Matilda (Hardcover)

Empress, Queen, Warrior

By Catherine Hanley

Yale University Press, 9780300227253, 296pp.

Publication Date: April 23, 2019

Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (4/23/2019)
MP3 CD (4/23/2019)
Paperback (3/17/2020)

List Price: 30.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A life of Matilda—empress, skilled military leader, and one of the greatest figures of the English Middle Ages

Matilda was a daughter, wife, and mother. But she was also empress, heir to the English crown—the first woman ever to hold the position—and an able military general.

This new biography explores Matilda’s achievements as military and political leader, and sets her life and career in full context. Catherine Hanley provides fresh insight into Matilda's campaign to claim the title of queen, her approach to allied kingdoms and rival rulers, and her role in the succession crisis. Hanley highlights how Matilda fought for the throne, and argues that although she never sat on it herself her reward was to see her son become king. Extraordinarily, her line has continued through every single monarch of England or Britain from that time to the present day.

About the Author

Catherine Hanley is a writer and researcher specializing in the Middle Ages. She is the author of Louis and War and Combat, 1150–1270 and a contributor to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology.

Praise For Matilda: Empress, Queen, Warrior

“Impressive study”—Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian

“A lively and authoritative account”— Katherine Harvey, Times Literary Supplement

“A fine example of the genre”—Tony Barber, The Financial Times

“[Matilda] will attract a growing audience interested in stories of women challenging the male-dominated European past.”—Alexandra Locking, Medieval Review

“This account of Matilda’s frenetic and unfulfilled life puts the DNA of her world’s sexism front and center, which makes this thousand-year-old story feel…modern..”—Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Review

“The biography of Matilda I’ve been waiting for: as clear-sighted, forthright and formidable as the Empress herself. Catherine Hanley combines lucid scholarship with page-turning narrative; military expertise with a fine-grained understanding of the challenges facing a twelfth-century woman who sought to rule. The result - authoritative, human, and utterly compelling - is a triumph.”—Helen Castor, author of She-Wolves