medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Radegund (d. 587; also Radegund of Poitiers, Radegund of Thüringen; in Latin, Radegundis) was a daughter of a king of the Thuringian Franks who had been killed by, and succeeded by, one of his brothers only to be slain in his turn by Chlotar I in 531 before Radegund was twelve. Chlotar brought the young princess back with him to Neustria and, intending to marry her at some time in the indefinite future, had her educated according to her station at his villa near Athies in the Vermandois. Despite reluctance on Radegund's part (this is sometimes considered to have been an early indicator of her attraction to a monastic vocation), the intended nuptials took place probably a little before 540. About ten years later, after Chlotar had murdered Radegund's brother, she fled the court and had herself consecrated deaconess at Noyon by its bishop St. Medard.
Now under the protection of the church, Radegund withdrew to a villa in Poitou and soon founded a monastery for women in the vicinity of Poitiers, installing her adopted daughter, St. Agnes of Poitiers, as its abbess. Probably to evade supervision by the local bishop, Radegund and Agnes affiliated their house with the community of St. Caesarius of Arles and adopted a version of the latter's rule forbidding sisters to leave a convent once they had entered religion there. It is not clear when Radegund actually entered her monastery at Poitou (she may have waited until Chlotar's death in 561). In 567 she acquired a lifelong acolyte in the form of the North Italian poet St. Venantius Fortunatus, who had come on pilgrimage to St. Martin and who stayed on to enjoy Radegund's patronage. One of her early Vitae (BHL 7048) is by him; the other is by one of her nuns, Baudonivia (BHL 7049).
St. Gregory of Tours officiated at Radegund's funeral. She was laid to rest in an extramural church subsequently named for her. Her cult was immediate and her tomb drew many pilgrims. In the ninth century both Radegund and St. Agnes of Poitiers were canonized by Elevatio. Her cult spread widely in the Latin West. Radegund is a patron saint of Jesus College, Cambridge (founded on land and buildings of a convent dedicated to the BVM and to her, it uses part of the latter's church as its chapel).
Some views of Radegund's tomb in the crypt in the originally eleventh-century église Ste.-Radegonde in Poitiers (a replacement for the church in which she was first entombed):
A view from this church's gothic nave into its romanesque choir, including a bit of the entrance to the crypt:
Today (13. August) is Radegund's feast day in the diocese of Poitiers (obligatory in Poitiers itself, optional elsewhere) and her day of commemoration in the Roman Martyrology.
Some period-pertinent images of St. Radegund, queen of Franks:
a) as depicted (portrait; scenes) in an eleventh-century copy of her Vita by St. Venantius Fortunatus (Poitiers, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 250):
b) as portrayed in a twelfth-century roof boss from the collégiale Saint-Mexme in Chinon, on display in the museum of the relatively nearby chapelle Sainte-Radégonde in the same city:
c) as depicted in an historiated initial "I" in an earlier twelfth-century legendary from the abbey of Cîteaux (ca. 1101-1133; Dijon, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 641, fol. 11r):
d) as depicted in an historiated initial "R" in a mid-thirteenth-century gradual for the Use of the abbey of Fontevrault (ca. 1250-1260; Limoges, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2, fol. 169v):
e) as portrayed on the great seal of the priory of St Radegund in Cambridge, in use from the mid-thirteenth- through the late fifteenth-centuries:
A larger view may be found at Arthur Gray, _The Priory of Saint Radegund, Cambridge_ (Cambridge: Cambridge Antiquarian Society, 1898), opposite p. 1:
f) as depicted in two later thirteenth-century panels (ca. 1268-1276) in a now mostly twentieth-century glass window (bay 109) in the église Ste.-Radegonde in Poitiers:
a) lower register at left: reviving a sick person:
b) at center: a miracle at her tomb:
g) as depicted in semi-grisaille (fourth from left) in a set of earlier fourteenth-century glass panels (bay 36; given by canon Thierry in 1328) in the basilique cathédrale Notre-Dame in Chartres (photograph courtesy of Gordon Plumb):
h) as depicted (at right; at left, pope St. Gregory the Great) in an earlier fourteenth-century glass window (ca. 1340) in the entrance hall -- an enclosed porch -- of the Basilika Mariä Himmelfahrt at Gurk (Kärnten):
i) as depicted (at left; at right, a donor praying to her) in an historiated initial "A" in a fifteenth-century copy of a French-language vita of her (Rouen, Bibliothèque Jacques Villon, ms. 1436, fol. 1r):
j) as depicted in the early fifteenth-century Hours of René of Anjou (ca. 1405-1410; London, BL, Egerton MS 1070, fol. 98v):
k) as depicted (at right, removing her royal vestments before adopting religious garb; at left, St. Medard) in a mid-fifteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1455; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 310, fol. 222v):
l) as depicted (right margin, third from top) in a hand-colored woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century _Weltchronik_ (_Nuremberg Chronicle_; 1493) at fol. CXLVIIIr:
m) as depicted in an early sixteenth-century book of hours (ca. 1510; Tours, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2104, fol. 179r):
To join the list, send the message: subscribe medieval-religion YOUR NAME
to: [log in to unmask]
To send a message to the list, address it to:
[log in to unmask]
To leave the list, send the message: unsubscribe medieval-religion
to: [log in to unmask]
In order to report problems or to contact the list's owners, write to:
[log in to unmask]
For further information, visit our web site: