Mechthild of Germany

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Mechthild of Germany (b. 1418 – d. 1482) was a princess and major patroness of the literary arts in the 15th century.[1]

Born to the Count of the Palatinate, Ludwig III, she was married by the age of 15 to Count Ludwig of Württemberg.[1] Five children came out of the marriage but by age 31 she became a widow.[2]:143 She was remarried two years later to the Archduke Albert VI of Austria.[1] After he died in 1463, she retired to her court at Rottenburg am Neckar.[3] This court became a center of flourishing literary culture up until her death.[4]

Some of the literary artists who she supported showed their appreciation for her through the dedication of literary works. Hermann of Sachsenheim dedicated his tale, Die Mörin to her.[5] In addition to this, after their initial meeting in 1460, Niklas van Wyle dedicated 4 of his translations to her.[6]

Amongst many things, she was also known as a bibliophile.[7] Jakob Püterich von Reichertshausen wrote a poem for her called Letter of Honor.[8] In the poem, he lists and compares all the books that he and she had collected in their individual libraries.[8] She had sent him a list of 94 of her books in advance of this poems creation for his use.[8] Many of those in her possession, he had not even heard of before.[8]

In collaboration with her son, Count Eberhard the Bearded of Württemberg, who was married to an Italian princess of the Gonzaga family, Barbara Gonzaga, she founded the University of Freiburg in Breisgau in 1457.[4] She later co-founded the humanistic University of Tübingen in 1477.[4]

She died on August 22nd, 1482 and was buried at the Charterhouse of Güterstein.[2]:144


  1. ^ a b c >Watanabe, Morimichi (2011). Nicholas of Cusa: A Companion to His Life and His Times. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 106. ISBN 1409420396. 
  2. ^ a b Clogan, Paul Maurice (1995). Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Culture: Diversity, Issue 22. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0847680991. 
  3. ^ Eurialus and Lucretia. Rodopi. 1988. p. 65. ISBN 9062039995.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. ^ a b c Camden House Publishing (2001). Camden House History of German Literature. Boydell & Brewer. p. 788. ISBN 1571131035. 
  5. ^ Poor, Sara S. (2004). Mechthild of Magdeburg and Her Book: Gender and the Making of Textual Authority. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 160. ISBN 0812238028. 
  6. ^ Pius II (1988). Eurialus and Lucretia. 9062039995. p. 65. ISBN 9062039995. 
  7. ^ Christ, Karl (1984). The handbook of medieval library history. Scarecrow Press. 
  8. ^ a b c d Jeep, John M. (2001). Medieval Germany: An Encyclopedia. Psychology Press. p. 632. ISBN 0824076443.