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Passing and Failing: Additional Source Material

Thursday, May 9, 2019 - 07:00

[This is additional textual source material as background for my paper "Passing and Failing: The Role of Clothing in Gender Disguise Narratives".]

Legendary Saints

Legenda Aurea (English from Caxton) - early Christian era but specific dating uncertain


Marina virgo unica erat patri suo : cum autem pater quoddam monasterium intrasset, mutavit habitum filiae suae, ut non femina, sed masculus videretur

Marine was a noble virgin and was one only daughter to her father without brother or sister, and after the death of her mother, her father entered into a monastery of religion, and changed the habit of his daughter so that she seemed and was taken for his son and not a woman.


dum quadam die vir suus abesset , comam suam praecidit, vestimenta viri assumens ad quoddara monasterium monachorum, quod per octo milliaria distabat, festinabat et, ut ibidem cum monachis reciperetur, petiit et, quod petiit, impetravit. Interrogata de nomine dixit , se Theodorum nuncupari;

And on a day when her husband was out, she cut off her hair, and clad her with the clothes of her husband, and went to a monastery of monks which was eighteen miles thence, and hied her, and there required that she might be received with the monks. She was demanded of her name, and she said she was named Theodorus.


tonsis crinibus in virili habitu clam aufugit

cut off her hair, and clad her in the habit of a man


Post aliquot autem dies cunctis ignorantibus Pelagia inde noctu aufugit et in monte oliveti devenit, ubi habitum eremitae accipicns in parva cella

And a little while after she fled away by night,without knowledge of any person, and took the habit of a hermit and set herself in a little cell,

Obenaus 2008

Pope Joan

This is an assortment of citations from various sources. Not systematic. No primary text as this is a legend.

Martinus Polonus (1278) "Hic, ut asseritur, femina fuit, et in puellari aetate Athenis ducta a quodam amasio suo in habitu virili" (This, it is assured, was a woman, who in youth was taken to Athens by her lover in a man's clothing.)

Stainhöwel's 1473 German translation of Giovanni Boccaccio's De claris mulieribus) "[she flees from her father's house with a lover] mit verwandelten claidern und namen, wann in jünglings gewand behielt sie den namen Johannes" (with changed clothing and name, when in a youth's garment she took the name Johannes) "[after her lover dies] in staeter uebung der künsten in mannes klaidung belyben und nit ain wyb bekennet werden" (instead studying the arts remaining in men's clothing and not being known as a woman)

Etienne de Bourbon, Tractatus de diversibus materialibus praedicabilibus (1261) "assumpto virili habitu" (assumed a man's clothing)

Acta Sanctorum

Angela of Bohemia (12th c, Bohemia)

at Angela noctu se amiciens amictu virili , rejecto habitu byssino, majusculo charactere [chirographum] scripsit in hunc modum : Ego Angela assumo mihi vestes tuas, et togam meam admodum pretiosam tibi pro eisdem relinquo. Hanc vendes, ut tibi pro ea alias vestes compares.

[my translation] At night, Angela putting on masculine clothing, wrote in this way in majuscule characters, "I reject your linen dress. I, Angela, take for myself your clothes, and relinquish my gown with costly ornaments to you. Sell it, for another garment appears for you.

Agnes of Monçada (15th c, Spain)

Agnes Virgo Hispana è Moncada vico, Valientia S. Vincentij Ferrerij concione ad amorem castitatis excitata, ne, quod parentes moliebantur, sponso invita traderetur, habitu virili induta profuga; a man's garment...

Schwartzer 1881

Hildegund von Schönau (12th c, Germany)

"Brother Joseph" at death, tells "his" story to the abbot and promises that after his death he will see that God worked a wonder. The story is of adventures, misfortunes, and travels as Joseph was taken by his widowed father to Jerusalem, but then the father died leaving him in the hands of an untrustworthy man. Many adventures. Ends up at the monastery to die. After death, when being undressed and washed for burial, they discover Joseph is a woman. No clothing references.

Talbot 1998

Christina of Markyate (12th c, England)

Sumptisque clanculo vestimentis virilibus que preparverat sibi et eludens in sexum virilem vestita cappa talari exivit foras…Et dum iret ecce una de manicis fustanii quod occulte sub cappa gerebat cecidit in terram … Et baiulavit illi bombicinum clasvesque patris

And secretly taking masculine garb which she had got ready beforehand in order to disguise herself as a man, she went out swathed in a long cloak that reached to her heels. … [her sister Mathilda] recognized her from her clothes … one of the sleeves of the man’s garment which she was hiding beneath her cloak slipped to the ground … [her sister asks what it is and Christina asks her to take it back to the house because it’s getting in her way] And she handed over to her a veil and her father’s keys

