Front Page Titles (by Subject) FIRST NARRATIVE. ad 561—568. - The Historical Essays and Narratives of the Merovingian Era
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FIRST NARRATIVE. ad 561—568. - Augustin Thierry, The Historical Essays and Narratives of the Merovingian Era 
The Historical Essays, published under the Title of “Dix Ans d’Études historiques,” and Narratives of the Merovingian Era; or, Scenes of the Sixth Century, with an Autobiographical Preface (Philadelphia: Carey and Hart, 1845).
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THE FOUR SONS OF CHLOTHER THE FIRST—THEIR CHARACTERS—THEIR MARRIAGES—HISTORY OF GALESWINTHA.
A few leagues from Soissons, on the banks of a small river, stands the village of Braine. In the sixth century this was one of those immense farms where the Frankish kings held their court. The royal habitation had none of the military aspect which distinguished the castles of the middle ages; it was a large building surrounded with porticos of Roman architecture, sometimes built of carefully polished wood, and ornamented with statues not altogether wanting in elegance.* Round the principal body of the building were disposed the lodgings of the officers of the palace, whether barbarians, or of Roman origin, as well as those of the chiefs of the tribes, who, in accordance with Germanic custom, had with their warriors, entered into truste with the king, that is to say, had made an especial engagement of vassalage and fidelity.†
Other houses of meaner appearance were occupied by a large number of families, both the men and women of which exercised all manner of trades, from that of goldsmith and armourer, to that of weaver and tanner, from embroidery in silk and gold, to the coarsest preparations of flax and wool. Most of these families were Gallic; born on that portion of territory which the king had adjudged to himself by right of conquest, or brought with violence from some neighbouring town to colonize the royal domain: but judging from their names, there were Germans also among them, as well as other barbarians, whose fathers had entered Gaul as workmen, or as servants following the train of the victorious tribes. Whatever their origin or their species of industry, however, these families were placed in the same rank, and called by the same name, lites in the German language, and fiscalins in the Latin, that is to say, attached to the fisc.* Buildings for agricultural purposes, such as studs, stables, sheepfolds, and barns, with the hovels of the husbandmen, and huts of the serfs, completed the royal village, which exactly resembled, though on a larger scale, the villages of ancient Germany. In the very site of these residences there was something which recalled the scenery beyond the Rhine; most of them stood on the outskirts, and some in the centre of those vast forests since mutilated by civilization, but of which we still admire the remains. Braine was the favourite residence of Chlother (the last of the sons of Chlodowig,) even after the death of his three brothers had made him entire master of Gaul. It was there in a secret apartment that he kept his triple-locked chests containing all his riches in gold coins, vases, and precious jewels. It was there also he executed the principal acts of regal power. It was there he assembled the bishops of the Gallic towns; received ambassadors from foreign kings, and presided over the great assemblies of the Franks, which were followed by those feasts traditional among the Teutonic races, at which wild boars and deer were served up whole on spits, and staved barrels occupied the four corners of the hall.†
As long as he was not called to a distance by war against the Saxons, the Bretons, or the Septimanian Goths, Chlother employed his time in travelling from one domain to another. He went from Biaine to Attigny, from Attigny to Compiègne, from Compiègne to Verberie, consuming all the provisions he found in his royal farms; hunting, fishing, and swimming with his Frank leudes, and selecting numerous mistresses from among the daughters of the fiscalins. From the rank of a concubine, these women frequently passed with a singular facility to that of wife and queen. Chlother, whose marriages it is difficult to enumerate and classify, married in this way a girl of very humble birth, called Ingonda, without at all giving up his irregular habits, which as a woman and a slave she bore with extreme submission. He loved her passionately, and lived with her in perfect harmony. One day she said to him:—
“The king, my lord, has made of his servant what it has pleased him, and has called me to his bed; he will complete his graciousness by acceding to the request of his servant. I have a sister named Aregonda, who is attached to your service; I pray you to be pleased to procure her a rich and brave husband, that I may suffer no humiliation on her account.”
This demand piqued the curiosity of the king, and roused his libertine propensities; he set off the same day for the domain on which Aregonda lived, and where she exercised some of the trades which then devolved on women, such as weaving and dyeing stuffs. Chlother finding her quite as beautiful as her sister, took her to himself, installed her in the royal apartment, and gave her the name of his wife. At the end of some days he returned to Ingonda, and said to her with that coarse bonhommie which was a peculiarity of his character, and of the Germanic character in general:—
“The favour which thou, sweet one, didst desire of me, I thought of according thee; I looked out for a rich and brave man for thy sister, and could find none better than myself. Learn, then, that I have made her my wife, which I think will not displease thee.”
“Let my lord,” answered Ingonda, without apparent emotion, and without any diminution of her accustomed patience and conjugal submission, “let my lord do as it seems good to him, provided his servant lose none of his affection.”*
(ad 561.) In the year 561, after an expedition against one of his sons, whose rebellion he punished by burning him with his wife and children, Chlother returned to his residence at Braine with a perfectly calm conscience. There he prepared for the great autumnal hunt, which was a species of solemnity among the Franks. Followed by a number of men, horses and dogs, the king entered the forest of Cuise, of which that of Compiègne in its present state is but a small fragment. In the midst of this violent exercise, which was unsuited to his age, he was seized with a fever, and ordering himself to be transported to his nearest domain, he expired in the fiftieth year of his reign.* His four sons, Haribert, Gonthramn, Hilperik, and Sighebert, followed his funeral procession as far as Soissons, singing psalms and bearing waxen torches in their hands. Scarcely was the funeral over, when Hilperik, the third of the four brothers, set off in great haste for Braine, and forced the guards of this domain to deliver into his hands the keys of the royal treasure. As soon as he was master of the riches his father had accumulated, he distributed a portion of them to the chiefs of the tribes, and to the warriors, who were quartered either in Braine or in the neighbourhood. They all swore fidelity† to him by placing their hands between his; saluted him by acclamation with the title of koning, and promised to follow wherever he should lead them‡ . Placing himself at their head, he marched straight to Paris, the ancient dwelling-place of Chlodowig the First, and afterwards the capital of the kingdom belonging to Hildebert, his eldest son.
Perhaps Hilperik attached some idea of importance to the possession of a town formerly inhabited by the conqueror of Gaul, or perhaps he only wished to appropriate the imperial palace, the buildings and gardens of which covered, to a vast extent, the left bank of the Seine.§ There is nothing improbable in this supposition, for the ambitious views of the Frankish kings rarely extended beyond the prospect of personal and immediate gain; and, on the other hand, although preserving a strong touch of Germanic barbarism, ungovernable passions, and a merciless soul, Hilperik had imbibed some of the tastes of Roman civilization. He was fond of building, delighted in the games of the circus, and, above all, had the pretension of being a grammarian, a theologian, and a poet. His Latin verses, in which the rules of metre and prosody were rarely observed, found admirers amongst the noble Gauls, who trembled as they applauded, and exclaimed that the illustrious son of the Sicambers surpassed the sons of Romulus in beauty of language, and that the dwellers on the banks of the Wahal would instruct the dwellers on the banks of the Tiber.*
Hilperik entered Paris without opposition, and quartered his warriors in the towers which defended the bridges of the city, then entirely surrounded by the Seine. But at the news of this bold stroke, the other three brothers united against him who wanted to select his own share of the paternal inheritance, and at the head of superior forces advanced towards Paris.† Hilperik did not venture on resistance, and, renouncing his enterprise, submitted himself to the chances of a division made by mutual consent. This division of the whole of Gaul, with a considerable portion of Germany, was made by drawing lots, exactly as had taken place half a century earlier between the sons of Chlodowig. There were four lots, answering, with a few differences, to the four kingdoms known under the names of the kingdoms of Paris, Orleans, Neustria, and Austrasia. Haribert obtained as his share that portion which had belonged to his uncle Hildebert; that is to say, the kingdom which took its name from Paris, which, extending lengthways from north to south, included Senlis, Melun, Chartres, Tours, Poitiers, Saintes, Bordeaux, and the towns near the Pyrenees. Gonthramn’s share was that of his uncle Chlodomir, the kingdom of Orleans, and all the Burgundian territory, extending from the Saone and the Vosges, to the Alps and the Mediterranean. Hilperik’s share was his father’s, the kingdom of Soissons, which the Franks called Neosterrike, or western kingdom, and which was bounded on the north by the river Escaut, and on the south by the stream of the Loire. And, finally, the eastern kingdom, or Oster-rike, fell to Sighebert’s share, and contained Auvergne, the north-east of Gaul, and Germany as far as the Saxon and Slavonian frontiers.‡ It seems as if the towns had been counted one by one, and that their numbers alone served as the basis for fixing each of the lots; for, independently of this extraordinary division of territory, there are a number of enclaves,§ for which it is impossible to account. Rouen and Nantes are in Hilperik’s kingdom; Avranches in that of Haribert; the latter possesses Marseilles; Gonthramn has Aix and Avignon; and Soissons, the capital of Neustria, is blockaded by four towns, Senlis and Meaux, Laon and Reims, which belong to the two kingdoms of Paris and Austrasia.
(ad 561—564.) After chance had assigned to the four brothers their separate shares of towns and lands, each one swore by the relics of the saints to content himself with his own share, and attempt no further encroachment either by violence or stratagem. This oath was soon violated. Hilperik, availing himself of the absence of his brother Sighebert, who was then making war in Germany, suddenly attacked Reims, and took possession of it, as well as of several other towns equally within his reach. But he did not long enjoy this conquest: Sighebert returned victorious from his campaign beyond the Rhine, retook his towns one by one, and pursuing his brother to the walls of Soissons, defeated him in a pitched battle, and forced an entry into the capital of Neustria.
