De Matrice

Monastic Matrix is an ongoing collaborative effort by an international group of scholars of medieval history, religion, history of art, archaeology, religion, and other disciplines, as well as librarians and experts in computer technology.

Our goal is to document the participation of Christian women in the religion and society of medieval Europe. In particular, we aim to collect and make available all existing data about Christian religious women in Europe between 400 and 1600 C.E.

See what's new on Monastic Matrix!

The project draws on both textual and material sources, primary and secondary, although its basis is unpublished archival evidence. It addresses a variety of individuals and groups in medieval Europe, and a range of ecclesiastical institutions, including monastic houses of every size, affiliation, and rule. Our editorial intentions in selecting and presenting material are both scholarly and pedagogical. Matrix is designed for use by scholars, students, and anyone interested in the study of women, medieval Europe, or the history of Christianity. Monastic Matrix can be used to study the histories of communities or individuals, consulted as a library of documents and images related to women's communities, or as a reference guide, or the project can be searched as a database. The database can assist searchers in answering such questions as:

  • Who joined women's communities?
  • How did they organize themselves?
  • What sorts of resources did they possess?
  • What sorts of political and ecclesiastical alliances did they make?
  • What kinds of material, ritual, and intellectual culture did they produce?
  • What works of art or literature did they create?
  • What documents survive to tell us about them, and where are these kept?
  • In addition, the data can help answer general questions about ecclesiastical organization, Christian culture, economy, politics, and gender relations of medieval Europe.

Monastic Matrix consists of six components: The Monasticon, a repertory of community profiles of every kind; Vitae, entries on individual men and women important to women's religious history and associated with the communities; a Cartularium of primary source documents; an archive of articles, the Commentaria; a visual library, the Figurae; a Bibliographia of published and unpublished bibliographies and names; and a Vocabularium explaining the vocabulary of women's religious communities. Some of these components are fully operational while others are in process.

We welcome contributions, corrections, suggestions and queries. Please direct your messages to:

Alison Beach
Department of Mediaeval History
The University of St Andrews
71 South St.
St Andrews, Scotland