Female Magister in Artibus?

Is there any historical backing for this? While the stated policy might be that women were not allowed into university I've observed that there tend to be exceptions to such policies. Maybe a modified version of this merit replacing the social status magister in artibus with noblewoman (as I would expect some social standing would be needed for a woman to attend) would be appropriate.

Transvestite (obviously), Dark Secret (poses as a man when teaching), Protection (rector, dean, chancellor, what-have-you) are also V/Fs that might justify a woman completing an university education.

Another way to do this would be for the person to have the Persona virtue from HoH:S. Whether they need to take Dark Secret is arguable.

To the original question, though, I would not be terribly surprised if there were a very few noble women, historically, that had that level of education at the age of ~25. In game, I would allow the education if the player could come up with a good story to back it (because it is about the fun, after all) but to work as a teacher and gain a reputation as a good one in the persona of a woman? I think it would make for some interesting roleplaying!

Yes i think there were a rare few exceptions. Not sure how far they extended in regards to actual status, but women allowed in universities on "one-off" exception basis, yes.

More likely more common i expect there to have been a few women we never knew about, posing as men. Its not like that hasnt happened in almost every kind of place with "men-only" rules.

With enough influence, by themselves or through family, regardless if it happened for real or not, yeah i think it would be a good thing to allow. Or do it the "Pharaoh way", everyone KNOWS she´s a she, but on official occasions and everything, she´s always a HE for the records.

I can't think of one historical example of this. Like many medieval vocations, women were excluded. I certainly could be wrong; it's been a couple years since I worked on Art & Academe. I remember that there is a university setting designed exclusively for women, either in Spain or Italy, focusing on women's health and medicine. It that case, men weren't allowed to attend.

Most universities were under the umbrella of the Church, even the southern universities that possessed more autonomy than their northern counterparts. So it's essentially asking the same question: can a woman become a priest? The answer is "no".

Naturally, in Mythic Europe, it certainly could happen, although I'd have it happen through subterfuge or disguise rather than obvious attendance. As far as Ability scores are concerned, you can do anything you want in your saga. Could a woman be as learned in Theology, for example, as a magister? Sure. Give her some books and the time to study and away she goes.

Matt Ryan

By law yes. In practise, not really no.
Having taken part in a project that was entering old census data from when(18th and 16th century specifically) such laws were still the norm, it was quite interesting how common, and very openly(the census data openly recorded what was in many cases blatantly against the law, and 10 years later the same person was still happily ongoing with same activities and duly noted as such again) those laws were on an almost regular even if rare basis, just thrown out. In practise even if the laws were still there unchanged for centuries more.

Women noted as attending universities in "odd ways" was not lacking even if it was a handful in numbers in the 10s of thousands of people i went through, doing so under fake first names or in the name of fathers or brothers or husbands...
No, this isnt medieval, but from what i know of history, the most restrictions on women seems to rather have come post-medievally, not during or before it, where its more common finding women in male-exclusive jobs or places.

Note though that "much more common" here might be 5 in 10000 instead of 1 in 20000 or some such. The norm is the restriction, but the restrictions doesnt seem anywhere close to being absolute.

With military history being my specialty, i can for example also add that the lowest number of women as soldiers/warriors etc, you will find in the 20th century(except for last 10 years or so of it) and in the Roman military. If restricting to openly acting as such you can add 14th(maybe as early as 10th century, although records are just not good enough to be sure) to 19th century as well, although only if Africa and South/Southeast Asia (and possibly South America as well)) is excluded as up until early 20th century it was not uncommon with women fighters there although afai can recall only in Africa could you find large female only units.
Also, as this isnt part of the "commonly accepted history" or knowledge, you will only find bits and pieces of it online, a bookshopping spree will be the order of the day for anyone interested.

As comparison you might look at this:
And then consider that she is almost completely referred to in reference to her son or father, and with a short "She also battled slave traders at some point." as the only hint at the fact that she was the commander of a regiment of soldiers, and supposedly very good at it...

