Clovis I - King of Franks(481-511)

Clovis I - King of Franks(481-511)

(b. c. 466--d. Nov. 27, 511, Paris), Merovingian founder of the Frankish kingdom that dominated much of western Europe in the early Middle Ages.

Clovis was the son, and probably the only son, of Childeric I, king of the Salian Franks of Tournai. To judge from the remains of Childeric"s burial at Tournai, he seems to have been a federate chieftain of some standing and certainly a pagan. Under the same pagan gods, his son Clovis, who succeeded him in 481, advanced south to conquer northern Gaul. There survives a letter to him written by Bishop Remigius (Remi) of Reims, congratulating him on taking over the administration of Belgica Secunda and advising him to listen to the bishops. At Soissons, in 486, Clovis defeated Syagrius, the last Roman ruler in Gaul. This opened to him the whole area of the Somme and the Seine and in particular brought him the extensive properties of the Roman treasury in that area. Clovis appears to have met with some resistance from the cities, and Franks not of his following seem to have been slow in coming to his aid. But he established his power at least as far south as Paris between the years 487 and 494. The Armoricans of western Gaul and the Germanic peoples of the Rhineland offered more serious opposition; and at the Loire he made contact with the Visigoths, proteges of Theodoric, the formidable ruler of Ostrogothic Italy.

Of the history of these early years, virtually nothing is known that is not recorded by Bishop Gregory of Tours, who wrote toward the end of the 6th century. Gregory"s aim was to depict a heroic pagan warrior who owed his success to conversion to the true faith of Christianity. The outlines of his story are acceptable as historical fact, being based partly on the epic traditions of the Merovingian family itself and partly on annalistic records kept by the Christian church. (The name Merovingian derives from Merovich, a close relative of Childeric.)

The king whom Gregory portrays is primarily a warrior--bold, subtle, and unscrupulous in dealing with possible rivals among the Frankish chieftains of the northeast. A famous story told of him by Gregory best illustrates his qualities. A splendid vase was seized by Clovis" followers from a church (perhaps Reims), and the bishop begged for its return. At the next division of booty, which took place at Soissons, the king asked for the vase in addition to his agreed share of booty. One Frank objected and smashed the vase with his axe. The king restored it, broken as it was, to the bishop and said nothing. But a year later, at a military assembly, he recognized the offending warrior and took occasion to rebuke him for his ill-kept weapons, flinging his axe to the ground. As the man bent to pick it up, the king split his skull with his own axe, remarking, "Thus you treated the vase at Soissons." Gregory entirely approved: the church was avenged and so was the king; and the rest of Clovis" following was terrified.

But Clovis was also pious and credulous, as befitted a warrior whose gods had brought him great success. Though master of a Roman province effectively controlled by dynasties of able Gallo-Roman bishops, he showed no disposition to seek conversion until after his marriage to a Catholic princess, the Burgundian Clotilda (later St. Clotilda), in about 493. Three years later he undertook a campaign against the Alamanni of the middle Rhine, and at Zülpich (Tolbiac) his forces faced defeat. Only at this point did he think of invoking the help of his wife"s god; and defeat was turned to victory. Even then a period of some two years elapsed before the combined efforts of Clotilda and Bishop Remigius (later St. Remigius of Reims) persuaded him to seek baptism. This took place at Reims, after a visit to Tours and due consultation with his warriors, several of whom were baptized with him. The Frankish settlers of the countryside remained pagan, and their conversion was a slow and spasmodic business. Their grave-site goods were to betray a rustic paganism at least until the 7th century.

It was to Catholicism, not to Arianism, that Clovis had turned. This may have affected his abortive intervention in the political affairs of Burgundy shortly afterward, for the Burgundians were mostly Arians. Some Burgundian detachments followed him on his subsequent campaigns, but he cannot be said to have conquered Burgundy or annexed it to Francia. A letter to him from Avitus, bishop of Burgundian Vienne, fully recognizes the risk to his barbarian charisma that the king ran in denying the pagan gods of his ancestors. In place of pagan fortuna, the bishop urges, the king has acquired Christian sanctitas, which will equally see him to victory. (see also Index: Roman Catholicism)

In 506 Clovis was still active in the Rhineland against both the Alamanni and the Thuringians. In 507 he finally turned against the powerful Visigoths of Gaul south of the Loire. But first he sought the patronage of St. Martin of Tours, greatest of the Gallo-Roman saints. His subsequent victory over the Arian Visigoths at Vouille, near Poitiers, was attributed by him to that patronage. His family had acquired a spiritual patron revered by all his Gallo-Roman subjects. Though he penetrated as far south as Bordeaux and sent his son to capture the Visigoth capital of Toulouse, he did not expel the Goths from Septimania or turn southern Gaul into a settlement area for his people. He contented himself with returning to Tours, where he gave thanks to St. Martin for victory and received the insignia of an honorary consulate from the Eastern emperor, Anastasius. He abandoned the Gallo-Roman south to its own devices and established himself at Paris, a good forward post from which to control the Armoricans of the west, the Thuringians on the Rhine, and the still-troublesome Franks of the north and east. In Paris he built a church dedicated to the Apostles (later Sainte-Geneviève).

Two revealing actions belong to the last year or so of Clovis" life. The first was the summoning of a church council at Orleans, attended by 32 bishops. Its canons, which survive, reveal the extent to which the king personally concerned himself with its deliberations. The second was the promulgation of Lex Salica, the law of the Salian Franks who accepted his authority. This constitutes 65 clauses regulating the life of the countryside. Uninfluenced by Christianity, they are a political manifesto rather than a precise legal statement of how the Franks ordered their lives. What they certainly reveal is the enhanced authority of the king and his willingness to make use of Gallo-Roman skills in ruling his own barbarians. Clovis died at the age of 45 and was buried in his Church of the Apostles. His Christian grave has never been found.

Making every allowance for Gregory of Tours"s intention to represent him as a second Constantine, Clovis still stands out as a barbarian of heroic stature. Starting from small beginnings, he had been accepted as ruler by the Gallo-Romans; with imperial approval he had made the first serious attack on the Arian-Gothic confederation of western Europe; he had taken for his people the momentous decision that they were ultimately to be converted to Catholicism, not Arianism; and, perhaps most difficult of all, he had made one political people of the various Frankish tribes of modern Belgium and the Rhineland. Henceforward, Frankish power was to penetrate and colonize east of the Rhine. His family was secure in an unrivaled dominance that was to last until the 8th century.

Clovis I (ou Clodowich ou Louis) Le Grand ou Le Premier Chretien roi des Francs 481-511
epouse: X
epouse: Sainte Clotilde fille de Chilperic roi des Burgondes. cf:
5 enfants:
- Thierry I ou Theodoric roi d"Austrasie 511-534, co roi d"Orleans 526-532
- Ingomer. mort en 493
- Clodomir roi d"Orleans 511-524
- Childebert I roi de Paris 511-558, roi d"Orleans 524-526 puis co roi d"Orleans 526-532
- Clotaire I Le Vieux roi des Francs. cf: dessous

CLOVIS I (Choldowechi)
Title: Franks" King (481-511)
Birth: c. 466
Death: 27/11/0511 Paris
Family 1:
N.N. of KOELN, Frank Princess of Koeln
Marriage: 27/11/0511


Born in 466.
Baptized on December 25, 498 - 51100 Reims.
Died in 511 - 75000 Paris.


Childeric Ier DE FRANCIE ca 436-481
Basine DE COLOGNE ca 445-491

Marriages and children

Allied in 484 to Amalaberge HÉRULE ca 462-ca 510, with
Theodoric D"AUSTRASIE ca 486-534
Allied in 493 to Clotilde DE BURGONDIE ca 475-545, with
Clotaire Ier le Vieux DE SOISSONS ca 497-561


Profession : Roi des Francs de 481 à 511.

<I001855> Clovis I ("The Great"), King of FRANKS
<I001860> Father: Childeric I, King of Salic FRANKS
<I001861> Mother: Basina of THURINGIA
BIRTH: 465
DEATH: 11 NOV 511, Paris
Family 1:
<I007142> 1. Thierry I ("Theodoric") King, AUSTRASIA
Family 2:
<I001856> Clothilda of BURGUNDY
<I007143> 1. Clodomir, King of ORLEANS
<I007144> 2. Childebert I, King of PARIS
<I001853> 3. Clothaire I, King of FRANKS


Through influence of wife Chlotilda, Clovis was baptized as a Christian by St. Remy at Rheims on 25 December 496. He defeated the Burgundians in 500, fixed his court at Paris in 507, defeated the Visigoths at Voulon near Poitiers in 507, and at his death was sole king of France. {Clovis had defeated the Romans near Soissons in 486...} He "was the true founder of the Frankish monarchy. He reigned over the Salian Franks by hereditary right; over the Frankish tribes by reason of his kinship with their kings and by the choice of the warriors who raised him on the shield, and he governed the Gallo-Romans by right of conquest." {- Encycl.Brit., 1956,
5:857, 9:698; cf.9:587} He received the sanction of the church and was appointed to preside at the Council of Orleans, 511. The eastern emperor sent him emblems of authority, thus adding legal sanction. Thus was established the Merovingian claim to the western empire. {Ref. "The Long-haired Kings," J.M.Wallace-Hadrill, 1962.} Clovis" kingdom was divided among his four surviving sons. He was buried in the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul which he had built. [Note: name Clovis = Louis.]

<Y003948> Father: CHILDERIC I
<Y003949> Mother: BASINGA
BIRTH: 465
DEATH: 511
Family 1:

Clovis I (Chlodwig), also known by some historians as Louis and Lodowig, born 467, died 511, the first king of all the Franks, the founder of the empire of Franks, ruling from 482 to 511, son of Childeric I., chief of the Salian Franks, whom he succeeded in 481 at the age of 15. His capital was at Rheims and later at Paris. He had the Salic law drawn up about the year 500. At the death of Clovis I. the empire was divided into four parts, which were held by his sons.
Clovis at the age of twenty-five, fathered a bastard son by an unknown concubine who was not of royal blood. Their son, the first born, was Theodoric (Thierry) I. He died in 534. Theodoric had a son, Theodobert.
In 493 Clovis married Clothilde (Clotilda) of Burgundy (afterwards St. Clothilde), born 475, died at Tours in 545, "the girl of the French Vineyards". She was the daughter of Gondebaud (Chilperic II.?), King of Burgundy. She was Arian by religion, but with strong Roman Catholic tendencies. This marriage was of primary importance, as the real shape of France dated from it. It was she who led her husband to abandon his old beliefs and embrace Christianity. He was baptized in the 15th year of his reign at Rheims on Christmas Day in 496, with 3,000 of his followers. When Clovis first heard the story of Christ"s crucifixion, he was so moved that he cried, "If I had been there with my valiant Franks, I would have avenged Him." Henceforth the Church played a decisive role in the history of the kings of France. By his wife, they had the following sons:
1. Ingomer, who died after being baptized, according the Gregory of Tours.
2. Clodomir (Chlodomer), the eldest legitimate son, died in 524. At the death of his father, he obtained the Loire from Orleans to Tours, plus the cities of Chartes, Sens, and Auxerre. He had three sons, two of which were murdered by their uncles. The third escaped the massacre and is said to have founded a monastery and was canonized as Saint Cloud.
3. Childebert I. received Paris, the valleys of the Seine and Somme, and the Channel coast as far as Brittany. He ruled from 511 to 558. He died childless in 558.
4. Clotaire (Chlothar) I, died in 561.
5. A daughter, betrothed to Amalaric, son of Alaric, the Visigoth King of Spain.
Following upon the deaths of the above four sons, the history becomes somewhat confused by the various successions of sons and nephews. Thierry (Theodoric), who received at the time of his father"s death, the Ripuary country, the Moselle Valley with Metz and Trier, French Hesse, Champagne, and the Alemanni protectorate. He also took the largest share of the disposed Goth territory. Thierry tried to murder his half-brothers but failed. He died shortly afterwards, leaving a son, Theudebert (Thibert) I, who allied himself to Childebert against Clotaire. He died in 548, and he was succeeded by his son, Theudebald, who died in 555. None of these were sole king, except Clotaire I., who held the position from the death of Childebert I. in 558 until his own death in 561.
Clovis"s achievement was a tremendous one: he had created France.
According to Gregory of Tours:
"Clovis I. died at the age of forty-five, having reigned for thirty years. Queen Clotilda came to Tours after the death of her husband and served there in the church of St. Martin, and dwelt in the place with the greatest chastity and kindness all the days of her life, rarely visiting Paris."

