Mirrors for Margraves

Peter Damian’s Models for Male and Female Rulers

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
Alison Creber Graduate Student in History, King’s College, London alison.creber@kcl.ac.uk

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In the 1060s Peter Damian wrote “mirrors for margraves” to the rulers of two different Italian marks: Godfrey, margrave of Tuscany, and Adelaide, de facto ruler of the mark of Turin. Although he wrote to them both on the subject of rule and justice, Damian offered Godfrey and Adelaide different models for rule. Godfrey was to mete out harsh punishments; Adelaide was to act with mercy and restraint. Godfrey was presented with images of paternal care, Adelaide with maternal imagery. Godfrey was encouraged to emulate historical figures; Adelaide was to emulate biblical heroines. Through comparing and contrasting the gendered way in which Damian constructs the image of the ideal margrave in each of these letters, this article demonstrates that Damian consciously used different models for Godfrey and Adelaide on the basis of their gender, rather than their status or behavior.

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