• Ben

Season 2, Episode 7: The First "Rois Fainéants"

Hey everyone! We’ve got another full episode coming up in just a moment, but I wanted to first bring you up to speed on a few small changes here at T+M. The first, and this is really exciting for us, is that we’ve teamed up with the That’s Not Canon podcast network, which for you means that you’ll see a neat and shiny new That’s Not Canon marker on our cover art, and you’ll also be hearing a promo before we begin that highlights the other great content on the TNC network. These are one minute or less and I get to handpick the shows we profile, so if you’re looking for great new content and want some curated suggestions, then by all means check out our cross-promotional partners! This episode we’re spotlighting 20 Minute History, a show with a common goal of making history fun, entertaining and approachable. David Bradbury, the host, has his first full season under his belt and has plenty of stories that you may never have heard of, so check out 20 Minute History when you’re done here!

The second small change that you’ll notice is that we’ve moved our hosting network from Anchor to Acast. This shouldn’t affect your ability to find T+M in any way, but you will start to hear some 30-second ads at the beginning and at the end of episodes. If you’re listening to this in the future, well, this was the week where we started 30-second ads at the beginning and end of episodes. Long story short, we appreciate your listenership and by listening to the ads, you help us defray the costs associated with the show, which in turn lets us make more episodes. Think of it as a mutual admiration society.

Alright, enough housekeeping. Check out That’s Not Canon for more content, definitely check out 20 Minute History, and know that as always, we appreciate you for being here to listen to us. And now, on with the show...

Nanthilde, second wife of King Dagobert
Here rest the mortal remains of the Queens...

The bishop came out of the room, the look on his face grim. He looked about at those in the hallway who were waiting for an update on the Queen's condition and finally settled upon the one face that truly mattered, that of the Neustrian Mayor of the Palace, Erchinoald. He quickly crossed to the senior aristocrat to discuss what he had seen; the look on his face left no doubt as to the bishop's prognosis.

“She’s not eating,” the bishop said. “Every bit of food that has been sent to her has gone untouched for a week now.”

“What are we to do then?” Erchinoald asked.

“Well, we can’t force her to eat; yet if we don’t, she will die. Of that there is no doubt.”

Erchinoald sighed. He really didn't care if Queen Nanthilde lived or died insofar as removing her would mean one less layer of meddling between him and the King. On a personal level, however, he had had relatively few issues working with her in the past year, and having her gone would mean having to deal with the child-King directly.

“Ah, the “King”,” he thought. “The boy is simple and is going to be inconsolable if his mother dies. Eight-year-olds can be so needy...”

No, having Nanthilde gone would raise more issues than having her live. First off, she was able to handle the boy-King Clovis, and her royal presence, her dignity and her bearing, was able to overshadow the fact that something was clearly not right with the child. He wasn't disfigured, but any amount of interaction with him left the person speaking to him with no doubts that the boy was slow. Because of this, Erchinoald had to wonder about what to do with the King if his mother should die. He couldn't be sent off to a monastic school, yet to keep him around the court would be to expose his infirmities. Long story short, Nanthilde wasn't an absolute requirement to maintain the King, but having her about simply made it easier for Erchinoald to focus on maintaining the kingdom.

These thoughts had left him quiet for several moments, and it was only the sound of the bishop clearing his throat that finally brought the Mayor back to the moment. Looking at the bishop, he asked, more out of frustration than in expectation of an answer, “I don’t understand; why won’t she eat?”

The bishop was pensive in his response. He wanted to answer the Mayor, the man who ruled the court and the Kingdom, yet at the same time he didn't want to violate the sanctity of the Queen's confession. Rather than delving into the details of what she had told to him, the bishop offered his own opinion of her situation.

“The Queen, quite simply, trusts no one and assumes everyone is out to take her place as regent to the King. She sees poison in all of her food and drink, and she grows ever more paranoid as she gets weaker. She watched her husband waste away right before her eyes, a man who was once so strong and vital, and she blames everyone and everything for his demise. It was for him and for her son that she has tried to be strong, but let's face facts: she was never meant for this task. Dagobert, God rest his soul, took her from a convent and thrust her into the world of politics and schemes. She has given her all to this end, but the toxicity has overwhelmed her. The irony is that she thinks someone is trying to poison her and her food, when really she has already been poisoned by the world that she married into.”

