Pentesilea, Queen of the Amazons, leading the charge – Bruxelles, KBR, ms. 9392, f. 18v

Illuminated Manuscript. Brussels, KBR, ms. 9392. Christine de Pisan. Loyset Liedet. Jean Miélot. Pentesilea. Queen of the Amazons. Women in Armours.

Christine de Pisan was one of the most influential writer of the 14th and 15th century France. She mostly catered to a noble male audience and aimed at teaching them knightly principles through exemplary stories extracted from History, Christian tales or Pagan legends. She was a very successful writer and gained the attention and patronage of the most powerful princes of her time.

The Epistre Othea is a series of short four verse poems accompanied by lengthy commentaries. The verse are what Othea is supposed to teach to the reader, and the commentaries what can be understood from her teaching. Each commentary is subdivided into two part: the ‘glose’ and the ‘allegory’. Whilst the ‘glose’ generally draws general observations on Othea’s verses, the ‘allegory’ links her sentence to Christian dogmas, systematically quoting the Bible or the Latin Patrology.

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