Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eadgyth of Wessex


This is the sort of thing I enjoy reading. Archeologists have discovered what they believe to be the remains of Anglo-Saxon princess Eadgyth (pronounced Edith.) Married to the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I, she died in her thirties, in 946 AD. Her remains were discovered in a lead box in a tomb in Madgeburg Cathedral. If verified, hers will be the oldest identifiable remains of any British royal. She was particularly devoted to St. Oswald, and introduced the veneration of that saint to Germany. Wanting to know a little more about her than just the Wikipedia entry, I pulled down my copy of Sir Charles Oman's A History of England Before the Norman Conquest, and for even more detail, The New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume III. Eadgyth was the granddaughter of Alfred the Great himself (which reminds me that I need to retrieve my copy of Chesterton's The Ballad of the White Horse from my son.) Her siblings were Aethelstan, Aelfweard, Edwin, Edmund, Eadred and Eadgifu. Eadgyth was the great-aunt of Edward the Martyr, and the great-great aunt of Edward the Confessor. Otto's stock continued to rise, even after her death. He learned to read, and his new-found interest in literary and liturgical affairs sparked the Ottonian revival of book-illumination in Germany. Years later, Otto married his son by his second wife to the Byzantine princess, Theophano, niece of Emperor John Tzimices. It was she who introduced the German court to forks, daily baths and other practices of a Byzantine nature. Fascinating stuff.

5 comments:

aaronandbrighid said...

Neat!

I just recently reread Ballad of the White Horse. What a great book, huh?

Ian Climacus said...

Fascinating. Thank you.

John said...

Aaron, yes that book is my favorite Chesterton.

Milton T. Burton said...

This sort of thing fascinates me too. Her world was so different from ours. If you want a similar obsession read about the Scottish Isle of Ionia and its royal burying ground. Even a bunch of Scandinavian kings buried there.

Milton T. Burton said...

"It was during the 9th-11th centuries that the [abbey]cemetery [on the Isle of Iona] became a royal burial ground. In 1549 an inventory of 48 Scottish, 8 Norwegian and 4 Irish kings was recorded. None of these graves are now identifiable (their inscriptions were reported to have worn away at the end of the 17th century) but it is undoubted that Iona is the burial ground for several Kings of Scotland, no matter how unsure the total number may be.

From https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=18762198&postID=76635925511800534&isPopup=true