Thursday 31 January 2019

Women as Chattel, by Glynnis Campbell #History #MiddleAges @GlynnisCampbell

Women as Chattel 
By Glynnis Campbell 

Chattel. It means a movable article of property. 

Most of us have heard that women of the Middle Ages were considered chattel. They had no rights of their own, but were merely the property of the man who owned them. As such, they could be sold, traded, or married off against their will.

It may not surprise you to learn that the term "chattel" comes from the medieval word for "cattle." That's right—women had about as much standing in society as COWS.

And from some of the things we've all read, it's easy to believe this was true.

I'm here to tell you that's not entirely accurate.

While medieval women may not have enjoyed equality in all things, they had far more power and responsibility than we've been led to believe.
So why does this medieval "women as chattel" myth persist?

I blame priests.

In the Middle Ages, priests made up the largest sector of the literate population. Therefore, they did the bulk of the reading and writing of the time. And they recorded the world the way they saw it.

Think about that.

Here was a group that was exclusively men. Many of them were well-educated nobles that had been forced into their profession, not by choice, but because they were a spare heir—a second or third son who had to choose between living in the church and possibly dying in the king's army.

They wore scratchy cassocks. They shaved their heads. They slept on straw and woke up at all hours to pray. Some of them took vows of silence. But above all, they were required to be celibate.

Is it any wonder they were a little bitter toward women?

To add to the misogyny, priests were taught that women had descended from that weak-willed temptress Eve, who had disobeyed God and screwed up the earthly Paradise of Eden for EVERYONE.

In light of her obvious lack of judgment and morality, not to mention her wily ways, how could a woman ever be trusted with important decisions? It was only natural then that a man should make all the decisions for her. She should wed the man chosen for her, give him babies, and be subservient to him in every way.

Take THAT, Eve!


If you dig deeper—beyond the records of cranky priests—if you peruse business ledgers, official government documents, and personal letters, you find an entirely different portrait of medieval women.

Here are some interesting surprises:

 In feudal times, every lord owed his king 40 days per year of military service. For those several weeks that the lord was at war and away from home, his capable wife was usually left in charge of the household and castle defenses.

 When a professional member of a guild—such as a silversmith, a weaver, or a woodcarver—passed away, the guildsman's trade was often taken over by his wife. This included not only the craft work, but also running the business and keeping the accounts.

 Unmarried women who owned property through inheritance or widowhood were afforded the same rights and respect as their male counterparts with regards to the law.

 One of the most beloved and popular authors of love stories in the Middle Ages was a woman, Christine de Pizan. Not only was she a prolific romance novelist, but she was a women's rights activist who defended a more enlightened role for women in society in her utopian fiction, "The Book of the City of Ladies."

 Medieval women sometimes donned armor and marched into battle. We know about Joan of Arc, but have you heard of Isabel of Conches, who rode with her husband's knights? What about "Fiery" Joanna of Flanders, who led her townspeople in fending off 300 attackers with stones? Or Matilda of Canossa, who had a 30-year military career? Even Christopher Columbus's patron, Queen Isabella, took to the field in full armor to command her troops.

These women were clearly no spun-sugar damsels in distress. And this vision of empowered heroines is far more real and appealing to me.
That's why my novels feature plucky, in-your-face (and sometimes kick-your-arse) heroines. I prefer to write about hard-working, goal-driven, salt-of-the-earth women—women with a sense of humor who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and their hackles up...

In MY CHAMPION, a pint-sized merchant dares to face down pirates.

In LADY DANGER, a Scots maid in armor defends her clan with a blade.

In MacADAM'S LASS, a tavern wench spies for Mary Queen of Scots.

In MEDIEVAL OUTLAWS, a thieving urchin stands up to the local lawman, a runaway bride bargains with a dangerous outlaw, and a female Robin Hood holds a knight for ransom.

And in my upcoming release, BRIDE OF FIRE, Book 1 of The Warrior Daughters of Rivenloch, a bold Scots lass challenges a Highlander for his claim to her castle.

I love dreaming up female characters with adventure in their blood and take-no-prisoner attitudes. But it's even more exciting to create heroes strong enough to stand up to my heroines’ spirited ways, yet worthy enough to win their wild hearts.

If you'd like to get up to speed with The Warrior Maids of Rivenloch before their daughters embark on new romantic adventures in BRIDE OF FIRE, here's the discounted boxed set!

Maids with Blades 

Damsels in shining armor...riding to the rescue!

Deirdre, Helena, and Miriel, three kick-arse Scots wenches known as The Warrior Maids of Rivenloch, aren’t about to become any man’s chattel, until they meet heroes who are strong enough to tame their wild ways and worthy enough to win their wayward hearts.

Book 1: Lady Danger

A beautiful female warrior has never had trouble turning away men, but when she marries a powerful lord to save her sister, she soon finds herself losing the battle over her heart.

Book 2: Captive Heart

A fierce warrior maid tries to save her sister from marriage by abducting the groom's right-hand man, a plan that goes awry when her hostage is all-too-willing to succumb to her demands.

Book 3: Knight’s Prize

A lovely lady with a secret proves a welcome but dangerous distraction for a mercenary bent on hunting down the mysterious outlaw known as the Shadow.

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Giveaway is now closed.

