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Theuderic I

Theuderic I

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Theuderic I was the Merovingian king of Metz
Metz
Metz is a city in the northeast of France located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Seille rivers.Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region and prefecture of the Moselle department. Located near the tripoint along the junction of France, Germany, and Luxembourg, Metz forms a central place...

, Rheims, or Austrasia
Austrasia
Austrasia formed the northeastern portion of the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks, comprising parts of the territory of present-day eastern France, western Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Metz served as its capital, although some Austrasian kings ruled from Rheims, Trier, and...

—as it is variously called—from 511 to 533 or 534.

He was the son of Clovis I
Clovis I
Clovis Leuthwig was the first King of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the leadership from a group of royal chieftains, to rule by kings, ensuring that the kingship was held by his heirs. He was also the first Catholic King to rule over Gaul . He was the son...

 and one of his earlier wives or concubines. He inherited Metz in 511 at his father's death. In accordance with Salian
Salian Franks
The Salian Franks or Salii were a subgroup of the early Franks who originally had been living north of the limes in the area above the Rhine. The Merovingian kings responsible for the conquest of Gaul were Salians. From the 3rd century on, the Salian Franks appear in the historical records as...

 tradition, the kingdom was divided between Clovis's four surviving sons: Childebert I
Childebert I
Childebert I was the Frankish king of Paris, a Merovingian dynast, one of the four sons of Clovis I who shared the kingdom of the Franks upon their father's death in 511...

 in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, Chlodomer
Chlodomer
Chlodomer, also spelled Clodomir or Clodomer was the second of the four sons of Clovis I, King of the Franks. On the death of his father, in 511, he divided the kingdom of the Franks with his three brothers: Theuderic I, Childebert I, and Clotaire I...

 in Orléans
Orléans
-Prehistory and Roman:Cenabum was a Gallic stronghold, one of the principal towns of the Carnutes tribe where the Druids held their annual assembly. It was conquered and destroyed by Julius Caesar in 52 BC, then rebuilt under the Roman Empire...

, and Clotaire I
Clotaire I
Chlothar I , called the Old , King of the Franks, was one of the four sons of Clovis. He was born circa 497, in Soissons .-Life:...

 in Soissons
Soissons
Soissons is a commune in the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France, located on the Aisne River, about northeast of Paris. It is one of the most ancient towns of France, and is probably the ancient capital of the Suessiones...

. Early in his reign, he sent his son Theudebert
Theudebert I
Theudebert I was the Merovingian king of Austrasia from 533 to his death in 548. He was the son of Theuderic I and the father of Theudebald....

 to battle the Scandinavian King Chlochilaich
Hygelac
Hygelac was a king of the Geats according to the poem Beowulf. He was the son of Hrethel and had brothers Herebeald and Hæthcyn. His sister was married to Ecgtheow and had the son Beowulf. Hygelac was married to Hygd and they had the son Heardred, and an unnamed daughter who married Eofor...

 (Hygelac of Beowulf
Beowulf
Beowulf , but modern scholars agree in naming it after the hero whose life is its subject." of an Old English heroic epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines, set in Scandinavia, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature.It survives in a single...

fame) who had invaded his realm. Theudebert defeated and killed Chlochilaich.
Theuderic got involved in the war between the Thuringian
Thuringii
The Thuringii or Toringi were a Germanic tribe which appeared late during the Völkerwanderung in the Harz Mountains of central Germania around 280, in a region which still bears their name to this day — Thuringia. They evidently filled a void left when the previous inhabitants — the...

 King Hermanfrid and Hermanfrid's only living brother: Baderic
Baderic
Baderic, Baderich, Balderich or Boderic , son of Bisinus and Basina, was a co-king of the Thuringii. He and his brothers Hermanfrid and Berthar succeeded their father Bisinus. After Hermanfrid defeated Berthar in battle, he invited King Theuderic I of Metz to help him defeat Baderic in return for...

. In exchange for his help, Theuderic would receive half of the kingdom. Baderic was defeated, but the land promised Theuderic was not given up.

The four sons of Clovis then all fought Sigismund of Burgundy
Sigismund of Burgundy
Sigismund was king of the Burgundians from 516 to his death. He was the son of king Gundobad, whom he succeeded in 516. Sigismund and his brother Godomar were defeated in battle by Clovis' sons and Godomar fled. Sigismund was taken by Chlodomer, King of Orléans, where he was kept as a prisoner. He...

 and Godomar
Godomar
Godomar , son of king Gundobad, was king of Burgundy. He ruled Burgundy after his elder brother's death in 524 until 534.Both he and his brother Sigismund of Burgundy were defeated in battle by Clovis' sons. Godomar fled and Sigismund was taken prisoner by Chlodomer, King of Orléans. Godomar then...

