Reims, a city in the Grand Est region of France, lies 129 km east-northeast of Paris. The 2013 census recorded 182,592 inhabitants in the city of Reims proper, 317,611 inhabitants in the metropolitan area, its primary river, the Vesle, is a tributary of the Aisne. Founded by the Gauls, it became a major city during the period of the Roman Empire. Reims played a prominent ceremonial role in French monarchical history as the traditional site of the crowning of the kings of France; the Cathedral of Reims housed the Holy Ampulla containing the Saint Chrême brought by a white dove at the baptism of Clovis in 496. It was used for the most important part of the coronation of French kings. Reims functions as a subprefecture of the department of Marne, in the administrative region of Grand Est. Although Reims is by far the largest commune in its department, Châlons-en-Champagne is the prefecture. Before the Roman conquest of northern Gaul, founded circa 80 BC as *Durocorteron, served as the capital of the tribe of the Remi — whose name the town would subsequently echo.
In the course of Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul, the Remi allied themselves with the Romans, by their fidelity throughout the various Gallic insurrections secured the special favour of the imperial power. At its height in Roman times the city had a population in the range of 30,000 - 50,000 or up to 100,000. Christianity had become established in the city by 260, at which period Saint Sixtus of Reims founded the bishopric of Reims; the consul Jovinus, an influential supporter of the new faith, repelled the Alamanni who invaded Champagne in 336. In 496 – ten years after Clovis, King of the Salian Franks, won his victory at Soissons — Remigius, the bishop of Reims, baptized him using the oil of the sacred phial – purportedly brought from heaven by a dove for the baptism of Clovis and subsequently preserved in the Abbey of Saint-Remi. For centuries the events at the crowning of Clovis I became a symbol used by the monarchy to claim the divine right to rule. Meetings of Pope Stephen II with Pepin the Short, of Pope Leo III with Charlemagne, took place at Reims.
King Louis IV gave the city and countship of Reims to the archbishop Artaldus in 940. King Louis VII gave the title of duke and peer to William of Champagne, archbishop from 1176 to 1202, the archbishops of Reims took precedence over the other ecclesiastical peers of the realm. By the 10th century Reims had become a centre of intellectual culture. Archbishop Adalberon, seconded by the monk Gerbert, founded schools which taught the classical "liberal arts"; the archbishops held the important prerogative of the consecration of the kings of France – a privilege which they exercised from the time of Philippe II Augustus to that of Charles X. Louis VII granted the city a communal charter in 1139; the Treaty of Troyes ceded it to the English, who had made a futile attempt to take it by siege in 1360. Louis XI cruelly suppressed a revolt at Reims, caused in 1461 by the salt tax. During the French Wars of Religion the city sided with the Catholic League, but submitted to King Henri IV after the battle of Ivry.
In the invasions of the War of the Sixth Coalition in 1814, anti-Napoleonic allied armies captured and re-captured Reims. In August 1909 Reims hosted the first international aviation meet, the Grande Semaine d'Aviation de la Champagne. Major aviation personages such as Glenn Curtiss, Louis Blériot and Louis Paulhan participated. Hostilities in World War I damaged the city. German bombardment and a subsequent fire in 1914 did severe damage to the cathedral; the ruined cathedral became one of the central images of anti-German propaganda produced in France during the war, which presented it, along with the ruins of the Cloth Hall at Ypres and the University Library in Louvain, as evidence that German aggression targeted cultural landmarks of European civilization. From the end of World War I to the present day an international effort to restore the cathedral from the ruins has continued; the Palace of Tau, St Jacques Church and the Abbey of St Remi were protected and restored. The collection of preserved buildings and Roman ruins remains monumentally impressive.
