• Ben

Episode 12: The Sons of Clovis - Part IV

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

Hey, if you follow Thugs and Miracles on social media, be it Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, then you already probably know about this, but myself and the T+M Team have made a significant move in the past week. We just moved from southern Georgia to England. It’s a pretty exciting time for us, especially since we’re that much closer now to some of the significant places that we’ll be talking about in the future, whether it be the Battle of Hastings in 1066, or some of the people that might be coming up, like Eleanor of Aquitaine and William the Conqueror. We’re really excited to have the chance to take pictures and to talk to new people about the history that we’re discovering here, and we’ll be sure to place all of that onto the social media sites I’ve just mentioned. With all of that said, however, we’re ready now to get into Episode 12 because luckily, even though I’m moving, I had an eight-hour plane trip to get here and more than enough time to go ahead and get the script all set up. So, with all of that being said, we look forward to sharing and we definitely look forward to getting into Episode 12, starting now…

Theudebert's coinage, c. 534

Theuderic spent many nights awake, trying to fully understand his father Clovis’s decision to split up his kingdom in the way that he had. He wasn’t so much angry as perplexed: he had received the choicest territory, an area known as Austrasia, and had had the most ready access to adjacent smaller kingdoms to overrun, conquer, and assimilate into his own. The perplexing part wasn’t Austrasia, but Auvergne.

Auvergne was a territory completely disconnected from Austrasia. Just getting there required Theuderic to on progress for weeks, and he had to cross his half-brother’s territory to do so. The land was nice enough, and no ruler at this time would ever willingly give up territory, but it was a pain in the neck to have to deal with administratively. Given how far away he was, local leaders loved to try and take their shot at rising up and claiming various cities as their own. Given these ongoing issues and his physical distance, Theuderic had no choice for ruling Auvergne except to leave a proxy to rule in his place. He had raised his trusted kinsmen, Sigivald, to a dukedom and sent him to these southern holdings. Theuderic had had no doubts that Sigivald would serve him faithfully; the two men had gone into battle together, and both of their sons were good friends as well. As a matter of fact, Sigivald Junior served on the war council of Theudebert, Theuderic’s son.

As was so typical in these days, however, things had gone wrong in the kingdom, leading Theuderic to have to take unpopular steps to remedy the situation. In this case, the problem had started with his youngest half-brother, Childebert. Childebert’s kingdom abutted Theuderic’s holdings in Auvergne and it had been an open secret for some time now that Childebert wanted these lands. Theuderic couldn’t necessarily blame the kid – Childebert was stuck in a spot that was hard to build on and expand – but that certainly didn’t mean that Theuderic was just going to give away part of his kingdom. Anyway, the moment that Theuderic pressed to the east and into battle against the Thuringians, Childebert decided to take his shot and move to the south. Later embassies – and Childebert himself – would argue that Childebert had never done this with malice or ill intent, and that, in fact, he had only moved into the region with an army in order to go after Amalaric and the Goths still further to the south.

Theuderic didn’t believe a single word leaving Childebert’s mouth, but at the same time he couldn’t call him on it. Childebert was a king, a fellow son of Clovis, and any military clash with him would likely end in Theuderic being so depleted, militarily and financially, that he couldn’t afford to take the risk. Simply put, Childebert would get a free pass.

Unfortunately for Sigivald, Theuderic still expected somebody to pay for this epic blunder. And Sigivald, being a duke with a charge to protect Theuderic’s holdings in Auvergne, was going to be the one to shoulder the lion’s share of the blame. Whether he allowed Childebert to enter Auvergne because he was actively complicit or lazy and ineffective was irrelevant; the fact remained that he had been left in charge, and he had failed. It also didn’t help that Theuderic had been in a wickedly bad mood lately. He had been having all sorts of issues with his gut, and he was pretty much always in a bad mood now. He had thrown Hermenafrid, the former king of the Thuringians, off of the castle wall in Tolbiac for no readily apparent reason, and most of Theuderic’s staff now feared the repercussions of saying anything wrong in the ailing king’s presence. And on top of all of that, Theuderic was now forced to ride to Auvergne to deal with Sigivald in person.

