Matilda, Abbess of Quedlinburg

Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg
Reign 966–999
Successor Adelheid I
Born December 955
Died 999
Quedlinburg Abbey
Burial Quedlinburg Abbey
House Ottonian Dynasty
Father Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Adelaide of Italy
Religion Roman Catholic

Matilda (December 955 – 999), also known as Mathilda and Mathilde, was the first Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg. She was the daughter of Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, and his second wife, Adelaide of Italy.

Taking the veil

Her grandmother, Saint Matilda, founded the Quedlinburg Abbey in 936 and led it. In April 966, in a splendid ceremony requested by her father, the eleven-year-old granddaughter and namesake of Saint Matilda was recognized as abbess by all bishops and archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire.


A year after becoming abbess, her grandmother died, and Matilda was left as the only member of the Ottonian Dynasty in the kingdom when her father and brother Otto went to Italy. Thus, her task was to represent her dynasty and rule over Saxony in a particularly difficult situation.[1]

As regent, Matilda held a reforming synod at Dornberg. The synod was reforming in character and it concerned the church in Germany. In 984, she held an imperial diet at her abbey. At the diet, Henry the Wrangler questioned the right of Matilda's nephew to succeed his father. Matilda successfully defeated his claims and secured the election of her nephew as Holy Roman Emperor, therefore "holding the empire together".[2][3] In 984, Matilda, her mother, Empress Adelaide, and her sister-in-law, Empress Theophanu, became co-regents for Matilda's young nephew, Otto III.[4] A contemporary chronicler described her regency as being "without female levity". Matilda succeeded in restoring peace and authority by leading an army against the barbarians.[2] She was praised for achieving her goals without using military force, even though it was at her disposal.[3]


She died in 999 and was succeeded by her niece, Adelaide I.

Widukind of Corvey, a Saxon historical chronicler, dedicated his writings, among which is the most important work of Ottonian historiography, to Matilda.[1]



  1. 1 2 The New Cambridge Medieval History: C. 900-C. 1024. Cambridge University Press. 1999. ISBN 0-521-36447-7. Retrieved 2009-07-08. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  2. 1 2 Jansen, Sharon L. (2002). The monstrous regiment of women: female rulers in early modern Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-21341-7. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  3. 1 2 McNamara, Jo Ann (1996). Sisters in arms: Catholic nuns through two millennia. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-80984-X. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  4. Yorke, Barbara (2003). Nunneries and the Anglo-Saxon royal houses. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8264-6040-2. Retrieved 2009-07-11.
Regnal titles
Office created Princess-Abbess of Quedlinburg
Succeeded by
Adelheid I
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