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Das Mittelalter

Perspektiven mediävistischer Forschung

Ed. by Präsidium des Mediävistenverbandes

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Volume 21, Issue 2


Dividitur autem et haec in mares feminasque. Das Geschlecht der Steine

Prof. Dr. Amalie Fößel
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  • Universität Duisburg-Essen, Historisches Institut, Geschichte des Mittelalters, 45117 EssenGermany
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Published Online: 2016-11-05 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mial-2016-0022


This paper discusses a wide range of gender issues raised by the discourse on precious stones and their practical use during the Middle Ages. It starts with the discussion of the gender of stones by Plinius the Elder and Isidor of Sevilla and then outlines how medieval authors used/continued these concepts and discussed their figurative meanings. A further chapter investigates how in the case of both genders the qualities of precious stones and their symbolic meanings were used to characterize the reputation of exceptional people. Finally, this paper discusses the different practical uses of jewellery and the value of precious stones during the medieval period.

Keywords: Gender of Stones; Gender Discourse; Symbolic Meanings of Gems; Unisex Use of Jewellery

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Published Online: 2016-11-05

Published in Print: 2016-11-01

Citation Information: Das Mittelalter, Volume 21, Issue 2, Pages 400–418, ISSN (Online) 2196-6869, ISSN (Print) 0949-0345, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mial-2016-0022.

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