(ad 564—566.) According to the character of barbarians, whose anger is violent but of short duration, they were again reconciled, and renewed the oath never to attack one another. These two were turbulent, quarrelsome, and revengeful; but Haribert and Gonthramn, older and less vehement, had some inclination for peace and repose. Instead of the rough and warlike appearance of his ancestors, King Haribert affected the calm and rather heavy demeanour of the magistrates who administered justice according to the Roman laws in the towns of Gaul. It was his ambition to be thought learned in jurisprudence; and no flattery was more agreeable to him than praises of his skill as a judge in intricate cases, and the facility with which, although German by origin and language, he expressed himself and discoursed in Latin.* King Gonthramn presented the singular contrast of manners habitually gentle and almost saintly, with fits of sudden fury, worthy of the forests of Germany. Once, having lost a hunting horn, he put several freed men to the torture; another time he ordered a noble Frank to be put to death on the mere suspicion of having killed a buffalo on the royal domain. In hours of calmness, his feelings were in favour of order and regularity, which he specially manifested by religious zeal, and submission to the bishops, who were then the source of all law and order.
King Hilperik, on the contrary, was a sort of half-civilized free-thinker, and followed his own fancies, even when the dogmas of the Catholic faith were in question. The authority of the clergy was intolerable to him, and one of his great pleasures was the annulling of wills made in favour of churches and monasteries. The characters and conduct of the bishops were the principal subjects of his jokes and dinner-table conversation; he called one a hare-brained fool, another an insolent wretch; one a gossip, and another luxurious. The great wealth which the church possessed, and which was always increasing; the influence the bishops had in the towns where, since the dominion of the barbarians, they exercised most of the privileges of the ancient municipal magistracy;—all these riches, and all this power, which he envied without perceiving the means of becoming possessed of them, strongly excited his jealousy. The complaints he uttered in his vexation were not wanting in sense; and he was often heard to say: “See how our fisc is impoverished! See how all our wealth goes to the churches! Truly, no one reigns but those bishops.”*
Moreover, the sons of Chlother the First, with the exception of Sighebert, the youngest, were all incontinent to the highest degree; rarely satisfied with one wife; leaving without scruple the woman they had just married, and taking her again, according to the caprice of the moment. The pious Gonthramn changed his wives almost as often as his two brothers; and, like them, he had concubines, one of whom, named Veneranda, was the daughter of a Gaul attached to the fisc. King Haribert took at the same time for mistresses two sisters of great beauty from amongst the attendants of his wife Ingobergha. One was named Markowefa, and wore the dress of a nun, the other Merofleda; they were the daughters of a wool-comber, of barbaric origin, and lite of the royal domain.†
Ingobergha, jealous of her husband’s love for these two women, did all she could to persuade him out of it, but in vain. Not daring, however, to ill-treat her rivals, or to turn them away, she invented a scheme which she thought would disgust the king with this unworthy liaison. She sent for the father of these girls, and gave him some wool to comb in the court yard of the palace. Whilst this man was at his work, doing his best to show his zeal, the queen, who was standing at a window, called to her husband:—“Come here,” said she, “come and see something new.” The king came, looked round, and seeing nothing but the wool-comber, became angry at this jest.‡ A violent discussion ensued between the husband and wife, and produced an effect quite contrary to what Ingobergha expected; the king repudiated her, and married Merofleda.
Haribert, soon finding that one legitimate wife was not sufficient for him, solemnly gave the titles of wife and queen to a girl named Theodehilda, the daughter of a shepherd. Some years after, Merofleda died, and the king immediately married her sister Markowefa. According to the laws of the church, he was thus guilty of double sacrilege, as a bigamist, and as the husband of a woman who had taken the veil. When summoned by St. Germain, Bishop of Paris, to annul his second marriage, he obstinately refused, and was excommunicated. But the time was not yet come when the savage pride of the heirs of the conquest should bow to the discipline of the church. Haribert received the sentence without emotion, and kept both his wives.*
Of all the sons of Chlother, Hilperik is the one to whom contemporary narratives assign the greatest number of queens, that is to say, of women married according to the laws of the Franks, with the ring and the denarius. Audowera, one of these queens, had in her service a young girl named Fredegonda, of Frankish origin, and of such remarkable beauty that the king fell in love with her the first instant he saw her. However flattering this love might be, it was rather dangerous for a servant, whose situation placed her at the mercy of the jealousy and revenge of her mistress. But Fredegonda had no fears; as cunning as she was ambitious, she undertook to bring about legal causes of separation between the king and queen Audowera, without at all compromising herself. If we are to believe a tradition which was prevalent less than a century afterwards, she succeeded in her design, thanks to the connivance of a bishop and the queen’s simplicity. Hilperik had lately joined his brother Sighebert to march beyond the Rhine against the nations of the Saxon confederacy; he had left Audowera far advanced in her pregnancy. Before his return, the queen was delivered of a daughter, and not knowing if she ought to have it baptized during her husband’s absence, she consulted Fredegonda, who, being a perfect mistress of dissimulation, inspired no distrust. “Madam,” answered the attendant, “when the king my lord returns triumphant, could he behold his daughter with any pleasure if she were not baptized?”* The queen received this advice gratefully, and Fredegonda began to prepare, by dint of intrigues, the snare into which she wanted her to fall.
