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Childeric I
Childeric I
/ˈkɪldərɪk/ (French: Childéric, Latin: Childericus, reconstructed Frankish: *Hildirīk;[2] c. 440 – 481/482) was a Merovingian
Merovingian
king of the Salian Franks
Salian Franks
and the father of Clovis I, who would unite the Franks
Franks
and found the Merovingian
Merovingian
dynasty.

Contents

1 Career 2 Marriage, children, and death 3 Tomb 4 Notes 5 References 6 External links

Career[edit] Childeric succeeded his father Merovech
Merovech
as king of the Salian Franks, traditionally in 457 or 458.[citation needed] By 457 at the latest he was the ruler of the Franks
Franks
in the territory covering Tournai
Tournai
and the Lys valley. He may have had power over further territories to the south, but the sources are unclear on this. According to Gregory of Tours, Childeric was exiled at some point, the reason being traditionally given as Frankish unhappiness with Childeric's private life. Gregory further records that the Franks
Franks
recalled Childeric after 8 years of exile.[3] In 463 Childeric and the Roman General Aegidius
Aegidius
helped the Alans
Alans
of Orléans
Orléans
to repel the Visigoths,[4] who had hoped to extend their dominion along the banks of the Loire River.[5] By 466 Childeric shifted allegiance and attacked the Orléanais, but he was defeated by the Alans.[4] After the death of Aegidius, Childeric assisted Comes ("count") Paul of Angers, together with a mixed band of Gallo-Romans and Franks, in defeating the Goths and taking booty.[6] Saxon raiders under the command of Eadwacer reached Angers
Angers
and captured it, but Childeric and Count Paul retook the city in 469.[7] Childeric, having delivered Angers, followed a Saxon warband and recaptured the islands in the Atlantic at the mouth of the Loire.[8] In the period around 476 to 481, he and Odoacer were discussing the possibility of an alliance against the Alamanni
Alamanni
who wished to invade Italy.[9] Marriage, children, and death[edit] Gregory of Tours, in Libri Historiarum (Book ii.12), records the story of the expulsion of Childeric by the Salian Franks
Salian Franks
for seducing their wives. He was exiled for eight years in Thuringia, where he sought refuge with King Bisinus and his wife, Basina of Thuringia. He returned only when a faithful servant advised him that he could safely do so by sending him half of a gold piece that Childeric had split with him before his exile. The book also describes his arrival in Tournai
Tournai
with Basina, who had left her husband to be with him. Childeric married Basina of Thuringia, and they had the following children:

Clovis I
Clovis I
(466 – 511). Audofleda, Queen of the Ostrogoths, wife of Theodoric the Great. Lanthilde (468 – ?). Aboflede (470 – c. 500).

Childeric died in 481[9] or 482 and was buried in Tournai.[10] His son Clovis succeeded him as king of the Salian Franks.[11] Tomb[edit]

Detail of golden bees with garnet insets

Detailed drawing of the golden bees/flies discovered in the tomb of Childeric I
Childeric I
in Tournai
Tournai
on 27 May 1653. Drawn by J. J. Chifflet in 1655

Childeric's tomb was discovered in 1653[12] not far from the 12th-century church of Saint-Brice in Tournai, now in Belgium.[13] Numerous precious objects were found, including jewels of gold and garnet cloisonné, gold coins, a gold bull's head, and a ring with the king's name inscribed. Some 300 golden winged insects (usually viewed as bees or cicadas) were also found which had been placed on the king's cloak.[12] Archduke Leopold William, governor of the Southern Netherlands (today's Belgium), had the find published in Latin. The treasure went first to the Habsburgs
Habsburgs
in Vienna, then as a gift to Louis XIV, who was not impressed with the treasure and stored it in the royal library, which became the Bibliothèque Nationale de France during the Revolution. Napoleon
Napoleon
was more impressed with Childeric's bees and when he was looking for a heraldic symbol to trump the Bourbon fleur-de-lys, he settled on Childeric's bees as symbols of the French Empire. On the night of November 5–6, 1831, the treasure of Childeric was among 80 kilos of treasure stolen from the Library and melted down for the gold. A few pieces were retrieved from where they had been hidden in the Seine, including two of the bees. The record of the treasure, however, now exists only in the fine engravings made at the time of its discovery and in some reproductions made for the Habsburgs. Notes[edit]

