Kunigunde, German Empress, St.
KUNIGUNDE, GERMAN EMPRESS, ST.
German empress also known as Cunegunda; b. c. 980; d. convent of Kaufungen, Hesse, Germany, March 3, 1033 or 1039. The daughter of Count Siegfried of Luxembourg, Kunigunde married Duke Henry IV of Bavaria, the future Emperor henry ii, c. 998. She was crowned queen at Paderborn on Aug. 10, 1002, and on Feb. 14, 1014, she was crowned empress by Pope benedict viii in Rome. She helped and counseled Henry II in affairs of government and repeatedly represented him during his absences. When he founded the Diocese of Bamberg (1007) she presented her dowry as the financial basis for its establishment. After the emperor's death (1024) she retired to the convent in Kaufungen that she had founded earlier (1017). She is buried at her husband's side in the cathedral of Bamberg. Her vita, written c. 1199, is rich in miraculous accounts, for example, that she walked unharmed on 12 red-hot plowshares. Since their marriage was childless, a legend arose that she and the emperor had vowed perpetual virginity. Her cult as a virgin in the Diocese of Bamberg and in other places where she had been active has Marian overtones. Kunigunde was canonized on March 29, 1200.
Feast: March 3, also Sept. 9 (Diocese of Bamberg).
Bibliography: s. hirsch, Jahrbücher des deutschen Reichs unter Heinrich II, 3 v. (Berlin 1862–75). Vita, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Scriptores (Berlin 1826–) 4:821–824. j. braun, Tracht und Attribute der Heiligen in der deutschen Kunst (Stuttgart 1943) 447–450. r. klauser, Der Heinrichsund Kunigundenkult im mittelalterlichen Bistum Bamberg (Bamberg 1957). Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 6:680–681. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4 v. (New York 1956) 1:470–471. ebernant of erfurt, Heinrich und Kunegunde, ed. r. bechstein (Stuttgart 1860, repr. Amsterdam 1968). g. bezzenberger, Leben und Legende der Kaiserin Kunigunde (Kassel 1982). b. neundorfer, Leben und Legende: die Bildwerke am Grab des Kaiserpaares Heinrich und Kunigunde im Bamberger Dom (Bamberg 1985). k. guth, Die heiligen Heinrich und Kunigunde: Leben, Legende, Kult und Kunst (Bamberg 1986). Kunigunde: eine Kaiserin an der Jahrtausendwende, ed. i. baumgÄrtner (Kassel 1997).