During World War II the city suffered additional damage. But in Reims, at 2:41 on the morning of 7 May 1945, General Eisenhower and the Allies received the unconditional surrender of the German Wehrmacht. General Alfred Jodl, German Chief-of-Staff, signed the surrender at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force as the representative for German President Karl Dönitz; the British statesman Leslie Hore-Belisha died of a cerebral haemorrhage while making a speech at the Reims hôtel de ville in February 1957. The principal squares of Reims include the
Sigebert I was a frankish king of Austrasia from the death of his father in 561 to his own death. He was the third surviving son out of four of Clotaire Ingund, his reign found him occupied with a successful civil war against his half-brother, Chilperic. When Clotaire I died in 561, his kingdom was divided, in accordance with Frankish custom, among his four sons: Sigebert became king of the northeastern portion, known as Austrasia, with its capital at Rheims, to which he added further territory on the death of his brother, Charibert, in 567 or 568. Incursions by the Avars, a fierce nomadic tribe related to the Huns, caused Sigebert to move his capital from Rheims to Metz, he repelled their attacks twice, in c. 568. About 567, he married daughter of the Visigothic king Athanagild. According to Gregory of Tours: Now when king Sigebert saw that his brothers were taking wives unworthy of them, to their disgrace were marrying slave women, he sent an embassy into Spain and with many gifts asked for Brunhilda, daughter of king Athanagild.
She was a maiden beautiful in her person, lovely to look at, virtuous and well-behaved, with good sense and a pleasant address. Her father did not refuse, but sent her to the king I have named with great treasures, and the king collected his chief men, made ready a feast, took her as his wife amid great joy and mirth. And though she was a follower of the Arian law she was converted by the preaching of the bishops and the admonition of the king himself, she confessed the blessed Trinity in unity, believed and was baptized, and she still remains catholic in Christ's name. Upon seeing this, his brother Chilperic sent to Athanagild for his other daughter's hand; this daughter, was given him and he abandoned his other wives. However, he had her murdered in order to marry his mistress Fredegund. Spurred by his wife Brunhilda's anger at her sister's murder, Sigebert sought revenge; the two brothers had been at war, but their hostility now elevated into a long and bitter war, continued by the descendants of both.
In 573, Sigebert took possession of Poitiers and Touraine, conquered most of his kingdom. Chilperic hid in Tournai, but at Sigebert's moment of triumph, when he had just been declared king by Chilperic's subjects at Vitry-en-Artois, he was struck down by two assassins working for Fredegund. He was succeeded by his son Childebert under the regency of Brunhilda. Brunhilda and Childebert put themselves under the protection of Guntram, who adopted Childebert as his own son and heir. With Brunhilda he had two daughters: Chlodosind. Dahmus, Joseph Henry. Seven Medieval Queens. 1972. History of the Franks: Books I-X at Medieval Sourcebook
Saint Clotilde known as Clothilde, Clotild, Rotilde etc. A princess of the kingdom of Burgundy descended from the Gothic king Aþana-reiks, became in 492 the second wife of the Frankish king Clovis I (r. 481–509. The Merovingian dynasty to which her husband belonged ruled Frankish kingdoms for over 200 years. Venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church as well as by the Eastern Orthodox Church, she played a role in her husband's famous conversion to Catholicism and, in her years, became known for her almsgiving and penitential works of mercy, she is credited with spreading Catholicism within western Europe. Clotilde was born at the Burgundian court of the daughter of King Chilperic II of Burgundy. Upon the death of Chilperic's father King Gondioc in 473, Chilperic and his brothers Gundobad and Godegisel divided their inheritance. From the sixth century on, the marriage of Clovis and Clotilda was made the theme of epic narratives, in which the original facts were materially altered and the various versions found their way into the works of different Frankish chroniclers.
According to Gregory of Tours, Chilperic II was slain by his brother Gundobad in 493, his wife drowned with a stone hung around her neck, while of his two daughters, Chrona took the veil and Clotilde was exiled – it is, assumed that this tale is apocryphal. Butler's account follows Gregory. After the death of Chilperic, her mother seems to have made her home with Godegisil at Geneva, where her other daughter, founded the church of Saint-Victor. Soon after the death of Chilperic, Clovis obtained the hand of Clotilda, they were married in the same year. The marriage produced the following children: Ingomer. Chlodomer, King of the Franks at Orléans from 511. Childebert I, King of the Franks at Paris from 511. Chlothar I, King of the Franks at Soissons from 511, King of all Franks from 558. Clotilde, married Amalaric, King of the Visigoths. Clotilde was brought up in the Catholic faith and did not rest until her husband had abjured paganism and embraced the Catholic Christianity. According to Gregory of Tours' Historia Francorum, when Clotilde had their first child baptised, he died soon after.
