Eadgyth, home for now.
June 20, 2010 9:02 AM   Subscribe

In January, the remains of Queen Eadgyth, wife of Otto I, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, and granddaughter of King Alfred the Great of England, were discovered in the cathedral of Magdeburg in Germany. The remains were sent to England for identification, which was confirmed last week.

  • Michael Wood of The Guardian offers some history to Eadgyth.

  • Rosemary Joyce of UC Berkeley questions whether Eadgyth was really the "Princess Di" of her day.

  • Meanwhile, the popularity of the name Edith continues its decade long decline, dropping from the rank of 565 in 2000 to 846 in 2009.Source: Social Security online
  • posted by Atreides (16 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
    An amazing story, with amazing science behind it. Thanks.
    posted by blucevalo at 9:14 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Lovely story, dead clever science, and nice to know the history of the name Edith, my granny's name!

    The Guardian continuing its sprint down the track to tabloid status with the witless and pointless "Di" comparison on the other hand....
    posted by runincircles at 9:35 AM on June 20, 2010

    Wholly roaming empress!
    posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on June 20, 2010 [5 favorites]

    (Of course she is neither entirely whole, nor freely roaming, nor properly an empress)
    posted by Artw at 9:37 AM on June 20, 2010 [10 favorites]

    Meanwhile, the remains of a couple of kids continue to sit unidentified in an urn at Westminster Abbey.
    posted by Sys Rq at 10:01 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Heh, that always reminds me of the (as far as I know unrelated) Spin Doctors song "Two Princes", which in turn reminds me of a Sarah Silverman show episode, and brings us back to Princess Di since Sarah Silverman is very much the modern Princess Di.
    posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Magdeburg reminds me of the "Ring of Fire/1633" etc series.. thanks for this post though
    posted by infini at 11:11 AM on June 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

    Is this the tread where we wish Happy Father's Day to Alfred the Great and all the other dead kings who had kids?
    posted by GenjiandProust at 11:32 AM on June 20, 2010

    Excellent post. Für deutschsprachige: Ein Jahrtausend deutsche Geschichte.
    posted by vkxmai at 11:42 AM on June 20, 2010

    It's really interesting to me how people read the Princess Di comparison. The first thing I thought of in terms of comparing Princess Diana to Eadgyth, or really any medieval princess, was not about Diana's celebrity and her death, but about her AIDS awareness and AIDS-related charity work example in the 80s and her anti-landmines work, which she started not long before she died. (Diana's biography/timeline including charity work.) One of the things people who didn't live through the 80s may not remember is the terrible and irrational fear that people had about AIDS before it was understood. People believed you could contract AIDS from casual contact. Diana was one of the first public figures to treat people with AIDS normally (shaking their hands and so on) as if they were not contagious. Her approach to people with AIDS makes me think of the sort of pious actions medieval kings and queens undertook, like touching the sick to heal them of the King's Evil (scrofula).

    All of which is a long-winded way of saying I'm not sure the Diana comparison is as far off as Rosemary Joyce thinks it is, mostly because Joyce's impression of Diana is limited to her celebrity and not how she used it for humanitarian purposes, which certainly seems like a modern secular equivalent of religious piety to me.
    posted by immlass at 12:08 PM on June 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

    how is this amazing or even an amazing discovery? all they did was open a sarcophagus in a cathedral and pull a body out. What was the real use of it and I am unclear as to whether the body will be re-interred.

    it seems like the stimulus is even putting archeologists to meaningless work (because egypt is too expensive)
    posted by parmanparman at 12:29 PM on June 20, 2010

    I love HistoryFilter. Thank you, Atredides.
    posted by msjen at 6:11 PM on June 20, 2010

    how is this amazing or even an amazing discovery? all they did was open a sarcophagus in a cathedral and pull a body out. What was the real use of it and I am unclear as to whether the body will be re-interred.

    In this case, they weren't sure if Eadgyth was actually buried where she was supposed to be buried. Only by opening the sarcophagus and discovering the lead coffin and then testing those remains, were they able to confirm that it was indeed Eadgyth's remains. She's an important lady in history, so it was a worthwhile venture. I believe one of the links states that she will eventually be returned to Germany for internment in the original sarcophagus.

    I love HistoryFilter.

    posted by Atreides at 6:42 PM on June 20, 2010

    I really enjoy history and appreciate the hard work done by others to reach their conclusion but it's unfortunate this team couldn't help try OJ Simpson for murder
    posted by Upon Further Review at 8:42 PM on June 20, 2010

    Nitpick: Diana was Lady Diana, Princess of Wales. Or Princess Charles of Wales. She was never, ever Princess Diana; that title formulation is reserved in the UK exclusively for women who were born princesses.
    posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:05 AM on June 21, 2010

    FUCK YES! finally, something that meets my Standards of Dorkery! (My master's thesis work was on the Christianization of the eastern tribes, particularly the Saxons, and the influence of women's religious and royal institutions on said Christianization... "Ottonian" = my specific favorite time period, and one almost no one outside said history dorkification period ever knows about).

    posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:34 PM on June 21, 2010

    « Older Card stock. Tape. ALL DAY.   |   Lessons In Fatherhood... Newer »

    This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments