literary progress: perceiving systemic sexism in medieval love poetry

Medieval European love poetry built upon classical Greek and Latin love poetry and its sophisticated literary games. Medieval love poetry was also structured through the systemic sexism that shaped medieval women and men’s lives together. For literary criticism to progress, systemic sexism in medieval love poetry must be better appreciated.

Consider a medieval Latin love poem written in the eleventh century. A woman addresses a man who seeks her love:

The joys of young women: violets and rose blossoms,
dazzling-white lilies and delicious apples,
a pair of doves, to which is added their mother,
purple clothes, adorned in which the woodland goddesses
I could conquer in dress so much as I surpass them in face,
and also silver, jewels, and gold — these you promise.
You promise all these, but nevertheless you send to me none.
If you loved me, and if you had what you promised,
the things would have come, and then words would have followed.
Therefore either you’re false and you don’t know desire’s stings,
or you’re rich in empty words and lacking in things,
because if you are filled with many riches,
you’re an unlearned peasant believing that I love not you, but what’s yours.

{ Gaudia nimpharum, violas floresque rosarum,
Lilia candoris miri quoque poma saporis
Parque columbarum, quibus addita mater earum,
Vestes purpureas, quibus exornata Napeas
Vincere tam possim cultu quam transeo vultu,
Insuper argentum, gemmas promittis et aurum.
Omnia promittis, sed nulla tamen mihi mittis.
Si me diligeres et que promittis haberes,
Res precessissent et verba secuta fuissent.
Ergo vel es fictus nescisque cupidinis ictus
Vel verbis vanis es dives, rebus inanis,
Quod si multarum sisplenus diviciarum,
Rusticus es, qui me tua, non te credit amare. }[1]

The woman expects the man who loves her to give her expensive gifts. Men predominately shoulder the gender burden of soliciting amorous relationships and enduring amorous rejections. Most men have much worse sexual opportunities than most women. Men historically have paid women for sex. That’s systemic sexism. Recognizing systemic sexism is necessary to appreciate this medieval Latin love poem.

This poem is a learned work. It apparently was directed to Marbod of Rennes. Marbod in 1076 became the cardinal archdeacon of Angers in Anjou, France. He also served as the canon-master of the cathedral school at the Cathedral of Saint Maurice of Angers. Marbod and his peers were highly educated men who engaged in formal reasoning and teaching. One of them may have written this poem in a female voice. If a woman wrote the poem, she would have been a learned, elite medieval woman such as Hrotsvit of Gandersheim, Hildegard of Bingen, or Heloise of the Paraclete.[2] Only the educated elite wrote medieval Latin love poetry.

This poem mocks formal reason. Verses 8-9 describe normative heterosexual courtship practice under systemic sexism. The woman declares to the man:

If you loved me, and if you had what you promised,
the things would have come, and then words would have followed.

{ Si me diligeres et que promittis haberes,
Res precessissent et verba secuta fuissent. }

The man, however, resisted normative practice under systemic sexism. He didn’t give the woman expensive gifts. She gives possible reasons for his behavior. One possibility: “you’re false and you don’t know desire’s stings {es fictus nescisque cupidinis ictus}.” In other words, “you’re pretending to love me in your words, but you don’t really love me, because if you really loved me, first you would give me expensive gifts.” That’s an understandable explanation for the man’s behavior, given systemic sexism in heterosexual love relations. Perhaps he’s just playing with her.

The second possible explanation for the man’s behavior reveals women’s sense of entitlement under systemic sexism. The woman reasons: “or you’re rich in empty words and lacking in things {vel verbis vanis es dives, rebus inanis}.” In other words, the man lacks the resources to follow normative practice in heterosexual courtship under systemic sexism. The woman never considers that the man is consciously resisting that systemic sexism. She further reasons about the man’s hypothesized incapacity for expensive gift-giving:

because if you are filled with many riches,
you’re an unlearned peasant believing that I love not you, but what’s yours.

