• Ben

Season Two, Episode 12: Four Kings

Before we get started today, I want to send a couple of birthday shoutouts to two of the Team members here at T+M... the first is to the Crown Prince, Tyler, who’s celebrating his 11th birthday on the 15th. You’re now firmly in the double digits, and I couldn’t be prouder of you as you grow up in what has got to be a really weird period of time to grow up! Here’s to a happy birthday and getting everything you wish for...

The second shoutout is to the Queen of T+M, a woman who has a heart as big as Bathilda but still has a bad streak in her wild enough to make even Fredegunda’s heart skip a beat. She’s celebrating a birthday milestone, also on the 15th, and while I won’t give away exactly what that means, let’s just say that she’s now officially a few years older than the roi faineants. For what it’s worth, Jayme, you still look and act like you’re 20, and I love you more every day... happy birthday!


Leodegar knew he had been bested as he looked out of his window and saw the army below waiting for his capitulation.

I should have finished him when I had the chance…

Don't overlook this man...

In this case, Leodegar was thinking of the man leading the army that now awaited his capture: Ebroin, the Mayor of the Palace under King Theuderic III. Ebroin had proved to be a survivor unlike any other; no matter how many times he had been kicked out of power, he always seemed to find a way to wait out the storm and reappear, each time stronger than before.

Ebroin’s first appearance on the scene as a true power player had been back in 658 when, following the death of the Neustrian Mayor of the Palace Erchinoald, he had managed to bring together enough of the nobles to elect him as that man’s successor. Up until that time, those nobles had considered Ebroin a good and Godly man, a person worthy to serve the King’s best interests alongside of that most pious of Queen Regents, Bathilda.

Looking back, Leodegar could see that it had been Bathilda and her pious influence that had kept Ebroin in check, at least for a little while. By the mid-660s she had had enough, abdicating her position in favor of a quiet life as a simple nun at her preferred Abbey at Chelles. Bathilda had been a slave and a wife - she had never striven for power, yet had found herself wielding an inordinate amount. Over time, the strain of such a burden and the malign influence of her Mayor had combined to drive her off; this left her son, King Chlothar III, solely in Ebroin’s clutches. While she had not wanted to leave him like that, the boy-king had been nearing his age of majority, and with every day he grew nearer to that point Bathilda’s influence waned. For better or worse, Francia was ruled by Salic law, and Salic law decreed that men ruled. She took her place amongst the nuns, and Ebroin took his place as the de facto ruler of the land.

Under Ebroin, much of the taxation that Bathilda had sought to eliminate reappeared. So too did war; while the Kingdom had been peaceful under the regency of the Queen, it had almost immediately turned to war under Ebroin. They attacked the Lombards, an easy group to pick on in the southeast - or so they had thought. The Lombards tricked the Neustrian army with a tactical retreat when the Frankish invaders attacked; they left behind much in their camp, and in the throes of victory the Franks had celebrated until they were lethargic with wine and food. And it was then that the Lombards reappeared, in the middle of the night and incensed by the unprovoked nature of the Frankish incursion. They drove the invaders out of their land and back to their homes. By the time the “war” was over, the Franks had gained nothing and lost much in the way of soldiers.

All of this was of course laid at the feet of Chlothar, though he was truly responsible for none of it. Ebroin was oddly quiet in these days. And it was in this lull, as the Neustrians licked their wounds, that tragedy struck: King Chlothar III, still but a child though he had been King for nearly a decade and a half, died at the age of 21. His death was taken hard by all, but more than most, it nearly destroyed Ebroin. Chlothar had been his link to power, his justification for all that he had tried to accomplish. With the King gone, Ebroin had no choice but to think quickly and replace him. Luckily, there was an easy fix: Chlothar’s youngest brother, Theuderic, was waiting in the wings to take the throne. Ebroin wasted no time, and in short order he was placing the crown upon a new King’s head.

Unfortunately for Ebroin, the region of Burgundy had had enough of his antics, his taxation, and his needless battles. Burgundy had always been resistant to outside power, and now that the King they had sworn allegiance to was no longer in this mortal realm, they felt it was time that they resumed the governance of their own country; Burgundy for Burgundians. And it was Leodegar who took the lead in this fight; the bishop of Aûtun spoke for his people, telling the new leader of the land that it was time, insofar as governance, that Burgundy and Neustria go their separate ways. These words confirmed, for the power-mad Mayor of the Neustrians, that Ebroin and Leodegar would be, now and forever, mortal enemies.

Given that Ebroin was loathe to give up his hold on his southern provinces, the Burgundians chose to turn to the other source of power in Francia to help them in their struggle. This power was King Childeric II of Austrasia, the brother of both the late King Chlothar and the new King Theuderic. Once Burgundy combined their might with the military power of Austrasia and those in Neustria who opposed the wickedness of Ebroin, it was little more than a formality to depose the new King and his Mayor. Both were caught and tonsured, with the King being sent under monastic vows to the monastery of St. Denis, and the Mayor being equally treated and sent to the monastery of Luxeuil. Leodegar would recall this moment frequently later in life as his greatest mistake; he had had the chance to end Ebroin right there and then... and he had chosen mercy instead. Someone such as Ebroin had to be squashed like a bug; to show mercy was to give the cockroach another chance to grow strong and reappear.

Despite this, for a moment, things were looking up for Francia. Childeric II was the sole ruler of the Franks, and the Kingdom was once more at peace. There was hope that Childeric had captured more of his mother’s essence than his father’s and that he would be a reasonable monarch. Everything was on the rise… until Bilichilde. Bilichilde was the daughter of a former king, Sigibert III, and she was sister to Dagobert II and Childebert the Adopted. She had been allowed to stay at Court given her pedigree, and it was at Court that she had captured the eye, and then the heart, of young Childeric. In a way, their union made sense. She was of royal blood, and she understood the workings of the Court. She was a lovely young woman and Bishop Leodegar had nothing against her personally, but as the first cousin of the King he could not bless off on their union. It was too near to the family, it was, in his opinion, incestuous… but the King would have it no other way. He loved his cousin and nothing on Earth - certainly not a Burgundian bishop who not so long ago had come to him, hat in hand begging for an army - was going to keep him from marrying whomsoever he pleased. Fast as a stroke of lightning, Leodegar found himself headed to the monastic life in Luxeuil alongside of Ebroin.

A few years passed. Childeric and Bilichild had two children, Daniel and Dagobert, and were enjoying a decent, if unspectacular, reign. Being originally the King of Austrasia, Childebert was never able to get full support from his nobles in Neustria; he didn’t help matters much when he took it upon himself to have one of those nobles - a man named Bodilo - publicly whipped for an infraction that no one could now remember. The sentiment against this act was raw in Neustria, and no one on that side seemed much saddened or surprised when Bodilo, along with his friends Amalbert and Ingobert, managed to track down and kill the King, his wife, and their son Dagobert while the three were out hunting in the forests of Livry. The youngest child, Daniel, managed to be smuggled away from danger; this was of little import at the moment as the boy was but a toddler.

In the tumult of this wicked event, four things happened in quick succession: First, Theuderic III was returned to his throne in Neustria. Next, a man named Leudesius took his place as the King’s Mayor. Leudesius was no stranger to the Court: he was the son of Erchinoald, the former Mayor of the Palace to Clovis II and Bathilda, and was himself therefore distantly related to the Merovingian line. Third, Ebroin and Leodegar both left the monastery at Luxeuil; the former headed for the vacant Austrasian court, while the latter headed back to his bishopric in Aûtun. Finally, Ebroin - the former Mayor of the Palace to Chlothar III - managed to find one of that King’s lost children and raised him to the throne in Austrasia. The child put forth as King was never given a chance to speak or to give any sort of life story, so people had to take it on faith that this boy that Ebroin had conjured out of thin air was in fact the next claimant to the crown. To be honest, no one believed any of this to be true, but given the blood in the water, it was a good enough excuse for Ebroin to be able to gather together his sharks for an attack on Neustria.

