Category:6th-century Frankish kings
Pages in category "6th-century Frankish kings"
The following 20 pages are in this category, out of 20 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
The following 20 pages are in this category, out of 20 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
He is considered to have been the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled the Frankish kingdom for the next two centuries. Clovis was the son of Childeric I, a Merovingian king of the Salian Franks, and Basina, in 481, at the age of fifteen, Clovis succeeded his father. Clovis is important in the historiography of France as the first king of what would become France and his name is Germanic, composed of the elements hlod and wig, and is the origin of the French given name Louis, borne by 18 kings of France. Dutch, the most closely related language to Frankish, reborrowed the name as Lodewijk from German in the 12th century. Clovis was baptized on Christmas Day in 508, numerous small Frankish kingdoms existed during the 5th century. After the collapse of Roman power in the last days of 406 the Salian Franks had expanded to the south of the military highway Boulogne-Cologne. The powerbase of Clovis father was the area around Tournai, in the current province of Hainault, upon the death of his father, Merovech in 457 Childeric I, Clovis father, became king of the subgroup of the Salian Franks based around Tournai.
In 463 he fought in conjunction with Aegidius, the magister militum of northern Gaul, Childeric died in 481 and was buried in Tournai, Clovis succeeded him as king, aged just 15. Under Clovis, the Salian Franks came to dominate their neighbours, historians believe that Childeric and Clovis were both commanders of the Roman military in the Province of Belgica Secunda and were subordinate to the magister militum. Clovis had the Frankish king Chararic imprisoned and executed, a few years later, he killed Ragnachar, the Frankish king of Cambrai, along with his brothers. Another victory followed in 491 over a group of Thuringians to the east. By this time Clovis had conquered all the Frankish kingdoms to the west of the River Maas and he secured an alliance with the Ostrogoths through the marriage of his sister Audofleda to their king, Theodoric the Great. With the help of the Ripuarian Franks he narrowly defeated the Alamanni in the Battle of Tolbiac in 496 and he made Paris his capital and established an abbey dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul on the south bank of the Seine.
In 500 Clovis fought a battle with the Burgundian kingdom at Dijon but was unable to subdue them, the battle added most of Aquitaine to Clovis kingdom and resulted in the death of the Visigothic king Alaric II. According to Gregory of Tours, following the Battle of Vouillé, since Clovis name does not appear in the consular lists, it is likely he was granted a suffect consulship. Clovis became the first king of all Franks in 508, after he had conquered Cologne and this contrasted with Catholicism, whose followers believe that God the Father and the Holy Spirit are three persons of one being. By the time of the ascension of Clovis, Gothic Arians dominated Christian Gaul and this included his wife, Clotilde, a Burgundian princess who was a Catholic in spite of the Arianism that surrounded her at court. Clotilde evangelized Clovis to convert to Catholicism, which he initially resisted, Clotilde had wanted her son to be baptized, but Clovis refused to allow it, so Clotilde had the child baptized without Cloviss knowledge
Theudebald or Theodebald, son of Theudebert I and Deuteria, was the king of Metz, Rheims, or Austrasia—as its variously called—from 547 or 548 to 555. He was only thirteen years of age when he succeeded and of ill health, the loyalty of the nobility to his fathers memory preserved the peace during his minority. He married Waldrada, daughter of the Lombard king Wacho and his step-aunt and this marriage fortified the alliance between Austrasia and Lombardy. Nevertheless, Theudebald could not hold on to the conquests of his father in the north of Italia, the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I sent an army under the command of Narses in 552 and, like his father before him, Theudebald avoided direct confrontation with it. After a prolonged sickness and prostration, he died in 555 and his realm passed finally outside of the family of Theuderic I and was united to the kingdoms of his granduncle Clotaire I, who would soon become king of all the Franks
Charibert I was the Merovingian King of Paris, the second-eldest son of Chlothar I and Ingund. His elder brother was Gunthar, who died sometime before their fathers death, in 556, Chlothar sent Charibert and his next youngest brother Gunthram against their stepmother Chunna and their younger stepbrother Chram who was in revolt. Chramn was hiding out on Black Mountain in the Limousin, negotiations failed and the two armies prepared for battle. A thunderstorm prevented any engagement and Chramn sent forged letters to his brothers and Guntram immediately returned to Burgundy to secure their positions. After the actual death of Chlothar in 561, the Frankish kingdom was divided between his sons in a new configuration. Each son ruled a realm, which was not necessarily geographically coherent. Charibert received Neustria and Novempopulana with Paris as his capital and his chief cities were Rouen, Poitiers, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Albi. Guntram received Burgundy, Sigebert received Austrasia with his capital at Metz, Charibert married Ingoberga, of unknown parentage.
By Merofleda, a daughter, and her sister Marcovefa, he had daughters. By Theodogilda, a daughter, Charibert had a son who died in infancy. His brutal behavior resulted in his excommunication, the first ever of a Merovingian king, Charibert was scarcely more than king at Paris when he married his daughter Bertha to Æthelberht, the pagan King of Kent. She took with her Bishop Liudhard as her private confessor and her influence in the Kentish court was instrumental in the success of St. Augustine of Canterburys mission in 597. Though Charibert was eloquent and learned in the law, he was one of the most dissolute of the early Merovingians and he was excommunicated, and his early death in 567 was brought on by his excesses. He was buried in Blavia castellum, a fort in the Tractatus Armoricani. At his death his brothers divided his realm between them, agreeing at first to hold Paris in common and his surviving queen, proposed a marriage with Guntram, though a council held at Paris in 557 had outlawed such matches as incestuous.
Guntram decided to house her more safely, though unwillingly, in a nunnery at Arles, the main source for Chariberts life is Gregory of Tours History of the Franks, and from the English perspective Bedes Ecclesiastic History of the English People. Bachrach, Bernard S. Merovingian Military Organization, 481–751, University of Minnesota Press,1971. Historia Francorum Books I-IX at Medieval Sourcebook
Chlothar II, called the Great or the Young, was King of Neustria and King of the Franks, and the son of Chilperic I and his third wife, Fredegund. He started his reign as an infant under the regency of his mother, Clothar assumed full power over Neustria upon her death in 597, though rich this was one of the smallest portions of Francia. Like his father, he built up his territories by moving in after the deaths of other kings and his reign was long by contemporary standards, but saw the continuing erosion of royal power to the nobility and the church against a backdrop of feuding among the Merovingians. The Edict of Paris in 614, concerned with aspects of appointments to offices. Chlothar was forced to rule over Austrasia to his young son Dagobert I in 623. Unusually for a Merovingian monarch, he practised monogamy, though meant that he had three queens. The domain of Clothar II was located in the territorial and political framework derived from the Frankish kingdom present at 561 at the death of Clothar, son of Clovis and grandfather of Clothar II.
On the death of Clovis in 511, four kingdoms were established with capitals at Reims, Paris, in the year 550, Clothar I, the last survivor of four brothers reunited the Frankish kingdom, and added Burgundian territory by conquest. Very quickly, Sigebert moved his capital from Reims to Metz, on the death of Charibert in 567, the land was again split between the three survivors, of greatest importance Sigebert received Paris and Chilperic received Rouen. The names Austrasia and Neustria seem to have appeared as the names of these kingdoms for the first time at this point, in 560, Sigebert and Chilperic married two sisters, daughters of the Visigoth king of Spain Athanagild, princesses Brunhilda, and Galswintha respectively. However Chilperic was still very attached to his lover and consort, Fredegund. In 570 she was murdered and suspicion fell on Chilperic, although eventually these suspicions faded, within days, and after a brief period of grieving, Chilperic officially married Fredegund and elevated her to a queen of a Frankish kingdom.
With her fathers death not soon after, Brunhilda became solely responsible for reprisals against Chilperic and he agreed at first to pay a sum of money to end the feud, but not soon after decided to embark on a series of military operations against Sigebert. This was the beginning of what is called the feud which did not end until Brunhilda died in 613. Moreover, Fredegund strove to ensure her position, since she was from lower origins, by eliminating the sons that Chilperic had with his previous wife Audovera and her own children, died at a very young age and appeared to be by foul play. When Fredegund had a son in the spring of 584, he would be the successor of Chilperic I. The main sources from the time are the chronicles of Gregory of Tours and it is possible, that the authors contain a degree of bias in their works, for instance Gregory was a key figure in some of the conflicts of the time. The History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours in the sixth century only recounts up to 572
Chlothar I, called Clotaire I and the Old, King of the Franks, was one of the four sons of Clovis I of the Merovingian dynasty. Although his father, Childeric I, had united Francia for the first time, in 511 at the age of circa 14, Clothar I inherited two large territories on the Western coast of Francia, separated by the lands of his brother Charibert Is Kingdom of Paris. Chlothar spent most of his life in a campaign to expand his territories at the expense of his relatives. His brothers avoided outright war by cooperating with his attacks on neighbouring lands in concert or by invading lands when their rulers died, the spoils were shared between the participating brothers. By the end of his life, Chlothar had managed to reunite Francia by surviving his brothers, but upon his own death, the Kingdom of the Franks was once again divided between his own four surviving sons. A fifth son had rebelled and was killed, along with his family, Frankish customs of the day allowed for the practice polygamy, especially among royalty.
So it was not uncommon for a king to have multiple wives and this was a major deviation from the monogamy of late Roman customs, influenced by the Church. Frankish rulers followed this practice mainly to increase their influence across larger areas of land in the wake of the Roman empires collapse, the aim was to maintain peace and ensure the preservation of the kingdom by appeasing local leaders. In the Germanic tradition succession fell, not to sons, but to younger brothers, but under Salic law, Clovis I instituted the custom of sons being the primary heirs in all respects. However, it was not a system of primogeniture, with the eldest son receiving the vast majority of an inheritance, the greater Frankish Kingdom was often splintered into smaller sub-kingdoms. Chlothar was the son of Clovis I and the fourth son of Queen Clotilde. Chlothar was born around 497 in Soissons, but he was very ambitious and sought to extend his domain. Upon the death of Clovis I in the year 511, the Frankish kingdom was divided between Chlothar and his brothers, Theuderic and Chlodomer, because of the rights of mothers, queens were granted a portion of their sons kingdom.
Clovis I, who had two wives, divided his kingdom into two for each of his wives, parceled out pieces to his respective sons. The eldest, son of the first wife, had the benefit of receiving one half of the kingdom of Francia, Chlothar shared the second half of the kingdom with his brothers Childebert and Chlodomer. Chlothar received the northern portion, Childebert the central kingdom of Paris, in 516 Gundobad, king of Burgundy and the throne passed to his son Sigismund, who converted to Catholicism. Sigismund adopted an extreme anti-Arian policy, going so far as to execute his Arian son Sigeric, in 523, at the instigation of their mother, Chlothar and Chlodomer joined forces in an expedition against the Burgundians. The Burgundian army was defeated, and Sigismund was captured and executed, sigismunds brother Godomar replaced him on the throne, with the support of the aristocracy, and the Franks were forced to leave
St. Guntram, called Gontram, Gunthram and Guntramnus, was the King of Burgundy from AD561 to AD592. He was the third eldest and second eldest surviving son of Chlothar I, on his fathers death in 561, he became king of a fourth of the Kingdom of the Franks, and made his capital at Orléans. The name Guntram denotes war raven, he married Marcatrude, daughter of Magnar, and sent his son Gundobad to Orléans. But after she had a son Marcatrude was jealous, and proceeded to bring about Gundobads death and she sent poison, they say, and poisoned his drink. And upon his death, by Gods judgment she lost the son she had and incurred the hate of the king, was dismissed by him, after her he took Austerchild, named Bobilla. He had by her two sons, of whom the older was called Clothar and the younger Chlodomer, Guntram had a period of intemperance. He was eventually overcome with remorse for the sins of his past life, in atonement, he fasted, prayed and offered himself to God. Throughout the balance of his prosperous reign he attempted to govern by Christian principles, according to St.