When the day of the christening arrived, the baptistery was hung at the appointed hour with tapestry and garlands; the bishop was present in his pontificial robes, but the godmother, a noble Frankish lady, did not appear, and she was waited for in vain. The queen, astonished and disappointed, was uncertain what course to pursue, when Fredegonda, who was near her, said, “Why should you trouble yourself about a godmother? No lady is worthy to stand in that relation to your daughter; if you will follow my advice, you will be her godmother yourself.”† The bishop, who probably had been previously gained over, finished the ceremony, and the queen retired, without foreseeing what would be the consequences of this act.
When King Hilperik returned, all the young girls of the royal domain went out to meet him, carrying flowers, and singing poetry in his praise. When Fredegonda met him, she said: “Blessed be God that the king, our lord, has triumphed over his enemies, and that a daughter is born unto him! But with whom will my lord sleep this night? for the queen, my mistress, is now your gossip, and godmother to her daughter Hildeswinda!” “Well then,” answered the king jovially, “If I cannot sleep with her, I will sleep with thee!”‡
Hilperik found his wife Audowera under the portico of the palace, holding her child in her arms, which she presented to him with a mixed feeling of pride and delight; but the king, affecting a tone of regret, said: “Woman, in thy simplicity thou hast been guilty of a crime; in future thou canst not be my wife.”§ A rigid observer of the ecclesiastical laws, the king banished the bishop who had baptized his daughter, and persuaded Audowera to separate from him at once, and to take the veil, as if she were a widow. As a consolation, he gave her several estates belonging to the fisc, and situated near the Mans. Hilperik then married Fredegonda, and at the news of this marriage, the repudiated queen set off for her retreat, where, fifteen years afterwards, she was put to death by the order of her former servant.∥ Whilst Chlother’s three eldest sons thus lived in debauchery, and married women of low birth, Sighebert, the youngest, far from following their example, was ashamed of and disgusted by it. He resolved to have but one wife, and that one of royal blood.* Athanagild, King of the Goths, settled in Spain, had two marriageable daughters, the youngest of whom, Brunehilda, was much admired for her beauty; it was on her that Sighebert’s choice fell. A numerous embassy, with rich presents, left Metz for Toledo, to demand her hand of the king of the Goths. The chief of the embassy was Gog, or more correctly, Godeghisel, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, a man well experienced in all sorts of negotiations; he succeeded perfectly in this one, and brought Sighebert’s betrothed with him from Spain. Wherever Brunehilda passed in her long journey to the north, she was remarked, say her cotemporaries, for the grace of her manners, her good sense, and agreeable conversation.† Sighebert loved her, and preserved a passionate attachment for her all his life.
(566.) It was in the year 566 that the nuptial ceremony was celebrated with great pomp in the royal town of Metz. All the lords of the kingdom of Austrasia were invited by the king to take part in the games of that day. At Metz were seen arriving, with their suites of men and horses, the counts of towns, and the governors of the northern provinces of Gaul, the patriarchal chiefs of the ancient Frankish tribes who had remained beyond the Rhine: and the dukes of the Alemanni, of the Baiwars and of the Thorings or Thuringians.‡ In this singular assembly the most various degrees of civilization and barbarism were contrasted side by side with each other. There were the Gallic nobles polished and insinuating; the Frankish nobles, blunt and haughty; together with complete savages, clothed in furs, and as rude in manners as in appearance. The nuptial banquet was splendid and animated; the tables were covered with chased gold and silver dishes, the spoils of conquest; wine and beer flowed uninteruptedly into cups studded with precious stones, and into the buffalo horns which the Germans used as drinking-cups.§ The spacious halls of the palace rang with the healths and challenges of the drinkers, the shouts and peals of laughter, and all the noise of Germanic gaiety. To the pleasures of the nuptial feast succeeded a far more refined species of amusement, and of a nature to please but a small number of the guests.