Win one of three autographed copy of SCOTTISH BRIDES
(ebook version for international winners) 

To be in with a chance to win answer this question....

Have you ever held a sword?
 Give me the juicy details!

Leave a comment below, and on Friday, I'll choose three winners to receive a signed copy* of my anthology of novellas, SCOTTISH BRIDES!

Giveaway Rules 

 Giveaway ends at 11:59pm GMT on February 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter. 

 Giveaway is open to Internationally.
*International winners will receive ebook version.

 Only one entry per household.

 All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.

♥  Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Glynnis Campbell

Glynnis Campbell is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling "medieval action-adventure romances," mostly set in Scotland, with more than 20 books published in six languages. Glynnis once rocked in an all-girl band called The Pinups on CBS Records, did voiceovers for the MTV animated series, "The Maxx," Diablo and Starcraft videogames, and Star Wars audio adventures, and is married to a rock star. She loves to transport readers to a place where the bold heroes have endearing flaws, the women are stronger than they look, the land is lush and untamed, and chivalry is alive and well!

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Wednesday 30 January 2019

Finding Inspiration, by Vanda Vadas #HistoricalRomance #Scotland #mustread @Vanda_Vadas

Finding Inspiration
 By Vanda Vadas

Mary Anne, it’s wonderful to be back on ‘Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots’. Thank you!

I think it fair to say that my first holiday in Scotland, back in the late 80’s, was the catalyst behind the inspiration for my soon-to-be-released Scottish Historical, The Prodigal Laird (March 2019).

A visit to Inverness and Drumossie Moor is not something one easily forgets. The place, its history, and my new-found knowledge of a battle fought there, was a profound and lasting memory. I revisited Scotland with my family a few years ago. Inverness and Culloden drew my return for research purposes, so too a visit to the Isle of Skye, in particular Dunvegan Castle, the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years.

Dunvegan Castle

The Prodigal Laird is set in 1747 in the Scottish Highlands, and tells the story of Roderick MacLeod and Annabel MacDonald, married against their wishes, by proxy. The life and times they lived in were shaped by the aftermath of the battle of Culloden, fought near Inverness on 16th April, 1746.

In less than an hour, hundreds of Charles Edward Stuart’s Jacobite forces lost their lives on the battlefield (and beyond) against the Hanoverian forces commanded by William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland. The battle ended all hope of the Stuart dynasty regaining the throne.

Bonnie Prince Charlie’s troops were vastly outnumbered by Cumberland’s army. Aside from being hungry, cold and exhausted after marching all night from an abortive foray, they were ill-equipped, their artillery poor, and lacked military strategy. They were no match for Cumberland’s cannon and cavalry and the ground underfoot handicapped the Jacobites main tactic – the charge.

Bonnie Prince Charles.

Not all clans rallied to the Prince’s standard. Some clansmen fought only to avoid any repercussions on their families and homes had they not answered their chief’s call. Other clansmen, like the MacLeods, chose to fight despite their chief’s disapproval.

In the weeks that followed, those Jacobites who fought in and escaped the battle were hunted down and killed. Charles evaded capture for five months. With the help of Flora MacDonald, he eventually made good his escape disguised as a woman and fled to France and final exile.

Flora MacDonald.

The Jacobites devastating defeat affected the whole future of the Highlands. It fractured and dismantled the Scottish clans and led to the Scottish clearances.

On the two occasions I visited Drumossie Moor, I stood before individual stones which mark the very place where collective clan members fell during the battle. It’s easy to understand why one’s emotions stir when giving thought to hundreds of kilted men whose blood soaked the marshy soil. Their gallant courage has passed into legend.

Clan Headstone.
 Chief of MacGillivray.

The National Trust for Scotland preserves the battlefield for Culloden, a place of pilgrimage.

Memorial Cairn.

Memorial Plaque/

The Prodigal Laird

His marriage might cease decades of hostilities between two clans, but that doesn't mean he wants it—or his bold new wife who is keeping secrets of her own.
Roderick MacLeod arrives in his native Scottish Highlands to pay brief respects to his recently deceased father—the man Roderick blames for the death of his English mother. But before he can return to England, he is saddled with two responsibilities he never asked for: the title of Laird of Clan MacLeod and an unwanted marriage, by proxy, to the daughter of a rival laird.
Annabel MacDonald thought she had the perfect marriage; her husband’s continued absence allowed her independence and the freedom to secretly hide and abet the escape of her fugitive clansmen. When the husband she’d never met shows up, she must convince him to return to England before he uncovers her many secrets, and perhaps her heart.

Pre-Order Links

Vanda Vadas

Before residing in Australia, Vanda’s birthplace and early childhood years were spent in Papua New Guinea. At the age of eleven, a holiday in England sparked an interest in the days of old. Castles, ruins and discovering Jane Austen novels inspired a lifelong interest in all things historical, a passion that later kickstarted Vanda’s desire to write historical fiction. Her locale and global visits to faraway places inspire her to create fictitious characters and dramas set against authentic and geographical backdrops. Her debut novel, The Pirate Lord, was an Amazon #1 Best Seller in Historical Romance. The Gold Coast is home to Vanda and her husband, where they enjoy walks along world-renowned beaches or a quiet getaway to the lush hills of the Hinterland.

Connect and engage with Vanda via: WebsiteFacebookTwitter.