{ Quod si multarum sisplenus diviciarum,
Rusticus es, qui me tua, non te credit amare. }

That’s amusingly ridiculous reasoning. The medieval poet Hugh Primas brilliantly recounted his experience with a greedy courtesan. The Archpoet’s love for women impoverished him under systemic sexism. Women having sex with men in order to acquire men’s possessions has been common practice throughout history. Moreover, a woman, not distinguishing a man from his possessions, can understand herself to love both a man and his possessions. Having written to the woman elegant words of learned love poetry, the man cannot be an “unlearned peasant {rusticus}.” He’s an unlearned peasant only in the figurative sense that he’s ignoring normative practice in heterosexual courtship under systemic sexism.

medieval Galician courtesan

Medieval men poets explicitly critiqued systemic sexism in heterosexual courtship. In a Galician-Portuguese song written late in the thirteenth century, a man trobairitz explained:

Should any horseman wish to call
on Maria Pérez, take money along,
or else you’re not going to get very far.

{ O que veer quiser, ai, cavaleiro,
Maria Pérez, leve algun dinheiro;
Senon, non poderá i adubar prol. }[3]

Rather than being appreciated for his riding skill, a horseman will be charged for his sexual work. Such a social order exacerbates inequality. An impoverished Galician man trobairitz writing in the first half of the thirteenth century attempted, not surprisingly, to bargain to meet his sexual needs:

I asked a woman for her cunt.
She quoted me a high price,
and so I said: “It isn’t right
to charge me such an outrageous sum.
Now do me and yourself a favor –
sell me a portion of your wares,
as my love won’t require much.

Merchants sell small portions of gold,
worth more than your cunt, you will agree.
They sell small portions of bread and honey;
for meat and salt, the same thing holds.
Thus also you should sell your cunt,
since other men are sure to come
and buy the portions still unsold.

And you’ll be able, by this art,
to sell it all, for once word spreads
that you sell piecemeal, many men
like me will gladly buy a part.
And I’ll do you a special favor:
if you want to keep your navel,
I’ll be happy to take your ass.”

{ Pedi eu o cono a ũa molher,
e pediu-m’ela cem soldos entom;
e dixe-lh’eu logo: – Mui sem razom
me demandades; mais, se vos prouguer,
fazed’ora – e faredes melhor –
ũa soldada polo meu amor,
a de parte, ca nom hei mais mester.

Fazem soldada do ouro, que val
mui mais ca o vosso cono, de pram;
fazem soldada de vinh’e de pam,
fazem soldada de carn’e de sal;
por en devedes do cono fazer
soldada, ca nom há-de falescer,
se retalhardes, quem vos compr’o al.

E podede-lo vender, eu o sei,
tod’a retalho, porque saberám
que retalhades, e comprar-vos-am
todos del parte, como eu comprei.
Ainda vos d’al farei mui melhor:
se do embiigo havedes sabor,
contra o rabo vo-lo filharei. }[4]

Sex is fundamental to human welfare. Men, if they so desire, deserve the whole person of a woman in a loving relationship. Deprived of such a gift, men are commonly thrown into the sexual market. If the sexual market is generating unreasonably high prices and unfair product bundling, that market should be reformed. Systemic sexism that continually worsens will not endure. If governing elites are contemptuous of men’s welfare, ordinary men eventually will take the matter into their own hands to the detriment of posterity.

Women and men must regain the capacity to speak frankly about women’s sexual exploitation of men. More than two millennia ago, the procuress Acanthis advised Propertius’s girlfriend Cynthia:

Inspect their gold and not the hand that offers gold.
Listening to verses — what will that get you but words?
When a man offers verse, not gifts of silken clothing,
you must be deaf to his unsophisticated lyre.

{ aurum spectato, non quae manus afferat aurum!
versibus auditis quid nisi verba feres?
qui versus, Coae dederit nec munera vestis,
istius tibi sit surda sine aere lyra. }[5]

Propertius cursed that old woman’s complicity in Cynthia’s sexual exploitation of him:

May earth, procuress, overgrow your grave with thorns,
and what you wouldn’t wish, your ghost feel thirst,
your soul not rest in the ashes, and avenging hell-dog Cerberus
scare your vile bones with hungry howl.

May the bawd’s tomb be an ancient wine-jar with chipped neck
and may a wild fig-tree’s vigor burst it.
You lovers all, break up this grave with jagged stones
and add, while stoning, miscellaneous curses.

{ Terra tuum spinis obducat, lena, sepulcrum,
et tua, quod non vis, sentiat umbra sitim;
nec sedeant cineri Manes, et Cerberus ultor
turpia ieiuno terreat ossa sono!

sit tumulus lenae curto vetus amphora collo:
urgeat hunc supra vis, caprifice, tua.
quisquis amas, scabris hoc bustum caedite saxis,
mixtaque cum saxis addite verba mala! }

Propertius was enslaved in love with Cynthia. She also held another man, Lygdamus, as her household slave. Too many men today suffer similarly from women’s domination.