As the bishop said this, the door to the Queen's chamber opened and one of the nuns rushed out from within.

“Father,” she yelled, forgetting all semblance of protocol. “Come quick! She... she's gasping for breath and I don't think she has much time.”

The bishop and Erchinoald immediately ran into the room behind the nun. As they did, the sight of the Queen shocked the Mayor. The woman who had served for the past year as his co-regent, a woman he had come to begrudgingly respect for the strength she gave to her son and the logic and wisdom behind her decisions, was lying still in the darkened room. Even though it had been less than a month since the last time Erchinoald had laid eyes on her, she looked to be a completely different person. The woman lying in the bed was small and shriveled; she looked more like a woman twice the age of her thirty-some odd years. Her hair, brown and long so recently, had turned gray and was so thin that he could see her scalp. More than all of this, however, Erchinoald noted how still the body before him was. There was no sign of a rise and fall of the chest, no movement of the eyes; he knew, even before the nun tried to rouse her, that the Queen was dead.

Without saying a word, Erchinoald turned toward the door. The bishop asked from behind, “What are we to do?”

“Prepare her body and ready yourself to lead us in mourning.”

“And what about you? What will you do?”

“The Queen is dead, bishop, and our King is now an orphan. I rule this Kingdom in his name, and that makes it my responsibility to tell him. Though I will admit: I do not look forward to the task.”

With that, Erchinoald left the room and set off to find Clovis II. The boy was eight-years-old and the ruler of a Kingdom, but despite having enjoyed the miracle of being born to such august parents and given all the advantages life could bestow, he was now very much all alone.

This is Thugs and Miracles.


Season Two, Episode Seven: The First Rois Fainéants.


Alright, welcome back! As always, I’m Benjamin Bernier, and this week we’re going to take a look at the end of Dagobert and the legacy he left. Going through all of the literature written about this king, one thing stands out time and time again: he is referred to as the last great Merovingian King, the last to expand the Kingdom and truly wield power before the dawn of ”les rois fainéants,” the “do-nothing kings.” If I didn’t know better, and I were willing to take these assessments at face value, I would be tempted to believe that Dagobert was a swash-buckling leader, ready to lead Francia into a new generation but cut short in his prime, a man with “the ruthless energy of a Clovis and the cunning of a Charlemagne.” But the problem with surface-level assessments is this: when you scratch them, the veneer usually comes off quickly and the truth, for better or worse, is often messy.

And so it is with Dagobert, which is why, for the remainder of this episode, I plan to close the door on his chapter by offering a different view of the man and his time in power. Rather than discussing him as the last “great” Merovingian King, I offer that we look at him instead as the first - or perhaps even the second - roi fainéant. After all, we have seen in previous episodes that Dagobert was no great military commander. He was constantly defeated by the Germanic tribes he fought against, be they the Saxons, the Wends or the Thuringians. His expansions were supported by his father, Chlothar II, and after that man’s death, there were no more significant pushes. In fact, the “complete annihilation” that he suffered as a result of the Battle of Wogastisburg against Samo and the Wends essentially allowed that group to loot and plunder along the Frankish border for years to come. The best that can be offered, in my opinion, is that Dagobert and his Franks were able to weaken the Slavic confederation and slow their ability to cause havoc along the borders, but that argument is akin to allowing someone to punch you in the face in order to hurt their hand. It might work, but it’s not really a very good strategy.

Anyway, after the last episode we know that Dagobert was an easily manipulated lover, taking on Queens and concubines simply by hearing their “melodious” voices singing in a church. For all of his “amours,” however, Dagobert only claimed two children as heirs: Sigibert III and Clovis II. The first was born to Ragnatrude, Dagobert’s concubine, and true to Merovingian precedent, he claimed the child and placed him into the line of succession. You’ll recall from our last episode that this child was born in 630, christened in Orléans, and then placed on the throne in Austrasia in 633. You didn’t mishear me; Sigibert became King Sigibert III at the age of three, all while his father was alive and well and living in Paris, nowhere near the Austrasian seat of power in Metz.

