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Baudovinia (fl. c. 600) was a nun and hagiographer at the convent of Holy Cross of Poitiers. Very little is known about her.

She is the author of the "second part" (in truth a new version) of the Vita Radegundis,[1] a biography of Frankish queen and founder of the Holy Cross abbey, Radegund, which she wrote at Chelles Abbey sometime between 599 and 614.[2] With the former half having been written by Venantius Fortunatus, she regarded her work like the latter half of a diptych.[3]

Based on her personal knowledge of Radegund, Fortunatus's biography, and hagiographical sources, Baudovinia created a portrait of a devout yet politically shrewd woman who used her worldly power to sustain the monastery.[4] Her work has been characterised as faithful to the picture painted by Fortunatus, but more significantly influenced by the ideology of Caesarius of Arles's Regula Virginum with the clear purpose of providing a model of sanctity for the nuns of her generation.[5] The work is focused on the later stages of Radegund's life, when Radegund lived in a cell near Poitiers.[6]

Scholars have noted the thematic differences between Fortunatus' and Baudovinia's biographies: whereas the former focuses on Radegund's deference to authority, the latter highlights her role as diplomat and protector of her community of nuns. While Fortunus relates the extensive self-mutilation Radegund performed, Baudovinia discusses her letter writing, her actions on behalf of the Church and individuals, her traveling to collect relics and, most importantly, her efforts to gain a fragment of the True Cross from Justin II, the Byzantine Emperor.[7] The book also includes all of the miracles performed by Radegund.[4][8]

She is memorialized in The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago.


  1. ^ Translated into English in McNamara, Halborg and Whatley (eds.), Sainted Women, pp. 86–105
  2. ^ Lerner, Creation of Feminist Consciousness, p. 249; Smith, "Radegundis Peccatrix", p. 324
  3. ^ Smith, "Radegundis Peccatrix", p. 324
  4. ^ a b Dorothy Disse. "Daughters, I Chose You". Other Women's Voices. Retrieved 19 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Lerner, Creation of Feminist Consciousness, pp. 249–50; Smith, "Radegundis Peccatrix", pp. 324–26
  6. ^ Lerner, Creation of Feminist Consciousness, p. 250
  7. ^ Emanuel, Curt. "If You Couldn't Live as a Virgin at Least You Could Die as One". Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Margaret Schaus (20 September 2006). Women and Gender in Medieval Europe: An Encyclopedia. CRC Press. p. 694. ISBN 978-0-415-96944-4. Retrieved 18 October 2012. 


  • Baudonivia. "Life of Radegund."
  • Eckenstein, Lina. Woman under monasticism: chapters on saint-lore and convent life between A.D. 500 and A.D. 1500. University Press, 1896.
  • McNamara, Jo Ann and John E. Halborg. Sainted Women of the Dark Ages. Durham: Duke University Press,1992.
  • Mulhberger, Steve. “Overview of Late Antiquity--The Sixth Century,” ORB Online Encyclopedia. <>
  • Wemple, Suzanne Fonay. "Scholarship in Women’s Communities" in Women in Frankish Society: Marriage and the Cloister, 500 to 900 : University of Pennsylvania Press, 1981.
  • Lerner, Gerda (1993), The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: From the Middle Ages to Eighteen-Seventy, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-506604-9 
  • McNamara, Jo Ann; Halborg, John E.; Whatley, E. Gordon; Watt, D. E. R., eds. (1992), Sainted Women of the Dark Ages, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, ISBN 0-8223-1200-X 
  • Smith, Julia M. H. (2009), "Radegundis Peccatrix: Authorizations of Virginity in Late Antique Gaul", in Rousseau, Philip; Papoutsakis, Manolis, Transformations of Late Antiquity: Essays for Peter Brown, Burlington: Ashgate, pp. 303–26, ISBN 0-7486-1110-X