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Hildegard (c. 754 – 30 April 783), was a Frankish
queen consort A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *I ...
who was the second wife of
Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking peoples that invaded the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century—were first led by i ...

Charlemagne
and mother of
Louis the Pious Louis the Pious (16 April 778 – 20 June 840), also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was King of the Franks The Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Ro ...

Louis the Pious
. Little is known about her life, because, like all women related to Charlemagne, she became notable only from a political background, recording her parentage, wedding, death, and her role as a mother.


Origins

She was the daughter of the
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
Count Gerold of Kraichgau (founder of the Udalriching family) and his wife Emma, in turn daughter of
Duke Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a , or of a member of , or . As rulers, dukes are ranked below s, s, s, s, and sovereign s. As royalty or nobility, they are ranked below princes of nobility and grand dukes. The title comes ...
Nebe (Hnabi) of Alemannia and Hereswintha vom Bodensee (of Lake Constance). Hildegard's father had extensive possessions in the dominion of Charlemagne's younger brother
Carloman Carloman may refer to: * Carloman (fl. late 6th century), father of Pepin of Landen * Carloman (mayor of the palace) (ruled 741–47) * Carloman I, king of the Franks (768–71) * Carloman, birth name of Pepin of Italy (781–810) * Carloman, son of ...

Carloman
, so this union was of significant importance for Charlemagne, because he could strengthen its position in the east of the Rhine and also could bind the Alemannian nobility to his side.


Life

It is unknown if Charlemagne planned his marriage before the sudden death of Carloman or was just a part of the purposeful incorporation of his younger brother's Kingdom, in detriment of the claims of his nephews. In any event, the wedding between Charlemagne and Hildegard took place at
Aix-la-Chapelle Aachen ( ; Aachen dialect: ''Oche'' ; French and traditional English: Aix-la-Chapelle ; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally s ...

Aix-la-Chapelle
certainly before 30 April 771, after the repudiation of the Lombardian princess
Desiderata "Desiderata" (Latin: "things desired") is an early 1920s prose poem by the American writer Max Ehrmann. Although he copyrighted it in 1927, he distributed copies of it without a required copyright notice during 1933 and , thereby forfeiting his ...
, Charlemagne's previous wife. It is generally accepted that she was either 12 or 13 upon her marriage to Charlemagne., though her nominal date of birth would place her at 17. Girls could be married at any time after puberty, and in Roman law, which the Church upheld, the age of 12 was well established as being adequate. An intense physical relationship between the spouses was demonstrated by the fact that, during her 12 years of marriage, Hildegard had 8 pregnancies (including one set of twins). Quite remarkably, the chronicles never mention either miscarriages or stillbirths, indicating that she was of sturdy health despite her young age at the time of the wedding. Hildegard accompanied Charlemagne on many of his military campaigns. She gave birth to her second child and first daughter, Adelaide, during the siege of
Pavia Pavia (, , , ; la, Ticinum; Medieval Latin: ) is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy in northern Italy, south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po River, Po. It has a population of c. 73,086. The city was ...

Pavia
, capital of the
Kingdom of the Lombards Kingdom may refer to: Monarchy * A type of monarchy A monarchy is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, ente ...
(September 773/June 774), but the child died during the return journey to France. In 778, Hildegard accompanied her husband as far as Aquitaine, where she gave birth to twin boys Louis and Lothair. In 780/781, she traveled with Charlemagne and four of their children to Rome, where the sons Louis and Carloman (the latter renamed Pepin after his baptism by
Pope Adrian I Pope Adrian I ( la, Hadrianus I; died 25 December 795) was the bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and ...

Pope Adrian I
) were appointed sub-kings of Aquitaine and Italy respectively. This contributed to the strengthening of the alliance between the Carolingians and the Papacy. Because of her frequent pregnancies, it can be presumed that Hildegard accompanied her husband on further campaigns, at least temporarily. Hildegard died on 30 April 783, according to
Paul the Deacon Paul the Deacon ( 720s 13 April in 796, 797, 798, or 799 CE), also known as ''Paulus Diaconus'', ''Warnefridus'', ''Barnefridus'', or ''Winfridus'', and sometimes suffixed ''Cassinensis'' (''i.e.'' "of Monte Cassino"), was a Benedictine monk, sc ...
, from the after effects of her last childbirth. She was buried the following day (1 May 783) in the
Abbey of Saint-Arnould The Abbey of Saint-Arnould, St. Arnold, Saint-Arnoult or Abbey of the Holy Apostles is a Benedictine abbey residing in Metz since the 6th century. The origins of the abbey are a mystery. According to legend, it was founded in the 2nd century by Bi ...
in
Metz Metz ( , , lat, Divodurum Mediomatricorum, then ) is a city in northeast France located at the confluence of the Moselle (river), Moselle and the Seille (Moselle), Seille rivers. Metz is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Moselle (de ...

