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10 Facts About the Mother of Modern Music: Hildegard

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Composer, musician, and mystic Hildegard of Bingen was a visionary in all senses of the word. Read more about her and her contributions to every field from music to medicine below.

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  1. Hildegard, born in the 11th century, is considered the earliest named composer.

 

  1. Her sung morality play, Ordo Virtutum, is often considered one of the earliest operas.

 

  1. Besides the Ordo, we know that she composed at least sixty-nine musical works.

 

  1. She invented her own language – the Lingua ignota (“unknown language”).

 

  1. Hildegard wrote books on every topic from mysticism to medicine.

 

  1. Hildegard practically invented “holistic” medicine, and her two-volume work Causes and Cures advocates for a “green,” natural approach to healing.

 

  1. Her most important books were three visionary works, like the illustrated Scivias, which describes twenty-six of her apocalyptic visions.

 

  1. She was a prolific letter writer who corresponded with the most important political and religious figures of her time. Over 400 of her letters survive.

 

  1. As the leader of her community, Hildegard moved to St. Rupertsberg monastery in 1150 to obtain more freedom for her and her nuns.

 

  1. Though she led a monastic life, Hildegard traveled widely, was influential during her lifetime, and continues to inspire us today.

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