the between-women), the key or the mediation with which to read our reality and our experience, which opens up to the making of symbolic. The restoration of feminine genealogies, annulled in patriarchal society, presents itself as a necessity of social and symbolic order.

Feminine memory

Although the lack of legal links that form the backbone of each one of the monasteries of damianists-clares dispersed throughout all Christian Europe makes it difficult, the consciousness of belonging to one same feminine root is a fact, as these legendary traditions that bring about the origin of a community from the founding wish of Clara de Asís show, as does the real genealogical dependence that would be established between the monasteries of menoretas, on connecting foundations that link new communities with groups of women coming from a mother-monastery, which is set up as a model and stimulus for other foundations of the area. This is the case of those of Barcelona, Zaragoza, Pamplona, Burgos, Salamanca and Zamora, which make up the first group of monasteries of Hispanic Clares. To find out more, see: J. García Oro, “Orígenes de la clarisas en España”, Archivo Ibero-americano, 54 (1994), pp. 163-182.


A good given by a master or mistress to another person in exchange for non-degrading services.

Florence Nightingale

(1820-1910). Nurse. Founder of modern English nursing.

Founding Wish

The action of founding spaces for living out transcendence and the practice of spirituality, adopting monastic or semi-religious forms, have been linked in a significant way to women. They are foundations that respond to a feminine desire that sustains and maintains these practices and those spaces throughout history and in a recurring way amongst the first Christian movements of the fourteenth century until the Church’s project for reform which is materialised in the Council of Trento (1545-1563).

Good housekeeping

A woman had to run the house well; according to Eiximenis good running was made up of three aspects: adjust, retain and administer. The moralist from Gerona stated that the middle class women of his time could not contribute too much to the first task, adjust, that is, take money home, a woman’s adjust cannot be much, since the administration of the house absorbs her... So paid work was not the fundamental mission of women, despite the recognition that women brought some earnings to the family economy, what they had to do was to encourage their husbands to work and bring in legal earnings – we already see that he is not referring to women who are widows. He considered the tasks of retaining to be more important, that is, spending with moderation in order to save, and administering the domestic economy wisely. He recognises that this administration was complex, to the extent that it could take up so much time that women were not able to do any other work.

Vid. Francesc Eiximenis, Lo libre de les dones, Barcelona University, Curial, 1981, vol. 1, ch. 91.

An interesting source on medieval domestic work: Le Ménagier de Paris. Traité de morale et d’économie domestique, Paris, 1846.

On domestic economy: Teresa Vinyoles, “El pressupost familiar d’una mestressa de casa per l’any 1401”. La societat de Barcelona a la Baixa Edat Mitjana. Barcelona, Faculty of Geography and History, 1983 pp. 101-112.

Guillaume de Lorris

Co-author of the Llibre de la Rosa.


We do not know the origins of Guinedilda, founder of Cervera de Segarra, she is an anonymous woman, a mother, who acts clearly as head of the group of resettlers where we find men and women, but she is the first recipient of the document.

It is not an exceptional case, for example, amongst the settlers of Vallformosa (Rajadell, el Bages) there appear forty four heads of family, the first person mentioned and at the same time the first one to sign is Tudila, coloniser, woman, with her inheritors. Diplomatari de la Ciutat de Manresa (segles IX-X). Barcelona, Fundació Noguera, 1991, doc. 124 (year 977).


A term coined by Mary Daly to refer to the premeditated murder of women.


A basic institution of the Catalan law of succession through which is made the patrimonial transmission of the hereditary content via a donation of present and future goods by the donor (generally the father) in favour of the donated to (generally the son). It is an “inter vivos” donation, that is, made during the lifetime of the donor and with the consent of both, generally through the marriage contracts.

Hernando del Pulgar

Hernando del Pulgar (h. 1436-1493), is a Spanish chronicler and historian. He wrote a Crónica of the kingdom of the Reyes Católicos –which goes until 1490-. His work did not yet have a humanist approach, but rather fits in to traditional medieval historiography.

Hernando de Talavera

Hernando or Fernando de Talavera (1428-1507) was a musician who belonged to the Hieronymite order. He was the confessor of Queen Isabel I de Castile, bishop of Ávila and first archbishop of Granada. After the conquest of the city he was part of the government and was a believer in tolerance towards the men and women Muslims of the old kingdom of Granada; in 1499 he was removed from the government. Queen Isabel asked him to write a mass to commemorate the conquest of the city. Talavera wrote the words and the music of the office which he called In festo deditionis nominatissime urbis Granate. Vid. Martínez Medina, F.-J.; Ramos López, P.; Varela-Rodríguez, M.-E., Oficio de la Toma de Granada, Granada, 2003. In the accounts of the treasurer of Queen Isabel I, Gonzalo de Baeza, there are some entries of money, paintings, etc., handed over to Hernando de Talavera for diverse churches of Granada such as that of Santa Elena. Vid. YARZA LUACES, J., Paisaje artístico de una monarquía, Madrid, 1993, p. 26. Vid. De La Torre, A.; De La Torre, E. A. (eds.), Cuentas de Gonzalo de Baeza tesorero de Isabel la Católica, Madrid, 1955-1956.

Herralda de Hohenburg

(1125-1195), nun and abbess, conceived the work “Hortus deliciarum” –“The Garden of Delights”- for the education of the women who were her companions in the community. The manuscript, illustrated with beautiful miniatures, was destroyed in a fire in 1870, although it was possible to partially reconstruct it.


Greek poet of the VIII B.C.

Hipòlita Rois de Liori

Hipòlita Rois de Liori (València 1479- Madrid 1546), descendent of a lineage of Aragon established in València due to the conquest. Daughter of Beatriu de Moncada i Vilaragut and of Joan Roís de Liori. Lost her father at the age of ten. She married, when she was 22, Lluís de Requesens and Joan de Soler, who was over sixty, in 1501. She had two children, Gaspar, who died as a child, and Estefania. Lluís de Requesens, married the first time to Elfa de Cardona-Anglesola i de Centelles, was advisor and chamberlain of the king, general governer of Catalunya and count of Palamós. Hipòlita was usufructuary of the assets of her husband, who left Estefania as universal inheritor, and she devoted herself to managing the considerable family assets, already in the life of her husband, until her death. She had a court case over the Barony of Riba-Roja, from 1534 until 1538, with the nuns of the convent of Santa Caterina de Siena, and some relatives of her niece, Beatriu Margarit i de Requesens, who had to renounce the barony, of maternal inheritance, in becoming a nun, in favour of Hipòlita.

