The Oxford Merovingian Page

  1. The Franks 250-450
  2. The Merovingian Kings of the Franks 450-751
Sources: E. James The Franks 1987; I. Wood The Merovingian Kingdoms 450-751 1994; Gregory of Tours Ten Books of History (trans L. Thorpe, 1974); The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar (trans. J.M.Wallace-Hadrill, 1960); The Book of the History of the Franks (trans. B.Bachrach, 1973).

The Franks 250-450

The Franks and Alemans invaded Gaul 274-5, but the Franks had previously attacked the coasts of Gaul and Spain 260's, entered the medieval and established pirate base in Africa c.260-72 (Aurelius Victor liber de caesaribus, 33).

Frankish tribes

The Chamavi are first mentioned 289 (next to the Salians on the lower Rhine); the Bructeri in 307 (nrth of river Lippe); the Chattuari in 306 (along the river Sieg); and the Quadi and Salians in 357 on the Rhine next to the Almare: the Salians were settled by the Emperor Julian in Toxandria); the Amsivari and Tubantes c.364 opposite Cologne along with the Usipetes; the Tencteri lived further north in the Ruhr.

Frankish Chiefs and Kings

Gennobaudes I king who submitted to Maximianus 287 (Panegyriques latins, ed E.Galletier, p89)

Ascaric and Merogaisus (called regales (kinglets/chieftains) of the Bructeri) invaded Gaul 306, defeated by Constantine I and killed by animals in arena at Trier.

Mallobaudes King of the Franks who killed Macrianus king of Alemans in or after 374, appointed as commander of household troops by Gratian and sent with general Nannianus vs Lentienses Alemanni (Ammianus Marcellinus, XXX, 3,7) defeats Alemans near Rhine and kills Kg Priarius 378 (AM XXXI, 10,6)

Genobaudes II, Marcomer and Sunno regales who had invaded Gaul nr Cologne, defeated in Charbonniere. Marcomer and Sunno sought out by Arbogast (himself a Frank "urged on by tribal hatreds") Magister Militum in the west 389 (quoted by Gregory of Tours, Bk II, 9, from Sulpicius Alexander, who said Marcomer = warleader of Amsivarii and Chatti [= not a Frankish tribe] who opposed Arbogast).

Faramund only in Lib Hist Franc, 5 = son of Sunno

Theudemer King of the Franks son of Richemer and Ascyla, executed says GT II, 9 (quoting from consular lists). This Richemer = ?Richomer consul 384, MM in East 388-93 who was uncle of Arbogast d.394 (supra).

Franks in Roman service

After their defeat by Constantine the Great, many Franks reached higher echelons of the army command, and were settled all over the empire: they dominated the Roman army 306-94.

Bonitus: general with Constantine I fought Licinianus 324

Magnentius: former laetus son of a British dad, and a frankish mum, born at Amiens, Emperor in West 350-3

Silvanus: son of Bonitus, MM betrayed Magnentius 353, Emperor in West 355 for 28 days

Charietto: count of the 2 Germanies appointed by the Emperor Julian.

Merobaudes: on Persian campaign of 363, magister peditum in the West 375-88, cos 377, 382.

Merobaudes: duke of Egypt

Bauto: MM in the West c.380, cos 385, regent of the Emperor Valentinian II. Bauto's daughter Eudoxia married the Emperor Arcadius.

Richomer: cos 384, MM in the East 388-93.

Arbogast: nephew of Richomer, MM in the West 389, ?murdered Valentinian II at Vienne 392 and proclaimed Emperor Eugenius 392, killed at Frigeridus 394.

Flavius Merobaudes: Arbogast (II): count of Trier c.477, son of Arigius (Sidonius Appollonius, Ep IV, 17), perhaps the same man who as Arbogast Bp of Chartres c.490? But neither of these is called a Frank.

The Merovingian Kings of the Franks

Chlodio: Sidonius Appolonius records a defeat of Cloio by Aetius at vicus Helena c.448 in panegyric on Marjorian (carmen V, II, 210-54, though it seems they actually broke up a wedding). GT II, 9 (quoting lists again) says he ruled at castle of Dispargum (Duisburg?) in Thuringia, later he says Clodio captured Cambrai and occupied the region as far as the Somme; LHF 5 says Chlodio was the son of Faramund.

Meroveus: (traditional dates 448-56) GT "Some say ..he was descended from Chlodio". Fredegar III, 9 implies he was the son of Chlodio's wife and the Quinotaur (a Sea Monster).

Childeric I: (traditional dates 456-81) expelled for 8 yrs and exiled to Thuringia, later returned, married Basina, wife of Bisinus kg of Thuringians (GT II, 12), fought at Orleans, took Angers c.463? or c.469 (GT II, 18), helped Odovacer of Italy defeat Aleman invasion of Italy 476/80 (GT II, 19), besieged Paris for 10 yrs (vita S.Genovefa) buried at Tournai.

Clovis I: King of the Franks 481 (around Soissons?), son of Childeric I and Basina, died in 30th yr, 45 yrs old (b.c.466) defeated Syagrius of Soissons 486 (5th yr), invaded Thuringia 491 (10th yr), sole king c.509, d. 511.

Other kings: Ragnachar, an ally and blood relation of Clovis in 486 (GT II, 27); he was king at Cambrai, but was defeated by Clovis and captured with brother Ricchar, also relative of Clovis, and then executed, and later his brother Rignomer at Le Mans (GT II, 42); Sigibert the Lame King at Cologne (wounded at Zulpich fighting Alemans 496?) 507, son Chloderic at Vouille 507, murders father, then killed by Clovis'envoys (GT II 40); Sigismer, a Frankish prince who married a Burgundian princess c.469 (Sid App Ep IV, 20); Chararic who refused to help Clovis 486, defeated and made a monk, later executed (GT II, 41).

The Successors of Clovis I

Theuderic I son of Clovis, King of Rheims 511-33

Chlodomer, King of Orleans 511-24 son of Clovis I by Chlotilde

Childebert I King of Paris 511-58 son of Clovis I by Chlotilde

Chlothar I King of Soissons 511-61 son of Clovis I by Chlotilde

Theudebert I King of Rheims 533-48 son of Theuderic I

Theudebald King of Rheims 548-55 son of Theudebert I by Deuteria.

Charibert I King of Paris 561-7 son of Chlothar I by Ingund

Guntram King of Orleans-Burgundy 561-92 son of Chlothar I by Ingund

Sigibert I King of Rheims 561-75 son of Chlothar I by Ingund

Chilperic I King of Soissons 561-84 son of Chlothar I by Aregund

Childebert II King of Rheims 575-96, King of Orleans-Burgundy 592-96, son of Sigibert I and Brunhild. He was a minor.

Chlothar II, 584-629, King of Rouen 584, King of Neustria 595, King of Austrasia and Burgundy 613, son of Chilperic I and Fredegund. He was a minor.

Theudebert II King of Soissons and Meaux, King of Austrasia 596- 612 son of Childebert II. He was a minor.

Theuderic II King of Burgundy 596-613, Austrasia 612-13 son of Childebert II. He was a minor.

Sigibert II King of Austrasia and Burgundy 613, son of Theuderic II and a concubine. He was a minor.

Dagobert I, King of Austrasia 623, Neustria and Burgundy 629, Aquitaine 632, son of Chlothar II and Berthetrude (though German historian E.Ewig argues his mum was Haldetrude) d. at Epinay-sur- Seine 19 Jan 638, buried in St.Denis.

Charibert II, King of Aquitaine 629-32, son of Chlothar II and Sichild (born after 618 when Chlothar II married S.).
[Note 1: Charibert and his uncle Brodulf made a bid for Neustria in 629 on the death of Chlothar. Dagobert allotted him Toulouse, Cahors, Agen, Perigueux, Saintes and Gascony, and from there to the Pyrennees = "part of the province of Aquitaine" (Fred.). Toulouse was his capital. Dagobert had Brodulf killed soon after. In 631 Pippin I took Sigebert III to see Charibert who stood godfather to him; in his third year Charibert's army subjugated the whole of Gascony; soon after Charibert died. Charibert had a little son Chilperic, who was killed by Dagobert's men]

Sigebert III, King of Austrasia 632-56, son of Dagobert by Ragnetrude. He was a minor. [Halsall says because Grimoald exec by Clovis II, thus Sigebert III d. 651: thus Childebert (III) c.651-6]

Clovis II, King of Neustria and Burgundy 638-57, half-brother, son of Dagobert by Nantechild. He was a minor. Sometimes he is held to have been king of Austrasia 656-7.

Childebert (III) the Adopted, King of Austrasia 656/7-61/2, (son of Grimoald Mayor of the Palace), adopted by Sigebert III?.
[Note 2: Despite an Austrasian kinglist which gives him 5 years, he is not usually numbered among the kings, and some think he perished with his father Grimoald, who was executed by Clovis II 656/7, and that Chlothar III replaced him. If so, the Austrasians would have had to rebel against the palace in c.662 to replace Chlothar III with Childeric II, his own brother. It seems more likely that in c.662, the Austrasians appealed for a king of Merovingian blood from the Neustrians. Childebert may have survived his father's death, because Clovis II died soon after in 657, and his son Chlothar III was a minor]

Clothar III, King of Neustria and Burgundy 657-73, son of Clovis II and Bathild: a minor under the regency of his mother Bathild (a former slave from England) until 664/5, he was the first of the "do-nothing" kings or rois fainants. Ebroin Mayor of the Palace of Neustria 659-73, 675-80, dominated politics.

Childeric II, King of Austrasia 662-75, King of Neustria and Burgundy 673-5, brother, assassinated by Bodilo in Forest of Livry in Picardy.
[Note 3: Childeric II seems to have upset the Neustrians by using only one mayor, Wulfoald, his duke in Austrasia, for all the kingdoms. He then ordered the beating of a noble frank Bodilo; this punishment was illegal and led to a conspiracy by Bodilo and other Neustrian magnates, Amalbert and Ingobert]

Theuderic III, King of Neustria and Burgundy 673, 675-91, King of Austrasia 687-91, brother: another "do-nothing" king.
[Note 4: When Chlothar III died in 673, Ebroin made his brother Theuderic king on his own initiative without summoning an assembly of the magnates, and even prevented them from approaching him. They rose against them, tonsured both Theuderic and Ebroin, and invited in Childeric II]

Clovis 675-6, supposed son of Chlothar III set up by Ebroin on his escape from prison, fate unknown.
[Note 5: After the murder of Childeric the party of Leudegar of Autun gained the upper hand in Neustria and appointed Leudesius son of Erchinoald at Mayor. Theuderic III was brought out from monastic retreat at St.Denis, and set up as king once more. Ebroin, freed by his friends from Luxeuil, returned to Neustria and set up Clovis as king, but he appears in no kinglist. Ebroin lured Leudesius to his death, then captured and murdered the rest of his opponents, and re- established Theuderic III. As Clovis he does not appear in the traditional kinglists, he is usually not numbered among the kings of the Franks]

Dagobert II, King of Austrasia 676-79, son of Sigebert III, exiled to Ireland 657, made king after the murder of Childeric II, by Austrasian magnates who were opposed to Ebroin: he was assassinated probably by supporters of Ebroin.
[Note 6: Why was Dagobert exiled? It seems likely he was not the son of Sigebert III's queen Chimnechild, who may have cooperated with Grimoald to set up Childebert III. Later she hoped to keep the throne in her own family by marrying her daughter Bilichild to Childeric II, so that the eventual heir would be her grandson. After Dagobert's murder, Pippin II Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia 679-714 dominated Austrasia, and left the throne empty until after the battle of Tertry 687, when he accepted Theuderic III]

Clovis IV, King of all kingdoms 691-95, son of Theuderic III and Chrodochild. He was a minor.

Childebert III, brother, King of all kingdoms 695-711, buried in church of St.Stephen at Choisy-au-Bac.
[Note 7: At his death, areas of southern Gaul began to secede, Savaric in Burgundy, Eudo in Toulouse and Antenor in Provence]

Dagobert III, King of Neustria and Austrasia 711-15, son.

Chilperic II, King of Neustria 715-21, and Austrasia 719- 21, son of Childeric II.
[Note 8: Childeric II had two sons, Dagobert, whose fate is unknown, and Chilperic, who was tonsured as a monk with the name Daniel. When Dagobert III died, a group of Neustrian nobles chose Ragamfred as their Mayor, who made Chilperic king. He opposed Charles Martel Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia, but was defeated, and surrendered 719]

Chlothar IV, King of Austrasia 717-19 (son of Childebert III?) set up by Charles Martel.

Theuderic IV, King of all kingdoms 721-37, son of Dagobert III.

Childeric III, King of all kingdoms 743-51 (son of Theuderic IV or Chilperic II?). Deposed and made a monk with his son Theuderic.

The Merovingian Kings of Neustria and Austrasia

[Note ix: the palaces of Neustria and Burgundy only really became united after 626, and this was confirmed, at the request of the nobles, by Dagobert I who designated Clovis II as heir to both kingdoms]

Neustria and Burgundy Austrasia
Theuderic II 596-613 Theudebert II 596-612
Theuderic II 612-13
Sigebert II 613 Sigebert II 613
Chlothar II 613-29 Chlothar II 613-23
Dagobert I 629-38 Dagobert I 623-32
Clovis II 638-57 Sigebert III 632-56
Chlothar III 657-73 (Childebert 657-62)
Theuderic III 673 Childeric II 662-75
Chlideric II 673-75 Dagobert II 676-79
(Clovis 675-76) throne vacant 679-87
Theuderic III 675-91 Theuderic III 687-91
Clovis III 691-95 Clovis IV 691-95
Childebert III 695-711 Childebert III 695-711
Dagobert III 711-15 Dagobert III 711-15
Chilperic II 715-21 throne vacant 715-17
Chlothar IV 717-19
Chilperic II 719-21
Theuderic IV 721-37 Theuderic IV 721-37
throne vacant 737-43 throne vacant
Childeric III 743-51 Childeric III 743-51

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