Eadgyth

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{son, year, death}
{god, call, give}
{mi², represent, 1st}

Edith of England (Old English: Ēadgȳð) (910 – 26 January 946), also spelt Eadgyth or Ædgyth, was the daughter of Edward the Elder, King of England and Ælfflæd, and the wife of Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor.

Contents

Life

Her paternal grandparents were Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, and his wife Ealhswith.

In order to seal an alliance between two Saxon kingdoms, her half-brother, King Athelstan of England, sent two of his sisters to Germany, instructing the Duke of Saxony (later Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor) to choose whichever one pleased him best. Otto chose Edith and married her in 929. The remaining sister Algiva or Adiva was married to a "king near the Jupiter mountains" (the Alps). The precise identity of this sister is debated. She may have been Eadgifu of England, who married King Charles III of France, or another sister otherwise unknown to history.

In 936 King Henry I of Germany died and his eldest son, Eadgyth's husband, was crowned at Aachen as King Otto I. There is a surviving report of the ceremony by Widukind of Corvey which makes no mention of his wife having been crowned at this point, but according to Thietmar of Merseburg's chronicle Eadgyth was nevertheless anointed as queen, albeit in a separate ceremony. As queen, Eadgyth undertook the usual state duties of "First lady": when she turns up in the records it is generally in connection with gifts to the state's favoured monasteries or memorials to female holy women and saints. In this respect she seems to have been more diligent than her now widowed and subsequently sainted mother-in-law Queen Matilda whose own charitable activities only achieve a single recorded mention from the period of Eadgyth's time as queen. There was probably rivalry between the Benedictine Monastery of St Maurice founded at Magdeburg by Otto and Eadgyth in 937, a year after coming to the throne and Matilda's foundation at Quedlinburg Abbey, intended by her as a memorial to her husband, the late King Henry I.

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