Merovingian Family Dynamics (S1: E19)

Thugs and Miracles: A History of France

03-05-2020 • 34 mins

Welcome back! This week's episode begins with a narrative rundown of the Gundovald Affair, the invasion of Francia by one of Chlothar's illegitimate and unclaimed sons. He was backed by the Byzantine Empire and disaffected aristocrats in all three Merovingian Kingdoms, so Gundovald's story expresses more than just one man's quest for power: the Affair also exposed underlying issues with disloyal subjects, power-hungry courtiers, faithless clergy, interfering empires and troublesome family dynamics.

After Gundovald, we take a look at how Guntram, Childebert II/Brunhilda, and Chlothar II/Fredegunda are getting along. Their varied ascendancies and the personalities behind each kingdom set the stage for what's yet to come. With that said, Fredegunda is... unpleasant. She likes to use torture to pay back and silence her enemies, and there's a rather long passage around minute 26 wherein some of her practices are discussed in further detail. I have a warning in front of this passage and give time to skip ahead three minutes, so be aware of this as an issue if descriptions of torture are not your thing.

Finally, I’ve had the chance to talk recently with David over at The History of Spain podcast and he has given me a really brilliant slide presentation for his show that breaks down the Visigothic Empire during the same span of time that we’ve covered during the course of this show. It’s an outstanding resource, as is his entire podcast, so be sure to check them out. Links to social media and the website:



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History of Spain: