Georges Duby's account of 12th-century women is based on the genre that commemorated the virtues of noblewomen who had died and the role they came to play in the history of their lineage. From these genealogical works a picture emerges of the lives these women led, the values they held, and the way in which they were viewed by the ecclesiastical and chivalric writers who immortalized them. The first section of the text outlines the ways in which the dead - in both memory and legend - served to bond noble society in the 12th century, Drawing on the "Gesta" by Dudo of Saint Quentin, the second section reflects on the roles that wives, concubines, and other women played during times of war and in the great exchanges of power that established the grand lineages of the Middle Ages. The final part of the book reconstructs women as wives, mothers and widows through the work of Lambert, Priest of Ardres.
Georges Duby (1919-1996) was a member of the Academie francaise and for many years held the distinguished chair in medieval history at the College de France. His books include Women of the Twelfth Century, Volume One: Eleanor of Aquitaine & Six Others; Women of the Twelfth Century, Volume Three: Eve & the Church; The Three orders; The Age of Cathedrals; The Knight, the Lady, and the Priest; Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages; and History Continues, all published by the University of Chicago Press.