There was then at the court of the King of Austrasia an Italian, called Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus, who, travelling in Gaul, was everywhere received with marks of distinction. He was agreeable, but superficial, and had much of that Roman elegance which was almost extinct on this side of the Alps. Recommended to King Sighebert by those bishops and Austrasian counts who admired refinement, and regretted the general want of it, Fortunatus was treated with generous hospitality at the semi-barbarous court of Metz. The stewards of the royal fise had orders to furnish him with lodgings, provisions and horses.* In order to testify his gratitude, he made himself court poet: he addressed Latin verses to the king and the nobles, which, if not always perfectly understood, were always well received, and well paid for. As the marriage feast could not be complete without an epithalamium, Venantius Fortunatus composed one in the classical style and recited it to the strange audience which thronged around him, with as much seriousness as if he had been giving a public lecture at Rome in the Forum of Trajan.†
In this composition, which has no other merit than that of being one of the last pale reflections of Roman talent, the two inevitable persons of every epithalamium, Venus and Love appear with their usual accompaniments of bows, torches and roses. Love shoots an arrow right into the heart of King Sighebert, and flies to tell his mother of this great triumph. “My mother,” said he, “I have ended the combat.” Then the goddess and her son fly through the air to the city of Metz, enter the palace, and adorn the nuptial chamber with flowers. There a dispute arises between them on the merits of the newly-married couple: Love is for Sighebert, whom he calls another Achilles; but Venus prefers Brunehilda, whose portrait she describes thus:—
“O virgin, whom I admire, and whom thy husband will adore, Brunehilda, more brilliant, more radiant than the ethereal lamp, the light of precious stones is dimmed by the splendour of thy countenance; thou art another Venus, and thy dowry is the empire of beauty! Among the Nereids who swim in the seas of Iberia, in the springs of the ocean, there is none who can call herself thy equal; none of the Napææ are more beautiful, and the river-nymphs bow down their heads before thee. The whiteness of milk and the brightest red are the colours of thy complexion; lilies and roses, purple woven with gold, present nothing comparable to it. Sapphires, diamonds, crystals, emeralds, and jasper are vanquished; Spain has produced a new pearl.”*
These mythological commonplaces and fine-sounding but unmeaning words pleased King Sighebert and those Frankish nobles who, like himself, understood a little Latin poetry. To say the truth, there was no party among the principal barbarian chiefs opposed to civilization; they willingly imbibed all they were capable of possessing; but this varnish of politeness encountered such savage customs, such violent manners, and such ungovernable passions, that it was impossible for it to do much good. Besides, after these high personages who sought the company and copied the manners of the ancient nobles of the country from vanity or aristocratic instinct, came a crowd of Frankish warriors, who would have suspected of cowardice every man who knew how to read, unless they had witnessed proofs of the contrary. On the least pretext for war, they recommenced pillaging Gaul as at the time of the first invasion; they carried off and melted the sacred vases of the churches, and hunted for gold even in the tombs. In times of peace, their principal occupations were contriving plans for depriving their Gallic neighbours of their estates, and going out, sword in hand, on the high roads to attack those on whom they wished to revenge themselves. The most pacific among them spent their days in furbishing their arms, in hunting, or intoxicating themselves. Every thing could be obtained from them for drink; even the promise of using their influence with the king in favour of such or such a candidate for a vacant bishopric.
Continually tormented by these guests, and always fearing for the safety of their property and persons, the members of the rich native families lost that peace of mind, without which all learning and arts must perish; or else, carried away by the force of example and by a certain instinct of brutal independence which no civilization can efface from the heart of man, they embraced the life of the barbarians, despised every thing but physical force, and became quarrelsome and turbulent. They went out at night, like the Frankish warriors, to attack their enemies in their houses or on the roads, and they never appeared in public without the Germanic dagger, called skramasax, or safety-knife. It was thus by the simple course of events, that in about a century and a half all intellectual cultivation and elegance of manners disappeared from Gaul, without this deplorable change being the work of any mischievous will, or any systematic hostility towards Roman civilization.†
According to the chronicles of the time, Sighebert’s marriage and the splendour which attended it, and more especially the importance he derived from the rank of his new wife, made a lively impression on the mind of King Hilperik. In the midst of his concubines and the wives he had married, after the custom of the ancient Germanic chiefs, and with very little ceremony, it seemed to him that he had a less noble and less regal life than his younger brother. Like him, he resolved to take a wife of high birth; and to imitate him in all points, he sent an embassy to the king of the Goths, to demand the hand of Galeswintha, his eldest daughter.* But this demand met with obstacles which had not presented themselves to Sighebert’s envoys. The report of the King of Neustria’s debauches had reached Spain; the Goths, more civilized than the Franks, and more submissive to the discipline of the Gospel, exclaimed loudly that King Hilperik led the life of a heathen. On her side, Athanaghild’s eldest daughter, naturally timid, and of a gentle and melancholy disposition, trembled at the idea of going to so great a distance, and belonged to such a man. Her mother, Goiswintha, loved her dearly, and partook of her repugnance, her fears, and forebodings of unhappiness; the king was undecided, and delayed his definitive answer from day to day. At last, when pressed by the ambassadors for a reply, he refused to come to any conclusion with them, unless their king engaged himself by an oath to dismiss all his women, and live with his new wife according to the law of God. Couriers were dispatched into Gaul, and returned, bringing from King Hilperik a formal promise to abandon all his wives and concubines, provided he obtained a wife worthy of him, and the daughter of a king.†
A double alliance with the kings of the Franks, his neighbours and natural enemies, offered such political advantages to King Athanaghild, that on this assurance, he hesitated no longer, but proceeded to consider the articles of the marriage treaty. From that moment all the discussions turned, on one side, upon the portion the bride should bring; and, on the other, upon the dowry she should receive from her husband after the wedding-night, as a morning-gift. According to a custom observed among all the tribes of Germanic origin, it was necessary at the bride’s waking, her husband should make her some present, as the price of her virginity. This present varied in its nature and value: sometimes it was a sum of money, or some costly article; sometimes teams of oxen or horses, cattle, houses, or lands; but whatever it was, there was but one name for it,—it was called “morning gift,” morghen-gabe or morgane ghiba, according to the various dialects of the Germanic idiom. The negotiations relative to the marriage of King Hilperik with the sister of Brunehilda, retarded by the interchange of messengers, were prolonged until the year 567; they were then in treaty, when an event occurred in Gaul, which facilitated their termination.
Haribert, the eldest of the four Frankish kings, had left the neighbourhood of Paris, his usual residence, to go to one of his domains near Bordeaux, to enjoy the climate and productions of southern Gaul. He there died suddenly, and his death caused a new division of the territory of the Frankish empire. No sooner were his eyes closed, than one of his wives, Theodehilda, a shepherd’s daughter, seized upon the royal treasure; and in order to retain the title of queen, she sent to propose to Gonthramn that he should make her his wife. The king received this message very graciously, and replied with an air of perfect sincerity: “Tell her to hasten to me with her treasures, for I will marry her, and make her great in the eyes of nations: I mean her to receive more honours with me than with my deceased brother.”* Enchanted with this answer, Theodehilda loaded several carriages with her husband’s riches, and departed for Châlons-sur-Saône, King Gonthramn’s residence. But on her arrival, the king paid no attention to her, but began examining the baggage, counting the chariots, and weighing the coffers; then turning to those who surrounded him, he said: “Is it not better this treasure should belong to me rather than to this woman, who did not merit the honour my brother did her by taking her to his bed?”† All were of this opinion. Haribert’s treasures were placed in safety, and the king sent her, who had so unwillingly made him this valuable present, to the monastery of Arles, under a large escort.
Neither of Gonthramn’s two brothers disputed with him the possession of the money and precious things he had acquired by this stratagem; they had to debate with him and between themselves interest of far greater importance. The plan in agitation was to reduce the division of the Gallic territority into three parts instead of four, and by mutual agreement, to make a division of the provinces and towns which had formed Haribert’s kingdom. This new distribution was more strange and confused than the first. Paris was divided into three equal parts, and each brother had one. To avoid the danger of a sudden invasion, neither of them was to enter the town without the consent of the other two, under pain of losing not only his share of Paris, but his entire share of Haribert’s kingdom. This clause was ratified by a solemn oath sworn on the relics of three venerable saints, Hilary, Martin, and Polyeuctus, whose curses in this world and the next were invoked on the head of him who should break his word.*
Senlis and Marseilles were divided as Paris had been, but into two parts only; the former between Hilperik and Sighebert, the latter between Sighebert and Gonthramn. Three lots were made of the other towns, probably according to a calculation of the taxes gathered in them, and without regard to their respective positions. The geographic confusion became still greater; the enclaves were multiplied, and the kingdoms became involved in one another. Gonthramn obtained Melun, Saintes, Agen, and Perigueux. Meaux, Vendôme, Avranches, Tours, Poitiers, Albi, Conserans, and the towns of the Lower Pyrenees, fell to Sighebert’s share. In Hilperik’s share were, amongst many other towns of which historians made no mention, Limoges, Cahors, and Bordeaux, the now destroyed towns of Bigorre and Béarn, and the cantons of the Upper Pyrenees. The eastern Pyrenees were, at this period, beyond the territory belonging to the Franks; they were in the possession of the Goths of Spain, who, by this means, kept up a communication with their Gallic territories, which extended from the Aude to the Rhône. Thus the King of Neustria, who until then had not been master of a single town south of the Loire, became the near neighbour of his future father-in-law, the king of the Goths. The situation furnished an additional reason for the marriage treaty, and brought it to a speedy conclusion. Amongst the towns which Hilperik had recently acquired, several were on the frontiers of Athanaghild’s kingdom; others were scattered about in Aquitania, a province formerly taken from the Goths by Chlodowig the Great. To stipulate that these towns, which his ancestors had lost, should be given as a dowry to his daughter, was an adroit stroke of policy, and the king of the Goths did not overlook it. Either from a want of perception of any thing beyond the interest of the moment, or from a desire of concluding his marriage with Galeswintha at any price, Hilperik promised without hesitation to give the towns of Limoges, Cahors, and Bordeaux, with the towns of the Pyrenees and all the surrounding territory, as dowry and morning gift.† The confused notions which existed among the Germanic nations respecting the difference between territorial possession and the right of government, might some day free these towns from the Frankish rule, but the king of Neustria did not foresee this. Entirely absorbed by one idea, he only thought of stipulating that, in return for what he gave up, a considerable sum of money and other valuables should be paid into his own hands; this point once settled, all obstacles were overcome, and the marriage was decided on.
