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
Sigebert III was the Merovingian king of Austrasia from 633 to his death around 656. He was described as the first Merovingian roi fainéant —do-nothing king—, however he lived a pious Christian life and was sanctified, being remembered as Saint Sigebert of Austrasia in the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church. Sigebert was born in 630 as the eldest son of Dagobert I, King of the Franks, the king recalled and made peace with Saint Amand, who was previously banished for criticizing the kings vices, and asked him to baptize his new-born son. The ceremony was performed at Orléans and Charibert II, Dagoberts half-brother who was King of Aquitaine at the time, was the god-father. Dagobert assigned the education of Sigebert to Pepin of Landen, who was the mayor of the palace in Austrasia under his father Chlotar II, Pepin took the young Sigebert and moved with him to his domains in Aquitane, where they stayed the next 3 years. In 633, a revolt of the nobles forced Dagobert to make the three-year old Sigebert king of Austrasia, however, he refused to give the power to Pepin of Landen by making him Mayor of the palace for the child-king.
Instead he has put Sigebert under the tutelage of Adalgisel as Mayor of the palace and the Bishop of Cologne Saint Cunibert as regent, while keepin Pepin in Neustria as hostage. In 634 Dagoberts second son, Clovis II, was born, on the death of Dagobert in 639, the two Frankish kingdoms became independent once again under Sigebert III and Clovis II. Both kingdoms were under child-kings — Sigebert was around eleven years old, Pepin replaced Adalgisel as Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia in 639 but died the following year, in 640, and was replaced by his son Grimoald. In 640 the Duchy of Thuringia rebelled against Austrasia, in the war of Sigeberts reign. Grimoald allowed the king to stand at the head of the army trying to quell the rebellion. The Chronicle of Fredegar records that the rout left Sigebert weeping in his saddle, though ineffective as a king, Sigebert has grown a pious adult under the tutelage of Pepin and Saint Cunibert and lived a life of Christian virtue. He used his wealth to numerous monasteries and churches.
Sigebert III died of natural causes on 1 February 656 at age 25 and he was burried in the Abbey of Saint Martin near Metz which he had founded. In 1063 his body, found incorrupt, was out of the tomb. The abbey was demolished in 1552 and the relics were moved to the Nancy Cathedral, Sigebert III is revered as a saint by the Catholic Church with his feast day on 1 February. He is the saint of Nancy. The Mayor of the Palace Grimoald managed to convince the young Sigebert, the king married Chimnechild of Burgundy and had a son of his own, the future king Dagobert II
Childeric I was a Merovingian king of the Salian Franks and the father of Clovis I, who would unite the Franks and found the Merovingian dynasty. Childeric succeeded his father Merovech as king of the Salian Franks, traditionally in 457 or 458, by 457 at the latest he was the ruler of the Franks in the territory covering Tournai and the Lys valley. He may have had power over further territories to the south, according to Gregory of Tours, Childeric was exiled at some point, the reason being traditionally given as Frankish unhappiness with Childerics private life. Gregory further records that the Franks recalled Childeric after 8 years of exile, after the death of Aegidius, Childeric assisted Comes Paul of Angers, together with a mixed band of Gallo-Romans and Franks, in defeating the Goths and taking booty. Saxon raiders under the command of Eadwacer reached Angers and captured it, having delivered Angers, followed a Saxon warband to the islands on the Atlantic mouth of the Loire, and massacred them there.
In the period around 476 to 481, he and Odoacer were discussing the possibility of an alliance against the Alamanni who wished to invade Italy, Gregory of Tours, in Libri Historiarum, records the story of the expulsion of Childeric by the Salian Franks for seducing their wives. He was exiled for eight years in Thuringia with King Basin and his wife and he returned only when a faithful servant advised him that he could safely do so by sending him half of a gold piece that Childeric had split with him before his exile. The book describes his arrival in Tournai with Basina, who had left her husband to be with him, Childeric married Basina of Thuringia, daughter of Basin, and they had the following children, Clovis I. Audofleda, Queen of the Ostrogoths, wife of Theodoric the Great, Childeric died in 481 or 482 and was buried in Tournai. His son Clovis succeeded him as king of the Salian Franks, Childerics tomb was discovered in 1653 not far from the 12th-century church of Saint-Brice in Tournai, now in Belgium.
Numerous precious objects were found, including jewels of gold and garnet cloisonné, gold coins, a bulls head. Some 300 golden winged insects were found which had been placed on the kings cloak. Archduke Leopold William, governor of the Southern Netherlands, had the find published in Latin, napoleon was more impressed with Childerics bees and when he was looking for a heraldic symbol to trump the Bourbon fleur-de-lys, he settled on Childerics bees as symbols of the French Empire. On the night of November 5–6,1831, the treasure of Childeric was among 80 kilos of treasure stolen from the Library, a few pieces were retrieved from where they had been hidden in the Seine, including two of the bees. The record of the treasure, now only in the fine engravings made at the time of its discovery. The Fall of the Roman Empire, A New History of Rome, the Inheritance of Rome, Illuminating the Dark Ages 400–1000
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
Merovech is the semi-legendary founder of the Merovingian dynasty of the Salian Franks, which became the dominant Frankish tribe. He is said to be one of several barbarian warlords and kings that joined forces with the Roman general Aetius against the Huns under Attila on the Catalaunian fields in Gaul. The first Frankish royal dynasty called themselves Merovingians after him, although no historical evidence exists that Merovech ever lived. It has been suggested that Merovech refers to the Dutch river Merwede and his name is close to Marwig, lit. There is little information about him in the histories of the Franks. Gregory of Tours only names him once as the father of Childeric I while putting doubt on his descent from Chlodio, many admit today that this formulation finds its explanation in a legend reported by Fredegar. The Chronicle of Fredegar interpolated on this reference by Gregory by adding Merovech was the son of the queen, Chlodios wife, but his father was a sea-god, bestea Neptuni.
Some researchers have noted that Merovech, the Frankish chieftain, may have been the namesake of a god or demigod honored by the Franks prior to their conversion to Christianity. Clodio, the putative father of Merovech, is said to have been defeated by Flavius Aëtius at Vicus Helena in Artois in 448. Ian S. Wood would therefore place his son somewhere in the half of the fifth century. Another theory considers this legend to be the creation of a mythological past needed to back up the fast-rising Frankish rule in Western Europe. The legend about Merovechs conception was adapted in 1982 by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln in their book The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, as the seed of a new idea. This theory, with no other basis than the authors hypothesis, was popularized in 2003 via Dan Browns bestselling novel. Battle of the Catalaunian Plains Tonantius Ferreolus Behind the Da Vinci Code,2006, History Channel documentary about Henry Lincoln Todd, media related to Merovech at Wikimedia Commons
Chlodio was a king of the Salian Franks from the Merovingian dynasty. He was known as the Long-Haired King and lived in Thuringian territory and he became chief of the Thérouanne area in 414 AD. From there, he invaded the Roman Empire in 428, defeating a Roman force at Cambrai, and settled in Northern Gaul, where other groups of Salians were already settled. Although he was attacked by the Romans, he was able to maintain his position and,3 years in 431, he extended his kingdom south to the Somme River in the future Francia. In AD448,20 years after his reign began, Chlodio was defeated at Vicus Helena in Artois by Flavius Aëtius, like all Merovingian kings, Chlodio had long hair as a ritual custom. His successor may have been Merovech, after whom the dynasty was named Merovingian, the non-contemporary Liber Historiae Francorum says his father was Pharamond, whom many believe to have been a legendary person linked to the lineage sometime in the 8th century. The Chronicle of Fredegar makes Chlodio son of Theudemeres, one of the leaders of the Salian Franks and king of Thérouanne
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
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
Dagobert II was the king of Austrasia, the son of Sigebert III and Chimnechild of Burgundy. He is accounted a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, Dagobert II was born in Metz, the son of Sigibert III, an Austrasian king of the Merovingian line, and his wife, Chimnechild of Burgundy. Then when Sigebert died in 656, Grimoald seized the throne for his own son and had Dagobert tonsured, thus marking him unfit for kingship, and exiled. She may have cooperated with Grimoald to set up Childebert the Adopted and it has been hypothesised that Chimnechild was not Dagoberts mother, thus her reason for abandoning him. It has speculated that Childebert was really Sigeberts illegitimate son whom Grimoald adopted to exclude the widow Chimnechild as a rival in the government. Dagobert was given to the care of Desiderius, Bishop of Poitiers, where there was a cathedral school. The boy was sent on to a monastery in Ireland, sometimes identified as Slane, and entrusted to Wilfrid of York, who saw to it that he was trained as a page at an Anglo-Saxon court.
In the meantime the great nobles of Austrasia appealed to Clovis II, king of Neustria, who expelled the usurpers, executing Grimoald and Childebert, and added Austrasia to his own realm. The dating of events is greatly confused, they occurred perhaps as early as 657 or as late as 661, under Clotaire III. Ebroin returned from a retirement to lead Clovis partisans, but Wulfoald effected Dagoberts succession in 676, partly through the help of Wilfrid, Bishop of York. In the chaos, the search for a consistent, rational pattern is hard to follow in the shifting loyalties. Wilfrid must have remained in Austrasia until this time, according to his biographer, Wilfrid left Austrasia after the death of Dagobert, at the cloister of Stenay afterwards there grew a cult of Dagobert, venerated as early as 1068 as Saint Dagobert. The cult spread from there into Lotharingia and Alsace, and Saint Dagobert is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, like his father, another fabrication were the alleged Merovingian genealogies that appeared in the Dossiers Secrets, planted in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in 1967.
This story was published as fact in a 1960s French book by Gérard de Sède, entitled Le Tresor Maudit de Rennes-le-Chateau. Henry Lincoln, along with Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh wrote the book The Holy Blood and it was shown that much of the research in Holy Blood Holy Grail was based on the forged parchments and fabricated Merovingian genealogies. However, the hypothesis gained further popularity when it was incorporated into the 2003 best selling novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Because Brown claimed the story about the Priory of Sion was factual, many debunking books and documentaries resulted, the Long-Haired Kings, and Other Studies in Frankish History, Ian Wood, The Merovingian Kingdoms 450-751
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
Charibert II, a son of Clotaire II and his junior wife Sichilde, was briefly King of Aquitaine from 629 to his death, with his capital at Toulouse. We have no direct statement about when Charibert was born exactly, only that he was a few younger than his half-brother Dagobert. His father Clotaire evidently had a marriage and he was the offspring of the junior wife. In the ensuing negotiations, Charibert, a minor, was represented by his uncle Brodulf, Dagobert had Brodulf killed, but did not intercede when his half-brother took over the near-independent realm of Aquitaine. Apparently this caused no disagreement, as in 631 Charibert stood godfather to Dagoberts son Sigebert, Chariberts realm included Toulouse, Agen, Périgueux, and Saintes, to which he added his possessions in Gascony. Charibert was married to Gisela, the daughter of Amand, Ruler of the Gascons and his fighting force subdued the resistance of the Basques, until the whole Novempopulania was under his control. In 632, Charibert died at Blaye, Gironde—possibly assassinated on Dagoberts orders—and soon after that Chariberts infant son Chilperic was killed, both Charibert and his son are buried in the early Romanesque Basilica of Saint-Romain at Blaye.
The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar with its Continuations