Heroic Fiction

Saxo Grammaticus (legendary figures, date uncertain, Scandinavia/Germany)


in quem filia solidum opcionis arbitrium contulisset. Cumque sola puelle mater proci uotum difficulter exciperet, mentem filie secreto perlustrat alloquio. Qua procum impensius ob uirtutem laudante, conuiciis eam acrius lacerat, quod elisis pudicitie neruis specierum illecebra caperetur, omissaque uirtutis censura adulantibus forme blandiciis lasciue mentis intuitum exhiberet. Ita Aluilda ad Danici iuuenis contemptum adducta, uirili ueste femineam permutauit, atque ex pudica ad modum puella ferocem piratam agere cepit. ...Cuius comes Borcarus, decussa Aluilde galea , mentique eius le|nitate conspecta, animaduertit, osculis, non armis agendum esse, telorumque rigore deposito, blandioribus hostem officiis attrectandam. Igitur Alf, quam terra marique, tot obstantibus periculis, indefesso labore quesierat , supra spem offerri gauisus, cupidius apprehensam, uirilem cultum in muliebrem conuertere coegit; ex qua post modum filiam Guritham procreauit.

The daughter warmly praised her suitor for his valour ; whereon the mother upbraided her sharply, that her chastity should be unstrung, and she captivated by charming looks ; and because, forgetting to judge his virtue, she cast the gaze of a [229] wanton mind upon the flattering lures of beauty. Thus Alfhild was led to despise the young Dane ; whereupon she exchanged woman's for man's attire, and, no longer the most modest of maidens, began the life of a warlike rover. ...[by chance, Alfhild and her band of war-maidens comes into battle with her suitor Alf] His comrade Borgar struck off Alfhild's helmet, and, seeing the smoothness of her chin, saw that he must fight with kisses and not with [230] arms ; that the cruel spears must be put away, and the enemy handled with gentler dealings. So Alf rejoiced that the woman whom he had sought over land and sea in the face of so many dangers was now beyond all expectation in his power; whereupon he took hold of her eagerly, and made her change her man's apparel for a woman's;


Inter quas affuit et Lathgertha, perita bellandi femina, que, uirilem in uirgine animum gerens, immisso humeris capillicio, prima inter promptissimos dimicabat. Cuius incomparabilem operam ammirantibus cunctis, (quippe cesaries tergo inuolare conspecta feminam esse prodebat,)

Among them was Ladgerda, a skilled amazon, who, though a maiden, had the courage of a man, and fought in front among the bravest with her hair loose over her shoulders. All marvelled at her matchless deeds, for her locks flying down her back betrayed that she was a woman.

Tolkien 1960


Skal Skjótliga
um skǫr búa
blæju líni,
áðr braut fari;
mikit býr í því,
er á morgin skal
skera bæði mér
skyrtu ok ólpu.
Bú þú mik at ǫllu
sem  þú bráðast kunnir
sem þú son mundir;

[Hervör has grown up "as strong as a man" who "trained herself more with bow and shield and sword than with needlework and embroidery" but does not put on male garments until she learns of her father's identity and death and decides to avenge him]

"I will wrap swiftly around my hair [or: from off my hair]
a linen headgear
ere I hasten away;
much rests on it,
that when morning comes
cloak and kirtle be cut for me

[to her mother]

As quick as you can
equip me in all ways
as you would your son
taking the gear and weapons of a man

[later she is evidently being taken for a man, for someone remarks] "it is my guess that he is a woman"

Medieval Romance

Roche-Mahdi 1999

Silence (13th c, France)

(2055) Devant le ferai estalcier,
Fende ses dras, braies calcier.

(2359) Quant li enfes pot dras user,
Por se nature refuser
L'ont tres bien vestu a fuer d'ome
A sa mesure, c'est la some.

(2480) Il est desos les dras mescine.

(2558) A us de feme me tenrai,
Jo ne voel pas moi estalcier,
Fendre mes dras, braies calcier,
Ne mais vivre a fuer de garçon.

(2829) Mais el a sos la vesteüre
Ki do tolt cho n'a mie cure.

(6534) Silences ra moi escarni
En wallés das, c'est vertés fine,
Si est desos les dras meschine,
La vesteüre, ele est de malle.

(6664) SIlence atornent come feme.

(2055) We will have her hair cut short in front,
have her wear garments split at the sides and dress her in breeches.

(2359) When the child was of an age to wear clothing,
in order to deny her nature,
they took care to dress her in male clothing
made to her measure.

(2480) the he's a she beneath the clothes

(2558) I will keep to women's ways.
I won't cut my hair short any more,
wear slit garments and breeches
and live like a boy

(2829) But what that boy has under his clothes
has nothing to do with being male!

(6534) Silence, on the other hand, tricked me
by dressing like a young man: in truth,
he is a girl beneath his clothes,
Only the clothing is masculine.

(6664) The dressed Silence as a woman.

Abbouchi 2018

Yde (France 13th c, Yde et Olive)

Et la pucelle est fors du baing salie.
Dras d’omme vest, de riens ne s’i detrie;
En guize d’omme s’est bien aparillie.

Vestus avoit dras d’omme pour paour.

