Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

compiled by Stefan Blaschke


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First published: July 1, 2023 - Last updated: July 1, 2023


Speaker: Katherine Weikert

Title: An Enemy Inside the Gate

Subtitle: The Assault of Constance Mauduit and the Problem of Translation

Conference: The Enemy: A pre-modern perspective (c. 500-1700). CMRC Conference (January 19-20, 2022) - Online Program

Session: Panel 5: Enemies, women and power

Place: Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Culture

Date: January 20, 2022

Language: English

Keywords: Medieval History: 12th Century | European History: English History | Cases: Real Offenders / Robert Fitz Hildebrand; Cases: Real Victims / Constance Mauduit; Types: Rape; Types: Wartime Sexual Violence / The Anarchy; Representations: Historiographical Texts / Gesta Stephani


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Speaker: Katherine Weikert, School of History and Archaeology, University of Winchester -, Speaker's Personal Website, ORCID, ResearchGate

Abstract: »According to the anonymous Gesta Stephani, in 1143 during the Anglo-Norman Civil War, Matildan forces under the command of Roger Fitz Hildebrand lodged in Portchester Castle at the invitation of its castellan, William de Pont de l'Arche. The episode is highlighted in the Gesta Stephani as an example of the untrustworthiness of Empress Matilda's captains. Fitz Hildebrand worked his way into de l'Arche's good graces: he soon moved about the important coastal castle as a trusted member of the household. Then, he seduced de l'Arche's wife and together they put him into chains and held him prisoner in his own castle. Or so it is commonly written.
This paper explores this scene, and the people within it. Far from being a 'seduction,' the Gesta describes a sexual assault on Constance Mauduit Pont de l'Arche. Providing an alternative translation which centres this assault as an act of war, the paper will (follow Maude 2014) analyse how editions such as Potter's 1955 and 1976 Gesta Stephani erase women's experience of war due to a lens of polite caution. With this, Constance Mauduit's assault becomes a harsh lesson on how quickly a medieval rape becomes footnoted victim-blaming in historiography.« (Source: Online Program)

Publication: Weikert, Katherine. »Translating between the lines: The rape of Constance Mauduit and histories of violation.« Historical Research 20 (2023): 1-13. - Bibliographic Entry: Info

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England / History of England | Sex and the law: Rape / Rape in England | War: Civil war / The Anarchy