Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders



Chapter 10:


^ Revealing the Figure


The Crusades and the opening of trade routes which resulted from them had immediate and long term effects on women's fashion. Not least of these was an influence on women's Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders attitudes to their physical appearance.

Women's bodies had long been ignored by an apparently indifferent male aristocracy consumed by war, or by a clergy which regarded women's Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders bodies as sacks of (all too tempting) corruption. Now the female form began to appear through the materials of increasingly sensual fashion.

Of course, the increasing confidence of women in their own Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders being was a slow and fitful occurrence. One should not look for an immediate and consistent change from Dark Age shabbiness to a High Medieval couture.

Rather, most of the changes that were wrought Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders took place gradually over the centuries.

And in particular, the influence of the Crusades led to changes in the textiles, rather than in design.

Fabrics including silks, damasks, thin cottons and other soft Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders materials were introduced. These affected styles, leading to costumes which could be finely pleated and gathered, thus tending to reveal the figure.1

The connection between the First Crusade and Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders women's clothing, as well as men's, is apparent.

For centuries before that first journey to the east, clothing for men and women in western Europe had remained unchanging. The concept Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders of fashion - changing styles of clothing - simply did not exist. Clothing was purely functional.

There was a general style of costume, through which the nobility could establish its pre - eminence simply by using more Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders elaboration and decoration.

Saxon women, for example, used three basic garments. An undergarment (chemise); a floor length kirtle or gown, and a super tunic, long and loose, but sometimes tied Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders up to knee length by means of a sash. Supplementing this as need be was a large square cloak fastened at the throat.

Wool and possibly linen were the unvarying ingredients, decorated with Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders very fine needlework in colours or gold and silver thread.

All women concealed their hair beneath a heavy head cloth, usually wrapped around the throat as well: bare tresses could only be Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders displayed by young girls.


With the turmoil resulting from the First Crusade, combined with the influx of new ideas and new materials, there was a simultaneous loosening up of patterns of dress. Thus Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders, costume became the most visible sign of a massive change in European culture.

By the 1130's, clothing was more individualized and more elaborate.

Silk, which had previously been used only on Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders the most formal occasions, was мейд more readily available. As well, fabrics such as gauzes, damasks and cotton were available. But perhaps most importantly, for the first time since the Dark Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders Ages, women's physiques were being revealed and enhanced through their clothing. A simple form of body corsetry was now worn over the torso, placing greater emphasis on the woman's upper body. This was Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders a sleeveless quilted waistcoat with back lacing, or alternatively a wide body belt tightly laced at the back or on the sides.2

As well as the much softer, more clinging Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders and more delicate fabrics, decoration was enhanced by cunningly tailored sleeves, which hung to the floor or were knotted up in a way as to create a rippling effect. Men's clothing was similar Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders bright, sensual and elaborate.

And for the first time in centuries, a woman's hair appeared as part of her normal costume. A variety of styles were adopted in Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders a fashion move that might be seen as radical as the flapper's dress of the 1920's, or topless bathing in the 1970's. The hair might now be centre parted and either arranged in Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders two plaits hanging in front, or else it was divided in strands interlaced with ribbons. As well, the side hair only might be plaited, the rest hanging freely down the wearer Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders's back. In some extreme cases, silk tubes or metal cylinders might be joined on the end of the plaits so that they reached the floor, and it was not uncommon Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders to use wigs to add to the illusion of mass and length.3

Similarly, men's hair was plaited and combed and oiled in elaborate styles, bringing down the wrath of clerics in Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders particular, who raised the eternal cry of the decline of civilization, as represented by the overly sexual and effeminate costumes of the era.

Women's hair as a fashion item disappeared from view Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders once the turmoil of the early years of the century had subsided. By the mid twelfth century, hair was concealed under a variety of covering, including the barbette, which is supposed to Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders have been introduced by Eleanor of Aquitaine after her return from Jerusalem. This was a band of linen circling the face and pinned at the top of the head. Royal and noble Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders ladies were the first to employ this fashion, wearing it with a small veil or a crown.

By the thirteenth century, it was part of the costume of women of many different Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders ranks.

Many other fashions were also adopted, variations on the theme, including coiled hair worn under transparent nets, the fillet, which was a wide or thin band around the head, or Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders full cloth worn similarly to the barbette.4

At the end of the twelfth century, major fashions had been established which were to become universal for the next three hundred years.

