Lecture: Jeanne de Bourbon and Catherine de’ Medici’s Attempts to Remedy Childlessness

Tuesday 11 June 2024, 1 pm - 2 pm
'take by mouth all the medicines that could help her conceive’

Jeanne de Bourbon (1338–1378) and Catherine de’ Medici (1519–1589) spent extended periods as childless dauphines. As the primary expectation of the dauphine was to produce a healthy male heir to stabilise the Valois dynasty, Jeanne and Catherine’s enduring childlessness garnered increasing medical attention as their fertility crises were played out on the public stage. However, by publicly attending to her body with botanic treatments that were worn and ingested, each dauphine could show that she was taking the necessary steps to help ensure the birth of an heir. This lecture examines how the dauphines may have attempted to “heal” their childless bodies and promote their fertility by drawing on the medical texts and herbal guides that they or their network had access to.

Tuesday 11 June 2024, 1 pm - 2 pm
Alexandra Forsyth (Waipapa Taumata Rau University of Auckland)
E. 2.53