Men must affirm the intrinsic value of their own sexual person. In thirteenth-century Galicia, the greatly under-appreciated man trobairitz Afonso Anes do Coton depicted an impoverished, anonymous man speaking boldly to the elite lady Maria Garcia. He refused to be her unpaid sexual servant:

I was convinced, Maria Garcia,
when I fucked you the other day,
that I wouldn’t leave you
as I left you, empty-handed.
Despite much service I did for you,
you didn’t give me, as people commonly say,
even a coin for my dinner for one day.

But from this I’ve learned my lesson:
not to fuck another woman like you
if she doesn’t first put something in my hand,
because I don’t have to fuck for free.
And you, if you want to fuck,
you know how: go do it
with whom you have provided clothes and shoes.

Because you have provided neither clothes nor shoes,
nor do I live in your house,
you don’t have such power over me
to make me fuck you, if you don’t
pay me very well beforehand. And more I’ll say to you:
I’m not afraid, thanks to God and the King,
of violence that you might impose on me.

Also, my lady, those who ask aren’t wrong.
So you, by God, send an inquiry to ask
the native-born of this place
if they ever fucked, in peace or in war,
unless in exchange for money or for love.
Go about your affairs, so-called noble one,
for this you see: thanks to God, the King has this land.

{ Ben me cuidei eu, Maria Garcia,
em outro dia, quando vos fodi,
que me nom partiss’en de vós assi
como me parti já, mão vazia,
vel por serviço muito que vos fiz,
que me nom destes, como x’homem diz,
sequer um soldo que ceass’um dia.

Mais desta seerei eu escarmentado:
de nunca foder já outra tal molher
se m’ant’algo na mão nom poser,
ca non hei porque foda endoado;
e vós, se assi queredes foder,
sabedes como: ide-o fazer
com quen teverdes vistid’e calçado.

Ca me non vistides nen me calçades,
nen ar sej’eu eno vosso casal;
nen havedes sobre min poder tal
por que vos foda, se me non pagades
ante mui ben; e máis vos én direi:
nulho medo, grado a Deus e a el-rei,
non hei de força que me vós façades.

E, mia dona, quen pregunta nom erra
e vós, por Deus, mandade preguntar
polos naturaes deste lugar
se foderam nunca, em paz nen en guerra,
ergo se foi por alg’ou por amor.
Id’adubar vossa prol, ai senhor,
ca vedes: grad’a Deus, rei ha na terra. }[6]

Men historically have carried the gender burden of materially provisioning women and children. But a woman who loves a man should be willing to provide him with housing, clothing, and shoes. If she’s not willing to do that, then she doesn’t truly love him. If she doesn’t love him, then she should pay him money for having sex with her. Her doing so would be merely a small reparation for the systemic sexism that men have endured from civilization’s founding.

Within the gynocentric status economy of modern academic courts, scholars pursuing their own interests in material gain and career advancement have produced astonishingly perverse interpretations of men feeling compelled to purchase sex from women. A scholar feigning an otherworldly position of authoritative objectivity opined:

The frequent jokes in the cantigas d’escarnho e de mal dizer about female sex workers, or soldadeiras, reveal courtly preoccupations concerning labor as well as gender. These repeated poetic games among men, shared within a symbolic economy of jesting (Freud’s joke-work) that targets women’s sexual labor, reproduce the social dispositions of masculine domination, while also concealing, through negation and comic displacement, the courtiers’ own self-interest in material gain and social advancement.[7]

To make his work academically impressive, this scholar mustered eminent scholastic authorities: Sigmund Freud, Pierre Bourdieu, Henri Bergson, Jacques Le Goff, Marcel Mauss, and Gayle Rubin. Promoting further criminalization of men through interpreting as violence anything that men do or say, or even just a man’s virtual presence on Facebook (“It makes me feel unsafe!”), is now a well-established practice. Thus men paying women for sex is “economic violence – the sexual usage – performed on the courtesan’s body.”[8] Such claims complement more mundane claims about the silencing of women’s voices, the objectification of women’s bodies, women’s social and economic subordination, and of course, the misogyny that motivates men to purchase sex from women.

Medieval love poetry shouldn’t read as if systemic sexism doesn’t exist. Systemic sexism is real, but it isn’t natural and necessarily eternal. With more curses, complaints, critical analysis, protests, and transgressive poetry, old women and young women, as well as their old and young men enablers, will became ashamed of being complicit in systemic sexism. Then a broad-based coalition of progressive voices will rise to support social justice in which men’s lives matter.

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Read more:


[1] Marbod of Rennes (questionably attributed), “Young woman to her boyfriend who promises gifts {Puella ad amicum munera promittentem},” Latin text from Bulst (1984), p. 185, via Camino Plaza (2019) p. 444, my English translation, benefiting from those of Brower (2011) p. 220, Newman (2016) p. 33, and Mews (2008) p. 95. The Latin reading blog provides some Latin help for this poem.

This poem was included in a late-eleventh-century anthology of poems sent to Marbod of Rennes. That anthology includes many poems known to be by Marbod and none known to be by any other person. Marbod lived from about 1035 to 1123. If Marbod wrote this poem, he probably wrote it in the first half of his life. Mews, however, regards this poem as “unlikely to have been one of Marbod’s own compositions.” Mews (2008) p. 95.

Men, particularly men insanely in love with a woman, often act oblivious to systemic sexism. So it was with Marbod of Rennes. Instead of denouncing his girlfriend’s complicity in systemic sexism, Marbod responded:

What was sent by you to me, dearest, I read rejoicing,
for it holds there that I have pleased you.
If I knew truly what you are saying, most beautiful of things,
I would then be happier than if I became king.
I would not value Octavian’s treasure so much
as I value having pleased you, just as it has there.
Your letter has conquered me. It says I am sweet to you;
my heart solicits for me the kisses that it recites.
Happy tablets, happy pen and hand,
and happy letter written by your right side.
Your letter to me is a messenger of happiness, a messenger of life —
if to it you at least grant the voice that you have within you.
In you is thus my death and my life —
you make these two to be subject to ambiguity.
If you give me what you owe, you offer me gifts of life.
If less, you lead me to an undeserved burial.
Live remembering the one who remembers you, my gem of precious beauty,
and on this wax tablet, place what is of your mind.

{ A te missa michi gaudens, carissima, legi,
Namque tenetur ibi me placuisse tibi.
Si scirem verum quod ais, pulcherrima rerum,
Quam si rex fierem, letior inde forem.
Non facerem tanti thesauros Octauiani
Quam placuisse tibi, sicut habetur ibi.
Littera me vicit, que dulcem me tibi dicit,
Basia que recitat, cor michi sollicitat.
Felices tabule, felix grafiusque manusque
Et felix dextra littera facta tua.
Littera leticie michi nuncia, nuncia vite
Si tamen hoc perhibes voce, quod intus habes.
In te namque sita mea mors est et mea vita,
Esse sub ambiguo tu facis ista duo.
Si das quod debes, michi vite munera prebes,
Si minus, immeritum trudis in interitum.
Viue memor memoris, preciosi gemma decoris,
Hisque nota ceris, qualia mente geris. }

Mabod of Rennes, “Reply to his girlfriend {Rescriptum ad amicam},” Latin text from Bulst (1984), p. 185, via Camino Plaza (2019) p. 446, my English translation, benefiting from the partial translations in Brower (2011) p. 220 and Mews (2008) p. 96.

Scholars have done no better than the insanely loving Marbod in recognizing the systemic sexism structuring the woman’s poetic letter. Mews declared, “What matters about these poems … is that they open up a space in which a woman’s voice is able to be heard.” Mews (2008) p. 97. Newman describes the women’s letter as a “light-hearted poem.” She approvingly notes, “The girl, or whoever voiced her complaint, calls her lover’s bluff on two counts.” Newman (2016) p. 33. Brower rightly observed: “Marbod’s reply to the girl’s complaint dodges the question of gifts entirely, focusing instead on how the girl’s letter pleases him because it makes him feel loved.” But that observation doesn’t lead to needed analysis of systemic sexism against men and proposals to achieve social justice. Instead, Brower complains that the man hasn’t paid the oppressive tribute to systemic sexism that he owes:

Marbod’s reply showcases both his self-centeredness and his debt to elegy. … Marbod’s empty promises thus recall the analogous insincerity of the elegiac male. … Marbod uses Ovidian allusion to depict himself manipulating a woman by extorting love with the promise of gifts he has no intention of giving.

