The Sons of Clovis - Part II (S1: E10)

Thugs and Miracles: A History of France

12-01-2020 • 29 mins

This week we’re going to explore the Frankish war in Burgundy and the fallout from the death of Clovis and Clotilde’s son Chlodomir. Remember, this war may have been fought by Clovis’s boys, but it was instigated for any number of reasons by the great king’s wife. In the end, it would be her who would experience, more than almost anyone else who survived to a natural death in our history, the truly vicious and zero-sum game nature of this first half of the 6th century.

So let’s look at Chlodomir. This oldest son of Clotilde and Clovis to survive infancy was born in 495, making him just shy of 30 years old when he would have been waging war in Burgundy. He had been granted the region of Orléans following his father’s death in 511, and had gone on to marry a woman named Guntheuca in 517. Long story short, Guntheuca had been the granddaughter of the Burgundian King Godegeisel, the King murdered in Vienne after Clovis allowed Gundobad to escape the siege of Avignon way back in Episode Six. Godegeisel was Chlodomir’s great-uncle, hence making the husband and wife first cousins once removed. Together they produced three boys, Theodebald, Gunthar, and Clodoald. Now keep in mind, assuming Guntheuca and Chlodomir got pregnant almost immediately and she had her baby on time, that means the oldest child from their union would have been born in 518 and would have been no older than six at the time of Chlodomir’s death in 524. This becomes particularly important when looking at the events that occurred just after his death.

Long story short, this week's episode takes a hard look at the power politics of the 6th century. Power moves came in many shapes and sizes, but the story today is perhaps the most repugnant of any of them: the murder of two small boys. Given the choice between good brothers who would see their oldest sibling's children raised to fill the throne he left behind, or being greedy middle-aged child-murderers, the Frankish kings Clothar and Childebert chose the latter. And to do so, they exploited their mother’s love and good faith to get control of their dead brother’s children, then put her on the spot to consider whether she would rather have the boys robbed of their birthright or executed. And then they carried out the murder of the two kids, boys who look at them as father figures, while they screamed and cried in shock, pain, fear and disbelief. I mean, holy brutal...

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 and a list of sources is available online at; please check out the site and sign up for the e-mail list so we can keep you up-to-date on all things T+M. Speaking of email, you can write to us at, you can hit us on Twitter at @thugsandmiracle, with no “s” at the end, or you can leave a comment on Facebook and Instagram at @ThugsAndMiracles. Finally, if you enjoyed the show, I ask you to keep spreading the word! Your word-of-mouth does more than anything else to allow the show to grow. If you want to go a step further, leaving a review on whichever platform you get your podcasts is awesome and would really get this new decade started off right!