Having found some new very pertinent information i thought i should add it here.

And that is the fact that the restriction for the Magister virtue is blatantly wrong once you move outside of western Europe(yes i know specific universities are mentioned, but aknowledged teachers didnt just come from those few).
The main item i found was that the Byzantine/East Roman Empire apparently had zero restrictions on women getting higher education, or from what i can tell(not really confirmed though) teaching.

And also from what i can tell the difference is that the orthodox cristian church didnt interfere as much, ie. learning didnt have to be for the sake of theology, so this essentially indicates that much of eastern Europe likely also had less or no such restrictions. Anyway, the university of Constantinople seems to not have been excluding women.

Similarly less restrictions also seems to apply to universities based in islamic areas.

The nordic countries also seems to have been much less restrictive, but since the first real university there wasnt historically founded until 1477 that isnt quite as relevant.

The Magister in Artibus status doesn't exist outside western Europe. It's not "you are an acknowledged teacher"; it's a very specific social position. That's why it's a Social Status Virtue, not a General one.

Further to that, if you want to represent a female character who has merely been to university, then give her the Educated Minor General Virtue.

Ok, the way the description is worded made it seem completely otherwise.
That explanation might actually be something to put in a future errata. Thanks for the clarification.

Oh and maybe an additional, or a variant on the virtue for the university education by itself? Just "Educated" really isnt enough i would say.

"You have incepted Master of Arts in one of the universities of Europe" seems pretty unambiguous to me. It doesn't say "you are an acknowledged teacher" or "you have been to university".

There are a whole bunch of other Virtues for having had a university education, in Art & Academe (pages 91-2).

Wealthy + Privileged Upbringing + Educated might give you enough?
Wealthy might even provide some 'explanation' for why the tutors were prepared to go against custom and train the character.

Personally the bending of traditional gender roles makes me lose my sense of verisimilitude in the game. Whether in some cases it is possible or not for given types of non-standard/typical characters to occur, usually I find it more entertaining to have characters that exemplify the setting that I so love as opposed to constantly turning it on it's ear as it were.

Yes, well thats not the part that makes it ambiguous, read onwards further until you hit the part saying "You must spend two seasons teaching to maintain yourself and your reputation as a dependable instructor".

Which i dont have yet making it rather a moot point until i, or at least someone here gets it.

Possibly yes. It does mean 5 pts of virtue just to get what you can otherwise get from 3 though and locks the character much harder... Not my preferred solution.

Reread posts, only in some areas would it mean going against custom.

Reread posts as well? Unless you´re limiting yourself to a specific region, which from what i found essentially means around half of Europe, your "verisimilitude" is based on something that didnt actually exist in reality. How´s that for "verisimilitude"?

It is a general dislike for having PCs ( or at least too many of them in the group ) go overly against the grain of setting and culture in any instance. Part of why I enjoy roleplaying is the depth of the settings and culture that one can explore in doing so. When PCs go too much against this it becomes 'normal people in the world of oddness' rather than 'simulation of the world of oddness' ... if that is intelligible?

Saying X in multiple thousands were recorded doesn't make something accepted or that the restrictions were not the norm. The fact that such statistics were recorded, without the surrounding circumstances, doesn't indicate that there was not an established cultural resistance to each instance either.

The point is that it is clear that in the era in question gender roles were established norms and that people who chose not to follow them were unusual and faced a large ammount of cultural resistance. Perhaps not insurmountable cultural resistance, but definately a large ammount. Such people should be unusual. Odd. Thought to be strange. For the virtue to simply allow and/or be inclusive of women would give a different impression which I would not feel appropriatte.

The problem I have with this scenario I suppose goes more in line with the mental image I have of a group allowing this feminine scholar type of character ( unusual people do exist and hey it is your game, have fun ) and then never confronting them with the cultural issues which accompany it. ( Still your game, have fun... but now we are into something which bends the setting which I dislike. )

Vortigern. I hear you and feel quite the same.

I am affirmed! Thank you. :smiley: