The Sons of Clovis - Part III (S1: E11)

Thugs and Miracles: A History of France

26-01-2020 • 33 mins

This week we’re going to explore the relationships between the last three sons of Clovis, as well as the relationships with their potential successors. If you think about it, the Kingdom of Francia could easily have ended up in fractals if each of Clovis’s sons split their share of the kingdom into equal parts to then bequeath to their sons. Chlothar and Childebert already took care of that problem with Chlodomir’s kids, but eventually the remaining three would have to address this issue when one of them would finally die. Keep this in mind as we move forward…

No matter what anyone thought of their culture, religion, or alliances, no one could deny that the Franks were a militaristic people who were not to be trifled with. They were a true force in the West, and it would have been better, at least until all of the rest of the enemies are dead, to ally with the Franks than to fight them. It appears that Justinian, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, had a pragmatic side that the Frankish kings were able to inspire. As Professor Freedman had alluded to earlier, Chlothar, Childebert and Theuderic may not have been the best kings, and they certainly could have gone further and enjoyed more success if they had been smarter and less petty in how they ruled, but nonetheless they were still able to hold their territory, expand their borders, and make moves that confirmed their right as sovereigns both in foreign affairs and domestically.

By the end of this episode we are now down from six total children of Clovis to three. Ingomer died in his infancy, Chlodomir was struck down in battle, and Princess Clotilde died returning from Spain. Chlodomir’s children were struck down by their uncles, and Princess Clotilde (not to be confused with her mother, Queen Clotilde) is not reported as having had any children, so up until this point the line of succession has been relatively well pruned, for lack of a better turn of phrase. This will change in our next episode, however, because we are going to pick up in 534 with the sudden illness of Theuderic. His son, Theudebert, was old enough to protect himself and had been hardened by war; if something were to happen to his father, he would not be cast aside so easily as the sons of Chlodomir. His story starts us off next time.