Young Girls from the Middle Ages


Daughter of Charlemagne

GiselaGisela was born sometime between 770 and 781. No birth date was ever recorded for her. She was the second or third daughter of King Charles of the Franks (Charlemagne) and his wife, Hildegard of Savoy. Gisela’s mother was Charlemagne’s first wife. Hildegard and Charlemagne had 6 children before Hildegard died.

Gisela was educated at Aachen, the site of Charles’ castle. This town is located in Germany near the city of Bonn and close to the Rhine River. Her father was a very religious man and his chapel still stands today. Charlemagne believed in education and thought it important that his children be able to read and write.

Some girls were sent to monasteries to study, but Charlemagne had his daughters educated at home. Gisela would have more than likely been educated by Alcuin, an Anglo-Saxon scholar brought to the castle by her father. In her lessons, Gisela would have studied Latin. Most books were written in Latin. She would have written on wax tablets with a stylus.

  • Charles the Great

    An illumination of Charles the Great being crowned Emperor.

  • Wax tablet and stylus

    A wax tablet like the one Gisela might have used at her lessons.

  • Woad plant

    The woad plant. Its roots were used to make blue dyes. These plants are in the Medieval garden at the Cloisters museum in New York.

  • Fabric dyed with woad

    The material above was colored blue by dye made from the roots of the woad flower plant.

  • Throne

    The throne of Charles the Great in Aachen, Germany.

  • Charlemagne's palace

    A model of Charles the Great's castle, where Gisela lived.

  • Carolingian manuscript

    This book was produced under the rule of Gisela's father, Charlemagne. It is now on display at the French National Library in Paris.


creative child toy bank logos