Sigivald heard of the King’s arrival and did his best to prepare for the event. He had his people clean their stronghold from top to bottom, and he brought his entire staff out to receive the King as befit the role and station of the monarch. He knew he was in trouble, but he took solace in knowing that he and Theuderic were kinsmen. Sigivald could handle a tongue-lashing, even one given in public and in front of his household. He had screwed up after all.

Theuderic and his party rode into the walls of the Sigivald’s stronghold late on a crisp fall morning. Everyone had come out to see the King and pay their respects. They watched as Theuderic’s party rode through the streets and they marveled at the long hair of their monarch, the clear sign of his station above them. They watched as Theuderic stopped his horse in front of the reviewing stand and dismounted. They saw Sigivald sally forth, arms open to receive his King and kinsmen. And they all gasped in horror when Theuderic, with the speed and grace of a swordsmen who has undoubtedly practiced his skill with the blade for countless hours in the training yard and on the field of battle, drew his blade in the blink of an eye and buried it directly in the middle of Sigivald’s chest, striking with such force that he actually picked the man up off of the ground for several seconds before dropping him back to the ground. Theuderic had watched Sigivald’s eyes during the entirety of this attack and had only let him down when he saw all signs of life leave them. He stood in front of Sigivald’s corpse for several seconds more, then turned his head slightly toward his chief lieutenant and said, “Send word to my son that he is to immediately slay this bastard’s son. No questions asked.”

Rumors are strange things. They seem to move with an unmatched speed, and it was because of this strange phenomenon that word of Sigivald’s death was able to reach Theudebert before his father’s message. The two men had been on campaign to tame the restive south, fighting together for so long and so well that they were often confused as twin brothers. When Theudebert heard that the Duke had been put to the sword he knew it was only a matter of time before his father asked him to cut any and all ties with that part of the family, with the son and direct heir of Sigivald being the most prominent target. He wasted no time and called for the young man to join him in his tent. Upon Sigivald the Younger entering, they conspired to hide Sigivald away for a brief time until they were able to confirm the news of the elder man’s death.

Sure enough, Theuderic’s messenger arrived the next day with a letter containing the order to kill Sigivald on the spot. Theudebert called for Sigivald to be brought forth, but no one could find him. He promised the messenger that they would send out a search party to find the man and execute him as Theuderic had commanded; he himself would lead the hunt! Riding off into the woods with the search party, Theudebert found a way to detach himself from the group for a short period of time and rode directly to Sigivald’s spot. He showed him the letter from the King and told him, "Flee from here, because I have received my father's command to kill you; and if he dies and you hear that I am reigning, then return to me safely." They planned Sigivald’s route, and when both men parted, they did so in different directions. Theudebert was able to take the search party to all of the wrong locations while Sigivald made for Arles.

Shortly thereafter, a second messenger came for Theudebert; this time the message of death wasn’t for his friend, but his father, the King. The older man had fallen gravely ill, and Theudebert needed to be present by his side if he wished to say any last words to his father. More than even that, everyone in the court knew that the death of the King would almost certainly lead to a struggle for control with the two remaining monarchs, Childebert and Chlothar. Theudebert made for the dying King with the utmost speed, and God shined upon him by allowing him to arrive just in the nick of time, for not too many days after he had arrived, Theuderic died in the twenty-third year of his reign.

Upon the death of the King, Theudebert sent three messages. The first two were for his uncles: these letters were hand-delivered by his strongest lords and introduced Theudebert as the new King of Austrasia. The letters pledged peace with the two kings, but also made it clear that if they cared to test his mettle by breaking this pledge that they would do so at their own peril; he would not be put aside so easily as his younger cousins had been! Both men, shamed by the pedicide of their nephews and realizing the immense cost and uncertain outcome that war with Theudebert and his lords, wisely chose to stay at peace – for the moment anyway.

The third letter was sent to Sigivald and took some time to finally find its recipient as he had hidden himself away in Italy in the town of Latium. When it finally did arrive, it bade the man to come home without fear of reprisal; Theudebert was established in his kingdom, and all would be made right again.