Throughout this long negotiation, Galeswintha’s feelings had always been those of repugnance to the man for whom she was destined, and of vague fear for the future. The promises made by the Frankish ambassadors in the name of king Hilperik, had not reassured her. As soon as she learnt that her fate was irrecoverably fixed, she was seized with terror, and running to her mother, she threw her arms round her like a child seeking protection, and wept silently in her arms for more than an hour.* The Frankish ambassadors presented themselves to pay homage to the betrothed bride of their king, and receive her orders for their departure; but, barbarians as they were, they were touched by the sight of these two women sobbing on each other’s bosoms and clinging so closely as to appear linked together, and they dared not mention the journey. Two days passed thus, and on the third they presented themselves once more before the queen, telling her this time, that they were in haste to depart, and spoke of the king’s impatience and the length of the journey.† The queen wept, and begged for one more day for her daughter. But the next day, when she was told that every thing was ready, “one day longer,” said she, “and I will ask no more. Know you that where you are carrying my daughter, there will be no mother for her?”‡ But all possible delays were ended; Athanaghild interposed his regal and paternal authority, and notwithstanding the tears of the queen, Galeswintha was placed in the hands of those who were entrusted with the mission of bringing her to her future husband.
A long line of horsemen, of chariots, and of baggage-wagons, traversed the streets of Toledo in the direction of the north gate. The king, on horseback, followed in his daughter’s train as far as a bridge over the Tagus, at some distance from the town; but the queen could not make up her mind to return so soon, and determined to travel further. Leaving her own chariot she sat by the side of Galeswintha, and she went on stage by stage, day by day, until she had journeyed upwards of a hundred miles. Every day she said, “I will go so far,” and when they had reached that place, she went on further.* When they approached the mountains, the roads became difficult to pass; she did not perceive it, and still wished to go on. But as her retinue augmented their numbers, and increased the confusion and dangers of the journey, the Gothic nobles resolved not to permit their queen to proceed another mile. It was necessary to be resigned to the inevitable separation; and new but calmer scenes of tenderness took place between the mother and daughter. The queen expressed in gentle words her grief and maternal fears. “Be happy,” said she; “but I tremble for thee; take care, my child, take care.† ” . . . At these words, which harmonized too well with her own sad forebodings, Galeswintha wept, and replied: “It is God’s will, I must submit;” and the sad separation was accomplished.
This numerous retinue being now divided, horsemen and chariots formed different parties, some continuing to march forward, others returning to Toledo. Before mounting the car which was to convey her back, the queen of the Goths stood by the road side, and fixing her eyes on her daughter’s chariot, she remained standing immovable, gazing until distance and the windings of the road hid it from her sight.‡ Galeswintha, sad but resigned, pursued her journey towards the north. Her escort, which was composed of nobles and warriors of both nations, Goths and Franks, crossed the Pyrenees and passed through the towns of Narbonne and Carcassonne, without quitting the kingdom of the Goths, which extended to that distance; then passing through Tours and Poitiers, took the direction of Rouen, where the marriage was to be celebrated.§ At the gates of every large town the whole train stopped, and everything was prepared for a solemn entry; the horsemen threw off their travelling cloaks, uncovered the harness of their horses, and armed themselves with the bucklers which usually hung at their saddle-bows. The betrothed bride of the king of Neustria quitted her heavy travelling chariot for a car of state, built in the shape of a tower, and covered with plates of silver. The cotemporary poet, from whom we borrow these details, saw her enter thus at Poitiers, where she rested some days. He says that the splendour of her equipage was much admired, but he makes no mention of her beauty.∥
Faithful to his promise, Hilperik had repudiated his wives, and dismissed his mistresses. Fredegonda herself, the most beautiful of them all, the favourite amongst those to whom he had given the title of queen, did not escape from this general proscription; she submitted with an apparent resignation and good will, which would have deceived a sharper man than king Hilperik. It seemed as if she sincerely felt that this divorce was necessary, that the marriage of a king with a woman of her rank could never be valid, and that it was her duty to give up her claim in favour of a queen really worthy of the title. She only asked as a last favour not to be dismissed from the palace, and to be allowed to take her place as formerly among the women employed in the royal service. Under this mask of humility, there was a depth of cunning and female ambition of which the king of Neustria was quite unsuspicious. Since the day when he first conceived the idea of marrying a woman of royal blood, he thought he no longer loved Fredegonda, and became indifferent to her beauty; for the mind of the son of Chlother, like the barbarian mind in general, was little capable of receiving impressions of various natures at the same time. It was thus that, from want of foresight and judgment, not from tenderness of heart, he allowed his former favourite to remain near him in the house which his new wife was to inhabit.