Gregory of Tours, he was the protector of the oppressed, caregiver to the sick, and the tender parent to his subjects. He was generous with his wealth, especially in times of plague and he strictly and justly enforced the law without respect to person, yet was ever ready to forgive offences against himself, including two attempted assassinations. Guntram munificently built and endowed many churches and monasteries, St. Gregory related that the king performed many miracles both before and after his death, some of which St. Gregory claimed to have witnessed himself. In 567, his elder brother Charibert I died and his lands of the Kingdom of Paris were divided between the brothers, Sigebert I, and Chilperic I. They shared his realm, agreeing at first to hold Paris in common, chariberts widow, proposed a marriage with Guntram, the eldest remaining brother, though a council convened at Paris as late as 557 had forbidden such tradition as incestuous. Guntram decided to house her more safely, though unwillingly, in a monastery in Arles, in 573, Guntram was caught in a civil war with his brother Sigebert I of Austrasia, and in 575 summoned the aid of their brother Chilperic I of Soissons.
He reversed his allegiance later, due to the character of Chilperic, if we may give him the benefit of the doubt in light of St. Gregorys commendation and he thereafter remained an ally of Sigebert, his wife, and his sons until his death. Mummolus defeated Chilperics general Desiderius and the Neustrians forces retreated from Austrasia. In 577, Chlothar and Clodomir, his two surviving children, died of dysentery and he adopted as his son and heir Childebert II, his nephew, Sigeberts son, Childebert did not always prove faithful to his uncle. In 581, Chilperic took many of Guntrams cities and in 583, he allied with Childebert and this time Guntram made peace with Chilperic and Childebert retreated. Supposed to take place on 4 July, the feast of St. Martin of Tours, in Orléans, it did not, Guntram marched against him, calling him nothing more than a millers son named Ballomer
Childebert I was a Frankish King of the Merovingian dynasty, as third of the four sons of Clovis I who shared the kingdom of the Franks upon their fathers death in 511. He was one of the sons of Saint Clotilda, born at Reims and he reigned as King of Paris from 511 to 558 and Orléans from 524 to 558. In the partition of the realm, he received as his share the town of Paris, the country to the north as far as the river Somme, to the west as far as the English Channel, and the Armorican peninsula. His brothers ruled in different lands, Theuderic I in Metz, Chlodomer in Orléans, in 523, Childebert participated with his brothers in a war against Godomar of Burgundy. Chlodomer died in the Battle of Vézeronce, concerned that the three sons of Chlodomer would inherit the kingdom of Orléans, Clothar conspired with Childebert to oust them. They sent a representative to their mother Clotilde, who as the mother had authority as the head of the family line. She famously replied, It is better for me to see them dead rather than shorn, after the murder of Chlodomers two elder children—the third, escaping to a monastic life—Childebert annexed the cities of Chartres and Orléans.
He took part in various expeditions against the kingdom of Burgundy. When Witiges, the king of the Ostrogoths, ceded Provence to the Franks in 535, the annexation of that province was completed, with Clotaires help, in the winter of 536–537. In 531, he received pleas from his sister Chrotilda, wife of King Amalaric of the Visigoths, the Arian king of Hispania, Chrotilda claimed, was grossly mistreating her, a Catholic. Childebert went down with an army and defeated the Gothic king, Amalaric retreated to Barcelona, where he was assassinated. Chrotilda died on her journey to Paris of unknown causes. Childebert made other expeditions against the Visigoths, in 542, he took possession of Pamplona with the help of his brother Clotaire and besieged Zaragoza, but was forced to retreat. He died on 13 December 558, and was buried in the abbey he had founded, st-Germain-des-Prés became the royal necropolis for the Neustrian kings until 675. He left no sons, only two daughters and Chrodesinde, by his wife Ultragotha and he expanded his domains in more foreign wars than any of his brothers, fighting in Burgundy, Spain and elsewhere in Gaul.