9: 365
Bien est vestue a guize de garchon:
Accaté ot cauces et caperon,
Braies de lin si beles ne vit on;
Espee ot chainte, et si porte .i. baston.

Damoisielle Yde est montee a ceval,
Qui a loi d’omme molt bien s’aparilla.

[Verse 7 Extensive description of her as a beautiful young woman, mentions that her breasts were not developed]

Whereupon the young woman hurried out of the bath; She quickly put on some men’s clothing, And so disguised,

Dressed in men’s clothing out of fear.

9: 365
She was well disguised as a boy
And had bought hose and hood
And the finest linen breeches.
She wore her sword at her side, and also carried a rod.

The lady Yde rode with them,
She who was dressed after the fashion of men.

Sinclair 1971

Blanchandine (France 14th c, Tristan de Nanteuil)

“Vistir vous convendra d’une robe partie,
A loy de chevalier armee et abillie,
Sy commans a chascun qui est de no mesgnye,
D’ores mes en avant soiés par gaberie
Appellés Blanchandin de vostre compaignye”

…a divided garment…armed like a knight…


Zinevra (Italy 14th c, Decameron)

[040] che tu prenda questi miei panni e donimi solamente il tuo farsetto e un cappuccio, e con essi torni al mio e tuo signore e dichi che tu m'abbi uccisa

[041] e datole un suo farsettaccio e un cappuccio

[042] La donna, rimasa sola e sconsolata, come la notte fu venuta, contraffatta il piú che poté n'andò a una villetta ivi vicina; e quivi da una vecchia procacciato quello che le bisognava, racconciò il farsetto a suo dosso, e fattol corto e fattosi della sua camiscia un paio di pannilini e i capelli tondutisi e trasformatasi tutta in forma d'un marinaro

[040] take, then, these clothes of mine and give me in exchange just thy doublet and a hood; and carry the clothes with thee to my lord and thine, and tell him that thou hast slain me;

[041] and gave her one of his worser doublets and a hood

[042] Alone and disconsolate, the lady, as night fell, disguised herself as best she could, and hied her to a neighbouring village, where, having procured what was needful from an old woman, she shortened the doublet and fitted it to her figure, converted her chemise into a pair of breeches, cut her hair close, and, in short, completely disguised herself as a sailor.

Fiction - Other (15-16th c)

Dugaw 1989

Mary Ambree

She clothed herselfe from the top to the toe
In buffe of the bravest, most seemelye to showe;
A faire shirt of male then slipped on shee:
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?

A helmett of proofe shee strait did provide,
A stronge arminge-sword shee girt by her side,
On her hand a goodly faire gauntlett put shee:
Was not this a brave bonny lasse, Mary Ambree?


Britomart (England 16th c, The Faerie Queen)

And eke that straunger knight emongst the rest;
Was for like need enforst to disaray:
Tho whenas vailed was her loftie crest,
Her golden locks, that were in tramels gay
Vpbounden, did them selues adowne display,
And reached vnto her heeles; like sunny beames,
That in a cloud their light did long time stay,
Their vapour faded, shew their golden gleames,
And through the persant aire shoote forth their azure streames.

She also dofte her heauy haberieon,
Which the faire feature of her limbs did hyde,
And her well plighted frock, which she did won
To tucke about her short, when she did ryde,
She low let fall, that flowd from her lanck syde
Downe to her foot, with carelesse modestee.
Then of them all she plainly was espyde,
To be a woman wight, vnwist to bee,
The fairest woman wight, that euer eye did see.

Casella 1913

Bradamante (Italy 16th c, Orlando Furioso by Giovanni Ariosto)

Accadde a questi di, che pei vicini
Boschi Passando la sorella mia,
Ferita da uno stuol di Saracini
Che enza l'elmo la trovar per via,
Fu di scorciarsi astretta i lunghi crini,
Se sanar volve d'una piaga ria
Ch'avea con gran periglio ne la testa;
E cosi scorcia erro per la foresta.

Errando giunse ad una ombrosa fonte
E perche afflitta e stanca ritrovosse,
Dal destrier scese, e disarmo la fronte,
E su le tenere erbe addormentosse.
Io non credo che favola si conte,
Che piu di questa istoria bella fosse.
Fiordispina di Spagna sprarriva,
Che per cacciar nel boseo ne veniva.

E quando tirtovo la mia sirocchia
Tutta coperta d'arme, eccetto il viso,
Ch'avea la spada in luogo di conocchia,
Le fu vedere un cavalliero avviso.
La faccia e le viril fattezze adocchia
Tanto, che se ne sente il cor conquiso.
La invita a caccia, e tra l'ombrose fronde
Lunge dagli altri al fin seco s'asconde

[Note: English version is not a literal translation]

And thus he did: "My sister, not long since,
Was riding through these woods, unhelmeted:
And, overtaken by some Saracens,
By one of them was wounded in the head.
A passing hermit, using his good sense,
Observing how extensively she bled,
Cut off her golden hair; then on she rode,
Close-cropped as any man, about the wood.

