Argentoratum or Argentorate was the ancient name of the city of Strasbourg. The name was first mentioned in 12 BC, when it was a Roman military outpost established by Nero Claudius Drusus. From 90 AD the Legio VIII Augusta was permanently stationed there; the Romans under Nero Claudius Drusus established a military outpost belonging to the Germania Superior Roman province close to a Gaulish village near the banks of the Rhine, at the current location of Strasbourg, named it Argentoratum. Its name was first mentioned in 12 BC but "Argentorate" is the toponym of the Gaulish settlement that preceded it before being latinised, though it is not known by how long. From 90 AD the Legio VIII Augusta permanently stationed in Argentoratum; the Roman camp of Argentoratum included a cavalry section and covered an area of 20 hectares, from 6 hectares in Tiberian times. Other Roman legions temporarily stationed in Argentoratum were the Legio XIV Gemina and the Legio XXI Rapax, the latter during the reign of Nero.
The Alemanni fought a Battle of Argentoratum against Rome in 357 AD. They were defeated by Julian Emperor of Rome, their king Chnodomar was taken prisoner. On 2 January 366 the Alemanni crossed the frozen Rhine in large numbers. From the 4th century, Strasbourg was the seat of the Bishopric of Strasbourg. Early in the 5th century the Alemanni appear to have crossed the Rhine and settled what is today Alsace and a large part of Switzerland. From this period on Argentoratum disappears from historical records and is replaced by the toponym "Stratisburgum"; the centre of the camp of Argentoratum proper was situated on the Grande Île, with the Cardo being the current Rue du Dôme and the Decumanus, the current Rue des Hallebardes. As systematic archaeological studies between 1947 and 1953, conducted by Jean-Jacques Hatt and director of the Musée archéologique de Strasbourg, have shown, Argentoratum was destroyed by fire and rebuilt six times between the first and the 5th century AD: in 70, 97, 235, 355, in the last quarter of the 4th century, in the early years of the 5th century.
It was under Trajan and after the fire of 97 that Argentoratum received its most extended and fortified shape. Many Roman artifacts have been found along the current Route des Romains in the suburb of Kœnigshoffen, on the road that lead to it, such as the stele of Caius Largennius; this was where the largest burial places were situated as well as the densest concentration of civilian dwelling places and commerces next to the camp. Among the most outstanding finds in Kœnigshoffen were the fragments of a grand Mithraeum, shattered by early Christians in the 4th century. Archaeological digs by J.-J. Hatt below the current Église Saint-Étienne in 1948 and 1956 have unearthed the apse of a church dating back to the late 4th century or early 5th century, considered the oldest church in Alsace, it is supposed. Argentoratum on Livius.org www.argentoratum.com Histoire de Strasbourg: quand Strasbourg était Argentorate Argentorate, Strasbourg, by Jean-Jacques Hatt
Fredegund or Fredegunda was the Queen consort of Chilperic I, the Merovingian Frankish king of Soissons. She served as regent during the minority of her son Chlothar II from 584 until 597. Fredegund has traditionally been given a bad reputation, foremost by the accounts of Gregory of Tours, who depicts her as ruthlessly murderous and sadistically cruel, she is known for the many cruel stories about her for her long going feud with queen Brunhilda of Austrasia. Fredegund was born into a low-ranking family but gained power through her association with King Chilperic. A servant of Chilperic's first wife Audovera, Fredegund won Chilperic's affection and persuaded him to put Audovera in a convent and divorce her. Gregory of Tours remarks that Fredegund brought with her a handsome dowry, incurring the immediate affection of King Chilperic. Chilperic married Galswintha. Galswintha died the same year strangled by Fredegund, who succeeded Galswintha as queen. Galswintha's sister, however, began a feud which lasted more than 40 years.
Gregory of Tours suggests. During a dinner with King Guntram, the widowed Fredegund rose to leave the table with the excuse that she is pregnant; the announcement surprised the King. Gregory of Tours interprets this exchange as a result of Fredegund's unfaithfulness to her husband. In 580 AD, an epidemic of dysentery broke out in Gaul, afflicting Fredegund's husband King Chilperic and their two sons and Dagobert. Believing the plague to be a result of her sins, Fredegund burned a number of tax records she feared were unjust and encouraged Chilperic to do the same, her sons, did not survive the epidemic. Following their funerals, Fredegund made a large donation to churches and the poor to continue to atone for her sins. Another of Fredegund's sons, was stricken with a serious illness while the family was under siege in Tournai. According to Gregory, Fredegund feared that she would catch the disease from Samson and cast him away from her, allowing him to die; the King was offended by her actions. When Samson survived longer than expected, Fredegund relented and had him baptized according to the King's wishes.
Gregory of Tours records the bad relationship between Fredegund and her daughter Rigunth: She was jealous of her own daughter, who continually declared that she should be mistress in her place. Fredegund waited her opportunity and under the pretense of magnanimity took her to the treasure-room and showed her the King's jewels in a large chest. Feigning fatigue, she exclaimed "I am weary; the mother thereupon forced down the lid on her neck and would have killed her had not the servants rushed to her aid. When Rigunth was sent off to her Visigothic fiancé in Spain Reccared, son of Liuvigild, her entourage was so laden with rich gifts that the Frankish nobles objected that the royal fisc had been depleted. Fredegund asserted. On the long journey, Rigunth's retainers robbed and abandoned her, by the time she reached Toulouse there was little left; when Chilperic died in 584 AD, Desiderius of Aquitaine went to Toulouse to secure the remaining treasure. The Neustrian ex-domesticus Leunardus travelled to the Cathedral of Paris, where the Queen was staying, to relay the news of Rigunth's capture.
By Gregory's account, Fredegund was so enraged at Leunardus's message that she ordered his public humiliation in the center of the church. She had him beaten and jailed along with the cooks and bakers who accompanied him on the journey, she stopped short of killing him, due to his political status in the region. Upon the death of Chilperic I in 584, Fredegund became regent during the minority of her infant son Chlothar II. Fredegund is said to have ordered the assassination of Sigebert I of Austrasia in 575 and to have made attempts on the lives of Sigebert's son Childebert II, her brother-in-law Guntram, king of Burgundy, Brunhild. After the mysterious assassination of Chilperic in 584 AD, Fredegund seized the Kings riches and took refuge in the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral. Both she and her surviving son, Clothar II, were protected by Guntram until he died in 592. Newly widowed, Fredegund attempted to seduce the Neustrian official Eberulf, but was rejected. Gregory of Tours suspects her of orchestrating Eberulf's assassination.
Additionally, Gregory of Tours suggests that the persecution of the Bishop Praetextatus was driven by Fredegund. Following Praetextatus's return from exile, the Queen met him in church and threatened to have him exiled a second time. However, the Bishop was not concerned because he believed he would receive his reward in heaven, whereas Fredegund would be punished in hell. In 586, Fredegund ordered the assassination of Praetextatus and had one of her agents stab him during Easter Mass; the Queen visited Praetextatus on his deathbed and offered the assistance of her physicians, which Gregory of Tours interprets as an excuse to witness the bishop's death. Praetextatus urged her to repent of her sins before succumbing to his wounds. Fredegund conducted assassination plots against a number of political officials who condemned the assassination, including the Bishop of Bayeaux and King Guntram. Fredegund died of natural causes 8 December 597 in Paris; the tomb of Frédégonde is a mosaic figure of marble and copper, situated in the Saint Denis Basilica, having come from the abbey church of Saint-Germain-d
Brunhilda of Austrasia
Brunhilda was queen regent of Austrasia, part of Francia, by marriage to the Merovingian king Sigebert I of Austrasia. In her long and complicated career she ruled the eastern Frankish kingdoms of Austrasia and Burgundy for three periods as regent for her son Childebert II from 575 until 583; the period was marked by the powerful nobles vying for power. Brunhilda was an efficient ruler, but this and her forceful personality brought her into conflict with her nobles, the church, the other Merovingians, her bitter feud with Fredegund, mistress of Chilperic I of Neustria, who murdered Brunhilda's sister, Queen Galswintha, c. 568 in order to replace her as queen, lasted until Fredegund's death in 597. Fredegund had Brunhilda imprisoned for a period; this feud was continued by Fredegund's son, Chlothar II, who in 613 defeated Brunhilda in battle and had her executed by being pulled apart by four horses. Brunhilda was born about 543 in the Visigothic capital of Toledo, the younger of the two daughters of Athanagild and Goiswintha.
She was only eleven years old when her father was made king in 554. She was educated in Toledo as an Arian Christian. In 567, she was married to King Sigebert I of Austrasia, a grandson of Clovis I, who had sent an embassy to Toledo loaded with gifts, she joined him at Metz. Upon their marriage, she converted to Catholicism. Sigebert's father, Chlothar I, had reunited the four kingdoms of the Franks, but when he died and his three brothers divided them again. According to historian and bishop Gregory of Tours, Sigebert's marriage to a Visigothic princess was a criticism of his brothers' choices in wives. Instead of marrying a low-born woman, Sigebert chose a princess of education and morals. In response to Sigebert's noble marriage, his brother, Chilperic I of Neustria, sent for Brunhilda's sister, Galswintha. Gregory of Tours suggests, he and his favorite mistress, conspired to murder her. An unknown assailant strangled Galswintha while she slept in her bed and Chilperic married Fredegund. Brunhilda so detested Fredegund for the death of her sister—and this hatred was so fiercely reciprocated—that the two queens persuaded their husbands to go to war.
Sigebert persuaded their other brother, the elder Guntram of Burgundy, to mediate the dispute between the queens. He decided that Galswintha's dower of Bordeaux, Cahors, Béarn, Bigorre should be turned over to Brunhilda in restitution. However, Chilperic did not give up the cities and Brunhilda did not forget the murder. Bishop Germain of Paris negotiated a brief peace between them. Between 567 and 570, Brunhilda bore Sigebert three children: Ingund and Childebert; the peace was broken by Chilperic, who invaded Sigebert's dominions. Sigebert defeated Chilperic; the people of Paris hailed Sigebert as a conqueror when he arrived with Brunhilda and their children. Bishop Germain wrote to Brunhilda, asking her to persuade her husband to restore the peace and to spare his brother. Chroniclers of his life say. Fredegund responded to this threat to her husband by hiring two assassins, who killed Sigebert at Vitry-en-Artois with poisoned daggers. Brunhilda was imprisoned at Rouen. Merovech, the son of Chilperic and his first wife Audovera, went to Rouen on pretext of visiting his mother.
While there, he decided to marry the widowed Brunhilda and thus strengthen his chances of becoming a king. His stepmother, was determined that only her sons should succeed as kings and eliminated her husband's sons by other women. Merovech and Brunhilda were married by the Bishop of Praetextatus. However, since Brunhilda was Merovech's aunt the marriage was contrary to canon law. Chilperic soon besieged them in the church of St Martin on the walls, he made peace with them, but he took Merovech away with him to Soissons. In an effort to nullify the marriage, Chilperic had Merovech tonsured and sent to the monastery of Le Mans to become a priest. Merovech fled to the sanctuary of St Martin at Tours, Gregory's church, to Champagne, he returned to Tours in 578 and when his bid for power failed, he asked his servant to kill him. Brunhilda now tried to seize the regency of Austrasia in the name of her son Childebert II, but she was resisted fiercely by her nobles and had to retire to the court of Guntram of Burgundy before obtaining her goal.
At that time, she ruled Austrasia as regent. Not being a fighter, she was an administrative reformer, with a Visigothic education, she repaired the old Roman roads, built many churches and abbeys, constructed the necessary fortresses, reorganised the royal finances, restructured the royal army. However, she antagonised the nobles by her continued imposition of royal authority wherever it was lax. To reinforce her positions and the crown's prestige and power, she convinced Guntram, newly heirless, to adopt Childebert as his own son and heir; this he did in 577. In 579, she married her daughter Ingunda only thirteen, to the Visigothic prince Hermenegild, allying her house to that of the king of her native land. However, Hermenegild converted to Catholicism and he and his wife both died in the ensuing religious wars which tore apart the Visigothic kingdom in Spain. Brunhilda ruled Austrasia until
Gregory of Tours
Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of the area, referred to as Gaul by the Romans. He was born Georgius Florentius and added the name Gregorius in honour of his maternal great-grandfather, he is the primary contemporary source for Merovingian history. His most notable work was his Decem Libri Historiarum, better known as the Historia Francorum, a title that chroniclers gave to it, but he is known for his accounts of the miracles of saints four books of the miracles of Martin of Tours. St. Martin's tomb was a major pilgrimage destination in the 6th century, St. Gregory's writings had the practical effect of promoting this organized devotion. Gregory was born in the Auvergne region of central Gaul, he was born into the upper stratum of Gallo-Roman society as the son of Florentius, Senator of Clermont, by his wife Armentaria II, niece of Bishop Nicetius of Lyons and granddaughter of both Florentinus, Senator of Geneva, Saint Gregory of Langres.
