We recommend this legally free ebook:
- Matilda of Tuscany, la Gran Donna d’Italia, by Nora Duff (London: Methuen, 1909). English. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library. Another edition (New York, Dutton, 1910) is available at Internet Archive and Open Library, and at ReadAnyBook.com and OnRead.com.
Described as “the woman mighty in war” in Donizo’s Vita Mathildis, Matilda was the most faithful military champion of the Gregorian Reform, by which the one true Church sought to reform the clergy and shake off its domination by dynastic power. When the Holy Roman Empire sought to destroy the Reform and capture the papacy, she withstood the imperial armies for two decades, making possible the later Concordat of 1123. Matilda was also an important figure in the birth of the Crusading movement: a leader (with her mother Beatrice) in the abortive 1074 campaign to aid the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire, a key supporter of the 1087 campaign to Mahdia, and the protector of Pope Urban II when he called the First Crusade.
See also the “pop” article by Peter Olson, “Xena on Rome’s Side”.