Book Series Medieval History (Outside a Series)

Judith of West Francia, Carolingian Princess and First Countess of Flanders

Biographical Elements and Legacy

Steven Vanderputten (ed)

  • Pages: approx. 220 p.
  • Size:178 x 254 mm
  • Illustrations:22 col., 5 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2024

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60461-9
  • Hardback
  • Forthcoming (Sep/24)


This collection offers an accessible discussion of the dramatic life and enduringly influential legacy of the enigmatic Judith of West Francia, granddaughter of Charlemagne and first countess of Flanders.


Judith of West Francia is one of the most enigmatic of Charlemagne’s early descendants. The daughter of the king of West Francia and future emperor Charles the Bald and his wife Ermentrude, she was one of only a handful of Carolingian princesses who were destined for marriage. Over the course of her teenage years she married two successive kings of Wessex, became the first consecrated queen of England, was widowed twice, returned to Francia with an immense dowry, and sparked a major diplomatic incident when she eloped with a nobleman from Flanders called Baldwin. Eventually she married Baldwin in early 864, and together they established the dynasty of the counts of Flanders. In doing so the couple laid the groundwork for what would become one of the mightiest and most prestigious territorial principalities in north-western Europe in the tenth and eleventh centuries. But even in the tenth century, exceedingly few written memories of Judith’s life survived. This explains why she was never the subject of a biography in the medieval or early modern eras, and why scholarship’s understanding of her life and legacy remains highly fragmented. This volume sets the record straight, offering an accessible and interdisciplinary discussion of all relevant and documented aspects of Judith’s life and legacy.


Steven Vanderputten, Introduction: Judith of Flanders as a Historical Figure, Figurehead of Dynastic Legitimation, and Source of Literary Imagination
Charles West, Judith’s Elopement, set in the Context of Ninth-Century Politics and Ideology
Brigitte Meijns, The Question of The Emergence and Early Development of the County of Flanders
Els De Paermentier, The Early Countesses of Flanders: Profile and Power
Lisa Demets, Judith in the Literary Imagination of the Late Medieval and Early Modern Eras
Georges Declercq, Looking for Judith’s Burial Site
Geert Vermeiren, The Discovery of Seven Elite Graves in the Narthex of Saint-Peter’s abbey in Ghent
Jessica Palmer, Isabelle De Groote and Maïté Rivollat , Anthropological Analysis of ‘Judith’ and the Six Other Remains.