^ G. Salaün, A. McGregor & P. Périn, "Empreintes inédites de l'anneau sigillaire de Childéric Ier : état des connaissances", Antiquités Nationales, 39 (2008), pp. 217-224 (esp. 218). ^ Alain de Benoist, Dictionnaire des prénoms, d'hier et aujourd'hui, d'ici et d'ailleurs, p. 294, éd. Jean Picollec, 2009. ^ Wallace-Hadrill Long-Haired Kings pp. 158-161 ^ a b Bachrach, Bernard S. (1973). A History of the Alans
Alans
in the West. U of Minnesota Press. p. 77. ISBN 9780816656998.  ^ The Cambridge Medieval History, (Joan Mervyn Hussey, ed.), CUP Archive, 1957, p. 298 ^ Heather Fall of the Roman Empire p. 416 ^ Collins Early Medieval Europe p. 103 ^ Cambridge, p. 299. ^ a b Collins Early Medieval Europe pp. 112-113 ^ Wallace-Hadrill Long-Haired Kings p. 3 ^ Wickham Inheritance of Rome p. 112 ^ a b Wallace-Hadrill Long-Haired Kings p. 162 ^ "Location of Childeric's grave: A plaque at the site reads (in French): "Childeric King of the Franks
King of the Franks
Died in his palace in Tournai the year 481. His tomb was found in this place in the year 1653"". Archaeology in Europe. Archived from the original on 2015-07-01. 

References[edit]

Collins, Roger (1999). Early Medieval Europe: 300–1000 (Second ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-21886-9.  Heather, Peter (2006). The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-532541-6.  Wallace-Hadrill, J. M. (1982). The Long-Haired Kings. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-6500-7.  Wickham, Chris (2009). The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages 400–1000. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-311742-1. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Childeric I.

Livius.org on Childeric Photo: Merovingian
Merovingian
sword and scabbard mounts from the tomb of King Childeric featuring silver-gilt and cloisonné garnets "A note on Childeric's bees": the discovery of his tomb: follow the links for the engravings of Childeric's treasure and the two remaining gold bees.  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Childeric". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 137. 

Childeric I Merovingian
Merovingian
dynasty Born: 437 Died: 481

Preceded by Merovech King of the Salian Franks 457–481 Succeeded by Clovis I

v t e

Merovingian
Merovingian
dynasty (400–755 AD)

Childeric I
Childeric I
(457–481) Clovis I
Clovis I
(481–511) Childebert I
Childebert I
(511–558) Chlodomer
Chlodomer
(511–524) Theuderic I (511–533) Theudebert I
Theudebert I
(533–548) Theudebald
Theudebald
(548–555) Chlothar I
Chlothar I
the Old (511–561) Charibert I
Charibert I
(561–567) Guntram
Guntram
(561–592) Sigebert I
Sigebert I
(561–575) Childebert II
Childebert II
(575–595) Theudebert II
Theudebert II
(595–612) Theuderic II (612–613) Sigebert II
Sigebert II
(613) Chilperic I
Chilperic I
(561–584) Chlothar II
Chlothar II
the Great (584–623) Dagobert I
Dagobert I
(623–634) Charibert II
Charibert II
(629–632) Chilperic (632) Sigebert III
Sigebert III
(634–656) Childebert the Adopted
Childebert the Adopted
(656–661) Clovis II
Clovis II
(639–657) Chlothar III
Chlothar III
(657–673) Childeric II
Childeric II
(662–675) Theuderic III
Theuderic III
(675–691) Dagobert II
Dagobert II
(675–679) Clovis IV
Clovis IV
(691–695) Childebert III
Childebert III
the Just (695–711) Dagobert III
Dagobert III
(711–715) Chilperic II
Chilperic II
(715–721) Chlothar IV
Chlothar IV
(717–720) Theuderic IV
Theuderic IV
(721–737) Childeric III
Childeric III
(743–751)

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 78416331 LCCN: no99059463 GND: 11867588

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