Sainted Women of the Dark Ages

Sainted Women of the Dark Ages

Book Pages: 368 Illustrations: Published: March 1992

Gender and Sexuality, Pre-Modern Studies > Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Religious Studies

Sainted Women of the Dark Ages makes available the lives of eighteen Frankish women of the sixth and seventh centuries, all of whom became saints. Written in Latin by contemporaries or near contemporaries, and most translated here for the first time, these biographies cover the period from the fall of the Roman Empire and the conversion of the invading Franks to the rise of Charlemagne's family.
Three of these holy women were queens who turned to religion only after a period of intense worldly activity. Others were members of the Carolingian family, deeply implicated in the political ambitions of their male relatives. Some were partners in the great Irish missions to the pagan countryside and others worked for the physical salvation of the poor. From the peril and suffering of their lives they shaped themselves as paragons of power and achievement. Beloved by their sisters and communities for their spiritual gifts, they ultimately brought forth a new model of sanctity.
These biographies are unusually authentic. At least two were written by women who knew their subjects, while others reflect the direct testimony of sisters within the cloister walls. Each biography is accompanied by an introduction and notes that clarify its historical context. This volume will be an excellent source for students and scholars of women's studies and early medieval social, religious, and political history.


“Students of the history of Christianity, especially of the conversion of the Franks, or those intent on better understanding the history of women in the early Middle Ages will find this a rich source book.” — Penny Gill , Church History

"This volume will become a standard part of many surveys of early medieveal history as well as required reading in topical courses on women in the Middle Ages and hagiography." — Patrick J. Geary, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

JoAnn McNamara is Professor of History Emerita at Hunter College, City University of New York.

John E. Halborg is a parochial vicar at St. Thomas More Church in New York City.

Gordon Whatley is Professor of English at Queen’s College, City University of New York.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Note on Language and Abbreviations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Wives, Concubines, and Children of Merovingian Kings xii

Ancestors of Charlemagne xiv

Introduction 1

1. Genovefa, Virgin of Paris (423–502) 17

2. Clothild, Queen of the Franks (d. 544) 38

3. Monegund, Widow and Recluse of Tours (d. 570) 51

4. Radegund, Queen of the Franks and Abess of Poitiers (ca. 525–587) 60

5. Eustadiola, Widow of Bourges (594–684) 106

6. Caesaria II, Abbess of Saint Jean of Arles (ca. 550) 112

7. Resticula, Abbess of Arles (ca. 556–632) 119

8. Glodesind, Abbess in Metz (ca. 600) 137

9. Burgundofara, Abbess of Faremoutiers (603–645) 155

10. Sadalberga, Abbess of Laon (ca. 605–670) 176

11. Rictrude, Abbess of Marchiennes (ca. 614–688) 195

12. Gertrude, Abbess of Nivellles (628–658) 220

13. Aldegund, Abbess of Maubeuge (d. ca. 684)
Waldetrude, Abbess of Mons (d. ca. 688) 235

14. Balthild, Queen of Neustria (d. ca. 680) 264

15. Bertilla, Abbess of Chelles (d. ca. 700) 279

16. Anstrude, Abbess of Laon (ca. 645–d. before 709) 289

17. Austreberta, Abbess of Pavilly (650–703) 304

Bibliography 327

Index 335
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1216-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1200-0
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