This is Thugs and Miracles. Episode Twelve: The Sons of Clovis – Part IV.

Alright, welcome back to Thugs and Miracles. As always, I’m Benjamin Bernier, and this week we are going to turn our focus to Theudebert. This new king had been the first to fight back a Viking invasion of France, had fought against the Thuringians, and had been his father’s right-hand man since before he was even old enough to rightfully be called a man. Now, some of you may point out that this episode’s title is “The Sons of Clovis,” and Theudebert is a grandson. While you would be correct in saying this, I would point out that Theudebert was born in 504. Childebert was born in 496, and Chlothar was born in 497, making the nephew in this case only a few years younger than his uncles. There was actually a bigger gap in age between Theuderic and his half-brothers! At any rate, the bulk of Theudebert’s action is contemporary to the sons of Clovis, hence his discussion here.

As I had just said at the end of the opener, Theudebert was not going to be set aside by his uncles anywhere near so simply as his cousins, Chlodomir’s boys, had been. Remember, Theudebert was kind of a stud, the Sonny Corleone of the Merovingian line. By the time he was a teenager he was commanding men in the field as a part of his father’s army, and it was commonplace for Theuderic to dispatch his son to take care of issues for him. Recall back to Episode Nine: Theudebert sallied forth to meet the Danish invasion of France in 516, the first Viking encroachment of France, and destroyed the invaders with such utter certainty that a) they didn’t bother coming back for 300 years after that, and b) he was immortalized in the epic poem Beowulf. I have said this before but it’s for repeating: Theudebert did all of this when he was only 13 years old!

Given his military track record and his royal lineage, it should come as no surprise that Theudebert’s lords – or leudes, as they were called at this time – would quickly move to back his claim to the throne upon the death of King Theuderic in 534. Any attempts or schemes to take advantage of the transition appear to have never left the planning stage, and Theudebert took over as the King of Metz, or, as the area was also known and will be referred to more commonly moving forward, the King of Austrasia, in a peaceful transition of power. According to Gregory of Tours, Sigivald heard about what had happened, “namely, that Theudebert had received his father's kingdom, and returned to him from Italy. And Theudebert rejoiced, and kissed him, and… gave orders that all that his father had seized of the property of Sigivald's father, should be returned to him.” Given his ascension, the strong backing of his lords, and the lack of struggle he had had to use on his own family, Theudebert proceeded to expand his kingdom in a manner that would have made old man Clovis proud. According to historian Julius von Pflugk-Harttung:

“Conditions were favorable to him. The main body of the distracted Visigoths had transferred themselves from Gaul to Spain; the Ostrogoths were involved in a struggle for existence with Byzantium. Theudebert was just the man to avail himself of the situation. He and his uncles, in consideration of a heavy subsidy, allied themselves with Justinian against the Ostrogoths, but did not let this prevent them from making terms also with the latter, who made over to them Ostrogothic Provence, a portion of Alamannia, and 2,000 pounds, for which they received the promise of secret help through non-Frankish troops. In point of fact, swarms of Burgundians appeared in Italy, in 538, and succored the Goths during the siege of Milan. It was certainly the policy of the Merovingians to prefer the neighborhood of kindred Germans to that of the Byzantines and to prolong the war till both parties weakened themselves, and then to fish in the troubled waters… Theudebert crossed the Alps with a strong force, apparently in alliance with the Goths. No sooner did he feel himself on solid ground than he attacked them and their enemies in common, subdued a large portion of North Italy, and pressed forward into the district of Ravenna.”