Metz
. Following the wishes of Charlemagne, near her grave were burning candles and daily prayers were said for her soul.


Interaction with the Church and donations

Hildegard made several donations to the monasteries of St. Denis and St. Martin of Tours. She was a friend of Saint Leoba, who reportedly lived some time with her at court. She intervened in Hildegard's religious education and also offered her spiritual advice.Rosamond McKitterick: ''Karl der Grosse'', Darmstadt 2008, p. 91. Together with her husband she commissioned the
Godescalc Evangelistary The Godescalc Evangelistary, Godescalc Sacramentary, Godescalc Gospels, or Godescalc Gospel Lectionary (Paris, BNF. lat.1203) is an illuminated manuscript in Latin made by the Franks, Frankish scribe Godescalc and today kept in the Bibliothèque n ...
, where for the first time she was explicitly mentioned as Queen -also of the Lombards- through the joint signature of documents with her husband.Silvia Konecny: ''Die Frauen des karolingischen Königshauses. Die politische Bedeutung der Ehe und die Stellung der Frau in der fränkischen Herrscherfamilie vom 7. bis zum 10. Jahrhundert'', Vienna 1976, p. 65. Hildegard enjoyed in her own lifetime from a high reputation, as was demonstrated in her obituary written by Paul the Deacon. However, these compliments are to be regarded with some skepticism. In her
Epitaph An epitaph (; ) is a short text honoring a deceased person. Strictly speaking, it refers to text that is inscribed on a tombstone or plaque, but it may also be used in a figurative sense. Some epitaphs are specified by the person themselves be ...

Epitaph
were included phrases that may have been introduced to flatter Charlemagne: for example, the reference to the fact that Hildegard was the epitome of beauty, wisdom and virtue. This were common words used by medieval writers to their rulers. Pope Adrian I, in a letter to Charlemagne, expressed his condolences over the untimely death of Hildegard. Hildegard used her position as Queen consort to obtain for her siblings several territorial and monetary benefits; as far was known, she was the only of Charlemagne's wives or concubines who managed to obtain for a relative an office after her marriage. In addition, was also assumed that she, like other medieval queens, held several roles, such as ruling the court or being the representative (or regent) of the sovereign during his absence. This could mean that she was in close contact with all the government decision of her husband. Together with her husband, she was the main benefactress of the Monastery of Kempten (founded in 752), who received financial and political support. From Italy they brought after the conquest of the Kingdom of the Lombards in 773/774 the relics of the Roman
martyr A martyr (, ''mártys'', "witness", or , ''marturia'', stem Stem or STEM may refer to: Biology * Plant stem, the aboveground structures that have vascular tissue and that support leaves and flowers ** Stipe (botany), a stalk that supports some ...

martyr
s Saints Gordianus and Epimachus to Kempten, whom, along with the Virgin Mary, are the patrons of the monastery. Hildegard was extensively mentioned in Kempten as one of the founders; her bust graced the pin crest and some coins of the later Imperial Abbey. In the late Middle Ages it was alleged that Hildegard was buried in Kempten, as well as her son Louis the Pious; there was built the so-called Hildegard Chapel (''Hildegardkapelle''), which quickly became a place of pilgrimage and where several miracles are reported. This explains why the Queen was revered as a saint in the
Allgäu The Allgäu (Standard German: , also Allgovia) is a region in Swabia Swabia ; german: Schwaben , colloquially ''Schwabenland'' or ''Ländle''; archaic English also Suabia or Svebia is a cultural, historic History (from Greek , ''histori ...

Allgäu
and always presented with an aureola. In the 17th century the building of another Hildegard Chapel at the ''Fürstäbtliche'' of Kempten was projected, but this was abandoned after the secularization. Even in modern times, the memory of Hildegard and her importance in the urban development at Kempten is still very noticeable: The central square in front of
St. Lorenz Basilica St. Lorenz Basilica is a baroque minor Basilica in Kempten, Bavaria, named after the Christian martyr Lawrence of Rome. Image:Basilika St. Lorenz Kempten (Foto Hilarmont).jpg, The exterior of St. Lorenz Basilica It is the former abbey church of t ...

