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Hrotswith von Gandersheim

Hrotswith (hrôtsvētˈ) [key] or Roswitha von Gandersheim rôsvēˈtä fən gänˈdərs-hĪm, 10th-century German dramatist, a nun. Of a noble Saxon family, Hrotswith was well educated. Her long epic poems—one including a fragment on Emperor Otto I, one on the founding of the abbey of Gandersheim—and shorter poems on religious subjects were written in Latin hexameters. She is best known for six plays written in the style of Terence, with intent to supplant Roman immorality by Christian piety. They are Passio Gallicanus, Dulcitius, Callimachus, Sapientia, Abraham, and Paphnutius. Hrotswith's plays show considerable power of characterization, a happy sense of humor, and deep piety. The dialogues are lively and the scenes move quickly. The plays appear to have been written for actual presentation by students in the abbey.

See study, with bibliography, by A. L. Haight (1978).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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