At around the same time that Dagobert was placing an infant on the throne - and by extension, handing power of Austrasia back over to the aristocracy - he was shunting off Ragnatrude to a convent so he could take up again with his proper wife, Nanthilde. She would produce for the King a second son, Clovis II, in 635. This child, as relayed in the opening story, may have suffered from mental illness or a learning disability that placed him all that much more at a disadvantage, but that would likely have only begun to be known to Dagobert, if at all, by the time he took ill in 639.

And here, my friends, is where we get to discuss what is probably the most anticlimactic part of an incredibly anticlimactic reign: the death of Dagobert. Why do I say this? Well, for one, Dagobert was still a relatively young man, even by the standards of an age where death in your mid-40s was far from unexpected. Born in 603 and dead by 639, Dagobert lived to be only 36 years old. If illness hadn’t caught hold of him, he could reasonably have expected to live another decade, and that would have increased the length of his reign by two-thirds. More than just his personal length of reign, it would have allowed his boys more time to grow up. But more on that in a few moments.

Another reason I say that Dagobert’s death was anticlimactic was because, if Frédegar is correct, he died from dysentery. Now, dysentery was very, very common back in this time period; people didn’t understand the concept of germs and sanitation or hygiene or general cleanliness and these things were simply not observed in the way they are today. But for what it’s worth with that, we didn’t even really begin to fully appreciate the idea of microscopic death demons until well into the 19th century! I mean seriously, if you’re looking for a really outstanding read on this topic, check out Candace Millard’s Destiny of the Republic. The book is all about the assassination of U.S. President James Garfield, and while this particular topic is centuries off from what we’re discussing here, well, that’s exactly my point! Doctors were arguing with Joseph Lister, the man who pioneered the notion of sterilizing surgical equipment and washing your hands - and who’s name also graces the mouthwash Listerine - until about 150 years ago! All of this is to say that Dagobert, and many before and after him, never had a chance. There’s a part of me that has even grown an appreciation that for people back in the Middle Ages, diseases such as dysentery could have looked like a punishment from God. If nothing else, given that it was a young-ish King dying, I have to imagine that this would make them all highly aware that no one was safe. And they were right, both for themselves and royalty: over the course of previous episodes we’ve already talked about how royal children such as Fredegunda’s boys succumbed to the illness, and in the future many more Kings will die from it too. Some of the more notable include Phillipe III, Louis VIII and Louis IX. And it wasn’t just the French: among others, the English lost John, Edward I (ol’ Longshanks, Hammer of the Scots if you're a Braveheart fan) and even Henry V, he of “Band of Brothers” fame for his victory at Agincourt.

With all of this said, dysentery was - and still is - a miserable way to die. I say “still is” because, according to the BBC, in developing countries, “The World Health Organization estimates nearly 900,000 people die from dysentery or similar diseases every year, the vast majority young children.” So that’s our sobering thought for the day: the conditions that most of us, listening to podcasts on our shiny devices, think would have been eradicated and that we associate with a world of centuries past... well, those conditions still exist in a lot of places today. And what does dysentery do? Well, let’s look at a description that was given to us about an Army colonel from the early 19th century as written by a contemporary named James Mann. Given his symptoms and the length of time he suffered, I think it’s reasonable to approximate the colonel’s demise, symptom-wise, to what Dagobert may have endured:

“Colonel Johnson was attacked with a violent pain in his stomach and bowels, attended with frequent disposition to puke, and a powerful tenesmus. Medical aid was immediately procured, and the most prompt and active remedies were applied without relief. The symptoms daily increased in violence, and he lingered for seven days, tortured with excruciating pain, and retained his senses until he died.”

