Childeric I

Childeric I (/ˈkɪldərɪk/; French: Childéric; Latin: Childericus; reconstructed Frankish: *Hildirīk;[4] c. 437 – 481 AD) was a Frankish leader in the northern part of imperial Roman Gaul and a member of the Merovingian dynasty, described as a King (Latin Rex), both on his Roman-style seal ring, which was buried with him, and in fragmentary later records of his life. He was father of Clovis I, who acquired lordship over all or most Frankish kingdoms, and a significant part of Roman Gaul.

Childeric I
Copy of the signet ring of Childeric I (original stolen in 1831). Inscription CHILDIRICI REGIS ("of Childeric the king").[1] The original was found in his tomb at Tournai (Monnaie de Paris).
King of the Salian Franks
SuccessorClovis I
Bornc.437 [2]
Diedc.481 [3]
Tournai (present-day Belgium)
Tournai (present-day Belgium)
SpouseBasina of Thuringia
IssueClovis I


Childeric's father is recorded by several sources including Gregory of Tours to have been Merovech, whose name is the basis of the Merovingian dynasty.[5] Gregory reports that Merovech was reputed by some to be a descendant of Chlodio who was an earlier Frankish king who had conquered Roman Gaulish areas in the Silva Carbonaria, then in Tournai, Cambrai and as far south as the Somme. This is roughly the definition of the Roman province of Belgica Secunda (approximately the "Belgium" defined by Julius Caesar centuries earlier, the region stretching from north of Paris to the Flemish coast) and later a letter of Saint Remigius to Childeric's son Clovis I implies that Childeric had been the administrative chief of this Roman province.

In records from Childeric's own lifetime, he is mainly associated with the Roman military actions around the Loire river, where he appears in records involving the Gallo-Roman general Aegidius. According to Gregory of Tours, Childeric was exiled at some point, the reason being given as Frankish unhappiness with Childeric's debauchery and seduction of the daughters of his subjects. Childeric spent eight years in exile in "Thuringia" waiting to make a return.[6] In the meantime, according to Gregory, Aegidius himself took up the title of king of the Franks. Upon his return Childeric was joined by the wife of his host, Queen Basina, who bore Childeric his son Clovis.[7]

Guy Halsall connects the story to Roman politics, Aegidius being an appointee of Majorian:

"Although this is only one interpretation of the fragmentary sources, an eight-year period ending with Aegidius' death would allow us to associate Childeric's expulsion with Majorian's accession and appointment of Aegidius."[8]
"Majorian's commander on the Loire, Aegidius, refused to accept Severus as emperor. It is possible that, to legitimise his position, he took the title king of the Franks."[9]

Halsall (p.269) speculates that Childeric probably began a Roman military career in the service of Flavius Aetius who defeated Attila in Gaul, and he points out that much of his military career appears to have played out far from the Frankish homelands. Ulrich Nonn (map p.37, and pp.99-100), following his teacher Eugen Ewig, believes that the exile story reflects a real sequence of events whereby Childeric was a leader of "Salian" or "Belgian" Franks based in the Romanized areas conquered by Chlodio, who were allies under the lordship of Aegidius, but eventually able to take over his power when he and his imperial patron died. (Childeric's son Clovis I later fought Aegidius' son Syagrius who was remembered as a King of Romans, and who had control of Soissons in the south of Belgica Secunda.)

In a passage normally considered to have come from a lost collection of Annals, Gregory (II.18) gives a sequence of events which are very difficult to interpret. In 463 Childeric and Aegidius successfully repelled the Visigoths of Theoderic II from Orleans on the Loire. After the death of Aegidius soon after, Childeric and a Comes ("count") Paul are recorded defending the Loire region from Saxon raiders, who were possibly coordinating with the Goths now under Euric. Childeric and Paul fought Saxons under the command of a leader named "Adovacrius" (sometimes given by modern authors in either an Anglo-Saxon spelling form, Eadwacer, or in a spelling the same as used for his contemporary the future King of Italy Odoacer, with whom he is sometimes equated). The origin of these "Saxons" is however unclear, and they are described as being based upon islands somewhere in the region.

Soon after this passage, Gregory of Tours (II.19) reports that Childeric coordinated with "Odovacrius", this time normally assumed to be the King of Italy, against Allemani who had entered Italy. While some authors interpret these Allemani to be Alans, a people established in the Loire region in this period, there is no consensus on this, because the reference in this case is not apparently to events near the Loire.

Marriage, children, and death

Gregory of Tours, in his History of the Franks, mentions several siblings of Clovis within his narrative, meaning that the following list of children of Childeric is known.

  1. Clovis I (died 511), whose mother was Basina.
  2. Audofleda, Queen of the Ostrogoths, wife of Theodoric the Great. Gregory III.31 also mentions their daughter Amalasuntha.
  3. Lanthechild. Gregory II.31 mentions she had been an Arian but converted to Catholicism with Clovis.
  4. Albofleda (died approximately 500). Gregory II.31 mentions that she died soon after being baptized with Clovis.

Childeric is generally considered to have died in 481 or 482 based on Gregory's reports that his son Clovis died in 511 and ruled 30 years.[10]


Abeilles de Childéric Ier
Detail of golden bees with garnet insets
Childeric's bees
Detailed drawing of the golden bees/flies discovered in the tomb of Childeric I in Tournai on 27 May 1653. Drawn by J. J. Chifflet in 1655

Childeric's tomb was discovered in 1653[11] not far from the 12th-century church of Saint-Brice in Tournai, now in Belgium.[12] Numerous precious objects were found, including jewels of gold and garnet cloisonné, gold coins, a gold bull's head, and a ring with the king's name inscribed. Some 300 golden winged insects (usually viewed as bees or cicadas) were also found which had been placed on the king's cloak.[11] Archduke Leopold William, governor of the Southern Netherlands (today's Belgium), had the find published in Latin. The treasure went first to the Habsburgs in Vienna, then as a gift to Louis XIV, who was not impressed with the treasure and stored it in the royal library, which became the Bibliothèque Nationale de France during the Revolution. Napoleon was more impressed with Childeric's bees and when he was looking for a heraldic symbol to trump the Bourbon fleur-de-lys, he settled on Childeric's 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 and melted down for the gold. A few pieces were retrieved from where they had been hidden in the Seine, including two of the bees. The record of the treasure, however, now exists only in the fine engravings made at the time of its discovery and in some reproductions made for the Habsburgs.


  1. ^ G. Salaün, A. McGregor & P. Périn, "Empreintes inédites de l'anneau sigillaire de Childéric Ier : état des connaissances", Antiquités Nationales, 39 (2008), pp. 217-224 (esp. 218).
  2. ^ Shades of Indignation: Political Scandals in France, Past and Present: "Childeric I (437-481)"
  3. ^ The date 481 is arrived at by counting back from the Battle of Tolbiac, which Gregory of Tours places in the fifteenth year of Clovis's reign.
  4. ^ Alain de Benoist, Dictionnaire des prénoms, d'hier et aujourd'hui, d'ici et d'ailleurs, p. 294, éd. Jean Picollec, 2009.
  5. ^ Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks, II.9. Later medieval sources did not always agree, and it has been suggested for example that Childeric descended from Merovech on his mother's side. See Étienne Renard (2014) "Le sang de Mérovée. “Préhistoire” de la dynastie et du royaume mérovingiens" Revue belge de Philologie et d'Histoire 92-4 pp.999-1039. link
  6. ^ Thuringia is a term which surviving manuscripts of Gregory used in this ection to describe the region on the Roman side of the Rhine where Chlodio's original fort was. It may refer to the region of Tongeren. On the other hand many modern authors are encouraged by the find of a spoon in Weimar with the name Basina, showing that the name was genuinely used in Thuringia.
  7. ^ Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks, II.12.
  8. ^ Halsall "Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West 376-568" p.263
  9. ^ Halsall "Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West 376-568" pp.266-7.
  10. ^ James p.79
  11. ^ a b Wallace-Hadrill Long-Haired Kings p. 162
  12. ^ "Location of Childeric's grave: A plaque at the site reads (in French): "Childeric King of the Franks Died in his palace in Tournai the year 481. His tomb was found in this place in the year 1653"". Archaeology in Europe. Archived from the original on 2015-07-01.


  • Collins, Roger (1999). Early Medieval Europe: 300–1000 (Second ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-21886-9.
  • Halsall, Guy (2007). Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West 376-568. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-43543-7.
  • Heather, Peter (2006). The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-532541-6.
  • James, Edward (1988). The Franks. Basil Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-17936-4.
  • Murray, Alexander Callandar (2000). From Romans to Merovingian Gaul. Higher Education University of Toronto Press.
  • Nonn, Ulrich (2010). Die Franken. Kohlhammer. ISBN 978-3-17-017814-4.
  • Wallace-Hadrill, J. M. (1982). The Long-Haired Kings. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-6500-7.
  • Wickham, Chris (2009). The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400–1000. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-311742-1.
  • Wood, Ian (1994). The Merovingian Kingdoms 450-751. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-582-49372-8.

External links

Childeric I
Born: 437 Died: 481
Preceded by
King of the Salian Franks
Succeeded by
Clovis I

The 460s decade ran from January 1, 460, to December 31, 469.

== Events ==

=== 460 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Majorian gathers an expeditionary force (Alans and other barbarians) in Liguria, and enters Aquitaine after a long march, where he visits King Theodoric II at Toulouse.

Majorian invades Hispania; his generals Nepotianus and Sunieric lead a Visigoth army into Gallaecia. The Suebi are defeated and Lusitania (modern Portugal) is conquered.

King Genseric, fearing a Roman invasion, tries to negotiate a peace with Majorian, who refuses. The Vandals devastate Mauretania and Moorish warriors poison the wells.

The Roman fleet, docked at Portus Illicitanus (near Elche) for the African campaign, is destroyed by the Vandals. Majorian is forced to sign a peace treaty and returns to Italy.

Emperor Leo I founds the Excubitors (Imperial Guard) at Constantinople; this elite tagmatic unit (300 men) is recruited from among the warlike Isaurians (approximate date).

====== Europe ======

March 27 (night) – Swabians invade the Gallic city of Lugo. The governor is killed.

====== Asia ======

The Hepthalites (White Huns) conquer the remnants of the Kushan Empire and enter India.

A famine that will last for several years begins in the Persian Empire (approximate date).

==== By topic ====

====== Art ======

The remodeling of the dome of Baptistry of Neon at Ravenna (Italy) is finished.

The Ajanta Caves (India) are completed (cut into the volcanic rock and elaborately painted).

The seated Buddha in the Yungang Grottoes, Datong (Shanxi), is made (approximate date).

====== Religion ======

The Coptic Orthodox Church (Egypt) splits from the Chalcedonian Orthodox Church of Alexandria.

Gennadius I, patriarch of Constantinople, banishes Timothy II, patriarch of Alexandria.

=== 461 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

August 2 – Majorian is arrested near Tortona (Northern Italy), and deposed by Ricimer (magister militum) as puppet emperor.

August 7 – Majorian, having been beaten and tortured for five days, is beheaded near the Iria River (Lombardy).

King Genseric continues the Vandal raids on the coast of Sicily and Italy. Ricimer sends an embassy to Carthage.

Olybrius becomes the second candidate for the western throne. He is the husband of Placidia, who is being held in Vandal captivity.

November 19 – Libius Severus, Roman senator from Lucania, is declared emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

====== Europe ======

The Visigoths under king Theodoric II recapture Septimania (Southern Gaul) after the assassination of Majorian, and invade Hispania again.

Aegidius becomes ruler over the Domain of Soissons (Gaul). He has friendly relations with the Romano-British (in Brittany).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

November 10 – Pope Leo I dies at Rome, age 61 (approximate), after a 21-year reign in which he has resisted Manichaeism and defended the Church against Nestorianism. He is succeeded by Hilarius as the 46th pope.

Mamertus is elected bishop of Vienne (Gaul).

=== 462 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

September 1 – Possible start of the first Byzantine indiction cycle.

Emperor Leo I pays a large ransom for Licinia Eudoxia and Placidia. They return after seven years of captivity in Carthage.

The Statue of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is destroyed by fire after being moved to Constantinople.

The Monastery of Stoudios is founded in Constantinople.

====== Asia ======

The Daming calendar is introduced in China by mathematician Zu Chongzhi (approximate date).

=== 463 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Childeric I, king of the Salian Franks, allies with the Roman general Aegidius. During a battle near Orléans, the Visigoths under King Theodoric II are defeated by the Franks while crossing the Loire River.

The Suebi live under a diarchy, and fight a civil war over the kingship in Galicia (Northern Spain).

====== Asia ======

The Kibi Clan Rebellion against the Yamato state (Japan) in the Korean Peninsula begins.

=== 464 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Olybrius is elected Roman consul by the Eastern court in Constantinople.

====== Europe ======

The Suevic nation in Galicia (Northern Spain) is unified under King Remismund.

King Theodoric II sends Remismund gifts (for recognizing his kingship), including weapons, and a Gothic princess for a wife.

Aegidius dies (possibly poisoned) and is succeeded by his son Syagrius, who becomes ruler of the Domain of Soissons (Gaul).

=== 465 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Basiliscus, with the help of his sister Aelia Verina (wife of emperor Leo I), becomes a consul in the Eastern Roman Empire.

August 15 – Libius Severus, puppet emperor of the Western Roman Empire, dies after a 4-year reign.

September 2 – A fire begins in Constantinople and, over the next six days, destroys the buildings in eight of the 14 sections into which the Eastern Roman Imperial capital had been divided .

Ricimer, de facto ruler, establishes political control for 2 years from his residence in Rome.

====== Britannia ======

Battle of Wippedesfleot: The Saxons under command of Hengist and Aesc are defeated by the Britons near Ebbsfleet (Kent). During the battle 12 Welsh leaders are killed (according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle).

====== Europe ======

King Remismund establishes a policy of friendship with the Visigoths, and promotes the conversion of the Suebi into Arianism in Galicia (Northern Spain).

====== China ======

Qian Fei Di, then Ming Di, becomes ruler of the Liu Song Dynasty after his nephew is assassinated.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

November 19 – Pope Hilarius convokes a synod at Rome's Church of Santa Maria Maggiore.

Peter the Fuller becomes patriarch of Antioch (approximate date).

=== 466 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Leo I repels the Hun invasion of Dacia (modern Romania). They ravage the Balkans but are unable to take Constantinople thanks to the city walls, which are rebuilt and reinforced.

Tarasicodissa, an Isaurian officer, comes with evidence that Ardabur (magister militum)

=== 467 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

April 12 – Emperor Leo I has his general Anthemius elected emperor of the Western Roman Empire. He allies himself with Ricimer, de facto ruler of Rome, and marries his daughter Alypia to him, to strengthen the relationship and end the hostilities between the Eastern and Western Empire.

Summer – King Genseric extends his pirate raids in the Mediterranean Sea; the Vandals sack and enslave the people living in Illyricum, the Peloponnese and other parts of Greece. Leo I joins forces with the Western Empire.

====== Britannia ======

Ancient Hillforts in Britain are re-fortified, and the Wansdyke is built (approximate date).

====== Asia ======

Emperor Skandagupta dies after a 12-year reign, as Huns consolidate their conquests in western India. He is succeeded by his half-brother Purugupta.

=== 468 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

Emperor Leo I assembles a massive naval expedition at Constantinople, which costs 64,000 pounds of gold (more than a year's revenue) and consists of over 1,100 ships carrying 100,000 men. It is the greatest fleet ever sent against the Vandals and brings Leo near to bankruptcy.

Emperor Anthemius sends a Roman expedition under command of Marcellinus. He expels the Vandals from Sicily and retakes Sardinia. The Eastern general Heraclius of Edessa lands with a force on the Libyan coast, east of Carthage, and advances from Tripolitania.

Battle of Cape Bon: The Vandals defeat the Roman navy under Basiliscus, anchored at Promontorium Mercurii, 45 miles from Carthage (Tunisia). During peace negotiations Genseric uses fire ships, filling them with brushwood and pots of oil, destroying 700 imperial galleys. Basiliscus escapes with his surviving fleet to Sicily, harassed all the way by Moorish pirates.

August – Marcellinus is murdered in Sicily, probably at the instigation of his political rival, Ricimer. Heraclius is left to fight alone against the Vandals; after a 2-year campaign in the desert he returns to Constantinople.

Basiliscus returns to Constantinople after a disastrous expedition against the Vandals. He is forced to seek sanctuary in the church of Hagia Sophia to escape the wrath of the people. Leo I gives him imperial pardon, but banishes him for 3 years to Heraclea Sintica (Thrace).

Dengizich, son of Attila the Hun, sends an embassy to Constantinople to demand money. Leo I offers the Huns settlement in Thrace in exchange for recognition of his authority. Dengizich refuses and crosses the Danube.

Roman forces under Anagast defeat the Huns at the Utus River (Bulgaria). Dengizich is killed and his head is paraded through the streets of Constantinople. Stuck on the end of a wooden pole, it is displayed above the Xylokerkos Gate.

The Vandals reconquer Sicily, administering a decisive defeat to the Western forces.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

February 29 – Pope Hilarius dies at Rome after a 6½-year reign, and is succeeded by Simplicius as the 47th pope.

=== 469 ===

==== By place ====

====== Roman Empire ======

The Ostrogoth prince Theodoric, age 15, returns to Pannonia after he has lived as a child hostage at the court of emperor Leo I in Constantinople (see 459).

====== Europe ======

The Vandals invade Epirus (modern Albania). They are expelled from the Peloponnese (Greece) and in retaliation, the Vandals take 500 hostages at Zakynthos. On the way back to Carthage they are slaughtered.

King Euric declares himself independent from the Western Roman Empire. He extends the Visigothic power in Hispania; conquering the cities of Pamplona, Zaragoza and Mérida.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

The Vatican makes a pact with the Salian Frankish king Childeric I, agreeing to call him "the new Constantine" on condition that he accept conversion to Christianity.


Year 469 (CDLXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Marcianus and Zeno (or, less frequently, year 1222 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 469 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Year 481 (CDLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Maecius without colleague (or, less frequently, year 1234 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 481 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Basina of Thuringia

Basina or Basine (c. 438 – 477) was a queen of Thuringia in the middle of the fifth century.

Battle of Orleans (463)

The Battle of Orléans took place in the year 463 pitting the forces of the Kingdom of Soissons, under the command of the magister militum Aegidius, against those of the Visigoths who were commanded by the Visigoth King Theodoric II and his brother Federico.


Bisinus, Basinus, Besinus, or Bisin (Lombardic: Pisen) was the king of the Thuringii (fl. c. 460 – 506/510).

According to Gregory of Tours, Bisinus gave refuge to Childeric I, the Frankish king who was exiled by his people. After eight years under Bisinus' protection, Childeric returned to Tournai. Bisinus's wife Basina left him and joined Childeric.The historical Bisinus bears some resemblance to the Bisinus described by Gregory of Tours, but the details are different: The Bisinus described by Gregory was the leader of a Thuringian confederation on the Rhine and his wife was a Lombard named Menia. He and Menia left three sons, Baderic, Herminafred and Berthachar, who inherited the throne from him. Daughter Radegund married the Lombard king Wacho.


Childeric (also Childerich or Childéric) was the name of several Frankish kings:

Childeric I (c.440–481)

Childeric II (c.653–673)

Childeric III (c.717–754)


Chlodio (d. approx. 450) also Clodio, Clodius, Clodion, Cloio or Chlogio, was a king of the Franks who attacked and apparently then held Roman-inhabited lands and cities in the Silva Carbonaria and as far south as the river Somme, apparently starting from a Frankish base which was also technically within the Roman empire. He is known from very few records, but it is thought that he might be an ancestor of the Merovingian dynasty, and possibly a descendant of the Salian Franks reported by Roman sources in the 4th century.

Gregory of Tours (II,9) reported that he attacked from a fort (castrum) named "Dispargum" on the edge of the "Thoringian" land. This is a place which has been interpreted many ways, for example possibly as Duisburg on the Rhine, or Duisburg near Brussels, or Diest in Belgium. The latter two proposals would fit the geography well, because they are within striking distance of the Silva Carbonaria, and close to Toxandria, which is known to have been settled by the Salians. It requires "Thoringorum" (genitive case) to be an error for something like "Tungrorum", but this matches Gregory's previous mention in the same passage of how the Franks had earlier settled on the banks of the Rhine and then moved into "Thoringia" on the left side of the Rhine. This does not match the medieval and modern "Thuringia" which is far inland from the Rhine. Gregory wrote:

It is commonly said that the Franks came originally from Pannonia and first colonized the banks of the Rhine. Then they crossed the river, marched through Thuringia, and set up in each country district and each city long-haired kings chosen from the foremost and most noble family of their race. [...] They also say that Clodio, a man of high birth and marked ability among his people, was King of the Franks and that he lived in the castle of Duisberg in Thuringian territory. In those parts, that is towards the south, the Romans occupied the territory as far as the River Loire. [...] Clodio sent spies to the town of Cambrai. When they discovered all that they needed to know, he himself followed and crushed the Romans and captured the town. He lived there only a short time and then occupied the country up to the Somme. Some say that Merovech, the father of Childeric, was descended from Clodio.According to this account, he held power in the northernmost part of still-Romanized Northern Gaul, together with an area further northeast apparently already Frankish.

Two works written after Gregory of Tours, added details which are mostly not considered reliable, but which may contain some facts derived from other sources. These are the Liber Historiae Francorum and the Chronicle of Fredegar. It is the first of these which specifies that Chlodio first pushed west through Roman-inhabited territories of the Silva Carbonaria, a region running roughly from Brussels to the Sambre, and took the city of Tournai, before moving south to Cambrai.

Concerning Chlodio's ancestry, the non-contemporary Liber Historiae Francorum says his father was Pharamond, a Frankish King only known from such later records, but reputedly the son of the real Frankish King who fought the Romans, Marcomer. The Chronicle of Fredegar makes Chlodio son of Theudemeres, another real Frankish king who Gregory reported to have been executed with his mother by the Romans. In both cases, legendary pedigrees were attached to people known from real Roman history, and so the pedigrees are considered unreliable.

In about 428 AD, a marriage party of the Franks of Chlodio was attacked and defeated at a village named Vicus Helena in Artois by Flavius Aëtius, the commander of the Roman army in Gaul. This is known because the future emperor Majorian was present, and this incident was therefore celebrated in the panegyric written by Sidonius Apollinaris for him. The passage describes "Cloio" as having overrun the land of the Atrebates (Artois, a province north of the Somme, and partly between Tournai and Cambrai).As explained above Gregory of Tours mentions that "some people said" that Merovech, the ancestor of the 'Merovingian' dynasty, was in the line of Chlodio, although Merovech's son Childeric I is known only from records associating him with Romanized northern Gaul. Only once his son Clovis I took power in that area did he turn to Kings still ruling in more traditionally Frankish areas. According to Gregory's understanding, the Frankish regions had many kings, but they were all part of one specific noble family, including Chlodio. However, according to the Gesta episcoporum Cameracensium, Clovis and his noble-blooded competitor King Ragnachar of Cambrai (the town Chlodio had put under Frankish control) were related not through the male line, but through Clovis's mother, Basina, a Thuringian princess whom his father met when exiled from Gaul. (Gregory reports that Clovis asked Ragnachar: "Why have you humiliated our family in permitting yourself to be bound? It would have been better for you to die." He then killed him with an axe and told Ricchar, "If you had aided your brother, he would not have been bound", before killing Ricchar in the same way.)

A contemporary Roman historian, Priscus writes of having witnessed in Rome, a "lad without down on his cheeks as yet and with fair hair so long that it poured down his shoulders, Aetius had made him his adopted son". Priscus writes that the excuse Attila used for waging war on the Franks was the death of their king and the disagreement of his children over the succession, the elder being allied with Attila and the younger with Aetius. It has been speculated that this Frankish succession dispute may involve the family of Chlodio and Merovech. On the other hand, it has also been concluded that the Franks in this story must be Rhineland Franks, with whom Aëtius had various interactions.

Clovis I

Clovis (Latin: Chlodovechus; reconstructed Frankish: *Hlōdowig; c. 466 – 27 November 511) was the first king of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a group of royal chieftains to rule by a single king and ensuring that the kingship was passed down to his heirs. 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, a Thuringian princess. In 481, at the age of fifteen, Clovis succeeded his father. In what is now northern France, then northern Gaul, he took control of a rump state of the Western Roman Empire controlled by Syagrius at the Battle of Soissons (486), and by the time of his death in either 511 or 513, he had also conquered smaller Frankish kingdoms towards the northeast, the Alemanni to the east, and Visigothic kingdom of Aquitania to the south.

Clovis is important in the historiography of France as "the first king of what would become France".Clovis is also significant due to his conversion to Catholicism in 496, largely at the behest of his wife, Clotilde, who would later be venerated as a saint for this act, celebrated today in both the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church. Clovis was baptized on Christmas Day in 508. The adoption by Clovis of Catholicism (as opposed to the Arianism of most other Germanic tribes) led to widespread conversion among the Frankish peoples, to religious unification across what is now modern-day France, Belgium and Germany, and three centuries later to Charlemagne's alliance with the Bishop of Rome and in the middle of the 10th century under Otto I the Great to the consequent birth of the early Holy Roman Empire.

Dux Belgicae secundae

The Dux Belgicae secundae ("commander of the second Belgic province") was a senior officer in the late Roman army of the West, Supreme Commander of the limitanei and a naval squadron to the so-called Saxon Shore in Gaul.

A known Dux was the Frankish king Childeric I (late 5th century).

Frankish mythology

Frankish mythology comprises the mythology of the Germanic tribal confederation of the Franks, from its roots in polytheistic Germanic paganism through the inclusion of Greco-Roman components in the Early Middle Ages.

This mythology flourished among the Franks until the conversion of the Merovingian king Clovis I to Nicene Christianity (c. 500), though there were many Frankish Christians before that. After that, their paganism was gradually replaced by the process of Christianisation, but there were still pagans in the Frankish heartland of Toxandria in the late 7th century.


The Franks (Latin: Franci or gens Francorum) were a collection of Germanic peoples, whose name was first mentioned in 3rd century Roman sources, associated with tribes on the Lower and Middle Rhine, on the edge of the Roman Empire. Later the term was associated with Romanized Germanic dynasties within the collapsing Roman Empire, who eventually commanded the whole region between the rivers Loire and Rhine. They then imposed power over many other post-Roman kingdoms and Germanic peoples, and still later they were given recognition by the Catholic Church as successors to the old rulers of the Western Roman Empire.Although the Frankish name does not appear until the 3rd century, at least some of the original Frankish tribes had long been known to the Romans under their own names, both as allies providing soldiers and as enemies. The new name first appears when the Romans and their allies were losing control of the Rhine region. The Franks were first reported as working together to raid Roman territory, but from the beginning these raids were associated with attacks upon them from outside their frontier area, by the Saxons, for example, and with the desire of frontier tribes to move into Roman territory with which they had had centuries of close contact.

Frankish peoples inside Rome's frontier on the Rhine river were the Salian Franks who from their first appearance were permitted to live in Roman territory, and the Ripuarian or Rhineland Franks who, after many attempts, eventually conquered the Roman frontier city of Cologne and took control of the left bank of the Rhine. Later, in a period of factional conflict in the 450s and 460s, Childeric I, a Frank, was one of several military leaders commanding Roman forces with various ethnic affiliations in Roman Gaul (roughly modern France). Childeric and his son Clovis I faced competition from the Roman Aegidius as competitor for the "kingship" of the Franks associated with the Roman Loire forces. (According to Gregory of Tours, Aegidius held the kingship of the Franks for 8 years while Childeric was in exile.) This new type of kingship, perhaps inspired by Alaric I, represents the start of the Merovingian dynasty, which succeeded in conquering most of Gaul in the 6th century, as well as establishing its leadership over all the Frankish kingdoms on the Rhine frontier. It was on the basis of this Merovingian empire that the resurgent Carolingians eventually came to be seen as the new Emperors of Western Europe in 800.

In the Middle Ages, the term Frank came to be used as a synonym for Western European, as the Carolingian Franks were rulers of most of Western Europe, and established a political order that was the basis of the European ancien regime that only ended with the French revolution. Western Europeans shared their allegiance to the Roman Catholic church and worked as allies in the Crusades beyond Europe in the Levant, where they still referred to themselves and the Principalities they established as Frankish. This has had a lasting impact on names for Western Europeans in many languages.From the beginning the Frankish kingdoms were politically and legally divided between an eastern Frankish and Germanic part, and the western part that the Merovingians had founded on Roman soil. The eastern Frankish kingdom came to be seen as the new "Holy Roman Empire", and was from early times occasionally called "Germany". Within "Frankish" Western Europe itself, it was the original Merovingian or "Salian" Western Frankish kingdom, founded in Roman Gaul and speaking Romance languages, which has continued until today to be referred to as "France" - a name derived directly from the Franks.

French monarchs family tree

Below are the family trees of all French monarchs, from Childeric I to Louis Philippe I.

For a more simplified view, see French monarchs family tree (simple)


Saint Genevieve (French: Sainte Geneviève; Latin: Sancta Genovefa, Genoveva; from Gaullish geno "race, lineage" and uida "sage") (Nanterre, c. 419/422 AD – Paris 502/512 AD), is the patron saint of Paris in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions. Her feast day is kept on January the 3rd.

She was born in Nanterre and moved to Paris after encountering Germanus of Auxerre and Lupus of Troyes and dedicated herself to a Christian life. In 451 she led a "prayer marathon" that was said to have saved Paris by diverting Attila's Huns away from the city. When the Germanic king Childeric I besieged the city in 464, she acted as an intermediary between the city and its besiegers, collecting food and convincing Childeric to release his prisoners.Her following and her status as patron saint of Paris were promoted by Clotilde, who may have commissioned the writing of her vita. This was most likely written in Tours, where Clotilde retired after her husband's death, as evidenced also by the importance of Martin of Tours as a saintly model.


The Hipposandal (Latin soleae ferreae) is a device that protected the hoof of a horse. It was commonplace in the northwestern countries of the Roman Empire, and was a predecessor to the horseshoe.

The necessity of protecting the horse hoof was recognised by the ancient Greeks and Romans, and written about by Xenophon. An early form of hoof protection was seen in ancient Asia, where horses' hooves were wrapped in rawhide, leather or other materials for both therapeutic purposes and protection from wear. Elsewhere, various methods were employed to trim the hoof into a hollow form and give it as much hardness as possible. Gradually, protection items started to appear, first with the soleae Sparteae, a sort of leather hoof boot, later improved into the soleae ferreae that featured metal studded soles similar to contemporary military boots.The hipposandal, which appears in the Celtic-Roman area north of the Alps around the mid-1st century AD, was the next step in the development of hoof protection, where the sole of the boot was made of metal. It included an oval-shaped cup of thick metal that enclosed and protected the hoof, complete with a fixation system. The device was fastened to the hoof by metallic clips and leather laces. Like the Soleae Sparteae and soleae ferreae, the hipposandal increased ground adherence of draught animals, thereby giving them better traction, and protected the hoof on rough ground. To further improve traction, the bottom of each hipposandal was grooved.

There is speculation that the Gauls were the first to nail on metal horseshoes. The nailed iron horseshoe first clearly appeared in the archaeological record in Europe in about the 5th century AD when a horseshoe, complete with nails, was found in the tomb of the Frankish King Childeric I at Tournai, Belgium. In Gallo-Roman countries, the hipposandal appears to have briefly co-existed with the nailed horseshoe.In 2006, Channel Four's history programme Time Team featured an episode where hipposandals were recreated and tested; however, they were reported to have been uncomfortable and unsuitable for long journeys.

Jacques Bouillart

Jacques Bouillart (1669 – 11 December 1726) was a Benedictine monk of the Congregation of St.-Maur.

Bouillart was born in the Diocese of Chartres. He professed at the Monastery of St. Faron de Meaux in 1687. He was the author of Histoire de l'abbaye royale de Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Paris, 1724). This history of the Benedictine monastery contains biographies of the abbots that ruled over it, since its foundation by Childeric I in 543, along with historical events related to the abbey. It also contains many illustrations and detailed descriptions of architecture, art and historical documents. Bouillart also edited a martyrology of Usuard. In this publication he attempted to establish the genuineness and authenticity of the manuscript preserved at Saint-Germain-des-Prés, against the Jesuit hagiographer Père Jean-Baptiste Du Sollier (1669–1740), who in his revised edition of Usuard's martyrology had paid no attention to this manuscript.


Merovech (French: Mérovée, Merowig; Latin: Meroveus; c. 411 – 458) is the semi-legendary founder of the Merovingian dynasty of the Salian Franks (although either Childeric I, his supposed son, or Clovis I, his supposed grandson, can also be considered the founder), which later became the dominant Frankish tribe. He is proposed to be one of several barbarian warlords and kings that joined forces with the Roman general Aetius against the Huns under Attila at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in Gaul.

The family of Childeric and Clovis, the first Frankish large-scale royal dynasty called themselves Merovingians ("descendants of Meroveus") after him, and this was known to historians in the following centuries, but no more contemporary evidence exists. The most important such written source, Gregory of Tours, recorded that Merovech was said to be descended from Chlodio, a roughly contemporary Frankish warlord who pushed from the Silva Carbonaria in modern central Belgium as far south as the Somme, north of Paris in modern-day France.

Salian Franks

The Salian Franks, also called the Salians (Latin: Salii; Greek: Σάλιοι Salioi), were a northwestern subgroup of the earliest Franks who first appear in the historical records in the third century.

Wilhelm Junghans

Wilhelm Junghans (3 May 1834 – 27 January 1865) was a German historian who was a native of Lüneburg.

He studied under Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl (1806-1876) at the University of Bonn, and with Georg Waitz (1813-1886) at the University of Göttingen. In 1862 he was appointed professor at the University of Kiel, a position he held until his death in 1865 at the age of 30. At Kiel he was also secretary of the Schleswig-Holstein Historical Society.

Junghans is remembered for his 1856 work involving the Merovingian kings Childeric I and Clovis I, titled "Die Geschichte der fränkischen Könige Childerich und Chlodovech, kritisch untersucht". This book was later translated into French by historian Gabriel Monod (1844-1912) and published as "Histoire critique des règnes de Childerich et de Chlodovech".

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.