About the Women of the Dark Ages

More than a thousand years before today was a fabulous period where history and legend collided to form what is often known as the Dark Ages. It was an age where Europe was forged. Peering through the mists of time figures emerge, often insubstantially. We see, for example, the legendary King Arthur with his tales of valour and magic. We see also the great leaders of the age – Charlemagne, Alfred, Otto. We see the people – Angles, Saxons, Picts, Scots, Vikings, Franks, Goths to name but a few. It was an age of warriors, kings, popes, saints, slaves, peasants, pilgrims and invaders. But these warrior kings had wives, mothers and sisters – women who became queens, leaders, nuns and saints. Hard as the men are to see, the women are even harder. Dates and even names for these women are often unrecorded, yet they too were part of these tumultuous events. They lived, they were loved, they mattered and it is time they were remembered!

Adelaide of Italy Empress Adelaide

In 947 Adelheid of Burgundy fulfills the destiny planned for her and marries King Lothair of Italy. But 10th century Italy is a treacherous place and during her unhappy marriage and tormented widowhood, it is only Adelheid’s faith which sustains her. There is one man who can help her – Otto, the King of Germany and the most powerful man in Europe. But his help comes at a price. A widower, whose heart lies in the grave with his beloved wife, he demands Adelheid’s lands and her beauty for his own. God’s Maidservant

 

Eadgyth of Wessex and Otto the Great Cover image by Gali Estrange/shutterstock.com

In 929 as an alliance is sealed between the ancient West Saxon dynasty and the new royal family of Saxony, Eadgyth, a troubled Wessex princess is sent to Otto, the young hope of Saxony, a man bred for the battlefront. Despite enemies on the borders, the union appears to be a success. But as Otto prepares himself to take the throne of Germany, Eadgyth finds there are greater enemies away from the battlefields – even in the very heart of the family. The Saxon Marriage

 

judith-of-wessex2

In 856 the young Frankish princess, Judith arrives in Wessex as the wife of King Athelwulf. Unusually for Wessex at that time she has been crowned queen. She becomes stepmother to his children, including seven-year-old Alfred. But this is just the start of a remarkable story of scandal, heartbreak and imprisonment, as Judith emerges into a courageous young woman who will stop at nothing in her search for happiness. Three Times the Lady

 

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In the 840s one man dominates Scottish history – Cinaed (Kenneth) mac Alpin. The Hardy, the Conqueror, the Uniter. He founded a dynasty which would leave its mark on not just Scotland, but the royal houses of Europe. But he did not do it alone. Who was that woman who must have been at his side throughout these tumultuous events? Kenneth’s Queen

 

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In the sixth century the Byzantine historian Procopius records a curious tale of an Anglo-Saxon princess who leads an army over the seas in search of revenge. Known only as The Island Girl or The Girl from Brittia, discover her story. History or legend? You decide! The Girl from Brittia

 

 

About the author: Anna Chant is a writer and mother of three from South Devon, England. As a history graduate, she has long had a love of medieval history. In 2015 she started a novel on the unknown wife of Scottish king, Kenneth mac Alpin, which was published the following year. Anna has fallen in love with the Dark Ages and in particular the often unrecorded and uncelebrated women who lived through those times. She plans to tell the stories of as many as possible!

 

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5 thoughts on “About the Women of the Dark Ages

  1. I’ve had a fascination with the Dark Ages ever since I first read a passing mention of them in my history textbook and asked my teacher what happened during them.

    “Nothing,” she said.

    I’ve been trying to figure out what that must’ve been like ever since.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve sent decades alternately giggling and shaking my head over her answer. In fairness, it wasn’t what she was expected to teach and here was this kid coming out of left field with a question about it. She probably went home thinking, Why did I say that of all things?

        Liked by 1 person

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