Essentially, dysentery puts a person through days or weeks of wicked pain throughout the body, violently expelling everything inside of you. Even if the disease doesn’t kill you outright, it often leaves a person so exhausted from the ordeal that they’re susceptible to getting ill from something entirely different. In Dagobert’s case, it sounds like he went very much like the colonel, in a few days and with his senses intact until the end. Fredegar describes it as such:

“In the sixteenth year of his reign, Dagobert fell ill of a stomach flux in his house in Épinay on the banks of the Seine, and not far from Paris: from there he was transported to the Basilica of Saint Denis. Some days after, seeing his life was in danger, he had Æga come to him in haste, and commended to him the Queen Nanthilde and his son Clovis; he felt close to death, and esteeming the wisdom of Æga, thinking that, by him, the kingdom would be well governed. That done, a few days later Dagobert rendered his soul, and was buried in the church of Saint Denis, that he had magnificently adorned with gold.”

Dagobert on his side
Dagobert's Tomb in Saint Denis

And that was it for Dagobert. No glorious charge into the line of battle, no wicked tales of “debauch”-ing himself to death. No... in the end, he probably just ingested some dirty water from the Seine while hanging out at his country house in Épinay and that was that. A miserable, undignified death ended the life of a man who had been born with the greatest of hopes, a man whose father had unified the Kingdoms and placed him on a throne at an appropriate age and with every chance to excel. Dagobert had landed in fertile soil, life-wise; the same can't be said of his sons.

Upon his death, Dagobert’s wishes appear to have been held up. Æga became the primary counselor to the young Clovis II - although, much like Brodulf at the death of Chlothar II, I find it fascinating how many times the succession of kingdoms seems to have come down to the dying whispers of monarchs who tell their last words to the person who, lo and behold, gets bequeathed everything! I’d say it’s a weird quirk of history, but I’m much too cynical to be quirky.

At any rate, Clovis II became the King of Neustria and Burgundy at four years of age. His brother, Sigibert III, is nine at this point and has been “ruling” in Austrasia for six years. These kids are completely under the control of their regents and the Mayors of the Palace; for Sigibert, his regent was a bishop named Cunibert and his Mayor was a man named Adalgisel. His father was newly dead and his mother, Ragnatrude, had long ago been sent away to a convent when Dagobert decided he wanted to give his marriage to Nanthilde that second chance. As for Clovis II, he at least still had his mother near, and she in fact became his regent. One has to wonder how much the brothers ever learned of one another’s situations later on in life, and how this may have affected them.

Amazingly, however, despite all of this turnover and upheaval, things actually continued to runs fairly smoothly, all things considered. Æga would eventually split one-third of Dagobert’s treasure with the Austrasian nobles to keep the peace, the price being figured as one-third to each surviving son and one-third to the wife. And it’s this anecdote that I personally feel tells us the most about how things have been run in the Kingdom for quite some time now: given the upheaval, we have time and time again seen Kings making power grabs and declaring war in the face of uncertainty and possible illicit gain. In this case, however, when either side could have gone to war, they didn’t. And I credit this to the Mayors and regents, people who saw their ties to power tethered to the boy kings they oversaw. They had a good thing and didn’t need to ruin it by being overly greedy, or by claiming that it was their God-given right to rule. They simply split the estate and then went about their business as exactly that: the business of running a Kingdom.

Alright, so all of this brings us back full circle to the story that began our episode: the death of Nanthilde. Well, looking at her, she was tapped to be regent to her son and she got to stay by his side in these first few years of his rule while Æga directed the ship of state. But then, and without much explanation, Æga died three years into his tenure. Along with no explanation of how he died, there was also pretty scant mention given as to how involved Nanthilde was in the administration of the Kingdom. What we do know is that she didn’t try to take over the role of Mayor herself, or shadow govern in a way that would be akin to what we saw with Fredegunda. Instead, she tapped a man named Erchinoald to take Æga’s place. Erchinoald was Dagobert’s maternal uncle, and his tenure as Mayor of the Palace will be significant, so remember his name; he’ll be in our next episode.

Now, one way that I believe we can assume that Nanthilde was more of a power player than she gets credit for is the fact that she made the announcement that she was to make a Mayor of the Palace in Burgundy. Bear in mind, Burgundy hadn’t had a Mayor or a King since 607, so when this announcement came out in about 641, after 34 years of Burgundian self-rule, they didn’t seem all that excited about getting new leadership now. Well, whether or not they wanted it, they got it, and Nanthilde tapped a man named Flaochad to become the Mayor. Not only did she select him for the role, she also married off her niece to this man, a girl named Ragnabert, thus linking both of the Mayors directly to the royal family itself. It’s a shrewd move, and one I doubt happened by chance.

Anyway, unlike Erchinoald, who you need to remember, you can pretty much forget Flaochad; he would come and go from his position in just a little over a year. Frédegar gets into a pretty entertaining story about how he and another noble named Willebad would spend most of Flaochad’s time as Mayor trying to sneak attack one another, the moral of which, according to Frédegar, was that “their tyranny, their deceitfulness and their lies were the cause of their death.” They both died within 11 days of each other, leaving an opening for our boy Erchinoald to take over as Mayor of both Neustria and Burgundy. Basically, this uncle of Dagobert, who in no way had a claim to the throne itself would, by 642, be ruling the better part of Francia in the name of Clovis II. And he would be doing so without Nanthilde as well; as we noted in the opening story, she died at about this time.

Nanthilde’s death remains a mystery, at least insofar as what caused it. Here was a very young woman, only in her early 30s. Now, her husband the King also died in his 30s, but much is written about his illness and transport to Saint Denis. By comparison, Nanthilde is simply noted to have died in the city of Landry; her body was later taken to Saint Denis to lie beside Dagobert. For what it’s worth, the amount of ink spilled on the King versus the Queen could, and likely does, come down to the fact that the stories of men were simply more likely to be recorded (unless the woman was doing something gossip-worthy, and then it was “game on” for the scribes!). There are a few notes on the internet that claim Nanthilde was poisoned or otherwise murdered, but from what I can tell, these claims amount to nothing more than speculation based on her early demise. From what I have been able to research on Erchinoald, he doesn’t seem like the type to be stymied by a single person, much less a Queen who had very limited legal rights under the Salic law. Basically, if he had wanted her gone, he probably could have made that happen without having to resort to murder. Just inside of this story we are told of how Dagobert got rid of his concubine Ragnatrude, the mother of King Sigibert III, by sending her off to a nunnery. The same fate would have been difficult for Nanthilde to avoid if Erchinoald had really wanted her gone. With all of that said, I find it just as likely, and probably moreso, that Nanthilde simply died from any of a number of things that could have befallen a person in a time of limited hygiene and limited medicine. Throw in a ton of stress and some sadness from having lost a husband - the man who was her main link to power - and well, wasting away in her 30s just seems less and less shocking.

BON VOYAGE: Okay, so we’ve made it to the end of Dagobert’s reign, so how do we think he stacks up against the other Kings we’ve talked about thus far? If you remember a few episodes back, I talked the idea of rating Kings along the lines of a baseball statistic known as Wins Above Replacement or, in an acronym that is all too germane to our show, W.A.R. I’ve put a lot of thought into this, and I also listened to a lot of Pontifacts, the podcast where they detail the lives of every Pope and give them a ranking. Based on all of this, I’ve come up with a rating system for these Kings that goes from -10 to +10; Chlothar II, was put on this spectrum and rated a zero: he reigned for a long time and did a few good things, but his weakening of the monarchy counteracted those good things. In the end, he didn’t really take the monarchy in any direction, good or bad. With W.A.R., it’s conceivable that a King can receive negative scores if his actions - or inactions - ultimately resulted in the the loss of power, authority, territory or legitimacy of the monarchy. So with all of that being said, what are the metrics we’re using?

To start, we have one category that is fairly objective: the overall length of a King’s non-regency reign. It’s easy: if a king has less than five years, he gets no points; if he has more than 50, he gets 10. It’s a pretty straightforward if/then equation. Everything past this gets rated on a subjective basis, with every category rated from -10 to +10. These categories include looking at significant alliances, monuments and lasting additions to history, legal codes, significant military victories (or defeats), control of the Court and their political influence, economics, societal changes, infrastructure development, and finally, strength of spouse. This last one is particularly important, in my opinion, because some of these guys wouldn’t even have had a Kingship if their wives hadn’t saved them. The prime example of this up to this point is Chilpéric: if Fredegunda hadn’t sent assassins to take out Sigibert while the latter King held them under siege, the both of them would have been killed in Tournai. Anyway, once we have all of the numbers, we add them up and divide by 10 - which is the number of categories we’re using - and the final number is their W.A.R.

With 87 Kings to rate, it's fair to say that most of them are going to fall around the middle of the chart, in the -2 to +2 range. We normally only remember the exceptional monarchs, for better or worse, and so it will probably be the same here. Honestly, a King pulling better than a +/-5 will almost certainly have multiple episodes of the podcast dedicated to them. And we'll never get a true +/-10; as the rating indicates, a score that high (or that low) would mean nobody, in all of the history that is written or yet to be put to paper, could ever do that well (or that poorly).

Alright, with all of this said: where does Dagobert rate? His 18 year reign notches him three points for regency length. He worked with a number of the Germanic tribes on his border, he had the Bretons swearing fealty to him, and he was helping out the Visigoths, so as for alliances I think he was doing well and giving him another three points seems right. Now, if there’s one category at all that is going to score Dagobert points, it’s monuments. His endowment of Saint Denis and the use of that site as the burial place of the monarchs lasted until the 19th century, and despite its being rebuilt and reimagined several times over, it was Dagobert who made it something special. So with that in mind, I’m willing to hand him a 10 in this category. And that’s great for him, but also, it’s as good as it’s going to get because next we move to military prowess. For this, I have to go negative, and hard negative at that. Dagobert started his military career getting kicked around by the Saxons and by all rights could have died right then and there. Luckily, Daddy Chlothar saved him. Later, he was completely outmatched by Samo and the Wends; he just wasn’t good, and honestly led the Franks backward in this respect. He loses five points for this category. Now, while he was no good at war, Dagobert did move the bar when it came to culture; the fact that he had young men being sent to train in his Court and reigned over the “Merovingian Renaissance” earns him five points. I gave him zeros for economics, societal changes, and infrastructure, basically because nothing I found about his time as king indicates that policies he initiated were responsible for anything particularly lasting. He was a wealthy King, as can be seen by the amount of gold and jewels he placed into Saint Denis, but that doesn’t mean that he transformed economic policy in Francia.

The final category for us to examine, and the one over which I’m the most conflicted, are the legal codes in the time of Dagobert. My initial thoughts were generally positive: one of Dagobert’s big missions had been to travel the land and dispense justice for his people. He didn’t necessarily author new laws, but the fact that he was out and about personally tending to law and order in his Kingdom seemed to me to be a truly good thing. Two points to Dagobert, if I may so paraphrase Harry Potter. But then we get to the anti-Semitism, and I suddenly go from Harry Potter to straight up facepalm.

You see, the Edict of Paris, signed in 614 by Chlothar II, banned all Jews from public office; however, Dagobert - at the urging of the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius - seems to have gone a step further. According to the Gesta Dagoberti, a biography of the King’s life, “King Dagobert...led by the zeal of God and with the advice of the pope and of the wisest men, he ordered that all the Jews that were not willing to receive new birth through holy baptism be immediately driven from the ends of his realm.” Thomas MacMaster, in a really well-written article entitled, “The Pogrom That Time Forgot”, tells us that, “the most successful purge of Jews was probably that undertaken in Merovingian Gaul. The few known sources claim that all Jews there had either been converted or driven out. This may be credible as there is no positive evidence for the existence of a Jewish community within Francia in the century after Dagobert.”

So yeah, there was that. In a historical context, when we can admit that people may not have been as liberal or open-minded as we like to generally think of ourselves today, it's hard to find comparisons for a pogrom that was successful enough to bury, baptize or evict Jewish communities for over a century. And any action of this type is going to involve a level of cruelty that I quite simply don't comprehend. The only thing keeping me from going straight to a -10 at this point is the fact that nothing in the historical record, that I’m aware of anyway, indicates that coercive tactics on the level of the Spanish Inquisition or Nazi death camps were in play at this time. But still, when the best argument a person can develop for someone else’s actions is that they weren’t Hitler or Grand Inquisitor Torquemada, well, they’re going to score poorly. And that’s why we’re going with a -8 here. The only reason we’re not going with a straight -10 is simply because of the lack of sources from this time to better understand the totality of what happened. But still, the fact that there is even a chance that under Dagobert’s leadership “Frankish ecclesiastics and civil authorities...may have succeeded in creating the first Christian state purged of Jews”; well, it’s not something history should look back on favorably, and we most certainly will not.

Alright, on that incredibly depressing note, how does Dagobert rate? We put the numbers together and when all is said and done, he receives a W.A.R. of one. Now bear in mind, if we take away Saint Denis and the points Dagobert received for that, this King would receive the same number of points as his father: zero. And I find that interesting, because both of those men are considered to be the last of the great Merovingian Kings. However, from what I can tell, both were born into privilege and had every opportunity to excel, which means that at the end of the day their zeroes are more of a testament to a wasted monarchy than anything else. If one of the coming do-nothing kings, the rois feinéants, scores a zero, well, it’s completely expected. They were too young to become king and were railroaded by regents and Mayors looking to take advantage of their youthful charges. If those Kings score a zero it’s not as bad since they never had much of a chance to do any better. But for Chlothar II and Dagobert I to score zeroes... all I can say is that that strikes me as a solid argument to claim that they were truly the first of the do-nothing kings. Let them be saddled with that title just as much as the kids who would come after them and who never had anywhere near the chance to succeed that they had.


CONCLUSION: Alright, that’s where we’re going to end today’s portion of the story. Dagobert and Nanthilde are gone; long live Clovis II and Sigibert III, rulers of Neustria and Austrasia, respectively. Clovis was all of nine years old in 642 and under the regency of his Mayor of the Palace (and great-uncle), Erchinoald; his brother Sigibert was 12 and under the regency of a Mayor named Grimoald. We’ll be discussing these individuals much more, along with the Mayoral position writ large, in our next episode. And for what it’s worth, despite moving into the roi fainéant period of our story, no matter whether you agree with me or not on Dagobert and Chlothar II being the first of these kings, I can assure you that things in our story are about to get particularly spicy as people start to look more and more to take advantage of the power of the office of King. We’ll see canonizations, usurpations, and fathers against sons, all in our next few episodes. Not too bad for a bunch of guys who supposedly did nothing!


OUTRO: Alright, just to be different this week, I want to say thank you to Zane at That’s Not Canon for helping me out with coming into the group and getting things prepared for the transition. And I'd also like to say thanks to David Bradbury at 20 Minute History for the cross-promotion; be sure to check out his podcast, or anything within TNC’s catalogue for great, entertaining and informative content. Links to all of these are in the show notes. Now of course, 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, a list of sources, an updated monarchy/family tree, and also a list of other great history podcasts are all available online at thugsandmiracles.com. Be sure to sign up for our free e-mail list so we can keep you up to date with all things T+M and announcements on new shows. Our first newsletter is coming out with this episode, and we plan on sending notes out once a month from here on so definitely sign up! 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. Also be sure to check out the #TimeTravelTalks hashtag and account on Twitter, as well as HistoryPods.com and their associated Twitter handle, @podsofhistory. And if you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to head over to your podcast player of choice and leave T+M and all of your other favorite pods a rating. All of us appreciate reading your kind words, and as always, you know we appreciate you!

Okay, once again, my name is Benjamin Bernier, and I look forward to seeing you again in two weeks, as we continue to explore Thugs and Miracles.

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