Women's rights in the Middle Ages  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Women's rights, Medieval worldview, Antifeminist literature of the Middle Ages

According to English Common Law, which developed from the 12th Century onward all property which a wife held at the time of a marriage became a possession of her husband. Eventually English courts forbid a husband's transferring property without the consent of his wife, but he still retained the right to manage it and to receive the money which it produced. In the 16th century, the Reformation in Europe allowed more women to add their voices, including the English writers Jane Anger, Aemilia Lanyer, and the prophetess Anna Trapnell. Despite relatively greater freedom for Anglo-Saxon women, until the mid-nineteenth century, writers largely assumed that a patriarchal order was a natural order that had existed. This perception was not seriously challenged until the eighteenth century when Jesuit missionaries found matrilineality in native North American peoples.

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