, kings of the Burgundians
King of Burgundy
The following is a list of the Kings of the two Kingdoms of Burgundy, and a number of related political entities devolving from Carolingian machinations over family relations.- Kings of the Burgundians :...

. Godomar fled and Sigismund was taken prisoner by Chlodomer
Chlodomer
Chlodomer, also spelled Clodomir or Clodomer was the second of the four sons of Clovis I, King of the Franks. On the death of his father, in 511, he divided the kingdom of the Franks with his three brothers: Theuderic I, Childebert I, and Clotaire I...

. Theuderic married Sigismund's daughter, Suavegotha. Godomar rallied the Burgundian army and won back his kingdom. Chlodomer, aided by Theuderic, defeated Godomar, but died in the fighting at Vézeronce
Battle of Vézeronce
The Battle of Vézeronce took place on June 25, 524 close to Vézeronce-Curtin in Isère. It was part of the Burgundian War initiated by the four successors of the Frankish king Clovis I: Childebert I, Chlodomir, Chlothar I, and Theuderic I....

.

Theuderic then, with his brother Clotaire and his son, attacked Thuringia
Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

 to revenge himself on Hermanfrid. Thuringia was conquered, and Clotaire received Radegund
Radegund
Radegund was a 6th century Frankish princess, who founded the monastery of the Holy Cross at Poitiers. Canonized in the 9th century, she is the patron saint of several English churches and of Jesus College, Cambridge.-Life history:Radegund was born about 520 to Bertachar, one of the three kings...

, daughter of King Berthar
Bertachar
Berthar or Bertachar was a son of Bisinus and Basina. He and his brothers Hermanfrid and Baderic succeeded their father Bisinus to the rule over the Thuringii. Berthar, however, was soon defeated by Hermanfrid in battle....

 (Hermanfrid's late brother). After making a treaty with his brother Childebert, Theuderic died in 534. Upon his death the throne of Metz, though seemingly up for grabs, passed unhindered to Theudebert. Theuderic also left a daughter, Theodechild, by his wife Suavegotha, daughter of Sigismund of Burgundy
Sigismund of Burgundy
Sigismund was king of the Burgundians from 516 to his death. He was the son of king Gundobad, whom he succeeded in 516. Sigismund and his brother Godomar were defeated in battle by Clovis' sons and Godomar fled. Sigismund was taken by Chlodomer, King of Orléans, where he was kept as a prisoner. He...

. Theodechild founded the Abbey of St-Pierre le Vif at Sens.

Further reading


  • Bachrach, Bernard S.
    Bernard Bachrach
    Bernard S. Bachrach is an American historian and a professor of history at the University of Minnesota. He specialises in the Early Middle Ages, mainly on the topics of Medieval warfare, Medieval Jewry, and early Angevin history...

     (1972). Merovingian Military Organization, 481–751. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, ISBN 0 81660 621 8.
  • Geary, Patrick J. (1988). Before France and Germany: The Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0 19504 458 4.
  • James, Edward
    Edward James (historian)
    Edward James is Professor of Medieval History at University College, Dublin. He received a BA 1968; DPhil in 1975. He was a Lecturer, then College Lecturer, at the Department of Medieval History, University College Dublin from 1970-1978...

     (1991). The Franks. London: Blackwell, ISBN 0 63114 872 8.
  • Oman, Charles
    Charles Oman
    Sir Charles William Chadwick Oman was a British military historian of the early 20th century. His reconstructions of medieval battles from the fragmentary and distorted accounts left by chroniclers were pioneering...

     (1914). The Dark Ages, 476–918. London: Rivingtons.
  • Wallace-Hadrill, J. M.
    John Michael Wallace-Hadrill
    John Michael Wallace-Hadrill CBE was Professor of Mediaeval History at the University of Manchester , a Senior Research Fellow of Merton College in the University of Oxford , Chichele Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford and a Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford...

    (1962). The Long-Haired Kings, and Other Studies in Frankish History. London: Methuen.
  • Wood, Ian N. (1994). The Merovingian Kingdoms, 450–751. London: Longman, ISBN 0 58221 878 0.