"Thus wandering, she reached a shady fount.
Her wound had weakened her, so she drew rein,
And when she had descended from her mount
She pulled her helmet off and on the green
Young grass soon fell asleep. I'll now recount
The most delightful tale that's ever been:
Out hunting with her friends that very day,
Fair Fiordispina chanced to pass that way.

"She saw my sister as she rested there,
In armour fully clad, save for her face;
A sword was at her side, where women wear
A distaff; as she views the manly grace
Of one she takes to be a cavalier,
Her heart is vanquished, and to join the chase
She first invites her, then contrives ere long
To separate her from the merry throng.

Lyly 1592

Gallathea and Phillida (England 1592, Gallathea)

"take the attire of men"

"In mans apparel."

"I shall be ashamed of my long hose and short coat"

[stage direction] "Enter Phillida in mans attire."

Galathea: "having put on the apparel of a boy"

Phillida: "in the habit of a boy"

Phillida: "in the attire of a boy"

[They both joke about the likelihood that their feminine behavior will give away their actual gender.]

Greene 1598

Dorothea (England 1598, James IV)

"[garments] Such as may make you seeme a proper man."

"Dor. What shall I iet in breeches like a squire?"

"[reply] Tut, go me thus, your cloake before your face,
Your sword vpreard with queint & comely grace,
If any come and question what you bee,
Say you a man, and call for witnesse mee."

"Hence will I flie disguised like a squire"

"Enter ... Dorothea, in mans apparell."

Middleton & Dekker 1608

Moll Cutpurse/Mary Frith (England 1608, The Roaring Girl)

[a character describes Moll in male disguise as compared to her everyday clothing] “her black safeguard is turned into a deep slop, the holes of her upper bodice to button-holes, her waistcoat to a doublet, her placket to the ancient seat of a cod-piece, and you shall take 'em both with standing collars.”

[stage directions for Moll in everyday clothing] “Enter Moll, in a frieze jerkin and a black safeguard.”

[stage direction - Moll is taken for a man] “Enter Moll, dressed as a man.”

Greg 1913

Neronis (England 16th c, Clyomon and Clamydes)

Enter Neronis in the Forrest, in mans apparell.

"...Neronis, ah who knoweth her, in painful Pages show?
But no good Lady wil me blame, which of my case doth know
But rather when they heare the truth, wherefore I am disguised,
Thaile say it is an honest shift, the which I have devised;..."

[she explains why she fled in this guise]

"...And having libertie, I wrought by such a secret flight,
That in this tyre like to a page, I scapt away by night..."

[a different scene]

Enter Neronis like a Sheepheards boy.


Enter Neronis like the Page

Historic - Chronicles and Accounts

Knighton 1995

Group of unnamed women (England 14th c)

The full text and translation of this item can be found here:

Shank 1987

Unnamed student at Krakow University (Poland 15th c)

The full text and translation of this item can be found here:

Montaigne 1906

Unnamed group of women (France 1580)

L'autre, que depuis peu de jours il avoit esté pendu à un lieu nommé Montirandet, voisin de là, pour telle occasion: Sept ou huit filles d'autour de Chaumont en Bassigni complottarent, il y a quelques années, de se vestir en masles, et continuer ainsi leur vie par le monde. Entre les autres, l'une vint en ce lieu de Vitry soubs le nom de Mary, guaignant sa vie à estre tisseran, jeune homme bien conditionné et qui se rendoit à un chacun amy. Il fiança audit Vitry, une femme qui est encor vivante; mais pour quelque desacord qui survint entre eux, leur marché ne passa plus outre. Depuis estant allé audit Montirandet, guaignant tousjours sa vie audit mestier, il devint amoureux d'une famé laquelle il avoit épousée, et vescut quatre ou cinq mois avecque elle avec son contentement, à ce qu'on dit; mais ayant esté reconnu par quelcun dudit Chaumont, et la chose mise en avant à la justisse, elle avoit esté condamnée à estre pendue: ce qu'elle disoit aymer mieux souffrir que de se remettre en estât de fille, et fut pendue pour des inventions illicites à supplir au défaut de son sexe.

Several years before, seven or eight girls around Chaumont-en-Bassigni plotted amonst themselves to dress as males and continue their lives in the world accordingly. [marries a woman] ... But, having been recognized by someone from Chaumont... [condemned to hang] which she said she'd rather suffer than return to a girl's state"

Estienne 1735

Unnamed woman (France 16th c)

Ie vien de reciter vn forfaict merueilleusement estrange: mais i’en vay reciter vn autre qui l’est encore d’auantage, (non pas toutesfois si vilain) aduenu auffi de nostre temps , il y a enuiron trent’ans. C’eft qu’vne fille natiue de Fontaines , qui eft entre Blois & Rommorantin , s’estant desguisee en homme , seruit de valet d’estable enuiron sept ans en vne hostelerie du faux - bourg du Foye , puis se maria à vne fille du lieu, auec laquelle elle fut enuiron deux ans , exerceant le mestier de vigneron. Apres lequel temps estant descouuerte la meschanceté de laquelle elle vsoit pour contrefaire l’office de mari , fut prise , & ayant confessé fut là brulee toute viue. Voici comment nostre siecle se peut vanter qu’outre toutes les meschancetez des precedens , il en ha qui luy sont propres & peculieres. Car cest acte n’ha rien de commun avec celuy de quelques vilaines qu’on appeloit anciennement tribades.

"a maid born at Fountaines (between Blois and Rommarantin) , who having disguised herself like a man served as an hostler at an Inn in the suburbs of Foy for the space of seven years, and afterwards married a maid of the town, with who she companied for the space of two years or thereabout, attempting much, but effecting nothing. After which time her cousinage and knavery in counterfeiting the office of a husband being discovered, she was apprehended..."

History - Fictionalized Memoirs

Scott 1999

Catalina de Erauso (Spain 17th c)

"Allí acogíme y estuve tres días trazando, acomodando y cortando de vestir. Híceme, de una basquiña de paño azul con que me hallaba, unos calzones, y de un faldellín verde de perpetuán que traía debajo, una ropilla y polainas: el hábito me lo dejé por allí, por no saber qué hacer con él. Cortéme el pelo, que tiré, ...",

"...Su Santidad...con afabilidat me concedió licencia para proseguir mi vida en hábito de hombre..."

[Catalina sneaks out of the convent] "There, I holed up for three days, planning and re-planning and cutting myself out a suit of clothes. With the blue woolen bodice I had I made a pair of breeches, and with the green petticoat I wore underneath, a doublet and hose--my nun's habit was useless and I threw it away, I cut my hair and threw it away..."

[After disclosing her sex in the New World, while Catalina is traveling from Spain to Rome, she is robbed--including of her clothing--at least twice, but no mention is made of whether she is wearing mens or womens garments. From context, she appears to be traveling in men's garments as she is interacted with as a man. On meeting the Pope and telling her story] "His Holiness...graciously gave me leave to pursue my life in men's clothing"

Todd & Spearing 1994 (memoir), Ungerer 2000 (associated other records)

Mary Frith / Moll Cutpurse (England 17th c, see also Middleton & Dekker 1608)

[Todd & Sperling]

“a doublet and petticoat” [changing her doublet] “for a waistcoat and her petticoats for a winding sheet.”

[for a wager] "Among other fantastic discourse, one day he would needs engage me in a frolic upon a wager of 20 pounds which was that I should ride from Charing Cross to Shoreditch a-straddle on horseback in breeches and doublet, boots and spurs, all like a man cap a pie.  ... none suspecting me ... I proceeded in this manner undiscovered ... "


1611 appeared on stage "in mans apparell & in her bootes & with a sword by her syde"...

1611 arrested "with her peticoate tucked up about her in the fashion of a man with a mans cloake on her" ...

1612 "Mall Cut-purse a notorious bagage that used to go in mans apparell..."

Historic - Legal Records

Puff 2000

Katherina Hetzeldorfer (Germany 15th c)

[fol. 14r] "sie von der, de uf dem thorn lyt, die eynn mann sin soll" … [fol. 13r] "sie nit anders gewist, dan daz sie eynn man gewest vnd mit jr zum drytten mall die bubery geupt hat"

[no reference to clothing, only to sexual activity] [fol. 14r] "she who stands in the dock and who is supposed to be a man" ... [fol. 13r] "she insisted that she did not know anything other than that she [i.e., Hetzeldorfer] was a man and committed an act of knavery with her three times"

Champion 1920 / Hobbins 2005

Jeanne d’Arc (France 15th c)

[This is not an exhaustive selection, but was all the references identified in Hobbins in Chapter 1: Preparatory Trial. Page numbers are from Hobbins.]

p.33 “wore the disgraceful clothing of men” “deformes habitus virili sexui congruos”

p.55 “began wearing men’s clothing ... exchange her clothes for men’s” “cepit habitum virilem ... mutare habitum suum in habitum virilem”

p.66 “to take men’s attire” “de assumendo vestem virilem”

p.79 “where I took up men’s clothing ... taken men’s clothing ... set aside her men’s garments” “ubi ego ceperam istum habitum virilem ... ceperat illum habitum ... quod habitum virilem deponeret”

p.79 “change her clothing to men’s clothing” “mutaret habitum suum in habitum virilem”

p.93-4 “that she took men’s clothes ... to take men’s garb ... taking men’s garb ... dressed in men’s clothing ” “quod ipsa cepit habitum virilem ... quod acceperet habitum virilem ... capiendo habitum virilem ... in isto habitu virili”

p.103 “she is wearing men’s clothes” “portat habitum virilem”

p.104 “regarding the men’s clothing” “de portando habitum virilem”