Clovis Ier
King of the Franks 456-511; m. Clotilde.

When Clovis began to reign in 481, he was, like his father, King of Tournai only, but at an early date he began his career of conquest. In 486 he over threw the monarchy that Syagrius, son of Aegidius, had carved out for himself in Northern Gaul, and set up his court at Soissons; in 490 and 491 he took possession of the Salian Kingdoms of Cambrai and Tongres; in 496 he triumphantly repelled an invasion of the Alamanni; in 500 he interposed in the war of the Burgundian kings; in 506 he conquered Aquitaine; and at length he annexed the Ripuarian Kingdom of Cologne. Henceforth Gaul, from the Pyrenees to the Rhine, was subject to Clovis, with the exception of the territory in the southeast, i.e. the kingdom of the Burgundians and Provence. Established at Paris, Clovis governed this kingdom by virtue of an agreement concluded with the bishops of Gaul, according to which natives and barbarians were to be on terms of equality, and all cause of friction between the two races was removed when, in 496, the king was converted to Catholicism. The Frankish kingdom thereupon took its place in history under more promising conditions than were to be found in any other state founded upon the ruins of the Roman Empire. All free men bore the title of Frank, had the same political status, and were eligible to the same offices. Besides, each individual observed the law of the people among whom he belonged; the Gallo-Roman lived according to the code, the barbarian according to the Salian or Ripuarian law; in other words, the law was personal, not territorial. If there were any privileges they belonged to the Gallo-Romans, who, in the beginning were the only ones on whom the episcopal dignity was conferred. The king governed the provinces through his counts, and had a considerable voice in the selection of the clergy. The drawing up of the Salian Law (Lex Salica), which seems to date from the early part of the reign of Clovis, and the Council of Orleans, convoked by him and held in the last year of his reign, prove that the legislative activity of this king was not eclipsed by his military energy (see CLOVIS). Although founder of a kingdom destined to such a brilliant future, Clovis did not know how to shield it against a custom in vogue among the barbarians, i.e. the division of power among the sons of the king. This custom originated in the pagan idea that all kings were intended to reign because they were descended from the gods. Divine blood flowed in the veins of all the king"s sons, each of whom, therefore, being a king by birth, must have his share of the kingdom. This view, incompatible with the formation of a powerful, durable monarchy, had been vigorously rejected by Genseric the Vandal, who, to secure the indivisibility of his kingdom, had established in his family a certain order of succession. Either because he died suddenly or for some other reason, Clovis took no measures to abolish this custom, which continued among the Franks until the middle of the ninth century and, more than once, endangered their nationality.

Chlodovech I Of The Franks
King of the Franks .
(Chlodovech Franks)
Born in 463
Died in 511
Childeric I Of The Franks, King of the Franks +482
X Basina
Marriages and children
Married to Chrotechilde Of Burgundy, with
Theuderic I Of The +533
Chlodomer Of The +524
Childebert I Of The +558
Chlothar I Of The +561
Baptized: 22 SEP 496

Clovis I (Chlodovech) Magnus King Of Franks
(Clovis King Of Franks)
Born about 476, of Rheims, Marne, Loire-Atlantique, France
Died on November 27, 511, Church Of St. Pierre, France
Childeric I of the Franks King Of Franks 436-481
Basine (Of The Franks) -476/
Marriages and children
Married (492-493) to St. Chrotechilde (Clothilde) de Burgundy ca 475-548, with
Ingomera Prince Of Franks -
Chlodomer of the Franks King Of Orléans 495-524
Childebert I of the Franks King Of Paris ca 496-558
Chlothar I the Old of the Franks 497-561
Tichilda Of The Franks ca 503
Clothilde Of The Franks ca 507-ca 531
Married to X Evochilde, with
Theuderic I of the Franks King Of Austrasia +543