Gregory had several noted bishops and saints as close relatives, according to Gregory, he was connected to thirteen of the eighteen bishops of Tours preceding him by ties of kinship. Gregory's paternal grandmother, descended from Vettius Epagatus, the illustrious martyr of Lyons, his father evidently died while Gregory was young and his widowed mother moved to Burgundy where she had property. Gregory went to live with his paternal uncle St. Gallus, Bishop of Clermont), under whom, his successor St. Avitus, Gregory had his education. Gregory received the clerical tonsure from Gallus. Having contracted a serious illness, he made a visit of devotion to the tomb of St. Martin at Tours. Upon his recovery, he was ordained deacon by Avitus. Upon the death of St. Euphronius, he was chosen as bishop by the clergy and people, charmed with his piety and humility, their deputies overtook him at the court of King Sigebert of Austrasia, being compelled to acquiesce, though much against his will, Gregory was consecrated by Giles, Bishop of Rheims, on 22 August 573, at the age of thirty-four.
He spent most of his career at Tours, although he assisted at the council of Paris in 577. The rough world he lived in was on the cusp of the dying world of Antiquity and the new culture of early medieval Europe. Gregory lived on the border between the Frankish culture of the Merovingians to the north and the Gallo-Roman culture of the south of Gaul. At Tours, Gregory could not have been better placed to hear everything and meet everyone of influence in Merovingian culture. Tours lay on the watery highway of the navigable Loire. Five Roman roads radiated from Tours, which lay on the main thoroughfare between the Frankish north and Aquitania, with Spain beyond. At Tours the Frankish influences of the north and the Gallo-Roman influences of the south had their chief contact; as the center for the popular cult of St Martin, Tours was a pilgrimage site, a political sanctuary to which important leaders fled during periods of violence and turmoil in Merovingian politics. Gregory struggled through personal relations with four Frankish kings, Sigebert I, Chilperic I, Childebert II and he knew most of the leading Franks.
Gregory wrote in Late Latin which departed from classical usage in syntax and spelling with few changes in inflection. The Historia Francorum is in ten books. Books I to IV recount the world's history from the Creation but move to the Christianization of Gaul, the life and times of Saint Martin of Tours, the conversion of the Franks and the conquest of Gaul under Clovis, the more detailed history of the Frankish kings down to the death of Sigebert I in 575. At this date Gregory had been bishop of Tours for two years; the second part, books V and VI, closes with Chilperic I's death in 584. During the years that Chilperic held Tours, relations between him and Gregory were tense. After hearing rumours that the Bishop of Tours had slandered his wife, Chilperic had Gregory arrested and tried for treason—a charge which threatened both Gregory's bishopric and his life; the most eloquent passage in the Historia is the closing chapter of book VI, in which Chilperic's character is summed up unsympathetically through the use of an invective.
The third part, comprising books VII to X, takes his personal account to the year 591. An epilogue was written in 594, the year of Gregory's death. Readers of the Historia Francorum must decide whether this is a royal history and whether Gregory was writing to please his patrons, it is that one royal Frankish house is more generously treated than others. Gregory was a Catholic bishop, his writing reveals views typical of someone in his position, his views on perceived dangers of Arianism led him to preface the Historia with a detailed expression of his orthodoxy on the nature of Christ. In addition, his ridiculing of pagans and Jews reflected how his works were used to spread the Christian faith. For example, in book 2, chapters 28-31, he describes the pagans as incestuous and weak and describes the process by which newly converted King Clovis leads a much better life than that of a pagan and is healed of all the conundrums he experienced as a pagan. Gregory's education was the standard Latin one of Late Antiquity, focusing on Virgil's Aeneid and Martianus Capella's Liber de Nuptiis Mercurii et Philologiae, but other key texts such as Orosius' Chronicle
Saint Gontrand called Gontran, Guntram, Gunthram and Guntramnus, was the king of the Kingdom of Orleans from AD 561 to AD 592. He was second eldest surviving son of Chlothar I and Ingunda. On his father's death in 561, he became king of a fourth of the Kingdom of the Franks, made his capital at Orléans; the name "Gontrand" denotes "war raven". King Gontrand had something of that fraternal love, he married Marcatrude, daughter of Magnar, sent his son Gundobad to Orléans. But after she had a son Marcatrude was jealous, proceeded to bring about Gundobad's death, she sent poison, they say, poisoned his drink. And upon his death, by God's judgment she lost the son she had and incurred the hate of the king, was dismissed by him, died not long after. After her he took Austerchild named Bobilla, he had by her two sons, of whom the older was called the younger Chlodomer. Gontrand had a period of intemperance, he was overcome with remorse for the sins of his past life, spent his remaining years repenting of them, both for himself and for his nation.
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, the tender parent to his subjects, he was generous with his wealth in times of plague and famine. He and justly enforced the law without respect to person, yet was ready to forgive offences against himself, including two attempted assassinations. Gontrand 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 surviving brothers: Gontrand, Sigebert I, Chilperic I, they shared his realm. Charibert's widow, proposed a marriage with Gontrand, the eldest remaining brother, though a council convened at Paris as late as 557 had forbidden such tradition as incestuous.
Gontrand decided to house her more safely, though unwillingly, in a monastery in Arles. In 573, Gontrand was caught in a civil war with his brother Sigebert I of Austrasia, in 575 summoned the aid of their brother Chilperic I of Soissons, he reversed his allegiance due to the character of Chilperic, if we may give him the benefit of the doubt in light of St. Gregory's commendation, Chilperic retreated, he thereafter remained an ally of Sigebert, his wife, his sons until his death. When Sigebert was assassinated in 575, Chilperic invaded the kingdom, but Gontrand sent his general Mummolus, always Gontrand's greatest weapon, for he was the greatest general in Gaul at the time, to remove him. Mummolus defeated Chilperic's general Desiderius and the Neustrian's 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, Sigebert's son, whose kingdom he had saved two years prior. However, Childebert did not always prove faithful to his uncle.
In 581, Chilperic took many of Gontrand's cities and in 583, he allied with Childebert and attacked Gontrand. This time Gontrand made peace with Childebert retreated. In 584, he returned Childebert's infidelity by invading his land and capturing Tours and Poitiers, but he had to leave to attend the Baptism of Chlothar II, his other nephew, who now ruled in Neustria. Supposed to take place on 4 July, the feast of St. Martin of Tours, in Orléans, it did not and Gontrand turned to invade Septimania. Peace was soon made. In 584 or 585, one Gundowald claimed to be an illegitimate son of Chlothar I and proclaimed himself king, taking some major cities in southern Gaul, including Poitiers and Toulouse, which belonged to Gontrand. Gontrand marched against him. Gundowald fled to Comminges and Gontrand's army proceeded to besiege the citadel, he could not capture it, but did not need to: Gundowald's followers gave him over and he was executed. In 587, Fredegund failed, he went, on 28 November. This was called the Treaty of Andelot and it endured until Gontrand died.
In 587, Gontrand compelled obedience from Waroch II, the Breton ruler of the Vannetais. He forced the renewal of the oath of 578 in writing and demanded 1,000 solidi in compensation for raiding the Nantais. In 588, the compensation was not yet paid, as Waroch promised it to both Gontrand and Chlothar II, who had suzerainty over Vannes. In 589 or 590, Gontrand sent an expedition against Waroch under Beppolem and Ebrachain, mutual enemies. Ebrachain was enemy of Fredegund, who sent the Saxons of Bayeux to aid Waroch. Beppolem fought alone for three days before dying, at which point Waroch tried to flee to the Channel Islands, but Ebrachai