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By Phyllis R. Brown

Hrotsvit wrote tales, performs, and histories throughout the reign of Emperor Otto the good (962-973). Twelve unique essays survey her paintings, exhibiting old roots and contexts, Christian values, and a shockingly smooth grappling with questions of identification and feminine self-realization.

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Extra info for A Companion to Hrotsvit of Gandersheim (fl. 960): Contextual and Interpretive Approaches

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Around 965. Book III contains the two historical or epic poems. Hrotsvit had begun the first of these, the Gesta, by 965, because in lines 53ff. she praises as a living person Brun, archbishop of Cologne, who died on 11 October 965. In verse 1498 (1504) she alludes to the imperial coronation of Otto II, which took place on 25 December 967, and in the last words of her Third Address to Gerberga, she mentions that she awaits the critical judgment of Gerberga and of Wilhelm, archbishop of Mainz, concerning the poem.

Hrotsvit’s opportunities were determined by her physical location. Gandersheim in Hrotsvit’s time was a community of women, led by ladies from the high nobility, perhaps 20 or 30 in all. Its founders, Liudolf and Oda, were the great-grandparents of Otto the Great. Agius of Corvey, biographer of Hathumoda, the first abbess, mentions no more than five women who lived a common life there in the first generation, together with the widowed foundress Oda (Hathumoda’s mother) and a chaplain (though servants, agricultural workers and other support staff may reasonably be assumed from the beginning).

7: Das reichsunmittelbare Kanonissenstift Ganders­ heim (Berlin and New York, 1973), p. 292. On the Latin form of her name, see Heb. 5:7 (“cum clamore valido et lacrimis offerens et exauditus pro sua reverentia”). [English translations of Clamor validus have varied, perhaps because of a characteristic ambiguity in Hrotsvit’s choice of words. Dronke, for example, gives “Mighty Voice,” “Hrotsvitha,” p. ] 3 Following the dates given by Goetting, Das reichsunmittelbare Kanonissenstift Gandersheim, p.

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