Brower (2011) pp. 221-2. Camino Plaza recognizes the “strongly volitional {fuertemente volitiva}” aspect of Marbod’s reply, but not its strongly delusional aspect. Camino Plaza (2019) p. 64.

[2] Dronke thought that a woman at the convent of Le Ronceray at Angiers sent the letter to Marbod during the 1060s or 1070s. Dronke (1965) vol. 1, p. 213. Baudri of Bourgueil also corresponded with women of the Le Ronceray convent. Mews (2008) p. 335, n. 58.

[3] João Vasques de Talaveira, “Should any horseman wish to call {O que veer quiser, ai, cavaleiro}” vv. 1-3 (stanza 1), Galician-Portuguese text (manuscript B 1546) from Cantigas Medievais Galego-Portuguesas, English translation (with my change) from Zenith (1995) p. 137 (song 64). Zenith translated cavaleiro as “gentleman.” But a more literal translation is “horseman” (alternate glossary). The later translation, which I’ve used above, preserves the allusion to chivalry. João Vasques de Talaveira served both King Alfonso X and his successor, King Sancho IV.

In v. 2, the reference to Maria Pérez apparently refers to the now-revered soldadeira Maria Pérez Balteira. On Maria Pérez Balteira the soldadeira, see note [4] in my post on King Alfonso X the Learned and the dean of Cádiz. The second stanza of this song has been interpreted to testify to Maria Pérez’s entertainment skills:

Whoever would pay an evening visit
to Maria Pérez, have money in fist,
or else you’re not going to get very far.

{ Quen’a veer quiser ao serão,
Maria Pérez, lev’alg’em sa mão,
senom nom poderá i adubar prol. }

Sourced as for stanza 1. Serão is the only possible reference in the whole corpus of Galician-Portuguese cantigas to entertainment activity of Maria Pérez Balteira beyond having sex. Rivas (2019) pp. 77-8. Despite broad interpretations of serão {evening}, an evening visit doesn’t necessarily imply any activity beyond sex. On the activity of a soldadeira, Santos Bastos (2016).

In interpreting this song, Rivas ignores systemic sexism against men and strains to honor Maria Pérez Balteira:

If we pay attention to the references that appear in other cantigas, she was a woman with a great personality, very different from others, with her own rebellious voice that can be understood almost as proto-feminist. The verses “Quena veer quiser ao serão, / María Pérez, lev’algu’en sa mão” (vv. 4-5; ‘Whoever would pay an evening visit / carry something in his hand’) express the high level of demand for the woman, who would not accept just any relationship. What is normally presented as a song of derision and mockery, in which the troubadour humiliates María Pérez for her economic interest — without giving importance to the camp-prostitute’s opinion or perception of the love, which would correspond to the first reading mentioned — can be perfectly understood as a situation in which the decision-making capacity of women stands out, which would be the second meaning that we have just indicated.

{ Si hacemos caso de las referencias que aparecen en otras cantigas, ella era una mujer con una gran personalidad, muy diferente de otras, con una voz propia, rebelde y que se puede entender casi como una proto-feminista. Los versos “Quena veer quiser ao serão,/ María Pérez, lev’algu’en sa mão” (vv. 4-5; ‘quien la quiera ver en el serán,/ lleve algo en su mano’) expresan el alto nivel de exigencia de la mujer, que no aceptaría cualquier relación. Lo que se presenta normalmente como una cantiga de escarnio y maldecir, en la que el trovador humilla a María Pérez por su interés económico —sin importar la opinión o la percepción del amor de la soldadeira, lo que correspondería a la primera lectura mencionada—, se puede entender perfectamente como una situación en la que se destaca la capacidad de decisión de la mujer, lo que sería el significado segundo que acabamos de indicar. }

Rivas (2019) p. 77. The thirteenth-century Old Occitan romance Flamenca has with similar reason been characterized as protofeminist. See note [12] and related text in my post on Rosalía’s “Di mi nombre” and Flamenca.

[4] Pero Garcia de Ambroa, “I asked a woman for her cunt {Pedi eu o cono a ũa molher},” Galician-Portuguese text (manuscript B 1576) from Cantigas Medievais Galego-Portuguesas, English translation (with my small changes) from Zenith’s  translation provided there. Zenith (1995) p. 27 (song 13) provides a slightly different translation. Pero Garcia de Ambroa was a Galician man trobairitz who wrote his songs in the middle of the thirteenth century.

