Fredegunda (S1: E17)

Thugs and Miracles: A History of France

13-04-2020 • 37 mins

Today, as the episode’s title indicates, we’re going to look at the history from Fredegunda’s point-of-view. And it’s a pretty intense ride, to the point where, instead of trying to come up with some sort of catchy phrase to sum up the events of history in three or four words in the title, we chose to just go with the Queen’s name. Fredegunda, as we’ll see, is summation enough.

Fredegunda appears to have been a self-made woman. Gregory implies that she had been a servant, and according to the historian François Guizot, she “was the daughter of poor peasants in the neighborhood of Montdidier in Picardy, and at an early age joined the train of Queen Audovera, the first wife of King Chilperic. She was beautiful, dexterous, ambitious, and bold.” She was also murderous, dangerous, ruthless, and probably a hundred other similar adjectives; she was DEFINITELY the world's worst. Stepmother. Ever.

As you listen to today's episode, keep one question in mind: Was Fredegunda a horrible person and murderer, or was she a competent administrator who was unafraid to do whatever was necessary for her family and herself? Your answer to that question is going to color how you view the woman.

As always, the music used for the show comes from Josh Woodward and includes his songs “Bully” and “Lafayette.” For a free download of these songs or hundreds of other great tracks, check out his site at Notes on this episode, a list of sources, a monarchy/family tree, and much more is available online at; check it out and be sure to sign up for the e-mail list. Speaking of email, you can write to me at, you can hit me on Twitter at @thugsandmiracle (with no “s” on the end), or you can leave a comment on Facebook or Instagram at @ThugsAndMiracles. Finally, I’d ask that if you have found yourself with a bit of downtime due to current events, consider taking the time to rate and review the podcast on whichever platform you use to listen; we always love to see five stars.