Dhuoda herself mentions very little of him during this time. It is known to have been sent to William in William had been sent as a hostage to the court of Charles the Bald in order to secure the loyalty of his father; Bernard was taken from her before his baptism and was sent to Aquitaine in order to keep him safe. Emperor Louis the Pious , son of Charlemagne , died in His three sons Lothair , Louis the German , and Charles the Bald fought over the partition of the empire.
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Later, she found out he was called Bernard after his father. Her second pregnancy was the result of a brief visit. Deprived of her children and fretful about their future, she set her mind to write a long letter to her firstborn son. Dhuoda took her task seriously. She researched her subjects and added frequent quotes — mostly from the Bible but also from several authors from her book collection such as Augustine of Hippo, Alcuin of York, and Gregory of Tours.
Moving back and forth between poetry and prose, gravity and playfulness, she included prayers, theological lessons, word games, and some medieval interpretation of numbers.
She began with a recognition of her limitations. She then moved on to praise the majesty, greatness, and mercy of God in several pages of passionate doxology. Trust that God is above and beneath, within and without, for he is higher, lower, deeper within and farther without. In fact, in spite of her young age given the common age of marriage in her times, she was probably between 30 and 35 she believed she would not live long. She might have been ill, and life expectation was low in those days.
My son, you will have learned doctors to teach you many more examples, more eminent and of greater usefulness, but they are not of equal status with me, nor do they have a heart more ardent than I, your mother, have for you, my firstborn son! She urged him to respect his father, support him in his old age, and pray that he might get along with others.
Concord was, at that time, more than a cherished ideal. It made a difference between life and death. She also included specific instructions on prayer with examples to imitate and meditation on the Psalms.
Flourish ever in Christ.
Handbook for William : A Carolingian Woman's Counsel for Her Son
Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. The Frankish society was extremely patriarchal. Willima wrote the Liber Manualis for her son William, whom she entreated to share the work with his younger brother when he became older. As war raged in the crumbling Carolingian Empire, the grieving mother, fearing for the spiritual and physical welfare of her absent sons, began in to write her loving counsel in a handbook.
Handbook for William: A Carolingian Woman's Counsel for Her Son, Trans. by Carol Neel
Dhuoda and Her Handbook – A Mother’s Cry
DHUODA HANDBOOK FOR WILLIAM PDF