Gregory of Tours, a contemporary Neustrian, cites Childebert as saying, Velim unquam Arvernam Lemanem quae tantae jocunditatis gratia refulgere dicitur, oculis cernere. Childbert was one of the religious of the sons of Clovis, cooperating with his brothers, rescuing his sister
Sigebert I was the Germanic king of Austrasia from the death of his father in 561 to his own death. He was the surviving son out of four of Clotaire I. His reign found him mostly occupied with a civil war against his half-brother. Incursions by the Avars, a nomadic tribe related to the Huns. He repelled their attacks twice, in 562 and c, about 567, he married Brunhilda, daughter of the Visigothic king Athanagild. She was a maiden beautiful in her person, lovely to look at, virtuous and well-behaved, with good sense and her father did not refuse, but sent her to the king I have named with great treasures. And the king collected his men, made ready a feast. And she still remains catholic in Christs name, upon seeing this, his brother Chilperic sent to Athanagild for his other daughters hand. This daughter, was given him and he abandoned his other wives, however, he soon tired of her and had her murdered in order to marry his mistress Fredegund. Probably spurred by his wife Brunhildas anger at her sisters murder, the two brothers had already been at war, but their hostility now elevated into a long and bitter war that was continued by the descendants of both.
In 573, Sigebert took possession of Poitiers and Touraine, but at Sigeberts moment of triumph, when he had just been declared king by Chilperics 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 and Childebert quickly put themselves under the protection of Guntram, who eventually adopted Childebert as his own son and heir. With Brunhilda he had two daughters and Chlodosind, history of the Franks, Books I-X at Medieval Sourcebook
Chilperic I was the king of Neustria from 561 to his death. He was one of the sons of the Frankish king Clotaire I, immediately after the death of his father in 561, he endeavoured to take possession of the whole kingdom, seized the treasure amassed in the royal town of Berny and entered Paris. His brothers, compelled him to divide the kingdom with them, and Soissons, together with Amiens, Cambrai, Thérouanne and Boulogne fell to Chilperics share. His eldest brother Charibert received Paris, the second eldest brother Guntram received Burgundy with its capital at Orléans, on the death of Charibert in 567, his estates were augmented when the brothers divided Chariberts kingdom among themselves and agreed to share Paris. Not long after his accession, however, he was at war with Sigebert, Sigebert defeated him and marched to Soissons, where he defeated and imprisoned Chilperics eldest son, Theudebert. The war flared in 567, at the death of Charibert, Chilperic immediately invaded Sigeberts new lands, but Sigebert defeated him.
Chilperic allied with Guntram against Sigebert, but Guntram changed sides, when Sigebert married Brunhilda, daughter of the Visigothic sovereign in Spain, Chilperic wished to make a brilliant marriage. He had already repudiated his first wife and had taken as his concubine a serving-woman called Fredegund and he accordingly dismissed Fredegund, and married Brunhildas sister, Galswintha. But he soon tired of his new partner, and one morning Galswintha was found strangled in her bed, a few days afterwards Chilperic married Fredegund. This murder was the cause of more long and bloody wars, interspersed with truces, in 575, Sigebert was assassinated by Fredegund at the very moment when he had Chilperic at his mercy. Chilperic made war with the protector of Sigeberts wife and son, Chilperic retrieved his position, took from Austrasia Tours and Poitiers and some places in Aquitaine, and fostered discord in the kingdom of the east during the minority of Childebert II. In 578, Chilperic sent an army to fight the Breton ruler Waroch II of the Bro-Wened along the Vilaine, the Frankish army consisted of units from the Poitou, Anjou and Bayeux.