Now, just as with many other would-be rulers, sickness took hold of Theudebert’s army while it was running through Italy; this same phenomenon happened with Attila not so many years earlier. Unlike Attila, Theudebert himself didn’t die while on campaign, and although his army was slowed and weakened, he had enough strength to be able to hold his new borders. Part of this strength came from his willingness to play all sides off of each other, as described in this passage, but it also came from not having to worry about his home territory quite as much as his father had. You see, according to Gregory, Childebert had had an apparent change of heart when it came to the whole nephew-killing business, and rather than attacking Theuderic for his land, he instead tried to adopt him (and yes, I understand that it’s a bit weird to be adopting a 30-year-old, especially at a time when dying in your 40s was far from uncommon, but like so much else with Gregory we’re just going to go with this for right now). Anyway, from Gregory:

“Childebert saw that he was not able to prevail [in taking Theudebert’s kingdom by force], and sent an embassy to him, and bade him come to him, saying: "I have no sons, I wish to treat you as a son." And when [Theudebert] came he bestowed such rich gifts upon him that all wondered. For he presented him with three pairs of all the articles of armor, vestments, and other equipments that it becomes a king to have, and likewise with horses and chains.”

Bear in mind as we look into this passage that Gregory’s writings were pretty obviously biased toward Theudebert and play up his “righteousness.” Of Theudebert, Gregory would say, “[He] showed himself great, and distinguished by every goodness. For he ruled his kingdom with justice, respecting his bishops, making gifts to the churches, relieving the poor, and doing kindnesses to many persons with a pious and generous heart.” Long story short (and we saw this with Clovis as well), if a king promotes the faith and takes care of his churches and bishops, well, there’s almost nothing that can’t be looked past, right?

But I can hear you asking now, “What has Theudebert done that needs to be looked past?” Well, my sweet summer child, as you should know by this point, the Merovingian kings always have something in their closet that needs to be cleaned up/locked away/yada-yada’d over. And Theudebert was no different, both in his tumultuous love life and his outsized ambition. We’ll take each of these in turn.

Starting with the love life: Theudebert was the crown prince of Austrasia, a position which, then as now, carried certain expectations. Chief among these was the expectation that Theudebert would provide for his family and their succession through a politically advantageous marriage, and with this objective in mind, he was betrothed to a Visigothic princess named Visigard. From what I can tell, there was nothing wrong with Visigard, and the two would have probably made a fine couple if they had met right after their betrothal was announced. However, two things stopped this: the death of Theuderic in 534, and Theudebert kinda-sorta meeting another woman.

You see, Theudebert was out leading his forces in the year 533, ravaging the countryside of Septimania (again, that’s the strip of land in southern France that directly borders the Mediterranean as it curves around toward the border of modern-day Spain), and by all accounts he was doing a wonderful job of tearing things up in the name of his father and the Austrasians. He was doing so well that when he set his sights on the city of Béziers, a woman by the name of Deoteria took it upon herself to save the city - in a way reminiscent of Saint Genevieve, even if their methods were different – and she did this by reaching out to Theudebert before he laid waste to the city and its people. According to Gregory, she wrote to him with no small amount of flattery, saying, “Good sir, no one can resist you; we recognize you as our noble master.” They went on to meet in the nearby city of Cabrières and arranged for Theudebert to peacefully take Béziers. Theudebert was apparently smitten by Deoteria during this process and walked out of the negotiations with more than just the town; he took her as well. When Theudebert headed north in 534 to cement his claim to the throne of Austrasia following the death of his father, Deoteria and her daughter from a previous marriage came with him as his new wife and stepdaughter.

So, Deoteria posed multiple problems for Theudebert. First off, that previous marriage of Deoteria’s that I just mentioned? Well, it wasn’t some long-ago relationship that she had been working to put behind her for some years; no, Deoteria was most certainly married when she came forward to charm Theudebert out of the destruction of Béziers. The daughter she brought along was nearing adolescence, implying that the jilted husband in this case had been with Deoteria for a fair amount of time. No records indicate his death or any type of divorce proceeding, all of which means that when Theudebert and Deoteria married, it was already a suspect union. Multiple sources refer to her as his “favorite” or as a “concubine.” Remember, this last term was not necessarily as scandalous back then as it would be now. The role of a mistress, someone to provide an heir, was perfectly acceptable at this point in our history; Theudebert’s own unnamed grandmother was likely a concubine who had produced a male heir to the throne for Clovis. Still, it’s important to understand that Deoteria was coming onto the scene with some baggage.

Did I say baggage? Well, this term could well have applied to her emotions as well as to her marital status. Deoteria was not particularly young when she met Theudebert, and according to our sources – all men, mind you – she was a bit of the jealous type, even of her own family. If you recall, I mentioned that Deoteria’s daughter, a girl named Adia, had been approaching adolescence when she first came to court. According to Gregory:

“Now Deoteria saw that her daughter was quite grown up, and was afraid that the king would desire and take her. She placed her in a litter to which wild oxen were yoked, and sent her headlong over a bridge; and she lost her life in the river. This happened in the city of Verdun.”

Now, assuming that this story played out exactly as Gregory told it – and that’s a huge “if” – we can start to get the picture of a woman who was certainly not the type of person that the king’s advisors would want hanging around him, whispering in his ear. Hence the next passage from Gregory:

“As it was now the seventh year since Theudebert and Visigard had been betrothed, and he was unwilling to take her on account of Deoteria, the Franks, when they met, were greatly scandalized at him because he had abandoned his betrothed. Then he was alarmed, and abandoning Deoteria, by whom he had a little son named Theudebald, he married Visigard. And when she died not long after, he took another wife. But he did not have Deoteria after that.”

So let’s unpack this just a bit. We know that Deoteria entered the picture under unexpected conditions, for the king’s advisors at least. She had entered onto the scene, “seduced” the crown prince, ruined a perfectly good and honorable marriage contract with an ally’s princess, and had done all of this while having left behind a still-living husband in Septimania. For any and all of these reasons, it becomes evident that Deoteria was not the most popular girl at court, even though she manages to give Theudebert a proper heir in Theudebald. The dislike for Deoteria is reinforced by the last line of Gregory’s last passage, wherein he notes that Theudebert refused to take Deoteria back even after Visigard had died of natural causes.

So let’s ask: was Deoteria really that bad? Was she really someone so petty as to murder her attractive young daughter, simply out of the fear that she might catch the king’s eye? I mean, this was a woman who put herself in harm’s way to get a rampaging warlord to not pillage a town and kill its soldiers, but now she’s willing to kill her own child over something so petty? I’m not saying that this is an impossible mix, but to me it comes off as just a little too incongruous. What strikes me as more likely – and this is simply my opinion, mind you - is that Deoteria walked into a court where she was destined to be hated on day one. Her detractors would have worked against her constantly, and she probably wouldn’t have had much support outside of Theudebert. She would have been able to push back against her enemies by getting pregnant and having a son, but one can only imagine how she would have felt after years of isolation and rumors. Then throw in the death of her daughter, likely the only other person around her that she would have had in her corner, and Deoteria just wouldn’t have been that much fun to be around. And if the advisors to the king constantly reminded Theudebert of how their marriage wasn’t really legit in the first place, due to her having a husband and all, and how he could make things right if he just sent for Visigard and made good his original betrothal... Well, we can kind of see where he would have killed two or three birds with one stone. Finally, if they were able to twist the terrible accident that killed Adia into a form of proof that the Queen was a jealous murderer, well, we can start to see a different possibility of how Deoteria fell from grace, one that shines a more sympathetic eye on the woman at the center of the history and a more doubtful one on the men writing it.

Finally today, let’s take a look at Theudebert’s rather large ambitions. We’ve already discussed his campaigns into northern Italy, but he certainly didn’t stop there. He expanded his territory east of the Rhine, he laid claim to the Auvergne region, and essentially pushed his claims up to the borders of his uncles and into the regions held by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian. Oman tells us that around the year 543, Theudebert had placed the newly-formed territory of Bavaria under his subjugation, and had had such an “uplift” from his conquests, especially those in Italy, that some chroniclers even thought, “He designed to march against Constantinople, and make himself lord of the world.” While this last part is probably a bit exaggerated, Theudebert almost certainly thought of himself as being a pretty big deal, on par with the Byzantine Emperor himself. This is seen in the money he struck; again according to Oman:

“He struck the first gold money which any barbarian king coined in his own name. Instead of placing the head of the emperor on his solidi, as had hitherto been the practice of Goth, Frank, and Burgundian, he represented his own image with shield and buckler, and the inscription Dominus Noster Theudebertus Victor, without any reference to Justinian as emperor or overlord. Some of the pieces make him assume the more startling title of Dominus Theudebertus Augustus, as if he had aimed at uniting Gaul and Italy, and taking the style of Western Emperor.”

