Christine de Pisan is the first European woman known to have earned a living by writing, and this fascinating book is a book of advice on good conduct for women of all classes, though the bulk of the book is directed at royal and noble ladies, and the wives of the wealthy burgeoise, who presumably would be the most likely customers for her book in the days before printing, when books were costly.
Great stress is laid on piety and virtue, as one would expect in an age when religion was taken very seriously by most people, but the book is also full of practical advice on how to live a good life, and it is intriguing to see how much was expected of ladies in medieval times. The wife of a baroness, for example is advised that she should:
'Have the heart of a man, that is she ought to know how to use weapons and be familiar with everything that pertains to them, so that she may be ready to command her men if the need arises. She should know how to launch an attack or to defend against one, if the situaiton calls for it. She should take care that her fortresses are well garrisoned.'