Innumeros inter laqueos quos callidus hostis
omnes per mundi colles camposque tetendit
maximus est, et quem vix quisquam fallere possit,
femina, triste caput, mala stirps, vitiosa propago,
plurima quae totum per mundum scandala gignit;
quae lites, rixas, et duras seditiones
excitat, et veteres bello committit amicos,
separat affectus, natos ciet atque parentes:
parva loquor, reges solio movet atque tetrarchas,
gentes collidit, quatit oppida, diruit urbes,
caedes multiplicat, letalia pocula miscet;
per villas agrosque furens incendia iactat.
dedique nulla mali species grassatur in orbe,
in qua non aliquam sibi sumat femina partem.
(Marbod of Rennes, Liber Decem Capitulorum 3.1-14)
Countless are the traps which the scheming enemy has set throughout the world’s paths and plains: but among them the greatest – and the one scarcely anybody can evade – is woman. Woman the unhappy source, evil root, and corrupt offshoot, who brings to birth every sort of outrage throughout the world. For she instigates quarrels, conflicts, dire dissensions; she provokes fighting between old friends, divides affections, shatters families. But these are trivia I speak of: she dislodges kings and princes from the throne, makes nations clash, convulses towns, destroys cities, multiplies slaughters, brews deadly poisons. She hurls conflagration as she rampages through farmsteads and fields. In sum, there lurks in the universe no manifestation of evil which woman does not claim some part for herself. (tr. Alcuin Blamires)