Clovis I,_"The_Great" King_Of_The Franks

(Clovis Franks)

Born about 465, Rheims,Marne,Loire-Atlantique,France
Baptized on December 25, 496, Rheims,Marne,Loire-Atlantique,France
Died on November 27, 511, Church Of Saint,,,France
Buried - Church Of Saint,,,France


Childeric I, King_Of_The Franks 436-
Basina (Mrs-Childeric), Queen_Of_The Franks, Princess -470/

Marriages and children

Married, Not Married, to Mrs-Clovis I, concubine Franks
Married (ABT 492/493), ,,,France, to Clotilde, Queen Of_The Franks ca 475-548, with
Ingomera, Prince Of -
Clodomer, King Of Orleans 495-524
Childebert, King Of Paris ca 496-558
Clotaire I, King_Of_The ca 497-561
Tichilda, Princess Of ca 503
Princess, Of the ca 505
Clotilda, Princess Of ca 507-ca 531


Clotilde, Queen Of_The Franks
Born about 475, ,,Bourgogne,France
Died on June 3, 548, ,Tours,Ingre-Et-Loire,France

Clovis(Chlodwig,Chlodovech)I,King of Franks(466-511)
#Clotilda(Chrothieldis)(497-531), m.Amalaric

Clovis I
d.27.11.511, Paris

m.dau.of Sigebert l"Ancien(d.508), King of Ripuarian Franks
1.Thierry I

m.493 Soissons, Clotilde(b.474, Lyon-d.3.6.545, Tours), dau.of Childeric II, King of Burgundy
3.Childebert I
5.Clotaire I

Clovis King Childericsson Franks
died 511

1.Theuderic I Clovisson

m.492 Clotilde Chilpericdtr Burgundy [died 555; daughter of Chilperic King Nasciensson Burgundy]

2.Childebert I Clovisson
3.Lothar I Childebertson
4.Chlodomer Clovisson
5.Clotilde Clovisdtr

de_la_Francs, Chlodovech Magnus le_Grand Roi
d.27 NOV 511
Father: Yssel, Childeric I de_la_Francs Roi
Mother: Thuringen, Basine von


Burgund, Chrotechildis Chlotilde von Saint / Reine
Father: Burgund, Chilperich I von Roi


b.AFT 507
Orleans, Chlodomer I d" Roi
b.AFT 508
Paris, Childebert de Roi
b.AFT 510
de_la_Francs, Chlothar I Soissons Roi

m.BEF 496

b.BEF 480


Austrasie, Theuderich I d" Roi

Clovis Ier (° Tournai, 466-Paris, 27.11.511), roi des Francs de 481 a 511, bap. le jour de Noel 496 par Saint Remi a Reims ep. 1. N... (concubine); 2°. v. 492, Clotilde des Burgondes (° v. 475-Tours, 3.06.548), canonisee par le pape Pelage II, seconde fille de Chilperic II, roi des Burgondes. Dont :
- Du premier lit :

1. Theodoric ou Thierry Ier (° v. 485-Metz, 533), roi d"Autrasie et de Reims, roi de Thuringe (531) ep. Suavegote (° v. 516/17), princesse Burgonde : Auteur de la premiere branche merovingienne des rois d"Autrasie (Cf. Chapitre II).

- Du second lit :

2. Ingomer (° & + 494).
3. Clodomir (° 495-25.06.524), roi d"Orleans (511-524) ep. 514/21, Gondioque.
4. Childebert Ier (° v. 497-Paris, 23.12.558), roi de Paris (ou de France) (511-558), roi d"Orleans (526-532), roi de Bourgogne (534-558) ep. avt. 541, Vultrogothe (+ ap. 558).
5. Clotaire Ier, qui suit.
6. Clotilde (+ 531) ep. 517, Amalaric, roi des Wisigoths d"Espagne (+ 531).

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