These included dagged edges, first Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders seen in Switzerland and Germany, parti- colouring in Spain, and the surcoat in Scandinavia and France. The tabard - adapted from the Islamic burnous - had first been worn to protect crusading Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders knights, shielding armour against the sun, but by the end of the twelfth century had been adapted for civilian use as a loose, rectangular tunic hanging in front and behind over Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders the bliaud.

Eastern textiles were being manufactured in France, Flanders and Italy, including velvet and silk. The northern cities where textiles were being manufactured - Bruges, London, Antwerp and the Hanseatic western cities - were Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders displacing previously dominant areas in Eastern Europe.5

Germany мейд fustian, a cotton material woven with linen, and England manufactured good quality wool. A version of this was called scarlet, derived from the Persian Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders sawalat. The cloth was most often мейд in a brilliant red hue, and so the word scarlet became a reference to colour rather than a material.6

Thus, fashion was itself the spur Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders to the massive commercial and industrial development of northern and western Europe, and this fashion was мейд possible by the opening up of trade routes and the changes in womens' consciousness Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders brought about by the Crusades.

It would be, therefore, all but impossible to estimate the cumulative influence of all of this on the development of western civilization in the centuries to come Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders. Fashion was caused by trade, and led to further trade, which led to a demand for more mercantile activity, which spurred expansion of military and economic interests, which led to further Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders collisions between cultures, and so on.

And the demand was not simply for cloth. All the accessories accompanying fashionable costume were introduced into the matrix.

Crusaders returned from the wars in the thirteenth century with Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders examples of decorative work in the form of fabric buttons, delicate footwear, purses and bags, girdles, gloves and handerchiefs, which were then imitated. Venice and Genoa had established themselves as Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders the entrepot for luxury goods, and it was there that the nobles first wore perfumed gloves and handkerchiefs. These latter were so rare that a wealthy noble would only have one. Fans also Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders appeared from the East, мейд of ostrich and peacock or painted silk set in handles of jewels and gold or ivory.7

So elaborate had many of the costumes become by the fourteenth Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders century that sumptuary laws attempted to limit peoples' costumes with extreme penalties.

Indeed, the more puritanical elders of Europe, particularly the clergy, had from the beginning of this movement looked askance at the Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders decadence represented by changing fashions.

Ordericus Vitalis, for example, complained of Normans who grew their hair long like women, and crisped their hair and beards, wearing on their faces "the Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders tokens of their filth and lust like stinking goats."8

In 1175, Prior Geoffrey of Vigeois was attacking the richness and preciousness of civilian costumes, where clothes were coloured according to the mood Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders of the wearer, the clothes having their borders cut into little balls and pointed tongues, so that their wearers looked like devils in a painting.9

During the mid-thirteenth century, the German Franciscan Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders Berthold von Regensburg orated satirically against the snares set by women's costumes: Women, he said, were as well created for Heaven as men, and need it as much as men; they have more Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders compassion, go to church more readily than men, and earn indulgences more quickly.

But Woman's one failing is vanity.

Why, he thundered, women would spend as much money on seamstresses Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders as on the cloth of the dress itself. It must have shields on the shoulders, be flounced and tucked around the hem, and pride is shown in the very workings Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders of the buttonholes.

Veils - you twitch them hither, you twitch them thither, you gild them here and there with gold thread. You will spend a good six month's work on a single Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders veil - all that a man may praise your dress.10

And on and on he thunders.

But the genie, as it were, was out of the bottle, or in this case the cloth was Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders out of the garderobe.

Fashion had arrived, thanks largely to the intercourse between East and West, and it has remained ever since a major theme of western life.

The mills Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders of Ypres, the weavers of Bath, the merchant ships of Venice and the silk stalls of Florence were thundering and chattering and clattering and racing with the news that the world had changed.


1. D Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders. Yarwood, English Costume Batsford, London, 1961, p.41.

2. M. Hamilton Hill and P.A.Bucknell, The Evolution of Fashion: Pattern and Cut From 1066 to 1930 Batsford, London, 1967, p.10.

3. G. de Courtrais, Women's Headress and Hairstyles Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders in England From AD 600 to the Present Day Batsford, London, 1973, p.14.

4. Ibid., p.18.

5. Yarwood, English Costume, p.42.

6. Ibid., p.44.

7. Ibid., 46

8. R. Barber, The Knight And Chivalry Cardinal, London, 1970, p Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders.78.

9. Ibid.

10. Coulton, Life in the Middle Ages , p.64.


Chapter 11


Certain Ripe Plants


Travellers in the army of the Great Pilgrimage мейд a startling discovery during their march to Jerusalem. Starving like a Biblical host in Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders the desert, they stumbled across stands of tall grass.

What they found was to bring about a profound cultural revolution throughout Europe.

Beset by hunger and thirst, they were reduced to eating Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders thorn bushes which they picked from the earth and rubbed in their hands. Many horses died, so that even the knights had to walk. Some used oxen as battle steeds, while goats, sheep Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders and dogs were used to carry baggage.1

Almost miraculously, they stumbled on a manna in the desert: sugar cane. In the cultivated pockets were found "certain ripe plants like reeds which Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders were called canna mellis (sugar canes) a name composed of two words, canna (cane) and mel (miel, honey). I believe that this is the reason why what is skillfully extracted Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders from these plants is called wild honey. We devoured them ravenously because of their sweet taste...."2

The wonder of the new food also impressed Albert of Aachen, who called the canes little Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders honeyed reeds which produced a wholesome sap called sukkar. The cane, he said, was produced each year through extremely hard work by the natives. After they harvested the ripe crop, they crushed it Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders in little mortars, putting the filtered sap into their receptacles until it curdles and hardens so that it looked like snow or white salt. Pieces were shaved off the lumps and mixed Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders with bread and water as a relish which seemed sweeter to those who tasted it than honey. The use of sugar was adopted almost immediately, according to Albert, who says that Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders the people, who were famished, were greatly refreshed by these "little honey-flavoured reeds” during the sieges of Albara, Maarra and Acre.3


Nowhere is the change in European domestic life demonstrated more Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders clearly than in the revolution in eating habits wrought by the humble sugar cane.

It was to play a part in altering the basic elements comprising social relationships.

Of course, sugar cane was Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders already known to the Norman conquerors of Sicily, but, like so many products of the east, it was not familiar to the wider European population until the breaking down of the barriers Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders between East and West that was a direct result of the Crusade.

Sugar is itself an ancient part of cooking. It was known in India in the second millenium B.C., where Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders Europeans мейд their first encounter with its properties. In 327 B.C., a commander of Alexander the Great, Nearchus, reported during the invasion of India a reed which yielded honey without the help of bees Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders. Four hundred years later, Christian monks were cultivating cane in the Euphrates region, and during the eighth century, the conquering Arabs were introducing it throughout the Mediterranean.

It seems to Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders have remained an unknown quantity throughout the cold north, however, until the pilgrims of 1097 literally stumbled across it. Until then, the northerners had relied on sweetening from honey - also fermented into a Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders drink called mead, and the natural properties of fruits. These processes continued throughout the middle ages, but were supplanted eventually by the magical grain, sugar from the cane.

After the conquest of Outremer Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders, sugar cane was grown and refined in the Jordan valley near Tyre and Acre for export to Europe. Other major exporting regions were Syria, Rhodes, Cyprus, Candia, Alexandria and Sicily.

Eventually, Venice was Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders to monopolise the distribution of this manna from the desert throughout the north.

Before sugar and other foodstuffs from the East reached the north, the menu of even the greatest noble Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders was by modern standards dull and colourless. The Holy Roman emperor Charlemagne was overweight through the pleasures of the table - but those delights were confined mainly to roast meats. There is Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders little mention of tasty sweetmeats. Similarly, a menu for an Anglo Saxon feast might typically consists of grilled trout, carp in nettle broth, game stew with barley and herbs, small bird and bacon Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders stew with walnuts and hazelnuts and - the only desserts - summer fruit, honey and hazelnut crumble, and steamed carrot and barley pudding. The sweetening in the latter is provided by the fruit Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders and the honey.3

Throughout the medieval period, local produce still provided the overwhelming bulk of basic food items, even for the rich and powerful. The basic ingredients of the marriage feast of Mary Neville Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders and Gervys Clifton (1530) serves as a model for all: 3 hogsheads of wine, one white, one red, one claret, two oxen, 2 brawns, 2 swans, 9 cranes, 16 herons, 10 bitterns, 60 pair of rabbits, similar Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders wildfowl, 16 fat capons (castrated rooster), 30 other capons, 10 pigs, 7 calves, 6 wethers, 8 quarters of barley malt, 3 quarters of wheat, four dozen chickens, as well as butter, eggs, verjuice and vinegar.4

But by the sixteenth Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders century, it would be expected that these basic materials would be spiced with flavourings originating in the east, although the infiltration of eastern foodstuffs and technology into Europe was probably gradual and regionalized according Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders to contact, customs and availability.

It is unclear how fully and quickly the settlers of Outremer themselves adopted eastern cuisine. Usama gives anecdotal evidence that some Franks began to live like muslims, but Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders he says they were the exception and not typical. He tells of one such person at Antioch. This was an old knight from the first expedition, and Usama was Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders invited to his house through a mutual friend. The man had retired from fighting and was living on the income of his property.

He displayed a fine table spread with a splendid selection of appetizing Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders food.

Moslems of course were forbidden pork, a popular dish amongst the Franks, and at first Usama was hesitant. The knight noticed this and assured him that he did Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders not eat any Frankish food, and that he had Egyptian cooks who ate only what they served. No pig's flesh was ever permitted in the house.

Even if the precise details of infiltration are Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders unclear, after people returned from the First Crusades gradually many more elaborate and much sweeter dishes were possible. This was not only because of sugar - also Eastern spices became more common in Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders the dishes of the nobility. Spices all but unknown in Europe could easily be obtained in Outremer, adding to an ever broadening culinary refinement: spices such as pepper, cumin, coriander Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders, cinnamon, ginger and mastic (a gum used for liquor).5

Other foodstuffs common in the Holy Land which delighted the European settlers included dates, bananas, melons, water melons, gourds, lemons, oranges and pomoloes Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders.

By the early thirteenth century, a wide variety of foodstuffs and other products generically known as “spices” were being brought to England. These included sugar, cumin, almonds, brazel (imported from East Indies Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders), quicksilver, ginger, cetewal ( a stimulant having an aromatic, warm, bitter taste), lake(insect resin from India), liquorice, small spices such as cloves, mace, cubebs (Javanese berry) and nutmegs, vermilion, glass, figs, raisins Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders, sumac, sulphur, ivory, cinnamon, gingerbread, turpentine, cotton, whalebone, frankincense (grown in furthest Arabia), peony, anise, dates, chestnuts, orpiment(pigment derived from arsenic) and olive oil were being imported through the port of Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders London.6

Again, however, one should not look for a simple uniformity in the growth of the spice trade.

Table spices were not completely unknown throughout the early medieval period. The Venerable Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders Bede, for example, bequeathed a small parcel of pepper in his will.7

But with the opening up of the barriers between East and West during the Crusades, more exotic foodstuffs were encountered, and trade routes Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders were set up to import them. Spices from the east were never cheap, but the better off Europeans sacrificed economy for taste. Thus, amongst the household expenses of Richard de Swinfield Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders 1289-90 are listed expensive spices such as cloves, cubebs, mace, saffron, sugar, galingale, cinammon, raw and preserved ginger, pepper, cumin, licorice, buckwheat, aniseed, gromil (a stony seeded plant) and coriander.8

In Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders one year, Sir Thomas Cawarden spent ten pounds on spices for his household, the same amount spent for beverages. Sugar remained prohibitively expensive: in the fifteenth century it still sold at up to Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders three shillings per pound, at a time when a good wage was no more than a shilling a week. For most people, sugar was at first only used as a medicine Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders. Not until it became relatively less dear was its used more generally, and for the great majority, it was never in daily use.9.

According to Mead, practically all ordinary meats and desserts were so Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders loaded with cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cubebs, pepper, galingale (cypress root), mace and nutmeg as to make the constituent of the dish practically unrecognizable.10

The menus which are recorded from about the Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders early fourteenth century on might consist of a tart, stuffed bread rolls, a fish jelly, braised mussels, spit roasted meat with sweet sauce, pigeon pie, braised fennel in ginger, a salad, cheese pastries, flavoured Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders cream, quince sweetmeats, and date and ginger sweetmeat. Comfits were used to sweeten the breath at the end of a meal. These consisted of aromatic seeds such as fennel, each Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders grain laboriously coated in sugar, a process taking several days.

Many dishes required the use of sugar. Rosy almond cream, for example, required 75 grams (three ounces) of sugar, and the sweet Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders sauce 25 grams (one ounce).11


As the culmination of a feast, spices were served with wines. Richly designed gilded plates divided into compartments were loaded with spices, sugar plums and various other sweetmeats. Usually, the Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders great spice plate was presented only to the donor of the feast and his chosen associates.12

And most obvious of the changes to the culinary arts of the nobility was the Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders introduction of the magnificent accompaniments to the feasts, мейд with the aid of sugar and known as subtleties. These included castles as tall as their bearers, sailing ships, fabulous monsters, gilded and Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders painted, and placed as the centrepoint to a feast.

