chapter  6
Townswomen
Pages 62

Urban society was new in several senses and woman’s role in it can be understood only against the background of its unique economic, social and cultural structure. But it is important to emphasize at the outset that women’s rights continued to be restricted within the new structure of urban life, although this was no longer a warrior society like the nobility, or a partially unfree society like the peasantry. The town was a place of peace (locus pacificus). Peace was essential to its development and its economic activity, which was based on artisanship, commerce and money affairs. It evolved its own ethos, which differed from that of the feudal nobility. Though urban society was a class society from the outset, it abolished the distinctions between freemen and serfs and, legally speaking (in contrast to rural areas), all townspeople were free.