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Women’s involvement in negotiation and mediation during the Middle Ages has received close scrutiny. However, few scholars have concentrated their investigations on the trends in female-led negotiations during the crusades in the Near East, and the significance of the religious connotations of such leadership in this theatre. There were dramatic societal shifts in the Latin East during the twelfth-thirteenth centuries, most significantly in the aftermath of the Battle of Hattin and loss of Jerusalem in 1187. The destruction of much of the Latin East’s crusader states that followed Jerusalem’s fall displaced many individuals, and with a plethora of Christian nobles captured or killed at Hattin, various regions of Outremer were left leaderless. In the power vacuums that formed, numerous women leapt to the forefront of political and military negotiations. The focus of this paper is to highlight women’s roles in crusade negotiations from the Second to the Seventh Crusade, and to examine women-mediators of the late-twelfth century Frankish Levant within this context. This will be done through the consultation of narrative sources (primarily chronicles) from Byzantine, Muslim, Eastern Latin, and western European authors.


This paper is a distillation of one of the chapters of my Masters Thesis, completed at the University of Canterbury. I would like to give special thanks to my supervisors, Dr. Chris Jones and Associate Professor Tracy Adams, for their ceaseless help both in the thesis and in revising this paper.


Crusades, Women's History, Negotiation, Women-Mediators, Latin East, Frankish Levant, History of Gender, Chronicles, Medieval, Middle Ages

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Copyright © 2019 Gordon M Reynolds