• Ben

Season Two, Episode 9: Coup d’État, Part One

The chanting wouldn’t end.


For days, he had been locked in a small room. It was damp and cold; the walls of the building in which he was being held were uncovered stone and provided little protection from the chilling cold outside. He had been provided with a straw pallet and a blanket, but these did as little as the walls to protect him from the drafts. It felt as if the wind outside never stopped; as for the chanting, it definitely never stopped. In the week he had been locked in the room, the sounds of the faithful had never ceased. He wasn’t sure if it was these noises, the cold, or just the lack of hair left on his head that contributed most to his ongoing headache. Just thinking of his hair made his hand move to his scalp; some stubble had formed, but beyond that the crown of his head was bald from where the men had held him down and cut it off. The long hair marking him as a Merovingian prince was gone, replaced instead by a tonsure that marked his as a monk.


Dagobert II, the 8-year-old boy freezing in the Irish monastery, had no idea why any of this had happened to him. He had been playing one day with his friend Childebert outside of the royal villa in Metz when they had spotted Childebert’s dad coming toward them on his horse. That had been unusual in and of itself; Childebert’s dad, a man named Grimoald, was the Austrasian Mayor of the Palace to Dagobert’s father, King Sigibert III, and didn’t often summon his son to him personally. No, Grimoald was far too busy and opted instead to send servants when he needed the boys, so for him to be riding out to get them himself was an indicator of something wrong.


“I wonder what he wants,” Childebert said, verbalizing the thought that both of the boys had had. They stood still and waited for Grimoald to approach. When he arrived, the older man wasted no time in pleasantries.


“Come here and get on, now,” he ordered, his voice unusually stern toward Dagobert. The boy wasn’t used to such a tone; no one spoke to him, the Crown Prince, in orders. Still, the boy was young and sensed something was wrong, so in this instance he gave no argument. He shuffled toward the horse and placed his hands on Grimoald’s leg; the man, strong as an ox, grabbed the boy by the back of tunic and with one arm flung him onto the horse in front of him. Childebert was a little more than two years older than Dagobert and taller and more athletic; he ran up to the horse and was able to make the jump onto the spot behind his father in a smooth and graceful bound. All together, the trio rode back to the villa.


When they arrived back and dismounted, Grimoald looked at his son. “Go to your room and lock the door. Stay there until I come to find you. Do not open the door to anyone else.”


“Father, what’s wrong…”


“Do as I say. NOW!”


Childebert was not the Crown Prince, but he had grown up inside of the Royal Court and was as unused to hearing an order as his younger friend. Still, he knew better than to argue or push his luck, and turned to return to his room. Once inside, he locked the door and waited, doing exactly as his father had instructed.


Meanwhile, as soon as he was certain that Childebert was out of earshot, Grimoald turned to Dagobert.


“You…” the older man said, almost hissing the word.


Dagobert had no idea of what to say or how to respond. He suddenly realized that he and Grimoald were completely alone, completely isolated. It was an odd feeling to have in the middle of a villa that normally teemed with people. The child wondered where his parents were. He wanted his mother.


“Your father is dead,” Grimoald finally spat out, ending the long silence. Dagobert’s eyes went wide at hearing this; he knew his father had been feeling unwell for a while, but he had had no reason to believe him any more ill than simply having a cold. No, his father was too young to die; there was just no way this could be true. Tears welled up in the boy’s eyes.


“Why would you say something like that?” he asked as he began to cry. “My father can’t be dead, I saw him just a few days ago.”


“Yes, you did boy,” Grimoald responded. “And he knew he was growing more and more sick when he last saw you. He didn’t want you to see him grow weak, so he had you kept away after that. He went fast. Surprisingly so…”


The Mayor’s voice trailed off, almost as if he had lost his train of thought by the sudden turn of events. After a moment he shook his head and carried on.


“His last thoughts were of you. He wanted to keep you safe, and asked me to make sure it’s so. We’ve made arrangements to have you go with Bishop Dido until we can make sure everything is in place for the transition and we can announce to the world what has happened.”


