Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

Delivery Medieval

Santa Mariaren Kantigen ilustrazio batzuek ama izateari buruzko informazioa ematen dute. Besteak beste, erditzeko hainbat jarrera ageri dira miniaturetan, esaterako, 17. kantigan (ezkerrean) eta 89.irudian (eskuinean).
Santa Mariaren Kantigen ilustrazio batzuek ama izateari buruzko informazioa ematen dute. Besteak beste, erditzeko hainbat jarrera ageri dira miniaturetan, esaterako, 17. kantigan (ezkerrean) eta 89.irudian (eskuinean).

Toledo, 1272-1280. Alfonso X of Castile gathered 427 monomedical songs dedicated to the Virgin. The Cantigas de Santa Maria constitute one of the most important musical and literary collections of the Middle Ages, but being decorated with the miniature cantiga, these illustrations have also contributed to other fields. For example, they offer information about motherhood, since some of these miniatures had represented different positions of childbirth.

Despite little information about motherhood in the Middle Ages, we have also received some direct testimonies from mothers: for example, we know that a 12th century peasant said that her children were “the light of my eyes”. And that is the phrase that historian María Jesús Fuente used as the title of the book on maternity in the Middle Ages: The light of my eyes. Being a Mother in the Middle Ages (My Eye Light) Being a mother in the Middle Ages. Taurus, 2023).

As in the Kantigas, the Virgin was the model of mother in Christian Europe. Through the Virgin, Christianity established control of the female body and condemnation of sexual sins.

Even abortion and contraception were strongly condemned by the church, but that doesn't mean they didn't. In the medical treatises of the time various forms of abortion were collected: taking herbs, drinkers and toxic fungi, blood extractions, extreme physical exercise, high loads… And in the book Fuente contains even more violent methods, such as “assault abortion, that is, the beating of the woman until the death of the fetus”.

The historian also talks about the feelings of love and attachment of his mother. The testimonies of these sensations are until recently scarce and the lack of attachment to children has been attributed to the high infant mortality rate. But Maria Jesús Fuente has highlighted other reasons. The mothers of nobility and real families did not breastfeed the children, but used the nodes and caregivers as soon as they were born, “because mothers had to give more heirs as soon as possible”. In the case of poor women, children were also frequently abandoned because they lacked sufficient time and resources. “This also happens today,” explains Fuentes, “many women cannot care for children because of their context.”

In general, the book highlights that many of the concepts we have about motherhood, childbirth, abortion or childcare are based on the Middle Ages and that we cannot yet shake above.


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