Empress Adelheid and Countess Matilda: Medieval Female by Penelope Nash

By Penelope Nash

This publication compares winning, elite girls, Empress Adelheid (931-999) and Countess Matilda (1046-1115), for his or her relative skill to preserve their wealth and gear in the middle of the profound social alterations of the 11th century. The careers of the Ottonian queen and empress Adelheid and Countess Matilda of Tuscany display a progress of possibilities for girls to entry wealth and tool. those girls are analyzed less than 3 different types: their relationships with friends and family, how they controlled their estate (particularly land), and the way they governed. This research encourages a greater realizing of gender relatives in either the earlier and the present.

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72 Otto addressed Adelheid as ‘always August Lady Empress’ (‘Dominae imperatrici semper augustae’), thus recognizing her political role. He acknowledged that God conferred the ‘rights of empire’ (‘iura imperii’) upon him in accordance with her wishes (‘secundum vota et desideria vestra’); that he knew and experienced her ‘maternal affection’ (‘maternum affectum’), thus demonstrating the importance of the ties of kinship; and that her ‘zeal and piety’ (‘studia, pietatem’) had given him spiritual guidance.

Consequently, although the nobility of early medieval Europe might obtain and express their wealth and power through acquisition of land and ruling actions, rules and regulations would not control such a community unless ties between kin and kith bound society together in harmony. It is difficult for modern analysts to understand exactly the relationships and expectations of kin to each other at that time, but there is no doubt that they were strong and that, if they failed, society fell apart.

14 None was more aware of this than Otto I in his choice of his first wife, Edith, and then, after her death, his second, Adelheid. Adelheid and Her Kin Liudolf (d. 866), the founding father of the successful kin-group that came to be called the Liudolfings, married a Frankish woman from the highest aristocracy, Oda (d. 913). 18 Those two contemporary chroniclers distinguished neither the fact that Æthelstan and Edith had different mothers nor considered their cognatic lineages. 21 That woman was not a worthy consors regni: ‘an unrenowned consors regni bore him [Æthelstan] to the king [Edward]’.

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