Even in his sudden grief, Dagobert realized what the death of his father meant: he was now the King. He wasn’t ready for the task, he didn’t want it. He just wanted to be a boy and to play with his friend, to run around in the fields and the woods. He wanted to see his family.


“Where is my mother?” he asked.


“She’s with Dido as well,” Grimoald said. “She’s waiting for you. So here’s what we’re going to do: My men will take you to her and the Bishop; when we’re ready, we’ll call you back to the Court. Do you understand?”


Dagobert shook his head. He didn’t understand anything at that moment, but he was in no place, emotionally or physically, to offer resistance. Instead, he meekly did as he was told. He went with Grimoald to the courtyard and met the men who were to carry him to the Bishop; he got on the horse as instructed and set off to wherever they may take him. He had no idea how long the trip would be.


Dagobert and his guards rode nonstop for nearly two days. He knew something was wrong and out of place, but he was far too small to try and make a run from the men and horses transporting him. And besides, he thought, they don’t look like the types to trifle with. On top of all of that, the kid was sore; he had been atop a horse many times, but never for so long or for so far. He nearly fell when he dismounted on the first night, unable to bring his legs together from all of the chafing. He was nearly beside himself with joy when, on the evening of the second day, the three riders finally arrived at the Church where he was told the Bishop awaited him. They made their way inside and immediately placed him into a small room little bigger than a closet.


“Go to sleep,” the larger of his two guards ordered him. “We’ll be moving again soon.” The man slammed the door in his face before he could protest.


Outside of the closet, Dagobert could hear a third voice join the other two. This one was softer and older sounding; it had to be the Bishop!


“He’s safe?” the older man asked.


“He’s fine,” one of the guards answered, the one who had slammed the door on him. “But he’s a whiny little bugger. Won’t stop sniffling.”


“Have you cut his hair yet?”


“When were we supposed to find the time to do that? We were too busy trying to get here on schedule, and you wanted for us to stop and give him a shave?”


“Yes, you fool,” the Bishop responded sternly. “You’re supposed to be transporting a monk, not a long-haired prince! If anyone saw you with the boy and knows he’s gone missing, it’s only a matter of time before they come here looking for him.”


The bishop paused and gathered himself, then began again. “Here’s what you’re going to do: the boat leaves tomorrow, just after sunrise. So you’re going to get a few hours of rest while making sure that the boy doesn’t somehow get out of this church. Then, first thing in the morning, you’ll give him his tonsure and dress him in the habit hanging there.” He motioned to a brown garment hanging from a nail in the wall. “From there you’ll get on the boat and take him to the monastery at Cill Fiachra.”


The bishop threw the men a small bag of coins. “That’s the money for your trip; when you arrive back to me with the sealed letter of the abbott telling me the boy is safely ensconced, I’ll give you the rest of your purse. Do you have any questions of me?”


“Not a one, father,” the larger guard said. “Easy job, we’ll be right there and back.”


The next day, good to their word, the men rose before sunrise. Dagobert had tried the door to his room a few times, but the men must have slept against it because it barely moved when he pushed. He eventually fell asleep out of pure exhaustion; when he felt hands grabbing him a few hours later, it took him a moment to remember where he was and what was going on. He began to protest his treatment, as no one was to lay a hand on the prince in such a way, but then he saw the shears and the knife.


“What are you doing?” he asked, now in mortal fear. “What have you got those for?”


“If you stay still there’ll be naught to worry about,” the smaller guard said. “We’re just going to give you a trim.”


“You can’t take my hair! I’m royalty…” the prince exclaimed. It was then that he remembered his father; he blurted, “I’m the King!”


“Not today, you’re not,” the larger guard said, grabbing Dagobert from behind and pinning the child’s arms to his side. “Like my friend here said, if you stay still, this will all be over in a minute. But if you try anything… well, I’d hate for him to have an accident with that knife, so close to your face and such.”