St. Lorenz Basilica
was named the Hildegard Square (''Hildegardplatz'') in her honor. In 1862 a Neo-Gothic Hildegard fountain (''Hildegardsbrunnen'') was erected in the square, which was closed in the 1950s. An idealized portrait painted by Franz Weiß was part of the facade of the local ''Landhaus''. Also, in 1874 was founded the ''Hildegardis-Gymnasium Kempten''
Lyceum The lyceum is a category of educational institution An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education, including preschools, childcare, primary-elementary schools, secondary-high schools, and universities. ...

Lyceum
, originally exclusively for girls. At the Lindau Road, close to the school, was also located another Hildegard Fountain. On the facades of some houses were shown the image of the Queen, and on the edge of the Kempten forest there was the Hildegard Oak (''Hildegardseiche'') for several years until it was replaced by a new plantation. Until the 1950s, many girls born in Kempten were named after Hildegard.


Children

Although Charlemagne already had an older son (
Pepin the Hunchback Pepin, or Pippin the Hunchback (French: Pépin le Bossu, German: Pippin der Buckelige; c. 768 / 769 – 811) was a Franks, Frankish prince. He was the eldest son of Charlemagne and noblewoman Himiltrude. He developed a kyphosis, humped back after ...
) from his first union with
Himiltrude Himiltrude (c. 742-c.780?) was the mother of Charlemagne's first-born son Pippin the Hunchback. She was acknowledged by Pope Stephen III as the wife of Charlemagne, however, is often referred to as a Concubinage, concubine. Life Little is known ...
, he was not considered an heir after the rebellion in which he participated in 792. In his will of 806 (the called ''Divisio Regnorum''), he divided his domains between the three surviving sons of Hildegard. Because her son Louis the Pious succeeded Charlemagne as Emperor, Hildegard is often called "mother of Kings and Emperors". *
Charles Charles is a masculine given name A given name (also known as a first name or forename) is the part of a personal name A personal name, or full name, in onomastic Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, histor ...
(772/773 – 4 December 811 in Bavaria), the eldest son according to Paul the Deacon, who recorded his parentage.''Pauli Gesta Episcop. Mettensium'', ''Monumenta Germaniæ Historica Scriptorum'' II, p. 265. His father associated him in the government of Francia and Saxony in 790, and crowned joint King of the Franks at Rome on 25 December 800, but died before his father. * Adelaide (September 773/June 774 in Italy – July/August 774, buried Metz, Abbey of Saint-Arnould). Born during the siege of Pavia, she was named after an early deceased sister of Charlemagne. She died during the return journey to France. She is named daughter of King Charles by Paul the Deacon, when recording her place of burial, who also wrote an epitaph to "''Adeleidis filia Karoli regis''" specifying that she was born in Italy. *
Rotrude Rotrude (or sometimes referred to as Hruodrud/Hruodhaid) (c.775 – 6 June 810) was a Frankish princess, the second daughter of Charlemagne from his marriage to Hildegard, wife of Charlemagne, Hildegard. Early life Few clear records remain of Rot ...
(775 – 6 June 810), named after her paternal great-grandmother. "''Hruodrudem et Bertham et Gislam''" are named daughters of King Charles and Hildegard by Einhard. Angilbert's poem ''Ad Pippinum Italiæ regum'' names (in order) "''Chrodthrudis...Berta...Gisla et Theodrada''" as daughters of King Charles. She was betrothed in 781 with
Constantine VI Constantine VI ( gr, Κωνσταντῖνος, ''Kōnstantinos''; 14 January 771 – before 805Cutler & Hollingsworth (1991), pp. 501–502) was Byzantine emperor This is a list of the Byzantine emperors from the foundation of Constantino ...

Constantine VI
, Emperor of Byzantium, and received the name ''Erythro'' in preparation for her future wedding. The betrothal was broken in 787, and she, like all her sisters, remained unmarried. From a liaison with Rorgo of Rennes she had one son, the latter Louis, Abbot of Saint-Denis. *
Carloman Carloman may refer to: * Carloman (fl. late 6th century), father of Pepin of Landen * Carloman (mayor of the palace) (ruled 741–47) * Carloman I, king of the Franks (768–71) * Carloman, birth name of Pepin of Italy (781–810) * Carloman, son of ...
(777 – 8 July 810 in Milan, buried Verona, San Zeno Maggiore), renamed ''Pepin'' in Rome on 15 April 781 by Pope Adrian I, and crowned
King of Italy King of Italy ( it, links=no, Re d'Italia; la, links=no, Rex Italiae) was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire The Western Roman Empire comprises the western provinces of the Ro ...

King of Italy
that day. He also predeceased his father. *
LouisLouis may refer to: * Louis (given name) Louis is the French language, French form of the Old Frankish language, Old Frankish given name Clovis (given name), Chlodowig and one of two English language, English forms, the other being Lewis (given nam ...