But it is sugar in particular which had a profound an impact on the lives of European women.

At the very least, the kinds Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders of dishes мейд possible by sugar suggest a greater attention being paid to the finer and more delicate aspects of life within the manor and the castle. The barbarian feasts of the Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders Dark Ages were strictly men only affairs, where eating was an accompaniment to deep drinking, boasting, and fighting, followed by unconsciousness amongst the reeds scattered on the hall floor. Food was simply Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders the fuel for the men's спорт, rather like a pie night at a football club today. The Anglo Saxon people in particular were noted for the coarseness of their eating Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders habits, a tradition that they passed on to the Norman French:

"...they (the Saxons) were wont to eat until they surfeited and to drink until they were sick. These latter qualities they imparted to Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders their conquerors..."13

Introduction of sugar helped initiate a major shift in manners. The food itself is to be enjoyed and savoured, as an accompaniment, granted, to the rougher entertainments favoured by Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders the warriors, but also to refined manners, including music, dancing, juggling, and dancing and (even) flirtation (else why the need to sweeten one's breath at the end of the meal!) This is Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders confirmed by the rise of the courts of love of Eleanor of Aquitaine, in which discussion of the most sophisticated concepts then available to civilization accompanied the consumption of delicacies.

Two contemporary Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders descriptions of ladies at court attest to this change. The first is "A Rhyme of Fair Ladies", an Anglo-Norman satire of the thirteenth century. The writer takes a critical view Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders of noble ladies disporting themselves in a castle hall - but in attacking the women reveals much about their lifestyle and demeanour.

The writer - presumably a cleric - describes initially the approach of Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders the women to the feast, assembling in an ante-chamber, each noting the other's headgear, usually in this era consisting of the horned style imported from the east. Their arms are displayed Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders to good effect, as they make sure everyone notes their kerchiefs of silk and cambric - yet another eastern importation - or their buttons of coral and amber. Their talking does not cease as Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders long as they are in the hall, including their mockery of any unfortunate squire who happens by. The women are amply served from kitchen and cellar with snacks and drinks brought to them Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders by two valets.

Having consumed their aperitifs amidst much laughter and exchange of secrets, the ladies descend the stairs into the main hall, хэнд in хэнд.

At the main meal they refrain Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders from food altogether, but instead sit coyly, showing their faces, competing to see who can gain the most attention. Then, having demonstrated the front (of their costumes), they devise some excuse Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders to turn away from the table, to show off the costly workmanship on their backs.

All this accomplished, they retire to their bower to entertain each other with the subtleties of Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders needlework, whereof they loved to talk. One style much in favour included Saracen style embroidery, notes the author.

And so the feast accomplished, they set themselves to the work of preparing themselves and their Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders costumes against the next such gathering.14

Lives so dedicated to fashion and the arts of social intercourse would have been unimaginable at the grimmer Saxon and Carolingian courts of preceeding Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders centuries.

This pales into insignificance, however, in comparison to Rolandino of Padua's description of a Court of Love held at Treviso in about 1214.

Invitations were issued by the Podesta of Padua, Albizzo da Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders Fiore, to the greatest knights and ladies in the district. These dames and damsels garrisoned a fantastic castle built for the occasion. Their fortress was apparently a huge stage composed of Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders costly furs and cloths - vair, samite, brocade of Baghdad and ermines. The ladies dressed with helmets studded with emeralds and pearls. The men who assaulted the castle did so with missiles мейд Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders of fruits and pies, as well as vases of sweet smelling liquids including eastern spices and essence of fruits such as cardamons, cinnamon and pomegranates.

Contemporary images of such Castles Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders of Love show that they were large and elaborate enough to contain as many as a dozen ladies, and the gates were tall enough for the men to ride into them on horseback.

Unfortunately Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders, on this occasion, knights of Venice and Padua who were in the besieging army became jealous of each other's success, and the fighting turned real. The event had to be Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders halted, but too late to prevent the triggering of bitter emnities between the rival nobles which later on developed into full scale war.15

As so often in medieval noble life, there Chapter 10:^ Revealing the Figure - Women Crusaders was only ever a thin line separating the refinement and cultivation of court life from the barbarity of men's main passion throughout those centuries: bloody war.

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