Dagobert instantly stopped resisting at this threat. He went limp and gave in to his fate, watching the hair that had never been touched in his eight years on Earth falling to the ground at his feet. The smaller guard moved from the shears to the knife after this, moving around the boy’s head with a surprising amount of skill. He shaved away the hair from the crown of Dagobert’s head, baring his scalp and leaving only a ring of hair around his head.

"I’d hate for him to have an accident..."

“Not bad for a rush job,” the guard said as he stepped back to appraise his handiwork. “Now get into the habit.”


When all was said and done, the child who had two days earlier been heir to the Austrasian crown and throne looked every bit the smallest and newest monk in that same kingdom. “Where are you taking me?” he asked, now fully beginning to comprehend the dire nature of his situation.


“We leave for Hibernia in just a few hours. It’s a land far to the north, a land that is soon to be your home. Best you don’t get too used to the warm weather down here,” the small guard said, laughing. “Or anything else, for that matter.”


With that they set out. Between the horses and the boat, it felt to Dagobert like he was in a perpetual state of movement, like the men flanking him were going to simply escort him off to the edge of the world and then throw him off. After his first night on the palette in the cell of the monastery where he now resided, he feared they had perhaps done exactly that.


He may be alive, but after as far as he had travelled, no one in Francia would know that. He wondered if anyone would ever come looking for him, and every night from then on he prayed to God to strengthen him, to harden his heart, and in the end, to return him to the Kingdom that was rightfully his. He would find out who did this to him, and he would make them pay.


This is Thugs and Miracles.

Season Two, Épisode 9: Coup d’État, Part One

Alright, welcome back! As always, I’m Benjamin Bernier, and this week we’re taking a look, among others, at the older brother of the pair of Dagobert I’s sons, Sigibert III. Now, I don’t normally do this because I don’t like to present too many names in an episode, but with the way today’s episode unfolds I feel it’s going to be easiest to give you a quick Cast of Characters to pay attention to right from the jump. If you pay attention to these five people and no one else, you’ll follow the string of the story. The first person to keep track of - obviously - is King Sigibert; again, he’s the third of his name and we’ll return to him in just a moment. People two through four are the straight line of a single family; beginning with Pépin de Landen, a.k.a. Pépin the First, he was the first Mayor of the Palace to Sigibert. He was also a notable turncoat against Brunhilda, and will be ascending to the Mayorship for the third time when he comes along to rule in Sigibert’s name. After him, pay attention to Pépin’s son Grimoald. He will be Sigibert’s second Mayor, and lucky for us (but unlucky for Sigibert), he’ll be the last of the Mayors to track in today’s history. The third member of this family to watch out for is Childebert, son of Grimoald. He won’t become a Mayor, mainly because his dad will try to make him a king. Finally, we come to Dagobert II, son of Sigibert III and heir presumptive to the crown. Except, as we saw in the opening story, his path to the throne will be much more circuitous than normal. Okay, keep these five personalities in mind as we go through today, and try to keep in mind what each one of them likely wanted, both for themselves and their family.


Returning to Sigibert… as a quick reminder, Sigibert III was born in 630 to the concubine of Dagobert I, Ragnatrude. This young woman came to Dagobert’s attention after he had married Nanthilde, but before she could conceive. She was taking way too long and clearly it wasn’t Dagobert’s fault, so who could help the young King for wanting to find someone who could light a fire under the process of making heirs. At any rate, Sigibert came along in 630 and was baptized under the guidance of Charibert II, King of Aquitaine at the time and Dagobert’s half-brother.


Now to say that Dagobert was not a “hands-on” father would be a bit of a misnomer, as there seems to be every chance, from what I can tell, that he never actually saw the boy in his lifetime. Dagobert assigned him to be the King of Austrasia in 633 so as to quell the demands of the aristocracy in that easternmost portion of Francia. We hear plenty about meetings at this point, meals taken with bishops and other kings, such as Judaical of the Bretons, and we know that Dagobert went on a grand tour of his holdings thanks to writings from Fredegar, but we never hear of a meeting between him and his son. Perhaps it happened and was of no great import, or the scribes decided to show some restraint and gave the two monarchs some privacy. I find the former of these two notions to be the more likely, that the two may have met and no one would have cared much about a reunion between father and son. The latter, that the scribes would have offered privacy or just not blatantly made something up if they thought it would make the story more interesting, is much less plausible.


So if Dagobert - who died in 639, when his oldest son was only nine - wasn’t playing the part of father, then who was? For the sake of being able to follow the string, pay attention to Pepin de Landen in what’s about to come. We have now, finally, arrived back to the diverse set of power players that we have been teasing for some time, a set of players who really came to the forefront with the death of Brunhilda way back at the end of last season and who were the main point of discussion in the first episode of Season 2. The name of that episode was “The Price of Doing Business”, well, here we see the first notice, so to speak, of that bill coming due.


As a quick recap, Queen Brunhilda and her great-grandson were killed in 613 when her three leading nobles walked off of the field of battle and left her to the mercy of the Neustrian King - and soon-to-be King of All the Franks - Chlothar II. These three leading nobles were Garnier, the Austrasian Mayor of the Palace; Arnulf, the Archbishop of Metz; and Pepin de Landen.


Pepin was born around 580 and had become a leading Austrasian noble, though little is known of his life pre-612. He was the Austrasian Mayor of the Palace under King Theudebert II, which means he was on the losing side of the civil war between the two brothers and the grandsons of Brunhilda - which also explains why Garnier was Mayor of the Palace in 613 rather than him. Garnier would become Chlothar II’s Mayor when that King unified all of the Kingdoms, though Austrasia would insist on running its own affairs under its own nobles, of which Pepin remained in the top tier. He would get his second bite at being Mayor of the Palace in 622 when a very young Dagobert I was placed on the throne by his father. Pepin must have had a silver tongue: here was a guy who, during his first attempt at being the Mayor ten years earlier, lost a civil war that resulted in the death of his King. This same guy then openly pulled his support from Queen Brunhilda in 613, leading to her death of being tied to horses running in opposite directions. Despite all of this, however, he was able to stick around. Fredegar even goes so far as to say that, “Since the beginning of his [Dagobert’s] reign, following the counsel of Saint Arnulf, bishop of Metz, and of Pepin, Mayor of the Palace, he governed Austrasia with such goodness that he was praised by all nations.”


All of this seems to change for Pepin around 630. Dagobert, now sole King of All of the Franks following his father’s death, got married to Nanthilde, had a son with Ragnatrude, and moved his seat of power to the more centrally located Paris. This last part meant, for the Austrasians, that centralized power was no longer derived from their lands, and also lent credibility to Neustrian claims of being the dominant portion of Francia. And this, of course, led to discontent amongst the nobility, all of which seemed to coalesce against the guy who was offering the King his counsel: Pepin. Reading the room accurately, he vacated his position as Mayor and made his way back not to Austrasia, but south to where the King’s son, the newborn Sigibert III, was living in residence with Charibert II in Aquitaine. Fredegar, again, puts it this way: “The jealousy of the Austrasians elevated against him, and they forced him to say goodbye to Dagobert before lest they kill him. But Pepin’s love of justice and his fear of God preserved him from all wrongs. That year he went to find the King Charibert, with Sigibert, son of Dagobert.”


And it’s here that we finally begin to reconnect the story of Sigibert with the trend-line that has been quietly progressing through our story since last season. You see, we can read the history in one of two ways: in the first, we can go along with Fredegar and his telling of the story as simple facts (i.e. Pepin was Mayor, Pepin went to find Charibert, etc.). In the second reading, we can try to look a little deeper at why Pepin went south, and to be honest, it’s this version of events that gives me a ton of respect for Pepin’s political skills. You see, there has been no shortage of child kings in Pepin’s lifetime, and he has also watched the current King struggling to produce so much as a single child. This makes Sigibert’s importance magnitudes of order higher than normal times. Add to this that Pepin is very in-tune with the mindset of his fellow Austrasian nobles; sure, he was kicked out of his role as Mayor once Dagobert moved his seat of power to Paris, but it will be just a matter of time, à la 622, until calls start going up again for an Austrasian king. And who would fill this role? Well, we all know that the Austrasians cared more about the idea of someone simply filling the throne, much more than they care about who was filling the throne. That’s exactly how Dagobert was able to take power when he was 10, and Pepin must know that time is on his side. He likely never lost Dagobert’s confidence, especially given how long the two had known each other, and was leaving court more as a face-saving measure for the King and to cool the temperature on the Austrasians. All of this meant that he was in physical control of the Crown Prince when Dagobert gave the call for the boy to become the new King of Austrasia, just as he had been in his youth, and allowed Pepin to be the one riding the new monarch into Metz.


“Now wait,” I hear you saying. “You told us in Episode 7 that Sigibert’s regent was a bishop named Cunibert, and his Mayor was a man named Adalgisel. Where did Pepin go?”


Well, I applaud your memory and I appreciate you holding me to task! From what I can tell, it looks like Pepin basically delivered King Sigibert to Austrasia and then went back to Dagobert in Paris. His exile lasted about three years, and with a King of their own, the Austrasians were sated for a while and no longer felt the need to kill Pepin. With that, the administration of power from 633-639 was Dagobert and Pepin in Paris, Sigibert with Duke Adalgisel as Mayor of the Palace in Austrasia, and Archbishop Cunibert of Cologne as the governor/teacher of Sigibert. And Pepin must have cast a long shadow from Paris, because de Mézeray tells us that in 639:


“Pepin delivered by the death of Dagobert, who had always kept him near himself, upon some Honourable pretence, got again into the administration of his Office of Mayre of Austrasia. Dagobert having committed the Government of that Kingdom to Duke Aldagise; that Lord gave it up to him, either willingly or by compulsion, and he gave notice thereof to Cunibert the Bishop, his old friend, who was Governour to Sigebert. It was perhaps for his sake that he transferred the Court, and Royal Seat of Austrasia, from the City of Metz to that of Colen [Cologne].”


Again the politics; Pepin probably didn’t have to flex too hard to get his old seat back in Austrasia. He was returning from Paris, where he had been second to the “true” King, and he was working with his “old friend” Cunibert, the bishop of Cologne, who cut his commute time to his job teaching the young King way down when Pepin allowed the transfer of the Royal Seat of Austrasia from Metz to Cologne. The whole scene kind of reminds me of Hamilton and giving up the city in which power is held in order to obtain a larger goal; instead of Madison and Jefferson, we can replace them with Pepin and Cunibert (and if you have no idea of what I’m talking about, listen to The Room Where It Happens from the Hamilton soundtrack, or watch the show on Disney Plus. I thought about actually trying to sing out the relevant portion, replacing a few words here and there for our story… and then I decided that copyright infringement and a general affront to musical theater from my efforts made that a horrible, horrible idea). Replace control of the banking system for Hamilton with a triumphant return to power in the position of Mayor of the Palace, and well… political quid pro quo.


Anyway, this is how in 640 we see Pepin de Landen back in the driver’s seat, running Austrasia for the third time. Some people were just meant for their time, and he seems to be one of those people. To paraphrase Sam Elliott in The Big Lebowski, and I'm talkin' about Pepin de Landen here, sometimes there's a man who, wal, he's the man for his time'n place, he fits right in there. And that's Pepin, in Austrasia… now forever to be remembered by me as The Dude of Francia.


Alright, so Pepin definitely had a more robust life going for him than Jeff Lebowski and his bowling. He and his wife, Itta, had two daughters and two sons; out of these six, four would eventually be canonized by the Church: Itta, both of the girls, Begga and Gertrude, and one of the sons, Bavo. Grimoald, as we saw in the opener, would fall short of this goal, mainly on account of his kidnapping, treachery, and attempts to overthrow the established monarchy and his promotion of his own son as King. But hey, we can’t all be perfect, right? Past Grimoald, who we’ll delve into more deeply later, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Begga and her marriage to… Arnulf’s son, Ansegisel! This will prove to be the most significant non-royal marriage union up to this point in our history.


In saying “I do” to one another, the houses of Arnulf and Pepin, the two strongest leaders in Austrasia, now moved under a single roof. In a 1988 article written by Philippe Walter, the author notes that “Arnulf married Dode and had two sons, Ansegisel et Cloud. The older of the two, Ansegisel, married Begga, daughter of Pépin de Landen. Their son, Pépin de Héristal (died in 714) married in Aupaïs and was father of Charles Martel (689-741), who was father of Pépin the Short (715-68) and grandfather of Charlemagne.” So this is the start of the Carolingians, the great dynasty that will usurp the Merovingians soon enough. The birth of the dynasty, if we want to be literal in that context, began right here and right now, with the birth of Pepin of Héristal in 635. (As a side note, I would like to point out that the love child of the two strongest houses in Francia and the guy who is the starting point of the Carolingians happened on Dagobert’s watch as King, lending yet another point to my ongoing argument that if one must be tarred with the label of being the first roi fainéant, it should be Dagobert… moving on.)


Unfortunately for Pépin de Landen, the good times wouldn’t last long. After all of his hard work and wheeling/dealing, the grand old man who was part of so much of the shaping of the early French monarchy would exit stage left in February 641, just about a year into his 3rd at bat as Mayor. Before he died, however, he set everything up to make sure his family was taken care of, and sure enough, Grimoald would enter from stage right as the new Mayor of the Palace in his dad’s place. However, the transition wasn’t perfectly smooth, and the issues Grimoald would have in taking his new spot seem to be a scale model of the issues he would have with the machinations he tried to pull off later in usurping the crown. The wildly entertaining Dictionary of Christian Biography, written in 1877, does a good and succinct job of telling us what happened when Grimoald showed up for his first day on the job:


“The office was not yet hereditary and the claim of Grimoald, who was personally popular, to succeed his father was stoutly contested by Otto, who had been tutor to the young King Sigibert III and seems to have commanded the influence of the court. Grimoald, aided by Cunibert, archbishop of Cologne, the friend of his father, endeavoured for three years in vain to displace him in the palace. In 640, the rebellion of Radulphus drew Sigibert and his army into Thuringia. Grimoald was present among the generals at the defeat on the Unstrut, which resulted in the virtual independence of Thuringia; the ill success of this expedition may possibly have contributed to discredit Otto. But Grimoald's success was not complete till 642 when his rival was slain by Leutharius, Duke of the Alemanni, and Grimoald became Mayor of the Palace without further opposition.”


Long story short, Grimoald and Otto were basically the inspiration for the movie Mean Girls. Grimoald showed up for his first day of school and expected to be one of the popular kids, but first he had to deal with Otto, who was totally not going to let some new kid just walk in on his territory. They went back and forth during sophomore and junior years, but then Otto lost it on the Unstrut and then really lost it against the Alemanni, and after that Grimoald got to be homecoming King - er, Mayor of the Palace - without any other challenges. And that’s how it stayed for the next few years as he advised and counseled King Sigibert. He had a son in 650 named Childebert, and sat about and watched while Sigibert, all of 17-years-old by 650, struggled to produce an heir for himself.


This leads us to a moment where, for all of the political wizardry that his father had had, Grimoald seems to come up a bit short. More accurately, he comes across like a blunt instrument, willing to use his closeness to the Crown on both a personal and professional level in a way that we would definitely nowadays accuse of insider trading. You see, Grimoald convinced the exceptionally young King to adopt the Mayor’s son, Childebert, as his own, lest some sort of malady were to befall the King before he could have a son. Let’s examine this situation: here’s a man who is running the Kingdom in the King’s name, whose father is renowned for having done the same job. This man - who wields an inordinate amount of political capital and who is twice the King’s age - has an opportunity to speak often and intimately with this young monarch, and he also may have the chance to apply pressure of varying sorts. And this leads to a 17-year-old choosing to adopt that man’s son - and placing the adopted child in line to the throne, a clear benefit to the Mayor - as a sort of insurance policy. Then, as now, this move on Grimoald’s part would have been seen by many nobles as self-serving and in bad taste, making enemies at Court that would make life difficult for the Mayor if he ever succeeded in getting his son on the throne (which of course, based on the opener, we know that he did).