Louis
(Chasseneuil-du-Poitou, Vienne, 16 April/September 778 – 20 June 840 in Ingelheim, buried Metz, Abbey of Saint-Arnould). He is named, and his parentage recorded, by Paul the Deacon, which specifies that he was his parents' third son, born a twin with Lothair. Crowned King of
Aquitaine Aquitaine ( , , ; oc, Aquitània ; eu, Akitania; Poitevin-Saintongeais Poitevin-Saintongeais (french: poitevin-saintongeais, link=no, ; autonym: ''poetevin-séntunjhaes''; also called ''Parlanjhe'', ''Aguiain'' or even ''Aguiainais'' in Fren ...

Aquitaine
in Rome on 15 April 781 by Pope Adrian I, his father named him as his successor at Aix-la-Chapelle, crowning him as joint
Holy Roman Emperor The Holy Roman Emperor, originally and officially the Emperor of the Romans ( la, Imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as ...
on 11 September 813. * Lothair (Chasseneuil-du-Poitou, Vienne, 16 April/September 778 – 779/80). He is named, and his parentage recorded, by Paul the Deacon, which specifies that he was his parents' fourth son "''qui biennis occubuit''", born a twin with Louis, and also wrote an epitaph to "''Chlodarii pueri regis''" naming "''Karolus...rex genitorque tuus, genitrix regina...Hildigarda''" and specifying that he was a twin. *
Bertha Bertha is a female Germanic name Germanic languages, Germanic given names are traditionally wikt:dithematic, dithematic; that is, they are formed from two elements, by joining a prefix and a suffix. For example, Ethelred II of England, King Æþ ...
(779/80 – after 11 March 824), named after her paternal grandmother. An offer by
Offa of Mercia Offa (died 29 July 796 AD) was List of monarchs of Mercia, King of Mercia, a kingdom of History of Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Saxon England, from 757 until his death. The son of Thingfrith and a descendant of Eowa of Mercia, Eowa, Offa came to ...

Offa of Mercia
to arrange a marriage between her and his son,
Ecgfrith Ecgfrith ( ang, Ecgfrið) was the name of several Anglo-Saxon kings in England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north ...
, led to Charlemagne breaking off diplomatic relations with Britain in 790, and banning British ships from his ports. Like her sisters, she never married, but from her liaison with
Angilbert Angilbert ( – 18 February 814), sometimes known as Saint Angilbert or Angilberk or Engelbert, was a noble Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks, a Germanic tribe and their culture ** Frankish language or its modern descendants, Fran ...

Angilbert
, a court official, she had two sons: Hartnid (about whom little is known) and the historian
Nithard Nithard (c. 795–844), a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Germani) are a category of ancient northern European tribes, fi ...
, Abbott of St. Riquier. *
GiselaGisela is the name of: People Full name * Gisela, Abbess of Chelles (757–810), daughter of Pepin the Short, sister of Charlemagne ** Gisela, daughter of Charlemagne (781–808) * Gisela, daughter of Louis the Pious (born 821), consort of Eberhard ...
(before May 781 – after 800, maybe after 814). Named after her surviving paternal aunt, she was baptized in Milan in May 781. * Hildegard (March/April 783 in Thionville – 1/8 June 783, buried Metz, Abbey of Saint-Arnould), named after her mother (an unusual practice at that time), she is named daughter of King Charles by Paul the Deacon, when recording her place of burial, and also wrote an epitaph to "''Hildegardis filiæ aroli regis'" specifying that she lived 40 days and her mother died after giving birth to her.


Veneration

Hildegard of the Vinzgau is in the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
on
30 April It is the last day of April. Events * AD 311, 311 – The Diocletianic Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire ends. * 313 – Battle of Tzirallum: Emperor Licinius defeats Maximinus II and unifies the Eastern Roman Empire. * 642 ...
.


Sources

*
Einhard Einhard (also Eginhard or Einhart; la, E(g)inhardus; 775 – March 14, 840) was a Frankish Frankish may refer to: * Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples The historical Germanic peoples (from lat, Ger ...

