Bingen, Hildegard av


Hildegard av Bingen (ca. 1098–ca. 1179), Germany


Hildegard of Bingen was born in Bemersheim, Germany. She was placed in the care of a monastery at age eight. Eventually she became a nun and then an abbess. She is known today for her music, her knowledge of medicine, and her prophetic visions. Her visions, which she set down in writing, predicted the demise of both Church and Empire.

She frequently corresponded with the popes of her day, who consulted her on both political and religious matters. In 1147–1150 she founded her own convent in Rupertsburg. In the years 1150–1158 (known as her “second period” of creative production) she wrote a large number of antiphones, responsories, hymns, and sequences, as well as a liturgical drama, Ordo virtutum. Hildegard’s compositional style was highly personal; it deviated markedly from “classical” Gregorian chant and was strongly influenced by folk music.