Clovis upbraided her. Although Chlodomer did indeed fall ill, he soon after recovered. More healthy children followed. Clotilde's victory came in 496, when Clovis converted to Catholicism, baptised by Bishop Remigius of Reims on Christmas Day of that year. According to tradition, on the eve of the Battle of Tolbiac against the Alamanni, Clovis prayed to God, swearing to be baptised if he emerged victorious on the battlefield; when he did indeed triumph, Clovis took the faith. With him Clotilde built at Paris the Church of the Holy Apostles, afterwards known as the Abbey of St Genevieve. After Clovis' death in 511, she retired to the Abbey of St. Martin at Tours. In 523 Clotilde's sons went to war against her cousin King Sigismund of Burgundy, the son of Gundobad, which led to Sigismund's deposition and imprisonment. Sigismund was assassinated the following year and his body thrown down a well in symbolic retaliation for the deaths of Clotilde's parents. Gregory of Tours claimed – and many others have followed – that Clotilde incited her sons to war as a means to revenge the supposed murder of her parents by Gundobad while others, such as Godefroid Kurth, find this unconvincing and apocryphal.
Subsequently, her eldest son Chlodomer was killed during the following Burgundian campaign under Sigismund's successor King Godomar at the Battle of Vézeronce. Her daughter named Clotilde died about this time. Clotilde tried in vain to protect the rights of her three grandsons, the children of Chlodomer, against the claims of her surviving sons Childebert and Chlothar. Chlothar had two of them killed, while only Clodoald managed to escape and chose an ecclesiastical career, she was unsuccessful in her efforts to prevent the civil discords between her children. After these failures, Clotilde appeared to dedicate herself to a saintly life, she occupied herself with the building of churches and monasteries, preferring to distance herself from the power struggles of the court. Churches associated with her are located at Laon, Rouen. Clotilde died in 545 at the tomb of St. Martin of natural causes. Clotilde's cult made her the patron of queens, widows and those in exile. In Normandy she was venerated as the patroness of the lame, those who came to a violent death and women who suffered from ill-tempered husbands.
In art she is depicted presiding over the baptism of Clovis, or as a suppliant at the shrine of Saint Martin. Several fine images of her remain in the 16th century stained glass window at Andelys, her relics survived the French Revolution, are housed in the Église Saint-Leu-Saint-Gilles in Paris. Clotilde is the patron saint of Normandy. In 511, the Queen founded a convent for young girls of the nobility there, destroyed by the Normans in 911. In its place was erected Our Lady’s Collegiate Church, which contains a statue of Saint Clotilde. In Les Andelys is Saint Clotilde's Fountain; the spring is popularly believed to heal skin diseases. Clovis I List of Catholic saints List of Frankish queens This article incorporates text from a publi
Dagobert I was the king of Austrasia, king of all the Franks, king of Neustria and Burgundy. He was the last king of the Merovingian dynasty to wield any real royal power. Dagobert was the first of the Frankish kings to be buried in the royal tombs at Saint Denis Basilica. Dagobert was the eldest son of Chlothar Haldetrude. Chlothar had reigned alone over all the Franks since 613. In 623, Chlothar was forced to make Dagobert king of Austrasia by the nobility of that region, who wanted a king of their own; when Chlothar granted Austrasia to Dagobert, he excluded Alsace, the Vosges, the Ardennes, but shortly thereafter the Austrasian nobility forced him to concede these regions to Dagobert. The rule of a Frank from the Austrasian heartland tied Alsace more to the Austrasian court. Dagobert created a new duchy in southwest Austrasia to guard the region from Burgundian or Alemannic encroachments and ambitions; the duchy comprised the Vosges, the Burgundian Gate, the Transjura. Dagobert made his courtier Gundoin the first duke of this new polity, to last until the end of the Merovingian dynasty.
