Gender, nation and conquest in the high Middle Ages

Nest of Deheubarth
Johns, Susan M.
Date published: 
October 2013

Nest of Deheubarth was one of the most notorious women of the Middle Ages, mistress of Henry I and many other men, famously beautiful and strong-willed, object of one of the most notorious abduction/elopements of the period and ancestress of one of the most famous dynasties in medieval Ireland, the Fitzgeralds. This volume sheds light on women, gender, imperialism and conquest in the Middle Ages. From it emerges a picture of a woman who, though remarkable, was not exceptional, representative not of a group of victims or pawns in the dramatic transformations of the high Middle Ages but powerful and decisive actors. The book examines beauty, love, sex and marriage and the interconnecting identities of Nest as wife/concubine/mistress, both at the time and in the centuries since her death, when for Welsh writers and other commentators she has proved a powerful symbol.