p.105 [if she goes to Mass wouldn’t it be more decent] “to put on women’s clothing ... to wear women’s clothing ... or stay in men’s clothing ... wear women’s clothes ... if you wear women’s clothing” “deferre habitum muliebrem ... capere habitum muliebrem ... manere in habitu virili ... in habitu muliebri”

p.105 [implication that the following is a hybrid garment, neither male nor female?] “make me a long robe that touches the ground, with no train” “faciatis mihi habere tunicam longam usque ad terram, sine cauda”

p.106 [specifying a feminine garment that she would be willing to wear] “Give me a garment befitting a citizen’s daughter--that is, a long greatcoat “Tradatis mihi habitum sicut uni filiæ burgensis, videlicet unam houpelandam longam”

p.111 [if she is brought to judgment and stripped she asks for] “a woman’s gown and a hood for her head” “de habendo unam camisiam muliebrem et unum capitegium in capite suo”

p.111 [asked why she now asks for] “a woman’s gown” [ she answers] “it only needs to be long” “camisiam muliebrem ... Sufficit mihi quod sit longa”

p.111 [she would take] “women’s clothing” [if they let her go but would then immediately return to] “men’s clothes” “habitu muliebri ... habitum virilem”

p.116 [if she goes to her mother’s house she asks for] “a woman’s robe” “unam tunicam muliebrem”

p.117 [if she would] “abandon her men’s clothes and take women’s, such as she used to wear in her region and as the women there normally wear” “dimittere habitum virilem at recipere habitum muliebrem, prout consueverat in loco nativitatis suæ, et prout mulieres sui loci consueverunt deferre.”

p.117 “in her men’s clothes ... set aside men’s clothes ... nor could she wear women’s garments” “in habitu virili ... dimittere habitum virilem ... nec poterat adhuc recipire dictum habitum”

p.117 [take counsel with her saints] “about wearing women’s clothes” “utrum reciperet habitum muliebrem”

p.117 “take clothing appropriate to her sex” “capere habitum suo sexui congruentem”

p.117 “women’s clothing ... into women’s clothes ... men’s clothes” “habitum muliebrem ... habitum suum in muliebrem ... habitu virili”


  • habitus virili (18)
  • vestem virilem (1)
  • habitum muliebrem (8 but not tracked exhaustively)

Description of acceptably female garments:

  • tunicam longam usque ad terram sine cauda [possibly hybrid garment?]
  • habitum sicut uni fili burgensis, videlicet unam houpelandam longam
  • unam camisiam muliebrem et unum capitegium in capite suo [implication of “undress”]
  • camisiam muliebrem ... longa
  • unam tunicam muliebrem

Bennett & McSheffrey 2014 - Note: all the items from Bennett & McSheffrey are English, so only the date is given

Margaret Cotton (1454)

...dressed in a man’s gown (in una toga virili). She hired (conduxit) the gown from a tailor (surnamed Pycard, no forename given) in St Martin le Grand,  and she got her hat (caleptrum) from a servant of her husband.

Unnamed woman #4 (1471)

in vestibus virilibus

Unnamed woman #5 (1471)

in habitu virili ... doploidem de serico (in male clothing…a silk doublet)

Trude Garard (1473)

in a mans aray and clothyng

Joan White (1486

wont to daunce & make revells in hir maisters hous, som tyme in mannys clothing and somtyme naked

concubine of Thomasina (1493)

adduxit concubinam ad cameram suam in veste virili et ibidem eam tenuit

Thomasina, a corseweaver, led a cross-dressed concubine to her room and held her in the same place

Alice Street (1495)

in vestibus virilibus

Elizabeth Chekyn (1516)

in a preestes goun ... in a preestes array & clothyng

Margery Brett, Margery Smyth, Margery Tyler, and Elizabeth Thomson (1519)

cut their here like unto mennys hedes to thentent to goo in mennes clothing at tymes

Alice Wolfe (1534)

a [w]oman aparylyd lyck a man

Agnes Hopton (1537)

apparaylled yn a mannys rayment ... yn mannes rayment

Unnamed women #17 (1539)

two...women in men's clothing

Unnamed woman #19 (1554)

cut her hair and put on a man's cape and cloak and had prepared for her men's hose and a doublet

Joan Goodman (1569)

Joan Goodman, with her husband’s assistance, wore soldier’s clothes and weapons and went about the City as a lackey.

Magdalene Gawyn (1575)

dressed in men’s clothing to meet her lover

Margaret Bolton & daughter (1575)

said to have gone abroad in men’s apparel

Dorothy Clayton (1576)

wore men's clothes

Alice Young (1576)

lewdly disguised herself in men’s apparel

Jane Trosse (1577)

in apparel ‘more manlike than womanlike’

Jane Ludlow (1579)

went in a man’s gown and hat to meet her lover

Katherine Cuffe (1599, additional text from Ungerer 2000)

in boyes apparell...he would not haue her come in her owne apparrell least that she should be espyed...came once in boyes apparrell hauing a doblett and hose and a cloke and a hatt.

