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Gerberga of Saxony (c. 910–969)

Gerberga of Saxony (c. 910–969)

Queen and regent of France Name variations: Gerberge de Saxe. Born in Germany around 910 (some sources cite 913 or 919); died in France on May 5, 969 (some sources cite 984); daughter of Henry I the Fowler (c. 876–936), Holy Roman emperor (r. 919–936), and Matilda of Saxony (c. 892–968); sister of Otto I the Great (912–973), king of Germany (r. 936–973), Holy Roman emperor (r. 962–973), and Hedwig (c. 915–965); married Duke Giselbert also known as Gilbert, duke of Lotharingia (Lorraine), in 929 (died 931); married Louis IV (918–954), king of France (r. 936–954), in 939; children: (first marriage) Gerberga of Lorraine (who married Adalbert, count of Vermandois); (second marriage) several surviving children, including Lothair (941–986), king of France (r. 954–986); Charles (b. 953), duke of Upper Lorraine; Matilda Martel (943–c. 982).

Gerberga was a Saxon princess, the daughter of Henry the Fowler of Germany and Matilda of Saxony . At age 19, she married Duke Giselbert of Lotharingia, but was widowed only two years later. She then married Louis IV of France as part of an alliance between the French monarch and her father. In the tradition of politically active French queens, Gerberga headed peace delegations and negotiated treaties. Widowed again in 954, Gerberga ruled France as regent until her son Lothair came of age. She was a valiant queen-regent who used her substantial army to keep herself in power, and thus ensure the throne for Lothair. In one example of her militancy, she captured a city from a besieging traitor and had the traitor beheaded in public to discourage further acts of disobedience by her subjects. After Lothair took over the reins of government, Gerberga retired to her own estates, where she died in 969.

Laura York , Riverside, California

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