Upon the death of his father in 629, Dagobert inherited the Burgundian kingdoms. His half-brother Charibert, son of Sichilde, claimed Dagobert opposed him. Brodulf, brother of Sichilde, petitioned Dagobert on behalf of his young nephew, but Dagobert assassinated him, he gave the Aquitaine to Charibert as a "consolation prize."Charibert and his son Chilperic were assassinated in 632. Dagobert had Burgundy and Aquitaine under his rule, becoming the most powerful Merovingian king in many years and the most respected ruler in the West. In 631, Dagobert led a large army against Samo, the ruler of the Slavs, but his Austrasian forces were defeated at Wogastisburg. In 632, the nobles of Austrasia revolted under the mayor of the palace, Pepin of Landen. In 634, Dagobert appeased the rebellious nobles by putting his three-year-old son, Sigebert III, on the throne, thereby ceding royal power in the easternmost of his realms, just as his father had done for him eleven years earlier; as king, Dagobert made Paris his capital.
During his reign, he built the Altes Schloss in Meersburg, which today is the oldest inhabited castle in that country. Devoutly religious, Dagobert was responsible for the construction of the Saint Denis Basilica, at the site of a Benedictine monastery in Paris, he appointed St. Arbogast bishop of Strasbourg. Dagobert died in the abbey of Saint-Denis and was the first Frankish king to be buried in the Saint Denis Basilica, Paris; the author of the Chronicle of Fredegar criticises the king for his loose morals in having "three queens simultaneously, as well as several concubines". The chronicle names the queens and the otherwise obscure Wulfegundis and Berchildis, but none of the concubines, stating that a full list of concubines would be too long. In 625/6 Dagobert married Gormatrude, a sister of his father's wife Sichilde. After divorcing Gormatrude in 629/30 he made Nanthild, a Saxon servant from his personal entourage, his new queen, she gave birth to: Clovis II king of Neustria and Burgundy.
Shortly after his marriage to Nanthild, he took a girl called Ragnetrude to his bed, who gave birth to his youngest son: Sigebert III king of Austrasia. It has been speculated that Regintrud, abbess of Nonnberg Abbey, was a child of Dagobert, although this theory does not fit Regintrud's supposed date of birth between 660 and 665, she married into the Bavarian Agilolfing family. A translation of Brother's Grimm Saga, King Dagobert's Soul in the Ship
Austrasia was a territory which formed the northeastern section of the Merovingian Kingdom of the Franks during the 6th to 8th centuries. It was centred on the Meuse, Middle Rhine and the Moselle rivers, was the original territory of the Franks, including both the so-called Salians and Rhineland Franks, which Clovis I conquered after first taking control of the bordering part of Roman Gaul, now northern France, sometimes described in this period as Neustria. In AD 567, Austrasia became a separate kingdom within the Frankish kingdom and was ruled by Sigebert I. In the 7th and 8th centuries it was the powerbase from which the Carolingians mayors of the palace of Austrasia, took over the rule of all Franks, all of Gaul, most of Germany, Northern Italy. After this period of unification, the now larger Frankish empire was once again divided between eastern and western sub-kingdoms, with the new version of the eastern kingdom becoming the foundation of the Kingdom of Germany; the name Austrasia is not well attested in the Merovingian period.
It is a latinisation of an Old Frankish name recorded first by Gregory of Tours in c. AD 580 and by Aimoin of Fleury in c. AD 1000; as with the name Austria, it contains the word for "east", i.e. meaning "eastern land" to designate the original territory of the Franks in contrast to Neustria, the "western land" in northern Gaul conquered by Clovis I in the wake of the Battle of Soissons of 486. Austrasia was centered on the Middle Rhine, including the basins of the Moselle and Main, the Meuse rivers, it bordered on Frisia and Saxony to the north, Thuringia to the east and Burgundy to the south and to Neustria to the southwest. The exact boundary between Merovingian Neustria and Austrasia is unclear with respect to areas such as the medieval County of Flanders, County of Brabant, County of Hainaut, areas to the south of these. Metz served as the Austrasian capital, although some Austrasian kings ruled from Reims and Cologne. Other important cities included Verdun and Speyer. Fulda monastery was founded in eastern Austrasia in the final decade of the Merovingian period.
