Adelheid II (Gandersheim)

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Adelheid (* autumn 1045 probably in Goslar ; † January 11, 1096 in Quedlinburg ) was the eldest daughter of Emperor Heinrich III. from his second marriage to Agnes de Poitou . As abbess of Gandersheim and Vreden since 1061 and of Quedlinburg since 1063, Adelheid was the successor of her older half-sister Beatrix .


Adelheid was the eldest daughter of Emperor Heinrich III. and his second wife Agnes of Poitou. The two had a total of five children, while the sons' names and dates of birth were recorded by the chroniclers, only the dates of birth of the three daughters were recorded. This was a common practice in the Middle Ages, daughters were only mentioned by name when they got married or took office. Therefore, there are three possibilities for Adelheid's year of birth, but since she was assigned a high office as abbess, it can be assumed that she was the first-born daughter and thus the first of the three dates of birth (1045) can be assigned to her. Not much is known about Adelheid's childhood and youth.

In 1061 Adelheid II first became the successor of her older half-sister Beatrix as abbess in Gandersheim Monastery, and from 1063 also in Quedlinburg. The tradition of appointing the eldest princess to an abbess office dates back to the Ottonian times (9th century). Until well into the 11th century, the important Saxon monasteries of Gandersheim and Quedlinburg were presided over by the first-born royal daughters as abbesses. The main reason for this was to strengthen the king's position in Saxony.

A document issued by Adelheid in 1069 for the Duke's son Magnus Billung is the oldest surviving document from a Quedlinburg abbess. The seal of this document also preserved shows the patron saint of the Quedlinburg collegiate church , Servatius . In this document, Euezza preposita and Eilica decana, two other incumbents of the Convention , about whose staff nothing is otherwise known, are also mentioned by name. The mentioned Eilica could possibly be Adelheid's future successor in Quedlinburg. It is also clearly attested when the Halberstadt Cathedral was consecrated by Bishop Burchard II of Halberstadt in 1071.

Her relationship with her brother Heinrich is controversial in research, especially during the Saxon War (1073-1081). Some sources (e.g. the Codex Diplomaticus Quedlinburgensis) report of her strong political advocacy for her brother's cause and even of a contract killing that she is alleged to have directed. According to a short chronical note from Bernold von Konstanz , Adelheid is said to have been involved in the murder of Margrave Eckbert II of Meißen in 1090 when the murder was carried out by the ruse of a certain Abbess von Quedlinburg, namely a sister of King Heinrich . Meanwhile, other sources present a contrasting picture. Adelheid is said to have been raped on the instructions of her brother, King Heinrich IV . Bruno describes this matter most drastically in his book on the Saxon War :

"[...] namely the shame he did on his sister when he held her down with his own hands until someone else had dishonored her at his command and in the presence of her brother. It was no use that she was the daughter of one Emperor that she was his sister who was excellent by both parents, that she was betrothed to Christ through the holy veil. "

About their pen policy little is otherwise known, except that they Gandersheim already Beatrix practiced there Verlehnung continued the pin materials to be renewed clashes with the canonesses conjured up.

During her term of office, her two important collegiate churches were also destroyed by major fires: " The venerable minster in Quedlinburg caught fire with all its outbuildings (...) and was completely cremated , [...]." Lampert von Hersfeld reports for the year 1070, in Gandersheim the same happened on July 6, 1081. The planning and construction of the Quedlinburg collegiate church, which is still a formative element of the city today, began in Adelheid's tenure, to what extent she was abbess was involved, however, is not recorded. Adelheid died on January 11, 1096 in Quedlinburg and was buried in the local collegiate church. As with their two predecessors, Adelheid I and Beatrix I, in the crypt of the Quedlinburg collegiate church, a grave slab from the time the church was re-consecrated in 1129 commemorates the abbess.


  • Bruno von Merseburg: Brunonis Saxonicum bellum. Bruno's Saxon War. Latin and German. Translated by Franz-Josef Schmale . In: Franz-Josef Schmale (Hrsg.): Sources on the history of Emperor Heinrich IV. (= Selected sources on German history in the Middle Ages. Freiherr vom Stein memorial edition. Vol. 12). Wissenschaftliche Buchgemeinschaft, Darmstadt 1968, pp. 191–405.
  • Lampert von Hersfeld : Annalen (= selected sources on the German history of the Middle Ages. Freiherr vom Stein memorial edition. Vol. 13). Latin and German. Newly translated by Adolf Schmidt. Explained by Wolfgang Dietrich Fritz. 4th edition, expanded by a supplement compared to the 3rd. Scientific book club, Darmstadt 2000, ISBN 3-534-00176-1 .
  • Berthold and Bernold's chronicles (= selected sources on German history in the Middle Ages. Freiherr vom Stein memorial edition. Vol. 14). Latin and German. Edited by Ian Stuart Robinson. Translated by Helga Robinson-Hammerstein and Ian Stuart Robinson. Scientific book club, Darmstadt 2002, ISBN 3-534-01428-6 .


  • Kurt Kronenberg : The abbesses of the Reichsstift Gandersheim. Publishing house Gandersheimer Kreisblatt, Bad Gandersheim 1981.
  • Mechthild Black-Veldtrup : The daughters of Heinrich III. and the Empress Agnes. In: Franz Neiske (ed.): Vinculum Societatis: Festschrift for Joachim Wollasch . Regio-Verlag Glock and Lutz, Sigmaringendorf 1991, ISBN 3-8235-6090-5 , pp. 36-57.
  • Mechthild Black-Veldtrup: Empress Agnes (1043-1077). Source-critical studies (= Münster historical research. Vol. 7). Böhlau, Cologne a. a. 1995, ISBN 3-412-02695-6 (also: Münster, Universität, Dissertation, 1993).
  • Thomas Vogtherr : The Salian abbesses of the Quedlinburg imperial monastery. In: From sacerdotium and regnum. Spiritual and secular violence in the early and high Middle Ages. Festschrift for Egon Boshof on his 65th birthday (= Passau historical research. Vol. 12). Böhlau, Cologne a. a. 2002, ISBN 3-412-16401-1 , pp. 405-420.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Tschuschke, Volker: Die Billunger im Münsterland in: Sources and studies on the history of Vredens and its surroundings, ISBN 3-926-627-06-9 , Vreden 1990
  2. a b Mechthild Black: The daughters of Emperor Heinrich III. and the Empress Agnes . In: Franz Neiske (Ed.): Vinculum Societatis. Joachim Wollasch on his 60th birthday . Sigmaringendorf 1991, p. 36-58 .
  3. ^ Marlow, Christian: The diploma of Adelheid II from Quedlinburg from 1069 . In: Quedlinburger Annalen . tape 16 , 2014, p. 24-28 .
  4. Steffi Bethge: Adelheid II. Abbess of Quedlinburg. In: Eva Labouvie (Ed.): Women in Saxony-Anhalt. A biographical-bibliographical lexicon from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2016, p. 45-46 .
  5. Bernold von Konstanz: Chronik , p. 373
  6. Franz-JosefSchmale: Sources on the history of Emperor Heinrich IV. The letters of Heinrich IV. The song of the Saxon War. Bruno's Saxon War. The life of Emperor Heinrich IV. (= Selected sources on German medieval history. Volume 12) Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2000, ISBN 978-3-534-01030-1 .
  7. Bruno's book from the Sachsenkrieg , p. 205
  8. ^ Lampert von Hersfeld, Annalen , p. 125
predecessor Office Successor
Beatrix I. Abbess of Quedlinburg