Based on "Becoming Visible: Women in European History" by Bridenthal: In early Europe, what are the large trends that you see in the attitudes toward women & their gradual decline of status?

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Attitudes towards Women in Medieval and Early EuropeAs any successful tyrant can enlighten you, it is much easier to rule over the illiterate and low self-esteem citizens of the world, than the highly educated independent thinkers comprising humanity. Women have been imprinted by society for ages with the knowledge that they were “physically, spiritually and intellectually inferior to men” (p. 105), as had been taught by Christian theologians and other religious writers. This brain-washing has taken a step further with the “secular legal codes that defined women’s status as dependent upon, and subordinate to, that of their male guardians” (p.105). It’s no wonder that women have taken so long to pull themselves up from society’s lower rungs to bring themselves closer to that of their male counterparts. However, this did not happen by the early European times.

In early medieval times, women “were measured by their two most important social roles; either they were wives and mothers, or they failed or chose not to be wives and mothers”.

(p. 124) During this time period, a woman’s role was defined by her activities as a wife or mother. At least that was how the ordinary woman was defined. What made this period different from the future was the fact that if the woman was of royal blood, she was relatively autonomous. Women were queens, property owners and entrepreneurs. Since the men were off at war for much of this time period, the women found themselves freer to do as they pleased. “Restrictions on women’s ability to own and manage property eased somewhat during the early medieval period” (p. 110). However, in the end, this was an age of contradictions. While some “women were disenfranchised, others ruled vast territories in their sons’ and husbands’ names” (p.125). However, women’s rights would...