Note on paternity of Agatha, wife of Edward The Exile (by Andrey Alexandrovich Frizyuk)
Two main versions of Agatha's parentage have been proposed so
1. Szabolcs de Vajay in his paper "Agatha, Mother of St.
Margaret, Queen of Scotland" ("Duquesne Review", vol.
7, no. 2 (Spring 1962), pp. 71-80) expounded the theory that Agatha
was a daughter of Liudolf, Margrave of West-Friesland (he was
half-brother of Emperor Henry III) (see here)
, by Gertrude of Egisheim. This is
based on statements of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Florence of
Worcester's "Chronicon ex chronicis" that Agatha was a blood
relative of the "Emperor Henry".
2. Rene Jette in his article "Is the Mystery of the Origins of
Agatha, Wife of Edward the Exile, Finally Solved?" ("New
England Historical and Genealogical Register", no. 150 (October
1996): 417-432) pointed out some facts which were not explained by
Szabolcs de Vajay's theory:
A. William of Malmesbury in "De Gestis Regis Anglorum" and
several later chronicles state that Agatha was a Hungarian Queen's
sister. Edward was a loyal supporter of Andras who accompanied him from Kiev
to Hungary in 1046 and lived for many years at his court. Thus it's
highly probable that "a Hungarian Queen" in question was Andras' wife, Anastasia Yaroslavna.
B. According to Szabolcs de Vajay, the marriage of Agatha and Edward
took place in Kiev. This accords with statements of Geoffrey Gaimar
and Roger of Howden that Edward took a Kievan wife "of noble
C. There are several etymological arguments. Agatha, for instance, is
a Greek name quite unknown in Western Europe of that time. On the
other hand, the name Agatha/Agafia was fairly common in the Rurikid
family: all daughters of Yaroslav received Greek names, and we know
that Yaroslav's Byzantine stepmother had an aunt named Agatha.
D. Also, the 11th-century fresco of St Sophia Cathedral in Kiev
represents 5 living daughters/sisters of Yaroslav, all of marriagable
age. One of them is Anastasia the Queen of Hungary, another Elisaveta
the Queen of Norway, the third - Anna the Queen of France, the fourth
- Dobronega the Queen of Poland, but who was the fifth?
It's interesting that the last wife of Vladimir I was apparently the
first cousin of Emperor Henry III. Her daughter Dobronega could have
been described as "filia germani imperatoris Henrici". What
if Agatha was Dobronega's full sister? It seems to me that such a
solution would explain all the evidence that we have in the best
Last updated 18th June 2003