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When Women Ruled the World: Making the Renaissance in Europe

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Library Journal • "Books and Authors to Know: Titles to Watch 2021" Sixteenth-century Europe was a time of destabilization of age-old norms and the waging of religious wars—yet it also witnessed the remarkable flowering of a pacific culture cultivated by a cohort of extraordinary women rulers who sat on Europe’s thrones, most notably Mary Tudor; Elizabeth I; Mary, Queen of Library Journal • "Books and Authors to Know: Titles to Watch 2021" Sixteenth-century Europe was a time of destabilization of age-old norms and the waging of religious wars—yet it also witnessed the remarkable flowering of a pacific culture cultivated by a cohort of extraordinary women rulers who sat on Europe’s thrones, most notably Mary Tudor; Elizabeth I; Mary, Queen of Scots; and Catherine de’ Medici. Recasting the dramatic stories and complex political relationships among these four women rulers, Maureen Quilligan rewrites centuries of scholarship that sought to depict intense personal hatreds among them. Instead, showing how the queens engendered a culture of mutual respect, When Women Ruled the World focuses on the gift-giving by which they aimed to ensure female bonds of friendship and alliance. Detailing the artistic and political creativity that  flourished in the pockets of peace created by these queens, Quilligan’s lavishly illustrated work offers a new perspective on the glory of the Renaissance and the women who helped to create it.


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Library Journal • "Books and Authors to Know: Titles to Watch 2021" Sixteenth-century Europe was a time of destabilization of age-old norms and the waging of religious wars—yet it also witnessed the remarkable flowering of a pacific culture cultivated by a cohort of extraordinary women rulers who sat on Europe’s thrones, most notably Mary Tudor; Elizabeth I; Mary, Queen of Library Journal • "Books and Authors to Know: Titles to Watch 2021" Sixteenth-century Europe was a time of destabilization of age-old norms and the waging of religious wars—yet it also witnessed the remarkable flowering of a pacific culture cultivated by a cohort of extraordinary women rulers who sat on Europe’s thrones, most notably Mary Tudor; Elizabeth I; Mary, Queen of Scots; and Catherine de’ Medici. Recasting the dramatic stories and complex political relationships among these four women rulers, Maureen Quilligan rewrites centuries of scholarship that sought to depict intense personal hatreds among them. Instead, showing how the queens engendered a culture of mutual respect, When Women Ruled the World focuses on the gift-giving by which they aimed to ensure female bonds of friendship and alliance. Detailing the artistic and political creativity that  flourished in the pockets of peace created by these queens, Quilligan’s lavishly illustrated work offers a new perspective on the glory of the Renaissance and the women who helped to create it.

35 review for When Women Ruled the World: Making the Renaissance in Europe

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    At the dawn of the Renaissance, there were an unprecedented number of women occupying the thrones of Europe. This book specifically looks at the two Tudor queens, their Stuart cousin, Catherine de Medici, and how the Hapsburgs fit into the mix. We see how, “…a quartet of Renaissance queens whose crowded lives were intertwined by complex blood and marriage ties, by changing allegiances and the fractures of religion, by their premier places in the world of a few dozen European monarchs, and by the At the dawn of the Renaissance, there were an unprecedented number of women occupying the thrones of Europe. This book specifically looks at the two Tudor queens, their Stuart cousin, Catherine de Medici, and how the Hapsburgs fit into the mix. We see how, “…a quartet of Renaissance queens whose crowded lives were intertwined by complex blood and marriage ties, by changing allegiances and the fractures of religion, by their premier places in the world of a few dozen European monarchs, and by the great worlds that those neighboring monarchs ruled…” It is how these women engaged with one another that is the central theme here, especially in the context of gifts they bequeathed. “The reciprocity of [gift] exchanges is fundamental to most social connections and so gift-giving is a signal ritual in demonstrating… loyalty.” By examining the underlying meaning of these gifts, we can see where their affections lie. Historically, rivalry often trumps support and cooperation, but regardless of how the history books portray these sovereigns’ attitudes towards one another, they still demonstrated thoughtful generosity. I was especially intrigued by the significance of tapestries as inalienable possessions. There were some redundancies in the narrative, and I thought perhaps that Catherine de Medici’s section should have been presented first. It started with Mary Tudor, then Elizabeth I, followed by Mary of Scots, and then her former mother-in-law, Catherine. Despite that, I got a good sense of how each sovereign ruled, what her priorities were, and how she felt about her sister queens. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the GoodReads First Reads program.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tracie

    In "When Women Ruled the World: Making the Renaissance in Europe" by Maureen Quilligan, the focus is on the gifts exchanged between European women in the 16th century and a fresh look at old misconceptions about women rulers. These women in particular: Mary Tudor, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, and Catherine de’ Medici created themselves or had created, gifts of poems, cloth, embroidered items, and golden and silver fonts. The four women all faced hardships in their childhood and as rulers mo In "When Women Ruled the World: Making the Renaissance in Europe" by Maureen Quilligan, the focus is on the gifts exchanged between European women in the 16th century and a fresh look at old misconceptions about women rulers. These women in particular: Mary Tudor, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I, and Catherine de’ Medici created themselves or had created, gifts of poems, cloth, embroidered items, and golden and silver fonts. The four women all faced hardships in their childhood and as rulers most of them worked toward peace and religious tolerance, more than their male counterparts, like William Cecil, John Knox, and the Pope. Many Hapsburg women had assumed positions of great authority over the family's lands with the backing of Phillip II of Spain. and gifts tied them together as family heirlooms as well. Tapestry was the most expensive form of art and revealed much about family and history. The author brings together recent scholarship by various people and there is a nice bibliography and notes section. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for a honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I thought this was interesting and I very much appreciated the deeper dive into the woman's relationships to each other. It goes far beyond they "they were rival queens they must have hated each other" and gets deeper into the nuance of relationships, using gifts that were exchanged by the women to illustrate the points. Well done and a nice quick read. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I thought this was interesting and I very much appreciated the deeper dive into the woman's relationships to each other. It goes far beyond they "they were rival queens they must have hated each other" and gets deeper into the nuance of relationships, using gifts that were exchanged by the women to illustrate the points. Well done and a nice quick read. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I won this book on goodreads. While I didn’t enjoy it, it is a very detailed account of the life on Queens in the 1500’s.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lira

  6. 5 out of 5

    Maria Vakmann

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maryelizabeth

  8. 4 out of 5

    An

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steve Walker

  10. 4 out of 5

    Umheimlichkeit

  11. 4 out of 5

    Israa

  12. 5 out of 5

    Igorina

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jen (Pop! Goes The Reader)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Patterson

  15. 4 out of 5

    Star

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tara

  17. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Strolle

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anna Gajecka

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karla Rosado

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Bianchi

  21. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  22. 4 out of 5

    Meg

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  24. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Riener

  25. 4 out of 5

    Clarissa Light

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dubravka

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jinx:The:Poet {the Literary Masochist, Ink Ninja & Word Roamer}

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

  29. 5 out of 5

    Morgiana

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lía Hermosillo Rojas

  31. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  32. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

  33. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Ridgway

  34. 5 out of 5

    Annie Garvey

  35. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

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