Masculinity as a Remedy to Misgovernance in Political Prophecy in the Fourteenth Century British and Irish Isles

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This paper examines the interconnectivity of political prophecies originating from the 14th century British Isles and their intersections with masculinity and misgovernance. The 14th century is examined as a period marked by widespread discontent with governance, evident in what is perceived as a chivalric crisis. In response to this discontent, the era sought redemption and revitalization through the prophesied return of robustly masculine figures, including the mythical high king of Ireland, Aodh Eaganch, the Welsh son of dynasty (Y Mab Darogan), and King Arthur. At the core of this paper is an examination of how prevalent tropes of conquest, violence, and the restoration of order are interpreted as extensions of positive masculine qualities which their authors believe to be inherent in good political leadership. The study underscores the collective yearning for a return to strong masculine governance, intricately linked to the perceived loss of masculine role models exemplified through the destruction of the native princes of Gwynedd and the favouritism of Edward II’s reign. This loss is further identified as a consequence of the apparent emasculation of political leaders resulting from the bureaucratisation of political practices and governance during the 14th century. Furthermore, the paper delves into the manifestation of this yearning for a past golden age of masculine governance through the proliferation of antifeminist political rhetoric. Specifically directed against women actively engaged in the political realm, such as Isabella of France, this rhetoric provides a lens through which to understand the intricate connections between political prophecies, masculinity, and governance during this period. By examining these interconnections, this paper aims to illuminate the multifaceted relationship between political prophecies, masculinity, and governance in the 14th century British Isles, offering valuable insights into the dynamics shaping political discourse during this period.
Period26 Jun 202428 Jun 2024
Event titleGender and Medieval Studies Conference: Gender, Connections and Reconnections
Event typeConference
LocationLincoln, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Misgovernance
  • masculinity
  • medieval
  • Irish
  • British
  • Prophecy
  • Rhetoric
  • Politics
  • Arthuriana
  • Medieval Wales
  • Fourteenth Century