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Bertha

Bertha, daughter of the Frankish king Charibert, married King Æthelbert of Kent sometime before 597, on condition that she could continue to practise her Christian faith. With her personal bishop, Liudhard of Senlis, she used the old Roman church of St Martin, Canterbury. She did not convert her pagan husband. Pope Gregory the Great, writing to her in 601, rebuked her for this, but it seems likely that the relationship with the greater Merovingian rulers influenced Æthelbert's acceptance of Augustine's Christian mission in 597. Praising her recent part in the English conversion, Gregory compared her to Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. Described by him as educated, Bertha would be able to read and possibly write Latin, and may be perceived as a figurehead of change in Anglo-Saxon society, heralding the advent of Christianity and literacy. Dates are unknown, but she died before 616.

Audrey MacDonald

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Bertha

Bertha •Cather • naphtha •anther, panther, Samantha •Arthur, MacArthur, Martha •ether, Ibiza •Tabitha • Hiawatha • author • Gotha •Luther • Gunther • Agatha • Golgotha •Bertha, Jugurtha

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