124 of them have been kept. Those letters are conserved at the Palace Archive and form part of the documental sources ceded by the inheritors of the Requesens family to the Companyia de Jesús in 1921. Of the 124 known letters, 102 have been published by Maite Guisado: Cartes íntimes d’una dama catalana del s. XVI. Epistolari a la seva mare la comtessa de Palamós. La Sal, Barcelona, 1987. The other 22 letters have been published by Eulàlia de Ahumada Batlle: Epistolaris d’Hipòlita Rois de Liori i d’ Estefania de Requesens (s. XVI). University of València, 2003.

Hippocratic medicine

It is based on the texts of Hippocrates (V-IV B.C.) and the writings of his many disciples, which make up the “Corpus Hipocraticum” or Hippocratic School. His prejudices about women took on a medical-scientific patina that dominated medical discourse until the nineteenth century, with theories such as the wandering stomach and the theory of humours.

Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim

Hrotsvitha was born around 935, into a noble Saxon family (Germany), perhaps related by marriage to the royal family of Saxony. She received an excellent education. She was canoness in the Benedictine Abbey of Gandersheim, whose library, of extraordinary quality, she enjoyed. She is the first author of theatre in Europe. By her we conserve a cycle of six plays – audacious and funny-, a cycle of eight legends –both cycles above all of feminine prominence- and two historical works: a biography of the Emperor Otto I and a history of the origins of Gandersheim, all written in Latin. She died after 973. During the last years of her life or shortly after her death, the only manuscript of her works that seems complete was copied, in the feminine Abbey of San Emmeram, in Regensburg / Ratisbona. The theatre of Hrotsvitha was soon copied and translated to other languages, and continues to be put on at the present time.


A religious movement of the quietist and anti-monarchic kind that developed from the sixteenth century until the beginning of the seventeenth century, with important women leaders, like Isabel de la Cruz or María de Cazalla.

Infante Carlos

Carlos son of Juana I of Castile and of Felipe Archduke of Austria and Duke of Borgoña, future Carlos I de España and V de Alemania.

Isabel de Bavària

Queen of France, wife of Carles VI.

Isabel de Villena

(1430-1490): Daughter of an extra-matrimonial relationship of her father Enric de Villena and of unknown mother, Isabel was educated in the Catalan-Aragonese court of María de Luna and at the age of fifteen she entered the Royal Monastery of the Holy Trinity in Valencia, which was of the Franciscan Order. At the age of thirty three, she was elected abbess of the community. She wrote a Vita Christi which in 1497, seven years after her death, her companion Aldonça de Montsoriu took to the printing press and dedicted to the Queen Isabel la Catòlica.

Isabel I of Castile

Isabel I of Castile (22nd April of 1451 - 26th November 1504) daughter of the king of Castile Juan II (1406-1454) and of Isabel of Portugal (m.1496) Queen of Castile (1447-54). Second wife of Juan II; mother of Isabel I of Castile and of the Infante Alfonso.

Her birth is noted in detail by a Cronicón: “nasió la santa reyna católica doña Isabel en Madrigal, el jueves XXII de abril, IIII oras e dos tercios de ora después del mediodia, año Domini 1451” (Cronicón de Valladolid. Diario del Doctor Toledo, CODOIN (Collection of unpublished documents of the history of Spain), XIII, p. 20). Isabel was born in Madrigal de las Altas Torres (Ávila) where, in 1447, her parents Juan II of Castile and Isabel of Portugal had married. In 1468 her brother Enrique IV recognised her as the inheritor of Castile; some years after (1469) she married in secret, in Valladolid, Fernando of Aragon (1452-1516, son of Juana Enríquez and of Juan II of Aragón), future Fernando II (1479-1516), (V of Castile, 1474-1504) rejecting the candidates that her brother wanted to impose on her as husband, Carlos of Valois or Alfonso V of Portugal. The union with Fernando of Aragon favoured the interests of the Aragonese crown, on the one hand, but, on the other, it was also that Isabel considered it the best support for her ascension to the throne and to strengthen her authority. Also in Madrigal Isabel received the fabulous engagement gift from Fernando of Aragon, a big necklace of gold, rubies and oval pearl stones that had belonged to the Queen of Aragon Juana Enríquez. [Of the beauty and importance of this jewel there is no doubt, perhaps similar to that which appears in the panel with the image of the queen and king, Isabel and Fernando, of the Maestro of Manzanillo, soon after their wedding. This master picks up on details of the Queen and King that chroniclers and historians have emphasised: the very white skin of the Queen, her blond hair, her blue eyes. Fernando’s dark eyes and hair. A detailed description of the Queen Isabel – at the age of twenty - is made by her secretary, the chronicler Hernando del Pulgar: Well composed in her person and in the proportion of her limbs, very white and blond; green-blue eyes, a gracious and honest look, the features of her face, her face all very beautiful and happy. The description of H. del Pulgar and the panel that shows this portrait of the King and Queen transmit to us an image that quite coincides]. A marriage as important as that of Isabel of Castile and Fernando of Aragon had to specify in a clear way the rights of both; that is how it was done in the marriage contract that they agreed on before the marriage and ratified later at the agreement of Segovia of 1475. But Isabel’s life had already continued to change profoundly, so that in 1474, on the death of Enrique IV, Isabel was proclaimed Queen of Castile. Although not all the social groups supported the new Queen; a part of the nobility, with the support of Portugal, recognised as inheritor to the throne Juana la Beltraneja (1462-1530, daughter of Juana of Portugal and of Enrique IV of Castile. Some considered her the daughter of Beltrán de la Cueva), which brought about civil war in Castile. The victory of Toro (1476) first, and the Cortes de Madrigal (1476) recognised Isabel as Queen. From then on Isabel and Fernando made an effort to suppress the rebel spots that practically were extinguished with the defeat of the Portuguese in Albuera (1479). No doubt amongst the events that most marked her life were the births of her daughter Isabel (1470-1498). She married the Infante Alfonso of Portugal; on becoming a widow she devoted herself to the spiritual life, as a beguine, until she got married again to King Manuel de Portugal, to her son, the Infante, Juan (1478-1497) and her daughters Juana (1479-1555), María (1482-1517?). (She married her brother-in-law Manuel de Portugal), and Catalina (1485-1536). (She married the Princes of Wales Enrique, Arturo and Eduardo). It seems that towards the middle of her reign there was reborn in the politics of Queen Isabel and her advisors an ideal of crusade, influenced no doubt by that part of the Castilian religious spirit, less open and free. Historiography coincides in pointing out that the Queen had an important role in the strengthening of royal authority and the war of Granada, above all after 1486; but neither should we underestimate the influence of a rigid religious spirit, not very prone to dialogue or open, and this would end up by impregnating the political activity of the Queen and of some of those who supported the politics of the crown in these years. Isabel I pressed for the reform of the Church, all the monasteries, convents and other houses of religious men and women were reformed; from 1478 the Inquisition planted itself on her territories. This path marked by the influence of some intransigent church men would seem to have led to the political doings of the kingdom, although it would still take time to put out the flame of freedom carried by many religious or lay women and men who had been, and some still were, close to the Queen. But the road of the reforming and intransigent politics would crystallise into two measures that were especially negative for her kingdoms, and that would have profound repercussions: the expulsion of the Jews and the hardening of the measures against the Muslims of Granada. Historiography has especially underlined these two actions of the reign of Isabel and has centred on her the weight of these actions, but, on the one hand, the Queen did not reign alone, but rather with a good number of lay and church advisors, and on the other, it is worth pointing out that the Queen had in other moments backed and supported a politics that was much more respectful and open to dialogue. And, if it is true that the Queen, perhaps influenced by the rebirth of the ideal of the crusade that dominated the politics of a good part of the end of her reign, authorised the expedition of Columbus, it is also true that until the end of her life she would concern herself with avoiding the abuses of the colonisers in the new lands against the Indians, their natural inhabitants.

