Vladimir I of Kiev
(Abt 0958-1015)
Olov II Skotkonung King of Sweden
(Abt 0960-Abt 1020)
Yaroslav I of Kiev
(Abt 0978-1054)
Ingegerd Olofsdotter of Sweden
(Abt 1001-1050)
(Abt 1020-After 1070)


Family Links

1. Edward "the Exile" Saxon Prince of England

Agatha 1 2

  • Born: Abt 1020
  • Marriage (1): Edward "the Exile" Saxon Prince of England about 1040
  • Died: After 1070

   Another name for Agatha was Agafiia.

  Research Notes:

Her origins are disputed.

From Wikipedia - Agatha, wife of Edward the Exile :

Agatha was the wife of Edward the Exile (heir to the throne of England ) and mother of Edgar Ætheling , Saint Margaret of Scotland and Cristina of England . Her antecedents are unclear, and subject to much speculation.

Nothing is known of her early life, and what speculation has appeared is inextricably linked to the contentious issue of Agatha's paternity, one of the unresolved questions of medieval genealogy . She came to England with her husband and children in 1057, but she was widowed shortly after her arrival. Following the Norman conquest of England , in 1067 she fled with her children to Scotland , finding refuge under her future son-in-law Malcolm III . While one modern source indicates that she spent her last years as a nun at Newcastle-upon-Tyne , dying before circa 1093 [1] , Simeon of Durham [1] carries what appears to be the last reference to her in 1070. [2]

Medieval sources
Agatha's origin is alluded to in numerous surviving medieval sources, but the information they provide is sometimes imprecise, often contradictory, and occasionally outright impossible. The earliest surviving source, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , along with Florence of Worcester 's Chronicon ex chronicis and Regalis prosapia Anglorum, Simeon of Durham and Ailred of Rievaulx describe Agatha as a kinswoman of "Emperor Henry" (thaes ceseres maga, filia germani imperatoris Henrici). In an earlier entry, the same Ailred of Rievaulx had called her daughter of emperor Henry, as do later sources of dubious credibility such as the Chronicle of Melrose Abbey , while Matthew of Paris calls her the emperor's sister (soror Henrici imperatoris Romani). Geoffrey Gaimar in Lestoire des Engles states that she was daughter of the Hungarian king and queen (Li reis sa fille), although he places the marriage at a time when Edward is thought still to have been in Kiev , while Orderic Vitalis in Historiae Ecclesiasticae is more specific, naming her father as king Solomon (filiam Salomonis Regis Hunorum), actually a contemporary of Agatha's children. William of Malmesbury in De Gestis Regis Anglorum states that Agatha's sister was a Queen of Hungary (reginae sororem) and is echoed in this by Alberic of Trois-Fontaines , while less precisely, Ailred says of Margaret that she was derived from English and Hungarian royal blood (de semine regio Anglorum et Hungariorum extitit oriunda). Finally, Roger of Howden and the anonymous Leges Edwardi Confessoris indicate that while Edward was a guest of Kievan "king Malesclodus" he married a woman of noble birth (nobili progenio), Leges adding that the mother of St. Margaret was of Rus royal blood (ex genere et sanguine regum Rugorum).[3]

German and Hungarian theories
While various sources repeat the claims that Agatha was daughter or sister of either Emperor Henry, it seems unlikely that such a sibling or daughter would have been ignored by the German chroniclers.[4]

The description of Agatha as a blood relative of "Emperor Henry" may be applicable to a niece of either Henry II or Henry III , Holy Roman Emperors (although Florence, in Regalis prosapia Anglorum specifies Henry III). Early attempts at reconstructing the relationship focused on the former. Georgio Pray 1764, Annales Regum Hungariae), O.F. Suhm (1777, Geschichte Dänmarks, Norwegen und Holsteins) and Istvan Katona (1779, Historia Critica Regum Hungariae) each suggested that Agatha was daughter of Henry II's brother Bruno of Augsburg (an ecclesiastic described as beatae memoriae, with no known issue), while Daniel Cornides (1778, Regum Hungariae) tried to harmonise the German and Hungarian claims, making Agatha daughter of Henry II's sister Giselle of Bavaria , wife of Stephen I of Hungary .[5] This solution remained popular among scholars through a good part of twentieth century.[6]

As tempting as it may be to thus view St. Margaret as a granddaughter of another famous saint, Stephen of Hungary, this popular solution fails to explain why Stephen's death triggered a dynastic crisis in Hungary. If St. Stephen and Giselle were indeed Agatha's parents, her offspring might have succeeded to the Hungarian crown and the dynastic strife that followed Stephen's death could have been averted. Actually, there is no indication in Hungarian sources that any of Stephen's children outlived him. Likewise, all of the solutions involving Henry II would seem to make Agatha much older than her husband, and prohibitively old at the time of the birth of her son, Edgar.

Based on a more strict translation of the Latin description used by Florence and others as well as the supposition that Henry III was the Emperor designated in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, genealogist Szabolcs de Vajay popularised another idea first suggested in 1939. In that year, Joszef Herzog published an analysis suggesting that Agatha was daughter of one of the half-brothers of Henry III, born to his mother Gisela of Swabia by one of her earlier marriages to Ernest I of Swabia and Bruno of Brunswick , probably the former based on more favourable chronology.[7] De Vajay reevaluated the chronology of the marriages and children of Gisela and concluded that Agatha was the daughter of Henry III's elder (uterine) half-brother, Liudolf, Margrave of Frisia .[8] This theory saw broad acceptance for thirty years [9] until René Jetté resurrected a Kievan solution to the problem,[10] since which time opinion has been divided among several competing possibilities.[11]

Kievan theory

Jetté pointed out that William of Malmesbury in De Gestis Regis Anglorum and several later chronicles unambiguously state that Agatha's sister was a Queen of Hungary. From what we know about the biography of Edward the Exile , he loyally supported Andrew I of Hungary , following him from Kiev to Hungary in 1046 and staying at his court for many years. Andrew's wife and queen was Anastasia, a daughter of Yaroslav the Wise of Kiev by Ingigerd of Sweden . Following Jetté's logic, Edward's wife was another daughter of Yaroslav.

