Date of Award
Thesis and Dissertation
Master of Science (MS)
Department of History
This thesis explains and discusses the conspiracies reported against the Hungarian noblewoman, Countess Elizabeth Bathory, regarding her confinement and the arrest of her accomplices in December 1610. The conspiracies state that the Countess was unjustly targeted and charged not because she was guilty of the deaths of several dozen girls from torture, but because she represented a threat to the Hapsburg Empire due to her wealth, her political influence, and her widowhood. This thesis explores the rationality of these two conspiracies using historical context regarding the position of noblewomen in Central and Eastern Europe and the function and use of the Early Modern judicial system. It concludes that that there was no gender based conspiracy against the Countess because Early Modern Hungary did not see wealthy widows as a threat. Bathory did not seriously violate her expected roles and duties while a wife, widow, or a mother, and at her arrest had only a fraction of the power and wealth she held previously. Additionally the trial against her accomplices was conducted under standard Early Modern judicial procedures, including the use of torture to obtain a confession.
Bledsaw, Rachael Leigh, "No Blood in the Water: The Legal and Gender Conspiracies Against Countess Elizabeth Bathory in Historical Context" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 135.