Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert F. Berkhofer III

Second Advisor

Dr. Anise Strong

Third Advisor

Dr. Larry Simon


Champagne, Flanders, Medieval women, family, aristocracy

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Georges Duby pioneered the study of family and marriage in medieval France, but his models for family and marriage have since either been accepted or rejected. I take a middle approach in that some models still are applicable to describing marriage and family, while others require reevaluation. Duby argued that during this period women were treated with suspicion in their husband’s households, marriage was essential for the future of both families, and that family connections were deteriorating. In this thesis, I will explore family ties within the kinship network of the aristocracy of Flanders and Champagne in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with an emphasis on women’s roles within these networks. It was during this period of “transition” that narrative dynastic histories were popular among the principalities and will serve as the primary source of my investigation. I will take case studies of women from both Flanders and Champagne and analyze their relationship with their families and trace common themes. I will argue that the model for familial ties was similar in both Flanders and Champagne that women were trusted members of the household, marriage created alliances that were essential for the families, and that familial ties were not deteriorating in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

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