Title

Francia as Christendom: The Merovingian Vita Domnae Balthildis

Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Medieval Encounters

Department

Religious Studies

ISSN

1380-7854

Volume

4

Issue

3

DOI

10.1163/157006798X00160

First Page

265

Last Page

284

Publication Date

1-1-1998

Abstract

This essay presents a discursive analysis of the Vita Domnae Balthildis, arguing that it depicts a new model of the Christianization of a kingdom and a new paradigm for the ideal ruler: a queen whose piety and humility lead to the political unification of her country and to its favor before God. First, the use of scriptural allusions portray Balthild as a servant of God in line with key biblical figures of Christianity's past. Second, the text depicts a Francia united in a way that diflers from previous literary models of Christianization, particularly those of Clovis and Constantine. Third, the model of royal, feminine piety is distinct from other Frankish hagiography. Balthild is the linchpin in God's salvific plan for Francia, which itself is envisioned as what later would be called Christendom.