‘Omme maren te vernemene van den Duutschen’ | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 135, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



Women played a crucial role in 1488-9 during the war of the Flemish cities against Maximilian of Austria, the regent of count Philip the Fair. They were key figures in communication networks, carrying letters between different cities and their militias. Moreover, as spies they also provided intelligence on the position of enemy armies. This article shows how various women from Ghent, Ypres, and Bruges travelled almost invisibly, alone or in pairs, between towns, and also inside and outside enemy camps. These towns developed a sophisticated communication network that relied heavily on women as messengers or spies. As a result women played a more important role in such military conflicts than is generally assumed.


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