Beyond all of this, we also have writing from the Byzantine historian Procopius, who claims that Theudebert laid claim to England – or as he called it at the time, Brittia – during an official embassy sent to Constantinople. According to Procopius, “The king of the Franks, in sending some of his intimates on an embassy to the Emperor Justinian in Byzantium, sent with them some of the Angili [one of the three main tribes in Brittia], thus seeking to establish his claim that this island was ruled by him.” There’s actually quite a bit more to say about Brittia and Procopius, but the totality of what I want to get into would make this episode too long. With that in mind, I’m going to put out a bonus episode next week to discuss Procopius, historical sourcing in general, and this first apparent attempt by a French monarch to lay claim to the British Isles. Theudebert may have been the first, but as we all know, he’ll be far from the last from either the French or the English side to make such a claim.

With all of this said, we now can understand that Theudebert had a pretty good run as King. He ruled lands from the Atlantic Ocean and well into Germany and Italy. He held his uncles at bay, and may even have started to have viewed himself as an equal – or even a usurper – to the Byzantine Emperor himself. Alas, however, his days of conquest, his outsized ego, and even his skill as a general were no match for nature itself. As Gregory describes the scene:

“After this king Theodobert began to be sick. And the physicians gave him much care; but he did not get well because the Lord was already bidding him be summoned. And so after a very long illness he died of his infirmity.”

It’s believed that Theudebert was sick and bedridden for quite some time, leaving him unable to prosecute his campaigns any further or to train his heir to take his place. The prolonged illness likely did allow his lords and advisors to make plans for a peaceful transition of power – something rarely seen in these days – but this also allowed the advisors to set things up in a way that favored them and not so much the son. And so ends the story of Theudebert. Quite honestly, it would have been interesting to see how long and how far he might have gone if he had had more time. He died at roughly the same age as his grandfather Clovis at 44 years old, and in both cases you can’t help but wonder “What if?” What if they had lived to an older age? It wasn’t impossible, as we’ll see both Childebert and Chlothar live into their 70s, as well as Clovis’s wife, Queen Clotilde. But in this case, we’re left with nothing more than to wonder about what could have been and then to focus on what did happen.

BON VOYAGE: With all of that said, today we’re going to say bon voyage to someone who only barely started to make an appearance in this episode, and that is the Theudebert’s son by Deoteria, Theudebald. Theudebert, having suffered “a very long illness,” must have had time in his waning days to put things in place with his lords to make it that Theudebald would take over the throne of Austrasia with little or no issue from his uncles. Of course, Theudebert would have had some amount of experience in how to do this, having had to claim the throne himself before Childebert and Chlothar could jump on it. At any rate, nothing is written to indicate that Theudebald had any problems being declared king, insofar as his family was concerned, and proceeded to the throne in 548 at the age of 13 upon the death of his father.

Oman writes that Theudebald was “a weak and sickly boy,” and from these five words we can more or less surmise that the kid was thrown into a bad position following in the footsteps of a man who was, militarily at least, quite competent. From the description of the court advisors we developed earlier while discussing Deoteria, we know that this weak new leader would have been surrounded by people aiming at their best interests as opposed to his. Theudebert had spent most of his final years attempting to take and hold Northern Italy, and, despite his inability to do so, Theudebald’s advisors made the decision to continue the prior king’s expedition. Two of his dukes, men named Buccelin and Chlothar (not the king), put together an army and pushed into Italy in 551, making it as far as Venice.

At the same time as this foray to Venice, the Byzantines were working their way up the boot of Italy from the south, systematically destroying the remnants of the Ostrogoths and what had once been the great king Theodoric’s empire. They were led by an extremely capable general named Narses whose strategic thinking appears to have been light-years beyond any other forces in the field at this time. Knowing there would be a conflict for the northern portion of Italy, Narses chose to focus on destroying one group at a time rather than immediately opening a new front against the invading Franks. He finished off the Ostrogoths and then waited, effectively closing one front while also allowing his troops to establish defenses, rest, rearm and refit. Well, the Franks took the bait and according to Oman:

“The armies of the Franks broke up from their encampments in northern Italy, and marched down to challenge the supremacy of the victorious Narses in the desolated peninsula… Chlothar and his division perished of want, or plague, in Apulia. Buccelin and the main body were defeated and exterminated by Narses at the battle of Casilinum. By the end of 553 all the gains of the Franks in Italy were gone, and 75,000 Frankish corpses had been buried in Italian soil or left to the Italian vultures.”

In other writings, Oman gives us an even more vivid description of how Narses dismantled Buccelin, writing about the Battle of Casilinum:

“The superiority of the tactics and armament of the imperial [Narses’] troops was made equally conspicuous. Formed in one deep column the Franks advanced into the centre of the semicircle in which Narses had ranged his men. The Roman infantry and the dismounted heavy cavalry of the Herule auxiliaries held them in play in front, while the horse-archers closed in on their flanks, and inflicted on them the same fate which had befallen the army of Crassus. Hardly a man of Buccelin’s followers escaped from the field.”

And that was about it for Theudebald’s impact on the French monarchy. The young king, son to a mother who was banished from court and prey to the advisors who made that banishment occur, is hardly heard from again after his dukes failed in such spectacular fashion other than to mention his death in 555, seven years into his reign. He left no sons, brothers or uncles, and because of this the Theuderic line of Clovis’s sons came to an abrupt and ignominious end, there lands now truncated somewhat to the areas north and west of the Alps and with no holdings in Italy proper.

CONCLUSION: Alright, so we are now down from six total children of Clovis to two, and all of the adjacent branches that grew forth from Chlodomir and Theuderic have been pruned away. As a quick rundown to refresh your memory and get you ready for our next and final episode in the Sons of Clovis series: 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, Chlothar and Childebert, who are the only two players left standing in this game. Theuderic died in 534 from what appears to be natural causes, an illness of some sort; his son, Theudebert, had a long illness and died of “infirmity” at the ripe old age of 44, and his son, Theudebald, only lasted for a few years after his dad and died at the age of 20 in 555. So much like an Agatha Christie novel, we are now done to two, and we all know there can be only one. And that winner is… in our next episode!

OUTRO: Alright, 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 and a list of sources is available online at thugsandmiracles.com; please leave a comment and be sure to sign up for the e-mail list so we can keep you up-to-date on new episodes and all things T+M. Speaking of email, you can write to me at thugsandmiracles@gmail.com, you can hit me on Twitter at @thugsandmiracle (with no “s” on the end), or you can leave a comment on Facebook or Instagram at @ThugsAndMiracles.

Finally, I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported me in this venture up until now – and hopefully into the future as well… When I started this show, I had no idea who would tune in to listen – except for my Mom. Mom always has to support you, we all know that’s a rule! – but besides her, the people I have had the chance to talk to have been fabulous. Jerry at the Presidencies Podcast, KT and Oti at the For Your Reference Podcast, Kayden at Happy Hour History, Henry at the History of the British Isles, Arjun at Deep Into History, Elizabeth at The Year That Was, Stephen at Written in Blood, and most especially Kara and Leah, who are leading the way for all of us to communicate with the #TimeTravelTalks hashtag on Twitter; all I can say is thank you to each of you for adding a tremendous amount of thought, appreciation and levity to my research. If you out there listening are interested to find out more about any of these podcasts and hashtags, please head over to the new Recommendations tab on the webpage and you’ll see that I’ve listed out everyone I mentioned, as well as where you can find their shows. If they’re on the list, I can promise you that they’re a quality listen.

Alright, once again, my name is Benjamin Bernier, and I look forward to seeing you next week with our bonus episode of Thugs and Miracles.