Isotta Nogarola

(1417-1466) Italian humanist, it is said that she was one of the most famous and erudite women of her time. From a very young age she learned Latin and Greek. Her career followed the same line that would be repeated by many women of the time and later. Born into an intellectually stimulating environment, supported in her childhood by her family, who provided her with good teachers, she found resistance when she wished to continue with her intellectual work as an adult.

Jean de Meun

Co-author of the Llibre de la Rosa.

Jeroni Pujades

Possessor of a Crònica de Sant Pere de les Puel·les.

Joan Francesc

Possessor of a Crònica de Sant Pere de les Puel·les.

John Norris


Juana de Mendoza

Born in Cañete or in Cuenca around 1425, daughter of Teresa de Guzmán and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, lord of Cañete. She received an exquisite humanist education. She had a sister, Beatriz de Guzmán, and a brother, Juan Hurtado de Mendoza –the inheritor of the family estate-. She got married, on an unknown date during the decade of 1440, at any rate before 1448, to Gómez Manrique. She was the mother of Luis Manrique, who was gentleman friar of the Order of Santiago, died young in 1480 and was buried in the main chapel of the convent of Santiago de Uclés; of Catalina Manrique (m. 1480), who married Diego García de Toledo, lord of Mejorada and of María Manrique, who was the abess of the monastery of the Clares of Nuestra Señora de la Consolación de Calabazanos (Palencia). She was a lady of the court, friend, adviser and main chambermaid to Queen Isabel I, as well as private tutor of the noblewoman who were educated at the court of Castille. She was the inspirer of women and men writers, such as Teresa de Cartagena, Gómez Manrique and friar Íñigo de Mendoza. She died in Barcelona on the 29th May 1493, while accompanying Queen Isabel I at the reception of Christopher Columbus, who was returning to tell of his discovery of the West Indies.

Juana de Mendoza

Juana de Mendoza (m. 1493) was friend, adviser and royal chamberlain to Isabel la Católica and the princess Isabel de Portugal, as well as private tutor to the noblemen and women who were educated in the court of Castile.

Juana I of Castile

Juana I of Castile (1479-1555). Queen of Castile, daughter of Isabel I of Castile and of Fernando of Aragon. On the death of her brother and sister Juan (1497) and Isabel (1498), and her son, Miguel (1500), she became the inheritor of Castile and Aragon. By the agreement of Salamanca (1505) it was agreed that Juana would govern together with Felipe el Hermoso and Fernando el Católico. By the agreement of Villafáfila (Zamora) (1506), Fernando el Católico retired to the kingdom of Aragon, Felipe was proclaimed King of Castile, and Juana was incapacitated to reign. On the death of Fernando (1516), Carlos, son of Juana, took the title of King. Legally still in the documentation the name of the Queen and after that of Carlos had to figure. She died in Tordesillas, where she lived from 1509 on.

Julia Cabaleiro

Historian and one of the authors of the project.

Laura Ceretta

(1469-1499). Italian humanist, daughter of an aristocratic family from the north of Italy. As happened to Isotta Nogarola, her learning was supported, particularly by her father, during her childhood, learning Latin and Greek, but on becoming an adult she met with social hostility. She married and became a widow after 18 months, after which she entered the world of humanism. In 1488 she published a volume of letters.

Leonor López de Córdoba

Royal favourite of the regent queen of Castille between 1404 and 1412. Her Memorias constitute the first known autobiography in the Spanish language.

Llúcia de la Marca

Countess of Pallars Sobirà, daughter of the count and countess Amèlia and Bernat de la Marca, sister of Almodis, countess of Barcelona, she was promised to the count Guillem II de Besalú, but did not end up marrying him. She married the count Artau I de Pallars Sobirà (1049-1081). Llúcia intervened in government affairs next to her husband and her son Artau II, she was tutor of the sons of the count Ermengol IV d’Urgell, she must have died around 1090. Her son Otto, bishop of Urgell, was recognised as a saint and is praised in his hagiography.

The marriage document between Llúcia and Artau is surprising: That Artau, count, might have Llúcia while she lives as man should have the woman that he has legally taken. That he not abandon her while she lives, under any pretext, except for that she become a leper. That he should not disturb her nor slander her to the point that she has to leave him. Liber Feodrum Maior, doc. 37 (1058).

Lluís de Requesens i Joan de Soler

Lluís de Requesens i Joan de Soler (? ~1435 - 1509), husband of Hipòlita Roís de Liori i de Montcada (1501), by whom he had a daughter, Estefania, who inherited his possessions. He had been married to Elfa de Cardona Anglesola i de Centelles (1456). He had inherited the barony of Molins de Rei and in 1505, through the death of his brother Galceran he became second count of Palamós. He was the general governor of Catalunya from 1472 until his death.

Lluís de Requesens i Zúñiga

Lluís de Requesens i Zúñiga (Barcelona 1528 - Brussel·les 1576) High level royal servant. Second son of Estefania de Requesens i Roís de Liori and of the high commander of Sant Jaume a Castella, Juan de Zúñiga y Avellaneda. He puts his mother’s surname before his father’s for reasons of inheritance. In 1552 he married Jerónima Gralla Hostalric, daughter of the rational schoolteacher Francesc Gralla i Desplà and of Guiomar d'Hostalric. He was the high commander of Castella, governor of Milan and the Low Countries, baron of Molins de Rei, of Castellvell and lord of Martorell.

Luce Irigaray

For a feminine symbolic order to exist the thinker Luce Irigaray points to the need for the existence of two axes: one vertical –the recognition of feminine authority- and another horizontal one –a “between women”-. If the horizontal relationship between women allows for the signifying of the shared belonging of gender, the recognition of feminine authority, that makes disparity between women, would remit us to the maternal relationship, the relationship of origin.

Lucía de la Marca

Countess of Pallars Sobirà, daughter of the countess and count Amelia and Bernardo de la Marca, sister of Almodis, countess of Barcelona, she was promised to the count Guillermo II de Besalú, but did not marry him. She married the count Artau I de Pallars Sobirà (1049-1081). Lucía intervened in matters of government next to her husband and her son Artau II, she became the guardian of the children of count Ermengol IV de Urgell, she died possibly around 1090. Her son Ot, bishop of Urgell, was recognised as a Saint and is praised in his hagiography.

The betrothal document of Lucía and Artau is surprising: That Artau, count, take Lucía as long as she lives as the man should take the wife that he has taken legally. That he should not abandon her as long as she lives, under any pretext, unless she were to become a leper. That he should not bother her nor slander her to the point that she has to leave him. Liber Feodrum Maior, doc. 37 (year 1058).

Luisa Muraro

Luisa Muraro (Montecchio Maggiore, Vicenza, 1940). Philosopher and researcher at the University of Verona, she gave life, with other women, to the Milan Women’s Bookstore (1975) and to Diótima, a group of women philosophers, authors of two collective works: Il pensiero della differenza sessuales (1987) and Mettere al mondo il mondo (1990). She has published: La Signora del gioco. Episodi della caccia alle streghe, (1976); Maglia o uncinetto. Racconto linguistico-politico sulla inimicizia tra metafora e metonimia, (1981); Guglielma e Maifreda. Storia di un’eresia femminista, (1985); L’ordine simbolico della madre, (1991); Lingua materna scienza divina. Scritti sulla filosofia mistica di Margherita Porete, (1995); Il buco nella siepe. Studi sulla scrittura femminile che chiamano mistica, (2000).

Luisa Sigea de Velasco

Spanish writer who was given the pseudonym “La Toledana”. She was born in Tarancón around 1530 and died around 1560. She belonged to the circle of women humanists protected by Isabel la Católica. She was an erudite woman, knowing Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldean, as well as philosophy, poetry and history. She wrote poems and dialogues and was known within the peninsular and beyond.

Madame de Rambouillet

Holder of salons.

Madame de Rolan

Holder of salons.

Madeleine de Scudéry

(1607-1701), known by the pseudonym of Sappho, a novelist belonging to the movement of the Precieuses, gave life to the salon “the Saturday society”. Her novels were very popular and translated into English by Elisabeth Elstob, friend of Mary Astell. “Artemane o el Gran Ciro” includes a discussion on feminine education.

Madrigal de las Altas Torres

Settlement and municipality of the province of Ávila of the region of Arévalo, where Isabel I de Castile was born.


Abbess of Sant Pere de les Puel·les.



Malleus Malleficarum

Also called “Witches hammer”, it is a manual for inquisitors written by the Dominicans Heinrich Kramer and Jakob Sprenger with the blessing of Pope Innocence VIII, which meant the beginning of the witch hunt and the text that the later inquisitors based themselves on.

María de Cervelló

María de Cervelló (Barcelona 1230-1290), is considered to be the first member or founder of the feminine branch of the order of the Merced. Her religious experience set out very probably from a previous state of beata or beguine linked to the assisting and charitable activity that, in the new Mercedarian charisma, had at its centre the attention to the mendicant-redeemed. Together with other women of a similar spiritual journey, she constituted and lead the first Mercedarian beaterio of the city of Barcelona, near to the convent of the Merced. Her figure was soon praised by the official hagiography of the order, which made her a model of saintliness and “exemplum” of the Mercedarian spirituality, attaining her canonisation at the end of the seventeenth century. A fact that in many cases has detracted from the original profile of a woman who embodied at her time a model of late medieval feminine spirituality characterised by the symbiosis of the contemplative component along with an intense social activity (charity and attention to the poor and less fortunate, etc.).

Maria de Luna

Queen of the Aragonese Crown.


In 1700 Mary Astell published “Reflections on Marriage”, a text in whose writing she once more uses humour, irony and sarcasm in order to, in this case, unveil and make evident the social interests that served to humiliate and subordinate women through the distribution of power that took place in marriage, an institution that she denounces as tyrannical, linking the tyranny of the state with that of men in families.

Marriage contract

A marriage contract, common in Catalonia during the Modern Period, whereby the families of those making the contract made economic pacts, of importance in relation to the patrimony, succession or widowhood.

Martha and Mary

Gospel according to Luke, 10, 38-41. Isabel de Villena speaks of this magnificently in chapter 122 of the Vita Christi: And the merciful Lord continuing to go many times to the house of the kind Magdalene, his Majesty was served with great diligence, the glorious Martha, who was an ordered person and of much charity, being mainly in charge of the preparation of food; and Magdalene trusting in the solicitude of that sister of hers, left everything in her charge, so that she could with greater relaxation devote herself to looking at and contemplating that divine face... [Answer of Jesus to Martha’s request for her sister to go and help her]: “Oh, Martha, Martha! You are very solicitous and worried about doing things, and because of it you feel very flustered and would like Mary, your sister, to be with you for those jobs; and this cannot be done since she has chosen the better part... But you should know Martha, that I want both of you, sisters, to be the duchesses and guides of my people who are on their way to Paradise, kingdom to which no one may go if it is not by two paths, these are the active one and the contemplative one, of which you two will be examples and saints”.

Isabel de Villena, Protagonistes femenines de la “Vita Christi”. Edition in the care of Rosanna Cantavella and Lluïsa Parra. Barcelona, La Sal, 1987, pp. 66-69.

Mary Astell

Feminist and writer of the seventeenth century.

Maternal order

See symbolic order of the mother.

Michel Certeau

Theologian and sociologist

Milagros Rivera

Historian, co-ordinator and research member of the project.