CONCLUSION: Alright, I’m going to stop there for this week. I’ll be honest, I saw this as a one-part episode when I began which I would then tie back into the life of Clovis II, but there are just so many plot lines and larger-than-life personalities to look at that I don’t want to do them an injustice by just rushing through. Next time, we’ll really examine Sigibert III and look at some of his key life events as we try to figure out why he would be compelled to adopt Childebert while he himself was still only a teenager. We’ll look at Childebert, the boy who became King as arguably the first Carolingian ruler, and - spoiler alert - we’ll look at why he and Grimoald were ultimately unable to succeed, long-term, in their coup. I say “long-term” because, depending on which source you go with, Childebert held the throne for somewhere between one and five years, a not-insignificant amount of time. We’ll examine what happened in his reign, who worked against him, and how the Kingdom of the Franks, and in particular Clovis II, moved on in the wake of this first attempt by a non-Merovingian to take the throne. Was the mystique of the “long-haired Kings” shattered by what happened? Did five years of a non-Merovingian lead people to be able to entertain the idea of life without them? Most importantly, what were the lessons learned in attempting this first coup that would allow future attempts to succeed? As you can see, there’s way too much left to explore, and we’re going to get to it all… next time!

OUTRO: Before we go, I’d like to say thanks again to That’s Not Canon Productions, and in particular to Dan and Greg at Smart Enough to Know Better; they truly are a podcast of science, comedy and ignorance, in all of the best ways. They were kind enough to call out our little show on their most recent episode, and for that we are both grateful and humbled. You can find Smart Enough on all pod catchers, at smartenough.org, or on the TNC home page; you’ll find links to all of them and this show’s social media in the show notes. Also speaking of That’s Not Canon, I had the chance last weekend to spend some time speaking with David A. Bradbury of 20-Minute History, and we even went so far as to record what was said! That interview, a two-parter, will be available next weekend with Part 1 as a Rabbit Hole episode on this feed and Part 2 as an extra episode on 20-Minute History. It really was a fun conversation, and we went down some interesting paths (like, the idea of history podcasts as gateway drugs for education!) so we hope you’ll tune in and enjoy. Once it’s done, be sure to follow, like and rate all of these great shows!


Finally, 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 joshwoodward.com. Notes on this episode, an updated monarchy/family tree, and also a list of other great history podcasts are all available online at thugsandmiracles.com; please visit and sign up for the mailing list so we can keep you up to date with announcements on new shows and our monthly newsletter. Speaking of email, you can write to us at thugsandmiracles@gmail.com, you can hit us on Twitter at @thugsandmiracle (with no “s” on the end), or you can leave a comment on Facebook and Instagram at @ThugsAndMiracles. And, if after all of this you’re still looking to get more of a fix (and I do love a good history addict) then head on over to the #TimeTravelTalks hashtag and account on Twitter, as well as HistoryPods.com and their associated Twitter handle, @podsofhistory. With all of that said, know that we appreciate that there is no Thugs and Miracles, no Smart Enough to Know Better and no 20-Minute History without you, and we hope that with all of these options that you’ll choose to stay in touch. We appreciate what you have to say, and as always, we appreciate you!


Okay, once again, my name is Benjamin Bernier. We look forward to seeing you next week with our Rabbit Hole interview with David A. Bradbury, and another week after that when we’ll continue the saga of Clovis II and Sigibert II in the next episode of Thugs and Miracles.


  • Instagram - White Circle

©2020 by Thugs and Miracles