Rotrude Carolingian was born 770 to Charlemagne (747-814) and Hildegard (758-783) and died 6 June 810 of unspecified causes. Charlemagne (747-814).

Few clear records remain of Princess Rotrude's early life. She was educated in the Palace School by Alcuin of York, who affectionately calls her Columba in his letters to her.[1] When she was six, her father betrothed her to Constantine VI of Byzantium, whose mother Irene was ruling as regent. The Greeks called her Erythro, and sent a scholar monk called Elisaeus to educate her in Greek language and manners.[2] However, the alliance fell apart by 786 when she was eleven, and Constantine's mother, Irene, broke off the engagement in 788.

She then became the mistress of Rorgo of Rennes and had two sons and a daughter with him. She never married.

Rotrude eventually became a nun, joining her aunt Gisela, abbess of Chelles. The two women authored a letter to Alcuin of York, who was at Tours at the time, requesting that he write a commentary explaining the Gospel of John.[3] As a result, Alcuin eventually produced his seven-book Commentaria in Johannem Evangelistam, a more accessible companion to the gospel than St. Augustine's massive and challenging Tractates on St. John. Commentators have dated the letter to the spring of 800, four years before Alcuin's death and ten before Rotrude's. [4]

In contemporary views of history, most scholars discriminate between the two phases of Rotrude's life. Political histories of Charlemagne her father discuss her as a princess who was potentially a pawn and a woman of questionable morals [5], while religious histories discuss her as the second nun in the letter from Chelles.[6]


Offspring of Rorgon of Maine (c770-839) and Rotrude Carolingian
Name Birth Death Joined with
Louis de Saint Denis (c800-867) 800 867
Adeltrude of Maine (?-?)


Offspring of Charlemagne (747-814) and Himiltrude (c742-c780)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Pippin the Hunchback (c769-811) 769 811 Prüm
Amaudru (c770-)

Offspring of Charlemagne (747-814) and Hildegard (758-783)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Rotrude (775-810) 770 6 June 810 Rorgon of Maine (c770-839)
Charles the Younger (c772-811) 772 4 December 811 Bavaria
Adelaide (c773-774) 774 Pavie, Lombardy, Italy 774 Italy
Pepin of Italy (773-810) 773 Vermandois, Normandy, France 8 July 810 Milan, Lombardy, Italy Bertha of Gellone (-)
Ingeltrude (?-?)
Louis the Pious (778-840) 778 Chasseneuil, France 20 June 840 Ingelheim am Rhein Theodelinde of Sens (?-?)
Ermengarde of Hesbaye (c778-818)
Judith of Bavaria (795-843)
Lothair (778-c779) 778 France 779
Bertha (779-823) 779 823 Angilbert (c750-814)
Gisela (781-808) 781 Milan 808
Hildegarde (783-783) 783 France 783 France

Offspring of Charlemagne (747-814) and Gersuinda (750-aft800)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Adaltrude (774-) 774

Offspring of Charlemagne (747-814) and Madelgarde de Lommois (c760-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Ruodhaid (c775-852) 775 24 March 852 France

Offspring of Charlemagne (747-814) and Fastrada of Ingelheim (765-794)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Theodrada (784-) 784 9 January 849 Argenteuil
Hiltrude (787-) 787

Offspring of Charlemagne (747-814) and Regina (c780-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Drogo of Metz (801-855) 17 June 801 8 December 855 Luxeuil
Hugh (802-844) 802 844

Offspring of Charlemagne (747-814) and Ethelind (c780-)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Richbod (805-844) 805 844
Theodoric (807-819) 807 819


  1. ^ Gaskoin, C. J. B. Alcuin: His Life and His Work. New York: Russell & Russell, 1966
  2. ^ Runciman, Steven. "The Empress Irene the Athenian." Medieval Women. Ed. Derek Baker. Oxford: Ecclesiastical History Society, 1978.
  3. ^ "Epistola Christi Familarum Gislae atque Rechtrudae ad Albinum Magistrum." Patrologia Latina 100:738D-740C.
  4. ^ Ed. Dümmler, Monumenta Germanicae Historica: Epistolae aevi Carolini II, pp 323-325
  5. ^ rotrud_tochter_karls_des_grossen_+_810
  6. ^ Commentaria

Footnotes (including sources)

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