Online Medieval Sources Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography of Printed and Online Primary Sources for the Middle Ages

Source Details

Neel, Carol, trans., Handbook for William: A Carolingian Woman's Counsel for her Son (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press)

Text name(s): Handbook for William

Number of pages of primary source text: 106


Dates: 841 - 843

Archival Reference: 

Original Language(s): 

  • Latin


  • Translated into English.

Translation Comments: 

Geopolitical Region(s): 

  • France


Record Types: 

  • Treatise - Instruction/Advice

Subject Headings: 

  • Carolingians
  • Education / Universities
  • Family / Children
  • Women / Gender


  • Introduction


This is an instructional handbook written by a Frankish noblewoman named Dhuoda for her son William, from whom she was separated. This text lends insight into the relationship between a mother and her child as well as the particular values she wanted him to cultivate.

Introduction Summary: 

The introduction discusses the circumstances under which the text was written, describing the period of warfare surrounding the death of Louis the Pious and the events that forced Dhuoda to be separated from her teenage son. Neel goes on to describe the importance of the text, one of very few women’s works to survive from the Carolingian period, its structure, composition and sources. The end of the introduction discusses Dhuoda’s understanding of how a Christian society ought to operate.

Cataloger: KC