Margaret Wakeley (1600)

went about in men's apparel

Helen Balsen alias Hudson (1601)

known to be a notorious whore, put on man’s apparel [at the instigation of a client]

Elizabeth Griffin alias Partridge (1601)

going about in man’s apparel

Rose Davies (1602)

Rose Davies and John Littlewood, two vagrants, were taken in men’s and women’s apparel respectively.

Burshatin 1996

Elena/Eleno de Céspedes

No clothing references. For detailed discussion, see:

Brown 1995

Thomas(ine) Hall (England / Virginia 1629)

[to enter military life] Cut of his heire and Changed his apparell into the fashion of man" ... [on returning to civilian life] "changed himself into woeman's apparell" ... [to emigrate to Virginia] "changed again his apparell into the habit of a man" ... [why the wearing of women's clothes] "I goe in weomans aparell to gett a bitt for my Catt" ... [sentenced to wear male clothing with the addition of female accessories] "a Coyfe and Croscloth with an Apron before him."

Crawford & Mendelson 1995

Amy Poulter (England 1680) - I ended up omitting this from the paper due to the later date

" see [Arabella] married to a person who went along with them, and was then in man's apparel, but this deponent had before that several times seen the said person in woman's apparel at ... Mrs. Hunt's ... going by the name of Madam Poulter, but pretending that to be only a disguise, and that he was a man"

Sources for the primary texts

Abbouchi, Mounawar. 2018. "Yde and Olive" in Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality. Vol. 8. (available online at

Acta Sanctorum Online (accessed via via the index at Acta Sanctorum Online

Bennett, Judith  and Shannon McSheffrey. 2014. “Early, Exotic and Alien: Women Dressed as Men in Late Medieval London” in History Workshop Journal. 77 (1): 1-25.

Boccaccion, Giovanni. Decameron. (Accessed via The Decameron Web, a project of the Italian Studies Department's Virtual Humanities Lab at Brown University.

Brown, Kathleen. 1995. “’Changed...into the Fashion of a Man’: The Politics of Sexual Difference in a Seventeenth-Century Anglo-American Settlement” in Journal of the History of Sexuality 6:2 pp.171-193.

Burshatin, Israel. “Elena Alias Eleno: Genders, Sexualities, and ‘Race’ in the Mirror of Natural History in Sixteenth-Century Spain” in Ramet, Sabrina Petra (ed). 1996. Gender Reversals and Gender Cultures: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives. Routledge, London. ISBN 0-415-11483-7

Casella, Giacinto (ed.). 1913. L'Orlando Furioso di Lodovico Ariosto. Firenze: G. Barbèra, Editore.

Caxton, William. 1483. (text by Jacobus de Voragine) The Golden Legend. (accessed via

Champion, Pierre. 1920-21. Procès de condamnation de Jeanne d’Arc: Texte, traduction et notes. Paris.

Crawford, Patricia & Sara Mendelson. 1995. "Sexual Identities in Early Modern England: The Marriage of Two Women in 1680" in Gender and History vol 7, no 3: 362-377.

Dugaw, Dianne. 1989. Warrior Women and Popular Balladry 1650-1850. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago. ISBN 0-226-16916-2

Estienne, Henri. 1735. Apologie pour Herodote. Ou traite de la conformite des merveilles anciennes avec les modernes. (accessed via

Greene, Robert. 1598. The Scottish History of James the Fourth. (The Malone Society Reprints, 1921) (accessed from Gutenberg,org

Greg, W. W. 1913. Clyomon and Clamydes (1599). London: Oxford University Press. (accessed via

Hic Mulier: or, the man-woman and HAEC-vir: or the womanish-man. 1973. The Scolar Press. (accessed via

Knighton, Henry. 1995. Knighton’s Chronicle 1337-1396. Edited and translated by G.H. Martin. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-820-503-1

Legenda Aurea (accessed via see Caxton for English text

Lyly, John. 1592. Gallathea. London. (accessed via

Martin von Leibnitz. Senatorium sive dialogus historicus Martini abbatis Scotorum Viennae Austriae. In: Hieronymous Pez (HG): Scriptores Rerum Austriacarum II (Leipsiz 1725) Sp. 625-674.

Middleton & Dekker 1608. The Roaring Girl. (accessed via

de Montaigne, Michel Eyquem. 1906. Journal de Voyage. Paris. (accesed via

Obenaus, Michael. 2008. Hure und Heilige: Verhandlungen über die Päpstin zwischen spätem Mittelalter und früher Neuzeit. Hamburg: Verlag Dr. Kovac.

Puff, Helmut. 2000. "Female Sodomy: The Trial of Katherina Hetzeldorfer (1477)" in Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies: 30:1, 41-61.