In the High Middle Ages, its territory became divided among the duchies of Lotharingia and Franconia in Germany, with some western portions including Reims and Rethel passing to France. Its exact boundaries were somewhat fluid over the history of the Frankish sub-kingdoms, but Austrasia can be taken to correspond to the territory of present-day Luxembourg, parts of eastern Belgium, north-eastern France, west-central Germany and the southern Netherlands. After the death of the Frankish king Clovis I in 511, his four sons partitioned his kingdom amongst themselves, with Theuderic I receiving the lands that were to become Austrasia. Descended from Theuderic, a line of kings ruled Austrasia until 555, when it was united with the other Frankish kingdoms of Chlothar I, who inherited all the Frankish realms by 558, he redivided the Frankish territory amongst his four sons, but the four kingdoms coalesced into three on the death of Charibert I in 567: Austrasia under Sigebert I, Neustria under Chilperic I, Burgundy under Guntram.
These three kingdoms defined the political division of Francia until the rise of the Carolingians and thereafter. From 567 to the death of Sigbert II in 613, Neustria and Austrasia fought each other constantly, with Burgundy playing the peacemaker between them; these struggles reached their climax in the wars between Brunhilda and Fredegund, queens of Austrasia and Neustria. In 613, a rebellion by the nobility against Brunhilda saw her betrayed and handed over to her nephew and foe in Neustria, Chlothar II. Chlothar took control of the other two kingdoms and set up a united Frankish kingdom with its capital in Paris. During this period the first majores domus or mayors of the palace appeared; these officials acted as mediators between king and people in each realm. The first Austrasian mayors came from the Pippinid family, which experienced a slow but steady ascent until it displaced the Merovingians on the throne. In 623, the Austrasians asked Chlothar II for a king of their own and he appointed his son Dagobert I to rule over them with Pepin of Landen as regent.
Dagobert's government in Austrasia was admired. In 629, he inherited Burgundy. Austrasia was again neglected until, in 633, the people demanded the king's son as their own king again. Dagobert sent his elder son Sigebert III to Austrasia. Historians categorise Sigebert as the first roi fainéant or do-nothing king of the Merovingian dynasty, his court was dominated by the mayors. In 657, the mayor Grimoald the Elder succeeded in putting his son Childebert the Adopted on the throne, where he remained until 662. Thereafter, Austrasia was predominantly the kingdom of the Arnulfing mayors of the palace and their base of power. With the Battle of Tertry in 687, Pepin of Heristal defeated the Neustrian king Theuderic III and established his mayoralty over all the Frankish kingdoms; this was regarded by contemporaries as the beginning of his "reign". It signalled the dominance of Austrasia over Neustria, which would last until the end of the Merovingian era. In 718, Charles Martel, with Austrasian support in his war against Neustria—each territory struggling to unite Francia under their hegemony—appointed Chlothar IV to rule in Austrasia.
This was the last Frankish ruler. In 719, Francia was united permanently under Austrasian hegemony. Under the Carolingians and subsequently, Austrasia is sometimes used as a denominat
Sigobert the Lame
Sigobert the Lame was a king of the Franks in the area of Zülpich and Cologne. His father's name was "Childebert", he was wounded in the knee at the Battle of Tolbiac against the Alamanni. According to Gregory of Tours, he was murdered by his son Chlodoric upon the instigation of Clovis I, sometime after his victory over the Visigoths, when his son sent assassins upon him as he took a sojourn from his kingdom to a nearby forest. Chlodorich told Clovis of the murder and offered him the finest treasures of his newly inherited kingdom as a symbol of their new alliance. Clovis sent messengers to assess the treasure, who asked Chlodoric to plunge his hand as into his gold coins as possible. With his arm submerged, the envoys of Clovis killed the new king in betrayal. Clovis stood before the people of Chlodoric and told them that the son had sent assassins to murder his father, but that Chlodoric had subsequently met his own end as well. Clovis offered his protection to the former subjects of Sigobert and Chlodoric, thus became their king.
Gregory suggests that Chlodoric was murdered in the same campaign that killed the Frankish King Chararic. Before, Clovis had killed his brothers. After all these murders, Gregory tells us that Clovis lamented that he had no family left, implying that among his own casualties were close relatives. Gregory of Tours; the History of the Franks. 2 vol. trans. O. M. Dalton. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967