Taira no Tokuko

Taira no Tokuko was adopted by the Emperor of Japan, Go-Shirakawa, in 1171 at the age of 17. A year later she married the Emperor’s fourth son, Takakura. This arranged marriage brought  their two fathers-in-law together to support each other. Takakura and...

Hōjō Masako

Hōjō Masako was the wife of the first Shogun, or military dictator, of Japan. She held great power throughout her life and ruled from the background. Hōjō Masako was born in the Inzu province of Japan in 1157. She fell in love with her husband,...

Anna Comnena

Widely considered to be Europe’s first female historian, Anna Comnena (1083-1153) grew up a princess of the Byzantine Empire. She was a strong and wilful woman who acted in a way that caused her male contemporaries and subsequent historians to feel a mixture of...

Melisende of Jerusalem

In the medieval period, Jerusalem was central to the aspirations of Western Europe and the Pope – to fight the ‘infidel’ for the Holy Land was the pursuit of Kings and the ordinary men alike. To rule Jerusalem in this period was a challenge for the...

Fatima de Madrid

Fatima of Madrid (10th or 11th century) is believed to have been an astronomer and mathematician, who worked, wrote, and contributed to astronomical knowledge in medieval Spain. Although some scholars recognise her as a historical figure, others are unsure whether she...

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