A princess born to the Thuringian royal house. A captive in war, forced to marry the Frankish king who killed her family. A queen, who renounced her position, received consecration as a deaconess, and took monastic vows. A religious leader, who acquired a fragment of the Cross of the Crucifixion for her convent of Holy Cross in Poitiers. And, lastly, a saint, remembered for her healings, exorcisms, and extreme self-mortification. Such was Radegund, a woman who lived through an era defined by headlong change. Honored as a "mother" by subsequent Frankish kings and as a holy woman by her nuns and devotees, Radegund enjoyed a reputation for righteousness that spread throughout the whole of medieval Europe, with later queens emulating her pious achievements. For generations, she defined medieval queenship, female monastic practice, and the expectations associated with holy women. Today, she is often envisioned as a pan-European saint.
Radegund: The Trials and Triumphs of a Merovingian Queen (Oxford University Press, 2023) by Dr. E. T. Dailey presents a new interpretation of this remarkable woman, examining her vibrant life and legacy. Dr. Dailey shows how she succeeded in establishing a place for herself within this difficult and dangerous world, despite the trials she faced. He also demonstrates how Radegund achieved a position of prominence as a woman in a foreign land without resorting to the violence and intrigue that characterized the lives of other prominent women during this period. Based on a wealth of English, French, and German scholarship, this book will equip experts and lay readers with a concise, authoritative, and accessible portrait of Radegund.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.