Einhard
: ''
Vita Karoli Magni ''Vita Karoli Magni'' (''Life of Charles the Great'') is a biography of Charlemagne Charlemagne ( , ) or Charles the Great ( la, Carolus Magnus; 2 April 748 – 28 January 814) was King of the Franks The Franks—Germanic-speaking ...
'' (Chapter 18). *
Notker the Stammerer Notker the Stammerer ( – 6 April 912), also known as Notker Balbulus (From la, Notcerus Balbulus), or simply Notker, was a Benedictine monk at the Abbey of Saint Gall, now in Switzerland, where he was a leading literary scholar of the Early ...
: ''Gesta Karoli Magni'' (Book I, Chapter 4) *
Paul the Deacon Paul the Deacon ( 720s 13 April in 796, 797, 798, or 799 CE), also known as ''Paulus Diaconus'', ''Warnefridus'', ''Barnefridus'', or ''Winfridus'', and sometimes suffixed ''Cassinensis'' (''i.e.'' "of Monte Cassino"), was a Benedictine monk, sc ...
: Epitaphium Hildegardis reginae * ''
Royal Frankish Annals The ''Royal Frankish Annals'' (Latin: ''Annales regni Francorum''), also called the ''Annales Laurissenses maiores'' ('Greater Lorsch Annals'), are a series of annals composed in Latin in the Carolingian dynasty, Carolingian Francia, recording y ...
'' (years 780, 781 and 783) *
Thegan of Trier Thegan of Trier (or Degan of Treves) (before 800 – ca. 850) was a Francia, Frankish Roman Catholic prelate and the author of ''Gesta Hludowici imperatoris'' which is a principal source for the life of the Holy Roman Emperor Louis the Pious, the so ...
: ''Vita Hludowici'' (Chapter 2) * ''
Annales Mettenses priores The ''Annals of Metz'' ( la, Annales Mettenses) are a set of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, k ...
'' (years 780 and 783) * ''
Annales mosellani The ''Annales mosellani'' or ''mosellenses'' (''AM'') or Moselle Annals are a set of minor ''Reichsannalen'' (annals of the Carolingian Empire) covering the years 703 to 798. Its entries are brief and unliterary, but broad in scope and generally ...
''


''Epitaphium Hildegardis reginae''

Note: translated with help from the footnotes recorded i
Karl Neff: ''Critical and explanatory edition of the poems of Paul the Deacon'' in: ''Sources and Studies on Latin Philology of the Middle Ages'', Ludwig Traube, 3rd volume, 4th book, Munich 1908 (ed.)


References


Bibliography

* Reinhard Barth: ''Karl der Große'', Munich 2000. * Matthias Becher: ''Karl der Große'', Munich 1999. * Hans-Werner Goetz: ''Frauen im frühen Mittelalter. Frauenbild und Frauenleben im Frankenreich'', Weimar (u.a.) 1995. * Achim Thomas Hack: ''Alter, Krankheit, Tod und Herrschaft im frühen Mittelalter'', (= '' Monographien zur Geschichte des Mittelalters'' 56), Stuttgart 2009. * Martina Hartmann: ''Die Königin im frühen Mittelalter'', Stuttgart 2009. * : ''Karl der Große'', Stuttgart 2010. * Ingrid Heidrich: ''Von Plectrud zu Hildegard. Beobachtungen zum Besitzrecht adliger Frauen im Frankenreich des 7. und 8. Jahrhunderts und zur politischen Rolle der Frauen'', in: ''Rheinische Vierteljahresblätter'' 52 (1988), pp. 1–15. * Silvia Konecny: ''Die Frauen des karolingischen Königshauses. Die politische Bedeutung der Ehe und die Stellung der Frau in der fränkischen Herrscherfamilie vom 7. bis zum 10. Jahrhundert'', Vienna 1976. *
Rosamond McKitterick Rosamond Deborah McKitterick (born 31 May 1949) is an English medieval historian. She is an authority on the Franks, Frankish kingdoms in the eighth and ninth centuries AD, who uses palaeography, palaeographical and manuscript studies to illumin ...
: ''Karl der Grosse'', Darmstadt 2008. * Michael Richter: ''Karl der Große und seine Ehefrauen. Zu einigen dunkleren Seiten Karls des Großen anhand von Quellen des ausgehenden achten und beginnenden neunten Jahrhunderts''. pp 17–24, in: Franz-Reiner Erkens (ed.): ''Karl der Große und das Erbe der Kulturen'', Berlin 2001. * Rudolf Schieffer: ''Die Karolinger'', 3rd revised Edition, Stuttgart 2000. * Klaus Schreiner: ''„Hildegardis regina“. Wirklichkeit und Legende einer karolingischen Herrscherin'', in: ''Archiv für Kulturgeschichte'' 57 (1975), pp. 1–70. {{DEFAULTSORT:Hildegard of the Vinzgau Udalriching dynasty 750s births 783 deaths Wives of Charlemagne 8th-century Frankish nobility 8th-century births 8th-century deaths 8th-century Christian saints Saints of the Carolingian Empire Medieval French saints Female saints of medieval France Roman Catholic saints Christian royal saints Roman Catholic royal saints