And attack they did. The royal treasury fell to the Austrasian forces quickly enough, and with a disjointed army and no money to pay for more troops, Theuderic gave in to the attacking forces led by Ebroin. Luckily for the King, Ebroin had no desire to displace him; instead, Ebroin stabbed Leudesius to death on the floor of the Court and, as that man’s body slumped to the floor, he took a knee before the King and accepted his offer to return to the Mayorship.

“But I didn’t offer you that posit…” the King began to say, his words trailing off as he realized that Ebroin was going to be the Mayor regardless of whether he wanted him or not. With that, the King made the transition official; it was better to act as if he had agency in the decision than to argue the matter and prove what everyone already knew, that he had none at all.

And with that, Ebroin set his sights on his next task: the destruction of Leodegar. The whiplash turn of events left everyone thoroughly confused. The Austrasians who had accompanied Ebroin on his incursion were shocked that he was now the Mayor of the Neustrian palace and now started to trickle home. It didn’t help that no one could find King Clovis III; he had disappeared right around this time, and no one could figure out what had happened to him. All anyone knew was that Austrasia was without a leader, but luckily Ebroin had Neustria lined up to go into Burgundy. This bought the eastern Kingdom a small amount of time to get itself together.

And it was with this Neustrian army of holdovers and mercenaries that Ebroin did in fact head off to Burgundy, and to Aûtun in particular. He had no desire to fight with anyone along the way, and no one was lining up to stop this force. Everyone knew their target, and that was how an army came to be encamped outside the cathedral in Aûtun, with Leodegar looking down from a window on the men who would, in short order, decide his fate.

I should have finished him when I had the chance…

The thought raced through the bishop’s mind again and again.

He wasn’t wrong.

This is Thugs and Miracles.


Season Two, Épisode 12: Four Kings


Alright, welcome back! As always, I’m Benjamin Bernier, and this week we’re going to run through four kings in short order. Up until this point we have been able to see most of the rois fainéants for what they were: well-meaning young kings who, by dint of having taken power at an exceptionally young age, were rarely out of their majority for long enough to make a large historical difference. A combination of bad health and bad luck led to most of them failing to live out their 20s; Chlothar II was the most recent ruler to see his 40s, dying in 629, and it would be over 80 years before another Frankish monarch could lay claim to having attained such an “ancient” age.

However, it has been hard for me, up to this point, to really call these young monarchs “do-nothings.” They were dealt a bad hand by the dealings of their predecessors, and many did the best they could with what they had. And of course, there was Bathilda; Queens didn’t get to rule under Salic law, yet she managed to give birth to three kings, establish a ton of churches, monasteries and abbeys, reduce taxes, see her Kingdom stay at peace, and end slavery. That’s a hell of resumé for a former slave, especially at a time when most of the men around her who were born to rule couldn’t stop losing their minds or dying of dysentery.

With all of that said, this next crop of kings does start to earn the “do-nothing” banner. Let’s start with Chlothar III. Remember that whole list of his mother’s amazing accomplishments I just reeled off about 20 seconds ago? Well, on top of everything else she did, she bought her son a little bit of time to grow up before beginning his proper Kingship. By the time she left out, however, Ebroin had more or less taken control of the Court, and at first this wouldn’t have seemed so bad. de Mézeray told us that upon his election, Ebroin was “a man active, valiant, and who being greatly in friendship with the most Holy Men of those times, and Founder of some Churches, was held a good Man; and he lived in that Reputation many years.” He was a good guy! What were the odds of him going completely power hungry and screwing everything up? *cough*

Well, that of course is exactly what happened. Ebroin raised taxes and started wars, and much of this would have happened while Chlothar was past the age of majority. Now, I can only imagine how difficult it would have been for a 15-year-old to try and trump the orders of an older man with a force of personality such as Ebroin’s. Still, that’s what the King is supposed to do, and as we look at how we’re going to rate these kings we have to look at what was done in their names, not just on their orders. With Clothar III, there’s just not that much that can be said. He had six years of non-regency reign, so we can give him a point, but if not for that he wouldn’t have gained points in any category. And as he has to lose at least two points for his failed military adventure against the Lombards, and another five for having really no control over his Court, we see Chlothar III ending up with a final ranking in the negatives: -0.6, to be exact. The last Kings to get negatives on our chart were Theuderic II and Theudebert II, the kings who warred with one another and weakened themselves so badly that Chlothar II was able to walk in and take over everything. To be ranked with such company, a case could be made, in my opinion, that Chlothar III was the first roi fainéant. I’m still going to hold that Dagobert I started the trend, but again, a case could be made for Chlothar III.

So moving past Chlothar, next we have his younger brother Childeric II. Childeric doesn’t come across in any of the sources as being better or worse than his two brothers; he was simply the brother in Austrasia, the natural alternative for people to turn their oaths of fealty to when Chlothar III died. Now of course, we know that Ebroin was quick on the draw and placed Theuderic III on the throne relatively soon after the death of his eldest brother. And this succession should have held, and it’s the fact that it didn’t that I begin to believe that some, if not all, of the stories about Ebroin as a despot were likely true. After all, it was Ebroin who exercised actual power in Neustria, so the King, whoever was wearing the crown, should have been largely irrelevant. But Leodegar used Chlothar’s death to break Burgundy away from Neustria. Why do such a thing if things were going well? No, I tend to read Leodegar’s break - and his subsequent backing of Childeric II as King of all the Franks - as a referendum against Ebroin, a sort of vote of no-confidence. I highly doubt that Leodegar really cared about Childeric. The whole scene reminds me of that point in the musical Hamilton when Aaron Burr explains how he won a Senate seat without anyone knowing his actual policy positions: “They don’t need to know me. They don’t like you.” I’ve no doubt the same principle that led to Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law losing his incumbent Senate seat because of widespread mistrust of Hamilton was in full effect when Ebroin and Theuderic III were driven from power in 673.

But here’s the thing about forcible seizures of power: if you’re going to do such a thing, you had best have an overwhelming majority on your side, or you had best have overwhelming military force. To any would-be puchists listening right now, it’s almost always best to have both of these things in your favor. If you throw a vote of no-confidence and the results come back split, or 60-40, well… that means that there are still a lot of people on your enemy’s side. If things don’t turn around pretty much immediately, it’s almost inevitable that people will start second-guessing the revolution and the dispossessed side will start to look to find ways back to power. And so all of this came to pass with Childeric. According to Charles Oman, late in 675 Childeric “seized a free Frank named Bodilo, and without trial or judgment, bound him naked to a stake, and flogged him in the palace court. No sooner was the furious Neustrian freed from his bonds that he gathered a few friends, and slew the King.”

Now, Oman says the King died in his bed, while multiple other sources indicate that he was killed while out on a hunt with his pregnant wife and child, Dagobert (again, #FearTheDeer). A second, younger child named Daniel was not with the hunting party and was smuggled out of harm’s way; as with all smuggled Merovingians, he will return in later episodes. Any which way the King died is largely irrelevant; what’s most important here is that he’s gone from history, and now yet again, job postings are going up for a king in both Austrasia and Neustria.

Before we move to the next in the line of succession, however, let’s pause for a moment to consider Childeric’s place in history… and our rankings. Once again, we see a juvenile king being knocked from power before he had a chance to truly wield it. Childeric would have been about 20 years old when he was assassinated, meaning he had five years of non-regency reign under his belt. One point. Now, considering that he lost his life to the man he had extrajudicially stripped and whipped in the courtyard, I have to knock him a point for legal codes. He didn’t enact anything lasting and disregarded what was already in play, much to his detriment. I’ll give him two points under Political Influence for having once again united the Frankish kingdoms under a single crown, but then I have to knock him two points for Strength of Spouse. Bilichilde was his first cousin, and while I know that this wasn’t unheard of for monarchical families, it’s not a good look. Moreso than the cousin thing, however, was the fact that Childeric sent Leodegar away for criticizing the King’s marriage to Bilichilde; Leodegar had just backed Childeric and helped the boy-king gain control of the Neustrian crown. Sending the bishop, a strong ally, away over a disagreement about the nearness of the royal couple’s bloodline seems like the impetuous act of a 19-year-old with unchecked power and a distaste for criticism. Now, I wasn’t there for the argument and no one wrote down what was actually said. Maybe Leodegar was a jerk and left Childeric no choice but to send him away to protect his wife’s honor. No matter how it happened, however, alienating support while still in the midst of a transition of power seems a bad idea, and it likely played a large role in shortening the king’s life. Overall, when all of these scores are tallied up, we get a total of… zero. Childeric II had a chance to shine and probably could have lasted quite a while with the right advisors and some common sense. Instead, he left the scene almost as fast as he arrived. His actions didn’t leave the Kingdom in a substantially worse position than it had been, but that’s a relatively low bar given the upheaval of these times. When all is said and done, a zero almost doesn’t seem right simply because of the wasted potential. With that in mind, I’m offering our first asterisked rating. Childeric II gets a 0, a zero with prejudice.

Okay, all of that leads us to the next King on the list: Clovis III. Now this kid… this is one of those times when I’m willing to say that I’m 99 percent certain that this kid was nothing but a prop, a fake put up by Ebroin to retake power. The most likely story around Clovis III, in my opinion, is that after Ebroin was able to get sprung from the monastery where he was being held he ran right for the kingdom with an open seat of power, Austrasia. On the way, and knowing approximately how old a child of King Chlothar III would now be, he likely made an arrangement with a family that had a boy of the proper age to take the child and proclaim him as the long-lost illegitimate child of the dead monarch. Long live the King! It didn’t matter that the story was ridiculous and that no one remembered Chlothar III fathering any children, let alone stashing him away in the wrong Kingdom. All that mattered was that the story allowed Ebroin to begin gathering financial and military backers. As far as he was concerned, if he repeated the story enough times and got enough people to buy into it, the story would become true. As George Costanza taught all of us, “It’s not a lie… if you believe it.” The only reason I said I was only 99 percent certain that Clovis III was nothing but a patsy is because there is no empirical evidence to absolutely prove otherwise. But I’m a firm believer that when a story seems too good to be true… it probably is not.

Anyway, the Passio Leudegarii (the Passion of Leodegar), which was written about 300 years after the fact around the year 980, seems to be in agreement with my assessment. According to the Passio:

“At last they took a certain lad, pretended that he had been a son of Clothar, and this boy they raised to the throne in the regions of Austrasia. This allowed them to gather together many people to form an army because it seemed to everyone that they were telling the truth. So when by their ravaging they had put the fatherland under their yoke, they gave orders to the judges in the name of their king, the pretender they had put up. They commanded that whoever wished to refuse obedience to them should give up his right to hold power or, if he did not take flight and go into hiding, he would be put to the sword. Oh, just how many people did this scorching lie lead to believe that at that time Theuderic was dead and this Clovis was the son of Clothar? ...

“Now, since, as has been said, Ebroin could not hide his villainy any longer, he turned his scheming from the false king he had put up, in order that he might go back to the palace of Theuderic.”

No matter if Clovis III was an impostor or not, it seems to be agreed that Ebroin’s true goal had been to get back into the good graces of Theuderic, who had now retaken his throne in Neustria. When that was accomplished, Clovis III was simply discarded. No source says how such discarding took place, although, given Ebroin’s temperament and his lack of desire to have any contenders available to stand against him, we can imagine that Clovis III was not handled gently. While the boy has to be given an overall zero for a ranking simply because he served as nothing more than a figurehead and a rallying point rather than an actual monarch, his tragic existence does give us yet another insight into the mindset of Ebroin. This is a man who would take, use, manipulate and destroy anyone, to include a child, in his relentless pursuit of power. It takes a special kind of tyrant, a total disregard for human life and a total lack of empathy, to do something like that. That’s who Ebroin was, and he’s not gone from our history yet.

And speaking of not being gone yet, we are left with a king who will follow us into the next episode: Theuderic III. His story is easy enough. He had been placed into the monastery of St. Denis by his brother, Childeric II having had no apparent desire to destroy his baby brother after taking away that younger King’s dominion in 673. Theuderic stayed in place at St. Denis until he was called back into service at the death of Childeric in 675. Now, this may or may not be a fair comparison, but I can’t help but equate Theuderic as a sort of Frankish Forrest Gump-type figure, an individual riding on currents that are propelling his life to places high and low, but over which he has very little control. Seriously, he became King by doing nothing more than being alive when his eldest brother died, and it doesn’t seem like it took a ton of effort to displace him and put him in a monastery. A few years later we find him sitting at that monastery, waxing poetic over a box of chocolates, when out of nowhere his ride shows up to take him home. His bus driver in this case was a man named Leudesius, the son of the former Mayor of the Palace Erchinoald; Leudesius gathers Theuderic up and returns him to power, once again with Theuderic having done nothing to affect the change. Next we’ll see Ebroin return to Theuderic, offering to get rid of the Austrasian puppet king - that Ebroin installed! - a task that can be done for simply letting Ebroin back into his role as Mayor, which was no real skin of Theuderic’s back… but likely meant the death of Leudesius. After this, Ebroin was back in control, just like old times. If Theuderic is a twisted version of Forrest Gump, well, let me introduce Ebroin as his Jenny. And this, of course, will eventually culminate in the deposing of Leodegar, the well-meaning Burgundian bishop who had to have been watching all of the goings-on to the north with his palm firmly struck into the middle of his forehead.

BON VOYAGE Actually, we’re going to offer Leodegar, the patron saint of face palms, today’s bon voyage because, as you can likely imagine from the army outside of his window, he’ll not be joining us again in future episodes. But that’s not necessarily because he’s dead during the time frame we’ll be discussing; no, he’ll be agonizingly, horribly still alive for several more years, and it’s at this point that I’m going to pause for about five seconds to let anyone who doesn’t care for descriptions of wanton cruelty and torture to go ahead and skip forward two minutes and 30 seconds. If you got squeamish watching the Game of Thrones scenes with Ramsey and Theon, well, now’s the time to jump ahead, because unlike those two, a version of what’s coming next actually happened.

Upon being captured, Bishop Leodegar was roughly handled and brought in front of his one-time monastery-mate Ebroin. The bishop was forced to his knees before his captor, and after a brief explanation of the reasons for the punishment about to be inflicted, Ebroin called forth his executioner. However, this man had in his hands on this day not an axe or sword with which to end the condemned man’s life. No, he approached Leodegar carrying two smaller items, an auger (a small hand drill) and a dagger. He laid them on a bench before the bishop, allowing that man a moment to consider what was about to happen to him. Then, following a motion of the Mayor’s hand to indicate to begin, the executioner grabbed the auger and, pulling the bishop’s head back by the hair, shoved the instrument firmly into the man’s left eye. The screaming and twisting made the job harder, but precision was not of great importance with this task. Finishing the left, he next moved to the right. When he finished, he released the bishop’s hair and allowed the man to sink to the ground.

Not content that enough pain had been inflicted, Ebroin next ordered the use of the dagger. Having grown tired of the bishop’s ability to thwart his plans and convince others to stand against him, Ebroin ordered that he be relieved of both his tongue and lips so as to never speak against the Mayor again. The bloody and gory deed completed, the mangled, disfigured bishop now awaited the final stroke of death. If he had been able to speak, he would have begged mercy to now be allowed to rejoin his Maker. But he couldn’t speak, and Ebroin was not merciful. Rather than ending the pain, Leodegar was thrown into a cell where, despite his injuries, he somehow didn’t die. In a time when drinking bad water could kill a king and hygiene was at a low, the story tells us that Leodegar neither succumbed to blood loss or infection. He was held in a cell for two more years, until 678, somehow (and for reasons we at the podcast can’t fully understand) managing to feed and water himself enough to maintain life. It was only after all of this that Ebroin finally went in front of the king to put forth the case against the bishop. In September of 678, Leodegar was brought before a synod in the palace who degraded him (though we can’t imagine what they would have said to him at this point to make him feel a whole lot worse), was given a sentence of death from King Theuderic III, and finally was taken to the forest of Sarcing, where he was beheaded.

In happier news, Leodegar was later given the hagiographical treatment in the Passio Ludegario, and was canonized as a saint. In addition to face palms, which I just made up, he is, appropriately, the patron saint to invoke for diseases of the eyes, and he is depicted in art as a haloed bishop holding an auger. If I were him, that’s probably the last thing on Earth I’d want to be holding, but sometimes art lacks subtlety or nuance. At any rate, so ends the life and addition to history of Bishop Leodegar of Aûtun, more commonly remembered nowadays as St. Leger. The site of his execution was just outside of Arras, France, a town known for yet another Terror-inducing personality from nearly 1,000 years after the life of Leodegar: Maximilien Robespierre. More on him (much) later.

CONCLUSION: Alright, that’s the show for this week. As the title said, we just rolled through four kings in little over a half-hour. You’ll notice that, if we were to end our history right here, right now, that Theuderic III and his Mayor would be the rulers of the entirety of Francia. And you’d be correct, except for the fact that the Austrasians (it’s always the Austrasians…) are not quite ready to give in just quite yet. They had, for a brief and shining moment, a king to call their own with Clovis III. With his disappearance they went back to square one, a Kingdom in need of a king… and preferably, for the sake of legitimacy and tradition, a Merovingian king. But where to find a random, misplaced member of the royal family just sitting on the sidelines and waiting to make his triumphant return? Childeric II’s son Daniel was far too young to be brought onto the throne and needed time to develop. No, they needed a ready-made monarch, someone older, someone who was the son of a king who left his mortal coil seven kings ago! That’s right boys and girls; in case you had forgotten about Dagobert II, the youth whose deposition kicked off the entire Coup d’État series, well, he’s been doing his monastery thing all this time in Ireland. Now aged 24 years, he’s older than Theuderic by about five years and is in the prime of his life. Unfortunately, he’s been gone from Austrasia for about two decades and no one is really sure how the trauma of being exiled at the age of 5-10 years old really affected him, so his ability to step from monk to monarch is going to be a mystery for us all to discover… next time!

OUTRO: 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 tree, our Instagram feed, and 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. To be honest, we’ve kind of taken to using Insta as our preferred platform of choice; the ability to put up pictures that illuminate what we’re talking about and then caption them in a more meaningful way than 140 characters is more fun and more compelling, so please come on over to that platform to see what we’re talking about. While you’re there, leave a comment; we love reading what you have to say! Finally, we’d really love it if you continue to rate and review the show on your podcast player of choice. We recently, a year and a half into this, got our first one-star review on Apple Podcasts, something we’re wearing as a badge of pride since we were at least compelling enough to a troll to get them to ding us. If you think we’re worth more than a star - and if you’ve listened this far, we’re guessing that’s a yes! - then please take that time to head on over, plug in five stars and keep our ranking high. We appreciate the help, and we appreciate you!

Okay, once again, my name is Benjamin Bernier. We look forward to seeing you in two weeks as we find out which one of our formerly banished, emotionally scarred and highly manipulated young kings will come out on top in our next episode of Thugs and Miracles.