(Between 1025/1035-After 1068)
AGATHA, daughter of --- ([1025/35]-). Agatha is named as the wife of Edward in many sources, but her origin has been the subject of lively debate for years. The early 12th century chronicles are contradictory. The assertion by Orderic Vitalis that she was "daughter of Solomon King of the Magyars" can be dismissed as impossible chronologically. One group of chroniclers suggest a German origin, saying that she was "the daughter of the brother of the Emperor Henry". This includes John of Worcester ("filia germani imperatoris henrici", in a passage which Humphreys speculates was written some time between 1120 and 1131 although possibly based on the earlier work of Marianus Scotus), Florence of Worcester ("daughter of the brother of Emperor Henry"), the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle ("the emperor's kinswoman" and, in relation to her daughter Margaret, "descended from the emperor Henry who had dominion over Rome"). Ailred Abbot of Rievaulx records that "Edwardo", son of "regem Edmundum" [King Edmund "Ironsides"], married "filiam germani sui Henrici imperatoris…Agatha". Matthew of Paris calls Agatha "soror Henrici imperatoris Romani" when recounting the ancestry of Henry II King of England. A second group of chroniclers propose a Russian origin, suggesting that Agatha belonged to the family of Iaroslav Grand Prince of Kiev. For William of Malmesbury, she was "sister of the [Hungarian] queen", which from a chronological point of view could only refer to Anastasia Iaroslavna, wife of King András I. In a 13th century interpolation in one copy of the Leges Anglo-Saxonicæ (written in ) she was "ex genere et sanguine regum Rugorum". The Chronicle of Alberic de Trois-Fontaines names "Agatham regine Hunorem sororem", the Hungarian Magyars frequently, though incorrectly, being referred to as "Huns" in many other sources. Lastly, Roger of Wendover records that "Eadwardus" married "reginæ Hungariæ sororem…Agatham". In considering the German origin theory, the uterine half-brothers ("germani") of Emperor Heinrich III provide a likely candidate. These half-brothers were Liudolf von Braunschweig, Markgraf in Friesland (son of Gisela of Swabia, mother of Emperor Heinrich III, by her first marriage with Bruno Graf [von Braunschweig]), and Ernst von Babenberg Duke of Swabia and his younger brother Hermann IV Duke of Swabia (sons of Gisela by her second marriage). The latter, the Babenberg brothers, born in [1014/16], were both too young to have been Agatha's father so can be dismissed. Liudolf von Braunschweig was first proposed as Agatha's father in 1933, and has been the preferred candidate for many historians since then. His birth date is estimated at [1003/05] which is consistent with his having been Agatha's father. The marriage taking place in Kiev would not exclude a German origin, as contacts were reported between Kiev and the imperial court in 1040, when Russia was aiming to create a tripartite alliance with England and Germany to weaken Denmark, and also in 1043, when the situation required review following the accession of King Edward "the Confessor" in England. The major drawback to the German origin theory is the total absence of onomastic connections between the Braunschweig family and the descendants of Edward and Agatha, although this is not of course conclusive to prove or disprove the hypothesis. The Russian origin theory has also found considerable academic support. Edmund must have had contact with the Russian royal family during his period in Kiev, assuming it is correct, as suggested above, that he spent time there during his exile. There are numerous onomastic connections between the the extended family of Grand Prince Iaroslav and the descendants of Edward and Agatha. For example, the names of Edward and Agatha's own daughters, Margaret and Christina, were both used in the Swedish royal family, to which Grand Prince Iaroslav's wife belonged. In the next generation, among Queen Margaret's own children, the name David is one which seems only to have been used in the Kiev ruling family among all contemporary European royal dynasties. The major problem with the Russian origin theory is the complete failure to explain the source references to Agatha's family relationship with the emperor, which it is unwise to dismiss as completely meaningless. It is of course possible that neither of these theories is correct, and that Agatha belonged to a minor German, Russian or Hungarian noble family the importance of whose family connections were exaggerated in the sources. Edward's relationship to the kings of England may, at the time of his marriage, have seemed remote and unimportant in eastern Europe, especially as England was ruled by Danish kings whose position must then have seemed secure. He may not have provided a sufficiently attractive marriage prospect for a prominent European princess. In conclusion, therefore, there is no satisfactory way of deciding between each of the competing theories concerning Agatha's origin and it appears best to classify it as "unknown". It is unlikely that the mystery of Agatha's origin will ever be solved to the satisfaction of all. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records that, after the Norman conquest, Agatha left England with her children in Summer 1067 and found refuge at the court of Malcolm King of Scotland. Florence of Worcester records that "clitone Eadgaro et matre sua Agatha duabusque sororibus suis Margareta et Christina" left England for Scotland, in a passage which deals with events in mid-1068. According to Weir, in old age, possibly after the death of her daughter Queen Margaret, she became a nun at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but the primary source on which this is based has not yet been identified.
Agatha married Edward of England, son of Eadmund of England King of England and Ældgyth, between 1040 and 1045 in Kyev, UA. (Edward of England was born about 1016-1017, died on 19 Apr 1057 in London, GB and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral, St. Paul's Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AD, GB.)
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