Adelaide of Quedlinburg (977–1045)

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Adelaide of Quedlinburg (977–1045)

German abbess of Quedlinburg, a convent famous for the erudition of its nuns. Name variations: Adelheid of Germany; Adelheid of Quedlinburg. Born in 977 in the Holy Roman Empire; died at the abbey of Quedlinburg, Germany, in 1045; daughter of Holy Roman emperor Otto II (r. 973–983) and Empress Theophano of Byzantium (c. 955–991); sister of Otto III, Holy Roman emperor (r. 983–1002); granddaughter of Adelaide of Burgundy (931–999), Italian queen and empress; never married; no children.

Born into the ruling family of Germany, Adelaide received an excellent education as a child. Her parents planned a cloistered life for her, instead of a politically motivated marriage to a foreign ruler or noble, the more common fate of royal daughters. However, Otto and Theophano's plans were threatened in 984 when the seven-year-old girl was kidnapped to be used as a political pawn by the supporters of her parents' rebellious enemy, Henry the Quarrelsome of Bavaria. Adelaide was eventually returned safely to her family, and a defeated Henry was required to give her the abbey of Vreden as compensation for his treatment of her.

Adelaide entered the religious life as a young woman, taking nun's vows and continuing her studies. She eventually served as the abbess of several convents, including the wealthy establishment of Quedlinburg, famous for the great learning of its nuns. Adelaide executed her many duties as abbess well and became known for both her excellent learning and her true piety. The abbess was about 68 years old when she died at Quedlinburg.

Laura York , Anza, California

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Adelaide of Quedlinburg (977–1045)

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