Monastery of Sant Antoni and Santa Clara

The monastery of Sant Antoni and Santa Clara of Barcelona has had various seats throughout its history: from its origin in the decade of 1230 until 1713-1714 it was situated near the sea, between the Barcelona Riego and the city wall to the North-east, and near the Portal de San Daniel. Destroyed by Felipe V’s troops and the expropriation of lands for the construction of the Ciudadela, the community moved in 1717 to the Royal Palace of Barcelona, where it was maintained until the Civil War. Then the community was dispersed until they managed to once again come together, from 1939, in many provisional places in the same city of Barcelona (The monastery of Pedralbes and convent of the Reparadoras, etc.), and in the town of Ripollet. In 1952, the Father Abbot Aureli joined the community with that of San Benito of Mataró, resident since the Civil War in the hermitage of Santa Cecilia de Montserrat, giving rise to a new community, that of San Benito de Montserrat. In 1954 possession was taken of a new building on the mountain of Montserrat, habilitating in part the old rooms of the Hotel Marcet.

The first monastery of Clares or menoretas of Catalan lands, the community has had a special treatment in the monastic chronicles of the Franciscan order, as it was considered a “paradigm” of foundation of Saint Clare and promoting the legend or hagiographic image as its founding would be linked to the wish of the Italian saint herself, who would have sent two disciples and family members of her own. She also acted in her area of influence as a model and stimulus for the creation of new communities: in 1267 a group of nuns of San Antonio helped the definitive structuring of the new monastery of Saint Clare of Castelló de Ampurias. And in 1372, 14 nuns from the community were the initial nucleus of the new monastery of Clares founded in Barcelona by Queen Elisenda of Montcada, that of Santa María of Pedralbes. In 1513, San Antonio de Barcelona became part of the Benedictine rule, being incorporated into the congregation of San Benito; a decision that can be interpreted as an answer to the reform of the monasteries that the Hispanic monarchy led at the end of the fifteenth century, foreteller of the process of reform recommended at the Council of Trento.

Moorish population

The Muslim population that inhabited Christian lands and that would be progressively expelled from the lands of the kingdoms of Aragon and Castile; their expulsion would be completed between 1609 and 1610.

Novísima Recopilación

Recopilation of the previous Castilian laws, including the Partidas, the laws of Toro, etc.; it attempts to complete Nueva Recopilación. It was published in 1805 by order of Carlos IV.

Obligatory heterosexuality

The custom of a women sleeping with men not out of love but forcibly. On this Adrienne Rich wrote in 1980 a very important political text: "Heterosexualidad obligatoria y existencia lesbiana" in Duoda. Revista de Estudios Feministas”, 10 (1996), 15-45 and 11 (1996), 13-37.

Ordering hands

These words were inspired by a wedding song of the ninth century dedicated to Leodegundia, daughter of Ordoño I king of León, who married a king of Pamplona; it is a magnificent praising of the bride: her virtues, her word, her erudition, her face and her ordering hands: Ornata moribus, eloquiis claram, eruditam litteris sacrisque mistertiis, conlaudetur cantus suavi imniferis vocibus. Dum facies ejus rutilat decore moderata.... ornat domum, ac disponi mirabile ordine.

Song written around the year 869, conserved in the Codex of Roda, published by Armando Cotarelo. Historia crítica y documentada de la vida y acciones de Alfonso III el Magno. Madrid, Victoriano Suárez, 1933, p. 641.


Referring to the Greek myth to which Hesiod refers to constantly in his works Theogony and Works and Days. It is one of the typical founding myths of the patriarchy, in which Pandora, the first woman, comparable to the biblical Eve, would bring all the evils of the world to humanity.

Patriarchal relationships

They are the relationships of power, exploitation and dominance that are established between the sexes in patriarchal societies, to the detriment of women. The materialist feminists define patriarchal relationships in terms similar to what would be the relationships of production between businessmen and workers in the economic system or capitalist production mode.


The patriarchy is a system of power founded on the dominion of heterosexual men over the fertile feminine body and its fruits. It has taken different historical forms.


Referring in general to the affiliation and line of succession via the paternal line, typical of patriarchal societies. Generally patri-lineal affiliation is associated with patri-locality. In patriarchal societies the circulation of women via marriage is made necessary, as part of the sexual contract between men, in order to maintain the sharing out and appropriation of descent. Women on marrying are torn out of their family of origin to move and reproduce themselves in a foreign lineage, that of the husband. Her sons and daughters are appropriated by the male lineage or genealogy.


Territorial tax or tribute paid to the queen, king, lady or lord for possessions or property.


In spite of the fact that one of the characteristics of patriarchal societies is the lack of feminine mobility, travel with religious motives and inclinations is a known fact, from the first Christian generations. From the so-called “celibate women” who travelled around the Roman Empire disseminating the new faith or the aristocrats of the fourteenth century who made pilgrimages to the Holy Land, the pilgrimage journey would be maintained throughout the Middle Ages to significant points of the Christian tradition (Jerusalem, Compostela, Rome, etc.). Experienced by women alone or in small groups, of different social backgrounds, pilgrimage became for the “mulieres religiosae” (beguines, terciarias...) a significant practice of devotion and an external manifestation of their spirituality.

Poulain de la Barre


Practice of relationship

A political practice whose importance for the life and history of women was discovered by the members of the Milan Women’s Bookstore in the last third of the twentieth century. To find out more: Milan Women’s Bookstore, Sexual Difference (1987), Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana University Press, 1990; Marina Santini, ed., Cambia il mondo cambia la storia. La differenza sessuale nella ricerca storica e nell’insegnamento, Milan, Milan Women’s Bookstore, 2001; Un’altro ordine di rapporti, monograph in “Via Dogana. Rivista di pratica politica”, 65 (September 2003).


A formula to anticipate the la succession in case of the death of the contract makers that sign marriage contracts. In the precedence a preference is established as to who, of the descendants of the marriage partners, should succeed. The most usual precedences in the Modern Period were those of marriage celebrations and sex, which were often linked. Preference was given to the marriage where a marriage contract was signed and to men over women.

Presiding trials

A trial presided over by Ermesenda following the claim made by Madrona, peasant woman of the plain of Barcelona, who had been stripped of her lands and presented her claim for justice before the countess: In the trial by the lady Ermesenda, countess, and her judges... there came into her presence a small captive woman, of the name Madrona, crying, asking for justice for her paternal inheritance, which was squandered by her brother Bonhome, when she was captive in the town of Córdoba. Legally, the inheritance of the parents was still shared out between all the sons and daughters. Madrona was entitled to her part of an inheritance that, at least after the dilapidation made by her brother, who ironically was called Bonhome (Good Man), was a modest inheritance, corresponding to what would be the majority of properties of the small free peasant men and women of the time, who had occupied the open land and had planted vines during the process of resettlement. The countess recognised Madrona’s right of property. Diplomatari de la catedral de Barcelona. Barcelona, Chapter Cathedral Archive. 1995, doc. 345 (year 1000).