The “high price” in v. 2 is literally “one hundred soldos {cem soldos}.” A soldo was a medieval Portuguese gold or silver coin, perhaps adapted from a similar coin in medieval Italy. One hundred soldos surely would be a high price for a soldier to pay a camp prostitute for sex.

Another cantiga protests against exploitation of men in sexual commerce. But the song ends only in an appeal to a holy, blessed woman and antagonism between men:

And we all are victims of trickery
regarding this merchandise
and we shall never be vindicated,
but may Saint Mary command
that the man of Ambroa, who fucks Baltiera,
be taken into evil play
and also her because she promises
cunt and doesn’t have any left to give.

{ E somos mal enganados
todos desta merchandia
e nunca imos vingados:
mais mande Santa Maria
qui prenda i mal juguete
o d’Ambrõa, que a fode,
e ela porque promete
cono, poi-lo dar non pode. }

Vaasco Perez Pardal, “You are taken in guile about that {De qual engano prendemos}” (manuscript B 1506), Galician-Portuguese text from Arias Freixedo (2017) p. 382, my English translation, benefiting from that of id. p. 383. Cantigas Medievais Galego-Portuguesas provides a substantially identical original text. The “man of Ambroa” is the Galician man trobairitz Pero Garcia de Ambroa. This song can be read as ultimately supporting an entrenched social hierarchy. Gouveia Fernandes (2011).

Without any recognition of systemic sexism and the historical demeaning of men’s persons to penises, an academic declared that this song:

is less equivocal and more brutal about the buying and selling of this woman’s “cunt” (in such phrases as “cono mercado” and “de molher cono […] vender”), which is considered simply merchandia, “merchandise”.

Liu (2009) p. 5. A frank description of a woman’s sex work isn’t “brutal.” Within the ninteenth-century origin of social science, men were blamed for women working as prostitutes. That led to the criminalization of men in the gender-bigoted Mann Act.

[5] Propertius, Elegies 4.5.55-8, Latin text from Goold (1990), English translation (with my small changes) from Lee (2009). These verses may have influenced “Puella ad amicum munera promittentem,” quoted earlier above. The subsequent quote is similarly from Elegies 4.5.1-4, 75-9.

A. S. Kline offers all of Propertius’s poems in English prose translation in a web-native presentation. Holcombe (2009) is an outstanding, freely available book of Propertius’s elegies, with both Latin text and an English verse translation.

[6] Afonso Anes do Coton, “I was convinced, Maria Garcia {Ben me cuidei eu, Maria Garcia},” (manuscript B 1506), Galician-Portuguese text from Arias Freixedo (2017) p. 83, my English translation, benefiting from that of id. p. 84. Cantigas Medievais Galego-Portuguesas provides a substantially identical original text, with the main difference in transcribing word-ending n’s / m’s. Mendonça Lopes (2019), which aptly notes that this is a quite unusual song, provides a Portuguese translation. For additional commentary, Gouveia Fernandes (1995).

Afonso Anes do Coton was a Galician man trobairitz active in the 1240s in Castilian Court of King Fernando III. He may have been from the Coruña town of Negreira. On difficulties in identifying his works, Marcenaro (2015).

In “Ben me cuidei eu, Maria Garcia,” Afonso Anes do Coton might be regarded as representing an uppity man mouthing off to his social superior. An academic has declared:

Medieval Iberian literature is full of uppity women mouthing off. It is striking that the very first poem in Lapa’s edition of the Cantigas de escarnio e de mal dizer (CEM) {Songs of scorn and derision} features an extended rant by an angry woman who threatens the king himself because he tried to silence her. Most studies of female voices in Galician-Portuguese lyric focus on the cantigas de amigo {songs of love}, perhaps obviously, since all songs in that genre are voiced by women

Filios (2004) pp. 135-6. Another academic categorically asserted, “since ancient times, women have struggled to have their voices heard and to remain in their rightful position {desde outrora a mulher luta para ter sua voz ouvida e se manter na posição que lhe é de direito}.” Silva (2018). That’s even more true for most men.

[7] Liu (2009), from article abstract.

[8] Liu (2009) p. 8. Medieval scholars have been astonishingly unconcerned about literal medieval violence against men’s genitals. Medieval philology itself has failed to represent adequately men’s genitals.

[images] (1) Courtesan dancing. Illumination from folio 16r of the Cancioneiro da Ajuda, a Galician-Portuguese songbook made in the last quarter of the thirteenth century and preserved in the library of the Ajuda National Palace, Lisbon, Portugal. Via Cantigas Medievais Galego-Portuguesas, also available on Wikimedia Commons. (2) Maria Manseliña’s performance (2019) of João Vasques de Talaveira, “Should any horseman wish to call {O que veer quiser, ai, cavaleiro}.” This is the first song in her performing a series of songs about the soldadeira Maria Pérez Balteira. The medieval melody to João Vasques de Talaveira’s song has been lost. This recording uses a medieval contrafactum. Via YouTube.


Arias Freixedo, Xosé Bieito. 2017. Per Arte de Foder: Cantigas de escarnio de temática sexual. Berlin: Frank & Timme.

Brower, Susannah Giulia. 2011. Gender, Power, and Persona in the Poetry of Baudri of Bourgueil. Ph. D. Thesis. University of Toronto, Canada. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada = Bibliothèque et Archives Canada.

Bulst, Walther. 1984. “Liebesbriefgedichte Marbods.” Minor revision of an article published in 1950. Pp. 182-196 in Walter Berschin, ed. Lateinisches Mittelalter: gesammelte Beiträge. Heidelberg: Carl Winter.

Camino Plaza, Laura María. 2019. Carteándose con mujeres: tradición literaria, género y afectos en el círculo del Loira (Francia, ss. XI-XII). Ph.D. Thesis. Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Dronke, Peter. 1965. Medieval Latin and the Rise of European Love-Lyric. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Filios, Denise K. 2004. “Female voices in the Cantigas de escarnio e de mal dizer: index and commentary.” Bulletin of Spanish Studies. 81 (2): 135-155.

Goold, G. P., ed and trans. 1990. Propertius. Elegies. Loeb Classical Library 18. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990.

Gouveia Fernandes, Raul Cesar. 1995. “O Escárnio de Amor de Afonso Eanes do Coton.” Atas Do I Encontro Internacional de Estudos Medievais (Congresso). USP/UNICAMP/UNESP.

Gouveia Fernandes, Raul Cesar. 2011. “A cantiga de escárnio como instrumento de segregação social.” ângulo 125/126: 8-15.

Holcombe, Colin John, trans. 2009. Sextus Propertius Elegies. Latin text and English translation. Ocaso Press. Online. Holcombe’s review of previous translations and characterization of his translation.

Lee, Guy, trans. 2009. Propertius. The Poems. Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Liu, Benjamin. 2009. “Joke work and sex work: courtiers and soldadeiras.” Revista Eletrônica de Estudos Literários – REEL. 5: 1-9.

Marcenaro, Simone. 2015. “La tradición manuscrita de Afonso Anes do Coton (XIII sec.): problemas de atribución.” Pp. 901-916 inAlvar, Carlos, ed. Estudios de literatura medieval en la Península Ibérica. San Millán de la Cogolla: Cilengua.

Mendonça Lopes, Carlos. 2019. “Bem me cuidei eu, Maria Garcia — um poema de Afonso Eanes do Cotom.” vicio da poesia. Online, September 1, 2019.

Mews, Constant J. 2008 / 1999. The Lost Love Letters of Heloise and Abelard: perceptions of dialogue in twelfth-century France. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Newman, Barbara. 2016. Making Love in the Twelfth Century: Letters of two lovers in context. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Rivas, Aitor. 2019. “O Que Veer Quiser, ai Cavaleiro, / Maria Pérez, Leve Algum Dinheiro: Amor, Dinero y Género en las Cantigas Gallego-Portuguesas.” Pp. 59-87 in Baumann, Inga, and Slaven Waelti, eds. Vom Liebespfand zur Singlebörse über die ökonomische Rhetorik der Liebe. FOLIES, Band 10. Berlin: Münster LIT. Alternate online source.

Santos Bastos, Douglas. 2016. Jogralesa, soldadeira ou prostituta? Um estudo sobre a representação do feminino medieval. Ph. D. Thesis. Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Silva, Alessandro. 2018. “A identidade galega nas palavras de mulheres.” Homo Literatus. Online, April 30, 2018.

Zenith, Richard, trans. 1995. 113 Galician-Portuguese Troubadour Poems. Manchester: Carcanet, in association with Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Instituto Camões.

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