Land der Hildegard - Hildegard von Bingen

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Place of birth

Her Life › Origin › Place of birth

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Who is interested in Hildegard of Bingen’s place of birth, could – depending on who you ask – receive three clearly different answers. The reason for this uncertainty is the lack of sources from Hildegard’s time. Even her Vita, the description of her life, lacks this detail that is so interesting for us, and is limited to the vague statement that her origins lay on the left bank of the river Rhine during the Holy Roman Empire.

Up to the beginning of the 20th century, Böckelheim on the river Nahe (today: Waldböckelheim or Schlossböckelheim) could call itself Hildegard’s place of birth. This piece of information came from Johannes Trithemius (1462-1516), who was Abbot of the monastery Sponheim and devoted himself to the life of Hildegard. He was the first to mention her place of birth. Why he considered Böckelheim, can no longer be understood today. In general, Trithemius is considered as a chronologist whose depictions have always deserved credibility.

In her detailed 1940s research of Hildegard’s family, the Benedictine nun Marianna Schrader was able to bring in Bermersheim near Alzey into the mystery of Hildegard’s origin. The small town church is considered today as the baptistery of Hildegard of Bingen.

Bermersheim had a competitor when Josef Heinzelmann favoured Niederhosenbach in the district Birkenfeld as the place of birth in 1997. Heinzelmann based his statement on a certificate from the monastery at Disibodenberg from 1112 in which Hildebrecht de Hosebach (today Niederhosenbach) was mentioned. He considered Hildebrecht to be the father of Hildegard and preferred him for chronological reasons over Hiltebertus de Vermerssheym (meant is Bermersheim) determined by Schrader. Altogether, the signs speak for Niederhosenbach and not for Bermersheim, but it is still true to say: Hildegard’s place of birth is not unequivocally known.