A form of unigenitura whereby the first descendant (usually male) is designated successor of the goods of the hereditary content. Primogeniture was made into universal law in Catalan law of succession and also a norm for European aristocracies after the Late Middle Ages, giving rise to institutions such as the primogeniture in Castile.

Public law

The one that regulates the instances of power, the attributes and role of the different institutions of the state. It also includes mercantile law, that is, commercial transactions, contracts, etc.

Puellae doctae

Humanist women of the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. They were learned and educated women educated from early childhood, generally by their own father in the disciplines of the times, particularly classical languages such as Latin and Greek and philosophy. Many of them wrote works of considerable weight and importance in Latin.

Querelle des femmes

La Querelle des femmes was a political practice that was born in Europe in the last decades of the fourteenth century and lasted until the French Revolution, that is, until the end of the eighteenth century. It consisted of an enormous effort by educated men and women to put into words the relationships of the sexes and between the sexes that came about because of the crisis of feudalism.

Querelle des femmes

This debate on the value of women and the virtues of the feminine nature affected a large part of territory of western Europe for centuries. The most well-known episode took place in France, between the end of the fourteenth century and beginnings of the fifteenth, around a long poem which had a considerable influence on European mysogenist lyricism: The Book of the Rose that had been written by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun. Towards 1401-1402, the so-called Querelle de la Rose took on a new dimension with the intervention in the debate of Christine de Pisan, the first woman to openly give an answer to it. It was a decisive intervention since it turned it into a public debate from February 1402 on, implicating in it all the Parisian court and promoting the compilation of texts that argued in favour or against women.




Son of Borrell, Count of Barcelona.

Relationships between women

The thinking and political practice of the relationship between women, born in the feminist movement itself (Milan Women’s Bookstore, last third of the twentieth century), has been key in order to be able to make a shift of meaning in the concept of freedom, of feminine freedom. Understanding that freedom, for a woman, is accompanied by a sense of relationship, next to a sense of authority, of feminine root, that authorises this way of behaving. To find out more: “La llibertat relacional”, Round table at the Congreso of Women Philosophers of Barcelona (autumn, 2002), Duoda. Revista d’Estudis Feministes, no. 26, 2004.

Religions of the Book

Historiography calls the Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions the religions of the Book. They bring together their traditions and revelations in the Torah, the Koran and the Bible, respectively.


The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries have been considered a period of progress for humanity, due to the cultural expansion which occurred in the field of the arts and scientific advances. Humanism triumphs, affirming the world and man as the centre of things. However this is an excluding humanism, since it excludes women, for whom it was not a time of progress, but rather of regression, as the theory of the Renaissances of Joan Kelly confirms.


The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries have been considered a period of progress for humanity, due to the cultural expansion which took place in the field of the arts and scientific advances. Humanism triumphs, affirming the world and man as the centre of things. However this is an excluding humanism, since it overlooks women, for whom it was not a time of progress, but rather of regression, as the theory of the Renaissances of Joan Kelly confirms.

Royal favourite

A woman trusted by a queen or king, who intervened or intervenes in government through the political relationship of authority that the queen or king recognises in her, beyond –not against- the institutions of power.

Saint Clare

Born Clara Favarone (1193-1253), she is considered to be the founder of the feminine branch of the Franciscan order: the Clares or menoretas (term used in the Catalan lands). At the age of 17, and after hearing the sermon of Francis at the cathedral of Assisi, Clara decided to renounce her comfortable position and join the Fransican “fraternity”. This took place in 1212 and Francis accepted her profession of faith, cutting off her hair and dressing her in a humble tunic. Provisionally installed in a monastery of Benedictine nuns in Bastia, where she would be joined shortly afterwards by her sister Inés, she finally founded with other women what would be the first community of poor sisters (“sorores pauperes”, “pauperes dominae”) or of the order of San Damián, next to the chapel of San Damián (in the outskirts of Assisi). Canonised two years after her death, in 1255, Saint Clare embodies the new Franciscan spirituality in an original manner, becoming known especially for the ideal of radical poverty, for which she would fight throughout her life in order to apply it in her monastic practice. The first writer of a monastic rule for women (Rule of Saint Clare, 1253), which synthesises the saint’s monastic ideal.


In the calculation of new saints the great feminine component, because of its quantitative importance, stands out, an expression of the intense participation of women in the religious phenomenon, between the thirteenth and the end of the fifteenth centuries. The Christian calendar of saints of this time leads us especially to lay or semireligious women, linked in many cases to the third mendicant orders (Ángela de Foligno, Margarita de Cortona, Catalina de Siena) as well as to women from the second orders (Clare of Assisi, Clara de Montefalco, Inés de Bohemia). Beyond this official sainthood, recognised by the Holy See, the period allows us also to glimpse processes of sainthood on a local scale, promoted by the laymen and women and by the local ecclesiastic class, and cults of devotion to women of “fama sanctitatis”.

Sancha de Castilla

Countess of Barcelona, daughter of the count of Castile Sancho García (995-1017); she married, still a girl child, Berenguer Ramón I, count of Barcelona, in 1016, in Zaragoza, in the context of a pact between the King Mundir de Zaragoza, the count and countess of Barcelona and Castile; she was the mother of Ramón Berenguer I, she died very young, in 1027.

Sancha Ximenis de Cabrera

Her mother was Timbor de Prades –daughter of the Count Joan de Prades and of Sancha Ximenis de Arenós-, her father was Bernat IV, Vice-count of Cabrera and Bas, Count of Módica and of Osona, she was first cousin to Queen Margarita de Prades, second wife of Martín el Humano. The first document where she is named is the will of her mother in 1397. Her father married her to Arquimbau de Foix, son of the countess Elisabet de Foix and of Arquimbau de Grailly in the year 1408; she received as a betrothal gift the barony of Novalles. She was mother to two daughters: Isabel and Juana; she was widowed in the year 1417, that is to say that she was married at most for nine years.

A young widow, she survived her husband by many years, and even her daughters; she was a widow of the nobility, but distanced from the court. She lived through difficult times: the remença uprising (redemption tax), the civil war, and serious economic problems. She signed her will on 1st February 1471, with the notary from Barcelona Bartolomé de Requesens, the Hospitals of Santa Cruz and Pía Almoina were her universal inheritors. Sancha Ximenis died on 25th November 1474, saint’s day of Santa Catalina, after more than two years of illness.