Roche-Mahdi, Sarah. 1999. Silence. Michigan State University Press, Lansing. ISBN 0-87013-543-0

Saxo Grammaticus. 1880. Saxonis Grammatici Gesta Danorvm. Strassburg. (accessed via

Schwarzer, Joseph. 1881. Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für ältere deutsche Geschichtskunde. Hannover. (accessed viaür_ältere_deutsche_Geschichtskunde and

Scott, Nina M. (ed). 1999. "Vida i sucesos de la monja alférez" in Madres del Verbo/Mothers of the Word: Early Spanish-American Women Writers, a Bilingual Anthology. University of New Mexico Press.

Shank, Michael H. 1987. "A Female University Student in Late Medieval Krakow" in Signs: A Journal of Women in Culture and Society: 12:373-380.

Sinclair, K.V.1971. Tristan de Nanteuil: chanson de geste inédite. Assen: Van Gorcum & Comp.

Spenser, Edmund. The Fairie Queen. (I didn’t note which edition I pulled this from)

Stubbes, Philip. The Anatomie of Abuses. (accessed via

Talbot, C.H. 1998. The Life of Christina of Markyate: A Twelfth Century Recluse. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Todd, Janet & Elizabeeth Spearing ed. 1994. Counterfeit Ladies: The Life and Death of Mary Frith, Case of Mary Carleton. William Pickering, London. ISBN 1-85196-087-2

Tolkien, Christopher trans.  1960.  Saga Heidreks Kunungs ins Vitra.  Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd, London.

Ungerer, Gustav. 2000. “Mary Frith, Alias Moll Cutpurse, in Life and Literature” in Shakespeare Studies 28: 42-84.

Secondary Sources and Translations

Anson, John. 1974. “The Female Transvestite in Early Monasticism: The Origin and Development of a Motif” in Viator, 5: 1-32.

Borris, Kenneth (ed). 2004. Same-Sex Desire in the English Renaissance: A Sourcebook of Texts, 1470-1650. Routledge, New York. ISBN 978-1-138-87953-9 (used as a source for several of the translations)

Bullough, Vern L. 1974. “Transvestites in the Middle Ages” in American Journal of Sociology 79/6: 1381-1394

Bullough, Vern. 1996. “Cross Dressing and Gender Role Change in the Middle Ages” in Handbook of Medieval Sexuality, ed. Vern L. Bullough and James A. Brundage Garland Publishing, New York. ISBN 0-8153-3662-4

Clover, Carol J. 1995. "Maiden Warriors and Other Sons" in Robert R. Edwards & Vickie Ziegler (eds). Matrons and Marginal Women in Medieval Society. The Boydell Press, Woodbridge.

Crane, Susan. 1996. “Clothing and Gender Definition: Joan of Arc,” in Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 26:2 : 297-320.

Dekker, Rudolf M. and van de Pol, Lotte C. 1989. The Tradition of Female Transvestism in Early Modern Europe. Macmillan, London. ISBN 0-333-41253-2

Elton, Oliver (trans). 1804. The First Nine Books of the Danish History of Saxo Grammaticus. London. (accessed via

Hobbins, Daniel. 2005. The Trial of Joan of Arc. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Hotchkiss, Valerie R. 1996. Clothes Make the Man: Female Cross Dressing in Medieval Europe. Garland Publishing, Inc., New York. ISBN 0-8153-3771-x

Karras, Ruth Mazo & David Lorenzo Boyd. 1996. “’Ut cum Muliere’ - A Male Transvestite Prostitute in Fourteenth-Century London” in Premodern Sexualities ed. by Louise Fradenburg & Carla Freccero. Routledge, New York. ISBN 0-415-91258-X

Krimmer, Elisabeth. 2004. In the Company of Men: Cross-Dressed Women Around 1800. Wayne State University Press, Detroit. ISBN 0-8143-3145-9

Perret, Michèle. 1985. "Travesties et Transsexuelles: Yde, Silence, Grisandole, Blanchandine" in Romance Notes Vol. 25, No. 3, pp.328-340.

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Sautman, Francesca Canadé. 2001. “What Can They Possibly Do Together? Queer Epic Performances in Tristan de Nanteuil” in Same Sex Love and Desire Among Women in the Middle Ages, ed. Francesca Canadé Sautman & Pamela Sheingorn. Palgrave, New York.

Stepto, Michele & Gabriel Stepto (translators). Catalina de Erauso. Lieutenant Nun -- Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World. Boston: Beacon Press, 1996. ISBN 0-8070-7073-4

Velasco, Sherry. 2011. Lesbians in Early Modern Spain. Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville. ISBN 978-0-8265-1750-0

Welch, J.L. “Cross-Dressing and Cross-Purposes: Gender Possibilities in the Acts of Thecla” in Ramet, Sabrina Petra (ed). 1996. Gender Reversals and Gender Cultures: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives. Routledge, London. ISBN 0-415-11483-7

Walen, Denise A. 2005. Constructions of Female Homoeroticism in Early Modern Drama. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 978-1-4039-6875-3

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