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Women and Authority in Early Modern SpainThe Peasants of Galicia$
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Allyson M. Poska

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199265312

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199265312.001.0001

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Modelling Female Authority

Modelling Female Authority

(p.193) 6 Modelling Female Authority
Women and Authority in Early Modern Spain

Allyson M. Poska (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The authority afforded to women in early modern Galicia was shaped and perpetuated through local folklore and legends. Over the centuries, Galicians formulated a wide variety of images of powerful women from Reina Loba, who according to legend, permitted the Christianization of the region, to María Pita to whom they attribute the valiant defense of the city of A Coruña against British forces. Popular saints' lives were reformulated to reflect the region's gender norms. Long-standing beliefs in the power of witches in the region reveal significant gender tensions in a culture so reliant on female power. The cultural images of powerful women reiterated in local legends and songs not only provided role models for female behavior, but also perpetuated notions of female authority during periods of demographic and economic change.

Keywords:   folklore, Reina Loba, saint's lives, witches, legends

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