San Daniel de Girona

The monastery of San Daniel of Gerona was founded by Ermesenda in the year 1018, little after the death of her husband, and little after the disappearance of the community of San Juan de las Abadesas. According to the dowry document, Ermesenda herself had had it built, she equipped it and she assigned it as a monastery for nuns; it is still today the seat of a feminine community. Col·lecció diplomàtica de Sant Daniel de Girona. Fundació Noguera. Barcelona, 1997, document 6. (year 1018).

San Juan de las Abadesas

Benedictine women’s monastery founded by Wifredo I el Velloso, count of Barcelona and his wife Guinedilda, countess of Barcelona. In the year 885 they provided it with a large amount of land, at the same time as they made an offering of their daughter Emma to the monastery. The rich community of nuns was dissolved in the year 1017.

San Pedro de Burgal

Perhaps it was a mixed monastery, or at least in the tenth century it had a feminine community; Ermengarda de Pallars, daughter of the count Isarn I, was the abbess between 945 and 966; our documentation shows men ruling before and after those dates.

Sant Daniel de Girona

The feminine Benedictine monastery of Sant Daniel de Girona was founded by Ermessenda in 1018, little after the death of her husband, and little after the disappearance of the community of Sant Joan de les Abadesses. According to the endowment document, Ermessenda herself had had it built, she endowed it and destined it as a monastery of nuns; even today it is the home of a feminine community. Col·lecció diplomàtica de Sant Daniel de Girona. Fundació Noguera. Barcelona, 1997, document 6. (1018).

Sant Pere de les Puel·les

The Benedictine monastery of Sant Pere de les Puel·les or Sant Pere de Barcelona was founded in the first half of the tenth century and its church was consecrated in 945, according to the minutes of the consecration of its church. There probably existed some kind of feminine religious life in the city of Barcelona previously, not under the mandate of the religious orders, since data has been conserved on women devoted to the religious life who did not seem to be linked to any monastery. The monastery of Sant Pere was exempt from episcopal jurisdiction and depended directly on the Pope; its church was the parish church of the neighbourhood. Well endowed from its beginnings, the monastery was, over the centuries, a place of life for women of the social elites. The monastic building was destroyed and its church completely restored in 1909, and today there are few visible remains of the original construction. For over a century, the community has lived in a new monastic building in the Anglí Street in Sarrià.

Sant Pere neighbourhood of Barcelona

Sant Pere neighbourhood of Barcelona: This present neighbourhood of the city of Barcelona developed urbanistically around the monastery of Sant Pere de les Puel·les, founded during the first half of the tenth century in an area that, at that time, was outside the walls of the city. The documents from the late Middle Ages already called it the borough or newtown of Sant Pere. In todays place names (Lower Sant Pere Street, Middle Sant Pere, Upper Sant Pere and a long etcetera) the urbanistic maternity of the feminine community is well reflected, since women possessed properties and jurisdictions on the territory around the house and could well be considered to be the “mothers” of the neighbourhood. Other women’s projects such as the Institute of Culture and Popular Women’s Library, the Women’s School, and more recently, the Women’s Cultural Centre Francesca Bonnemaison, have maintained the visibility of feminine action in the neighbourhood.


Science is at the present time the paradigm of reference that in the past religion was. This process began with the Renaissance and was consolidated with the Enlightenment and the bourgeois revolutions of the nineteenth century. In the words of Milagros Rivera, science is “since the Project of equality between the sexes has been defined, a key measure of the real viability of this political project, a field in which it is decided who has the power to name the present-day reality in this model of social co-existence; a field in which the exercise of feminine authority is still stolen from us as women today” (1994). Rivera, p. 42.

Sexed hermeneutic circle

Diana Sartori, (in “Por qué Teresa”, Diotima, Traer al mundo el mundo, Barcelona, Icaria, 1996) defines the sexed hermeneutic circle as that relationship of meaning that establishes between a woman reader and questioner and the work, word and life itself of another woman.

Sexual contract

Non pacific pact between heterosexual men to distribute access to the fertile feminine body amongst themselves.

Sexual difference

In historical research, the difference of being woman is a key which allows us to discover the feminine presence in the past, too often hidden by the use of neutral, supposedly universal, language. The creator of the theory of sexual difference is Luce Irigaray (Speculum, Espéculo del otro que es mujer, Paris, 1974), in spite of the fact that the political practice and the thinking of sexual difference have developed strongly in Italy, where the Milan Women’s Bookstore and the philosophical community Diótima at the University of Verona have transformed the most recent feminism in Spain in an important way.

Symbolic order of the mother

The maternal language, the language that we speak, that each mother (or the one who takes her place) teaches her daughter or son in their very first infancy, when she teaches them to speak. With the maternal language we learn the world.

Symbolic order of the mother

The mother tongue, the tongue that we speak, the one that each mother (or the one who takes her place) teaches her daughter or son in their earliest infancy, when they teach them to talk. With the mother tongue we learn the world.

Technique of the fresco

The fresco technique is a mural pictorial technique whereby the surface is prepared with a covering of lime and sand and then colours are used only diluted with water that have to settle while the former is fresh. Teresa Díez used the technique of the “dry fresco” also called of the imperfect fresco; in that technique spirit was used to fix the colours on the wall whitewashing it with a mixture of mixed mortar, of lime and sand.


Composition of courtly poetry in which a dialogue is developed around matters of experience.

Teresa de Cartagena

María de Saravia gave birth to her in the city of Burgos, in the first third of the fifteenth century. Her father was Pedro de Cartagena. She formed part of an important converted Hebrew family of that city: the Ha-Leví. She spent her childhood and adolescence in Burgos, in the neighbourhood of Entramas Puentes –that is, between the bridges of Arlanzón and the Vena-, in the palace and castle of the Canto, situated in the street Cantarranas la Menor. She was educated at home and at the University of Salamanca, where she studied for some years. She married the lord of Hormaza (Burgos). It appears that she was not a mother. She devoted herself to her writing and her spirituality, to which she was dedicated in 1453. She was perhaps an Augustine canoness in the monastery of San Ildefonso of the city of Burgos. She wrote at least two books, entitled Arboleda de los enfermos and Admiración de las obras de Dios, dedicated to Juana de Mendoza, the wife of Gómez Manrique. She was still alive in 1478.

Teresa de Jesús

Teresa Sánchez de Ahumada, known as Teresa de Jesús, was a Spanish mystic, founder and writer, born in Ávila 28th March 1515 and who died in Alba 4th October 1582. She was a great poet and prose writer. She wrote Libro de la vida (1562), the Constituciones and the Camino de Perfección (1562-1567, the Libro de las fundaciones (1573-1574) and the Castillo Interior (1576-1577). Vid. ROSSI, Rosa, Teresa de Ávila, Barcelona, 1983; SEGURA, Cristina, “Las celdas de los Conventos”, in Por mi alma os digo. De la Edad Media a la Ilustración, co-ordinated by Anna Caballé, Barcelona, 2003, pp. 113-150.

Teresa Díez

Painter who worked in the Castilian area at the time of María de Molina (c.1265-1321). Art historiography situates her in relation to the artistic nucleus that develops at the beginnings of the gothic era in Salamanca, fruit of the activity of that artistic group are the chapel of San Martín and some tombstones of the Seu Vella de Salamanca. Teresa Díez painted the murals of the choir of the Real Monasterio de Santa Clara de Toro, and also left her pictorial stamp on the Colegiata, and the church of San Pedro of the same town, as well as the capcalera of the temple of La Hiniesta, and of the murals at the feet of the church of Santa María la Nueva de Zamora, which have also been attributed to her.


Christian theologian of the second century.

The personal is political

This phrase is one of the most famous and important symbolic inventions and discoveries of meaning of the women’s political movement of the sixties in the twentieth century.

The Précieuses

Is the name by which the seventeenth century literary women who were the origin of the salon were known; a material space where learned women met with other women and men to converse freely. They were places, then, where a political exchange between the sexes took place.

The origin of the salon is usually situated at the “chambre bleu” that Madame de Rambouillet created. As a specific space, the salon would continue during the Enlightenment and would last until the French Revolution; Madame de Rolan would be the last woman to hold one.

The wife’s given right

This refers to the Chindasvinto code of 645; the so-called Gothic law established that the tenth part of the husband’s goods belonged to the wife; the custom included that the widow was usufructuary of the belongings of the deceased husband as long as she did not marry again. This right was to be lost as of the thirteenth century with the coming into force of Roman law.


Timbor was the sister of Sancha Ximenis de Cabrera and she was married to Juan de Híjar. Sancha had a good relationship with her.


The troubadours or trobairitz were Provençal composers of music and poetry of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.


System of patrimonial transmission whereby only one of the descendants (usually male) receives the greater part of the hereditary context, in theory with the objective of keeping the estate together and preventing its disintegration through successive divisions. Although it already existed in Roman law, it developed in the heart of feudal society at the time when the feudal nobility was being consolidated. In Catalonia it is linked to the succession in mainline families.

Universal inheritor

It would be the woman or institution who would receive all the possessions, rights, and obligations of a testator or testatrix.

Visigoth script

The writing that was used in the kingdoms of Leon, Castile, Aragon and the Principat of Catalonia between the seventh-eighth and twelfth centuries. In Catalonia its usage was reduced as the Carolina writing came in. The manuscripts and documents allow us to appreciate a rounder and more accurate form in the more solemn manuscripts and documents and a more italic or documentary form. It is a writing that derives from the new Romanic italic and takes on characteristic forms in the peninsular lands. It is one of the writings that can be placed in what is called “graphic medieval particularism. Its most characteristic letters are the tall “a”, slightly inclined towards the left and open or low and open as if it were a “u”; the “t” in the form of the Greek tau or with the little eye closed; the “e” tall and open. On some occasions it uses an alphabet of capitals with many ornamental elements that speak of a certain influence of Arabic writing. Vid. Millares Carlo, A.; [Ruiz Asensio, J.M. (updated)], Tratado de Paleografía Española, 3 vols., Madrid, 1983; Arnall Juan, J.; Pons Guri, J.M., L’escriptura a les terres gironines, 2 vols., Gerona, 1993.


Document where the wish of a will maker is stated in legal form. Therefore it is the declaration that a person makes of their last wish, disposing of possessions and matters that concern them for after their death.

With the law to hand

Eo quod lex gotica [Gothic law] non iubet per pugnam discutiantur negotia, Ermesenda said. Not long after, the court duel, for the nobility, or the test of hot water, applied to the peasant men and women, would be the most usual way of proving that one was in the right. Cartoral dit de Carlemany del bisbe de Girona. Barcelona, Fundació Noguera, doc. 77, year 1018.

Women weavers

During the first half of the fourteenth century we find women at the loom weaving all kinds of textile fibres. Later on the guild of wool weavers hardened their position with regards to women’s work, to the extent that women were excluded from the weaving of wool; it was even forbidden for the widows of weavers to continue with their husbands’ trade. A municipal order of Barcelona makes the prohibition very clear: To avoid dishonesties and calumnies of any woman widow who has been the wife of a weaver, or of another person, as a widow she cannot dare to have a workshop of the said trade of weaving, if she does not have a male son of 12 years old or more who wishes to be a weaver (AHCB, Registro de Ordenaciones, 3, fol. 36v., year 1400). So that in two centuries it had gone from there being talk with excitement and euphoria of the fact that there were women weaver teachers who taught the trade, to taking away the loom from the widows of the artisan teachers, who obviously worked in the workshop during their husbands’ lifetime and were capable of going on with the work. The prohibition was made effective; the leaders of the guild of wool weavers presented themselves at the house of a dead member the day after his burial, ripped the loom from the wall and took with them the tools of the trade so that the widow could not continue weaving; in spite of the fact that the municipal orders had relaxed the said prohibition, allowing widows to continue with the business for three years. Vid. Bonnassie, p. 29, year 1486.

Year of lamentation

We refer to the late medieval law, which continued until later periods. During the first year of widowhood she was fed, and dressed with mourning clothes, from the husband’s inheritance, and it was the custom for her to lead a retired life and she could not marry during that period. It must be taken into account, however, that family law was very different in different places in Europe, including in places close together, such as Castille or the island of Sardinia, for example, where women’s rights were different to those in Catalonia.

An example on the subject: Equip Broida, “La viudez ¿triste o feliz estado? Las últimas voluntades de los barceloneses en torno al 1400”.- Pérez de Tudela, María Isabel, “La condición de la viuda en el medioevo castellano-leonés”, in: Las mujeres en las ciudades medievales. Madrid, Seminario de estudios de la mujer, Autonomous University of Madrid, 1984, pp. 27-41 and pp. 87-101, respectively.


The greek father of the Gods equivalent to the Roman Jupiter.

© 2004-2008 Duoda, Women Research Center. University of Barcelona. All rights reserved. Credits. Legal note.