This theory accords with the seemingly incongruous statements of Geoffrey Gaimar and Roger of Howden that, while living in Kiev, Edward took a nativeborn wife "of noble parentage" or that his father-in-law was a "Rus king".[12]

Jetté's theory seems to be supported by an onomastic argument.[13] Among the medieval royalty, Agatha's rare Greek name is first recorded in the Macedonian dynasty of Byzantium ; it was also one of the most frequent feminine names in the Kievan Rurikid dynasty.[14] After Anna of Byzantium married Yaroslav's father, he took the Christian name of the reigning emperor, Basil II , while some members of his family were named after other members of the imperial dynasty. Agatha could have been one of these.[15]

The names of Agatha's immediate descendants-Margaret, Cristina, David , Alexander -were likewise extraordinary for Anglo-Saxon Britain. They may provide a clue to Agatha's origin. The names Margaret and Cristina are today associated with Sweden, the native country of Yaroslav's wife Ingigerd.[16] The name of Margaret's son, David, obviously echoes that of Solomon , the son and heir of Andrew I.[17] Furthermore, the first saint of the Rus (canonized ca. 1073) was Yaroslav's brother Gleb , whose Christian name was David.

The name of Margaret's other son, Alexander, may point to a variety of traditions, both occidental and oriental: the biography of Alexander the Great was one of the most popular books in eleventh-century Kiev.

One inference from the Kievan theory is that Edgar Atheling and St. Margaret were, through their mother, first cousins of Philip I of France . The connection is too notable to be omitted from contemporary sources, yet we have no indication that medieval chroniclers were aware of it. The argumentum ex silentio leads critics of the Kievan theory to search for alternative explanations.

Bulgarian theory
In response to the recent flurry of activity on the subject, Ian Mladjov reevaluated the question and presented a completely novel solution.[18] He dismissed each of the prior theories in turn as insufficiently grounded and incompatible given the historical record, and further suggested that many of the proposed solutions would have resulted in later marriages that fell within the prohibited degrees of kinship. He argued that the documentary testimony of Agatha's origins is tainted or late, and concurred with Humphreys' evaluation that the names of the children and grandchildren of Agatha, so central to prior reevaluations, may have had non-family origins (for example, Pope Alexander II played a critical role in the marriage of Malcolm and Margaret). However, he then focused in on the name of Agatha as being critical to determining her origin. He concluded that of the few contemporary Agathas, only one could possibly have been an ancestor of the wife of Edward the Exile, Agatha,[19] wife of Samuel of Bulgaria . Some of the other names associated with Agatha and used to corroborate theories based in onomastics are also readily available within the Bulgarian ruling family at the time, including Mary and several Davids. Mladjov inferred that Agatha was daughter of Gavril Radomir , Tsar of Bulgaria , Agatha's son, by his first wife, a Hungarian princess thought to have been the daughter of Duke Géza of Hungary . This hypothesis has Agatha born in Hungary after her parents divorced, her mother being pregnant when she left Bulgaria, and naming her daughter after the mother of the prince who had expelled her. Traditional dates of this divorce would seem to preclude the suggested relationship, but the article re-examined some long-standing assumptions about the chronology of Gavril Radomir's marriage to the Hungarian princess, and concludes that its dating to the late 980s is unsupportable, and its dissolution belongs in c. 1009-1014. The argument is based almost exclusively on the onomastic precedent but is said to vindicate the intimate connection between Agatha and Hungary attested in the Medieval sources. Mladjov speculates further that the medieval testimony could largely be harmonized were one to posit that Agatha's mother was the same Hungarian princess who married Samuel Aba of Hungary , his family fleeing to Kiev after his downfall, thereby allowing a Russian marriage for Agatha.

This solution fails to conform with any of the relationships appearing in the primary record. It is inferred that the relative familiarity with Germany and unfamiliarity with Hungary partly distorted the depiction of Agatha in the English sources; her actual position would have been that of a daughter of the (unnamed) sister of the King of Hungary (Stephen I), himself the brother-in-law of the Holy Roman Emperor (Henry II, and therefore kinsman of Henry III).

Other theories
In 2002, in an article meant to refute the Kievan hypothesis, John Carmi Parsons suggested yet another possible origin. He made Agatha daughter of a documented count Cristinus (explaining the name Christina for Agatha's daughter) by Oda of Haldensleben, hypothesized to be maternal granddaughter of Vladimir I of Kiev by a German wife, kinswoman to Emperor Henry III. He also floated the possibility that Edward may have married twice, suggesting that the contradictory primary record may in part reflect the confusion between two distinct wives.[20] Recently, one additional theory has appeared. John P. Ravilious has proposed that she was daughter of Mieszko II Lambert of Poland by his German wife, making her kinswoman of both Emperors Henry, as well as sister of a Hungarian queen, the wife of Béla I .[21]

Agatha married Edward "the Exile" Saxon Prince of England, son of Edmund II "Ironside" King of England and Ealdgyth, about 1040. (Edward "the Exile" Saxon Prince of England was born in 1016 in England and died in Feb 1057 in England.)


1 Weis, Frederick Lewis and Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr; William R. Beall and Kaleen E. Beall, eds, Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America before 1700 (8th ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2008.), Line 241-6, , 1-20 (Edward the Exile), 158-23 (Eustace III).

2 Wikipedia.org, Agatha, wife of Edward the Exile.

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