The Baiocassenses were Saxons and they in particular were routed by the Bretons, the armies fought for three days before Waroch submitted, did homage for Vannes, sent his son as a hostage, and agreed to pay an annual tribute. He subsequently broke his oath but Chilperics dominion over the Bretons was relatively secure, most of what is known of Chilperic comes from The History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours. Gregory objected to Chilperics attempts to teach a new doctrine of the Trinity, Chilperics reign in Neustria saw the introduction of the Byzantine punishment of eye-gouging. In September 584, while returning from an expedition to his royal villa of Chelles. Chilperic Is first marriage was to Audovera, married the widow Brunhilda and became his fathers enemy Clovis. Basina, led a revolt in the abbey of Poitiers Childesinda His short second marriage to Galswintha produced no children and his concubinage and subsequent marriage to Fredegund in about 568 produced six more legitimate offspring, betrothed to Reccared but never married
When his father was assassinated in 575, Childebert was taken from Paris by Gundobald, one of his faithful lords, to Metz, where he was recognized as sovereign. He was five years old, and during his long minority the power was disputed between his mother Brunhilda and the nobles. Chilperic I, king at Paris, and the Burgundian king Guntram, sought an alliance with Childebert, because Guntram was lord of half of Marseille, the district of Provence became a centre of a brief dispute between the two. While Jovinus and Theodore, Bishop of Marseille, were travelling to the court of Childebert, meanwhile, blocked Gundulf, a duke of an important senatorial family and Childeberts former domesticus, from entering Marseille on behalf of Childebert. Eventually he was forced to yield, though he arrested Theodore again and had him sent to Guntram, Childebert replaced him in Provence by Nicetius. Despite his revolt, Childebert formally restored Dynamius to favour on 28 November 587, by the Treaty of Andelot of 587, Childebert was recognised as Guntrams heir, and with his uncles help he quelled the revolts of the nobles and succeeded in seizing the castle of Woëwre.
Many attempts were made on his life by Fredegund, wife of Chilperic, on the death of Guntram in 592, Childebert annexed the kingdom of Burgundy, and even contemplated seizing Clotaires estates and becoming sole king of the Franks. Childebert II had relations with the Byzantine Empire, and fought on occasions in the name of the Emperor Maurice, against the Lombards in Italy. This article incorporates text from a now in the public domain
Sigobert the Lame was a king of the Franks in the area of Zülpich and Cologne. He was presumably wounded at the knee at the Battle of Tolbiac against the Alamanni, 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 deeply 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, Clovis offered his protection to the former subjects of Sigobert and Chlodoric, and thus became their king. Gregory suggests that Chlodoric was murdered in the campaign that killed the Frankish King Chararic. Before, Clovis had killed Ragnachar and 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
Theuderic I was the Merovingian king of Metz, Rheims, or Austrasia—as it is variously called—from 511 to 533 or 534. He was the son of Clovis I and one of his wives or concubines. He inherited Metz in 511 at his fathers death, in accordance with Salian tradition, the kingdom was divided between Cloviss four surviving sons, Childebert I in Paris, Chlodomer in Orléans, and Clotaire I in Soissons. Early in his reign, he sent his son Theudebert to kill the Scandinavian King Chlochilaich who had invaded his realm, Theuderic got involved in the war between the Thuringian King Hermanfrid and his brother Baderic. Theuderic was promised half of Thuringia for his help, Baderic was defeated, the four sons of Clovis all fought the Burgundian kings Sigismund and Godomar, Godomar fled and Sigismund was taken prisoner by Chlodomer. Godomar rallied the Burgundian army and won back his kingdom, aided by Theuderic, defeated Godomar, but died in the fighting at Vézeronce. Theuderic then, with his brother Clotaire and his son, attacked Thuringia to revenge himself on Hermanfrid, Thuringia was conquered, and Clotaire received Radegund, daughter of King Berthar.
After making a treaty with his brother Childebert, Theuderic died in 534, upon his death the throne of Metz, passed to Theudebert. Theuderic left a daughter Theodechild, Theodechild founded the Abbey of St-Pierre le Vif at Sens. Bachrach, Bernard S. Merovingian Military Organization, 481–751. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, ISBN 0-8166-0621-8, before France and Germany, The Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian World. Oxford, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-504458-4, the Long-Haired Kings, and Other Studies in Frankish History