I’ll be in Rome for Christmas: Ottonian memories of the past at Christmas

Where do you spend Christmas? For medieval rulers, this was a very important question, and one that had many possible answers. In the tenth century, the itinerant Ottonian rulers spent Christmas at many different places across the empire, often at major cities like Frankfurt, Pavia, Rome, Cologne and Ravenna. Celebrating Christmas was one of the…

The Ottonian queen as ‘consors regni’

Uses of the past, or responses to it, are not only to be found in historical narratives, but are also necessarily reflected in a society’s political institutions. The history of Ottonian queenship provides an interesting case in point, since we cannot begin to analyse it without taking a position on the debt it owed to…

Using the past in Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim’s ‘Primordia’

The Primordia de coenobiis Gandesheimensis of Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim, likely composed in the 970s, is often used by historians as an excellent example of female commemoration – that is, how early medieval women, especially in tenth-century Saxony, preserved the memory of their family’s history. In this case, the commemoration came from a convent of canonesses founded…