Galeswintha’s wedding was celebrated with as much preparation and magnificence as that of her sister Brunehilda; and this time the bride had extraordinary honours paid her: all the Franks of Neustria, nobles and simple warriors, swore fidelity to her, as to a king.* Standing in a semicircle, they drew their swords all together and brandished them in the air, repeating an old pagan formula, which devoted whoever violated his oath to the edge of the sword. Then the king himself solemnly renewed his promise of constancy and conjugal fidelity; placing his hand on a shrine containing some relics, he swore never to divorce the daughter of the king of the Goths, and never to take another wife as long as she lived.†
Galeswintha was remarked, during the festivities of her marriage, for the graciousness she showed to all the guests; she received them as if she already knew them; to some she made presents, to others she addressed kind and gentle words; all assured her of their devotion, and wished her a long and happy life.* These vows, which were never to be realized for her, accompanied her into the nuptial chamber; and the next morning, when she got up, she received the morning-gift with all the ceremonies prescribed by the Germanic customs. In presence of some chosen witness, king Hilperik took his wife’s hand in his own right hand, and with the left threw a piece of straw over her, and pronounced with a loud voice the names of five towns, which were in future to be the queen’s property. The act of this perpetual and irrevocable donation was drawn up in the Latin language; it has not been preserved to us, but we can easily imagine the tenour of it, from the usual formulas and style used in all memorials of the Merovingian epoch:
“Since God has commanded that a man shall leave father and mother to cleave to his wife, that they shall be as one flesh, and that no one shall put asunder those whom the Lord has joined together, I, Hilperik, king of the Franks, an illustrious man, do give to-day from tenderness of affection, under the names of dowry and morgane-ghiba, the towns of Boideaux, Cahors, Limoges, Bèarn, and Bigorre, with their territories and population, unto thee, Galeswintha, my well-beloved wife, whom I have wedded according to the Salic law, by the sou and the denier.† It is my will that, from this day forth, thou shouldst hold and possess them to perpetuity; and I give, transfer, and confer them by this present act, as I have already done by the piece of straw and the handelang.”‡
The first months of the new queen’s marriage were at least quiet, if not happy; patient and gentle, she bore with resignation all the savage brusquerie of her husband’s character. Besides, for some time, Hilperik felt a sincere affection for her; he first loved her from vanity, and rejoiced that he had in her as noble a wife as his brother; then, when surfeited with this gratification of his self love, he loved her from avarice, on account of the large sums of money and the number of valuables she had brought him.* But after having for some time pleased himself with counting up these riches, he ceased to feel any delight in them, and from that time there was no attraction to bind him to Galeswintha. Her moral beauty, her humility, her charity to the poor, had no charms for him; he had sense and feeling for external beauty only. Thus the time arrived when, in spite of his resolutions, Hilperik felt only coldness and ennui by his wife’s side. (ad 568.)
Fredegonda had waited for this moment, and she profited by it with her usual address. She met the king as if by accident, and the comparison of her person with Galeswintha’s was sufficient to revive in the heart of this sensual man a passion which a few puffs of vanity had not sufficed to extinguish. Fredegonda once more became a concubine, and made great parade of her new triumph; she even assumed a haughty and contemptuous behaviour towards the neglected wife.† Doubly hurt as a woman and a queen, Galeswintha first wept in silence; at last she ventured to complain, and told the king that she was no longer honoured in his house, but received injuries and affronts she could not bear. She begged as a favour to be divorced, and offered to leave all she had brought with her, provided she was permitted to return to her own country.‡
The voluntary sacrifice of a great treasure, the disinterestedness of pride, were things incomprehensible to king Hilperik; and unable to appreciate, he had no faith in them. Thus, notwithstanding their sincerity, the words of the sad Galeswintha inspired him with no other feelings than those of sombre defiance, and the fear of losing, by an open rupture, treasures which he rejoiced to possess. Subduing his feelings, and concealing his thoughts with all the cunning of a savage, he suddenly changed his manners, assumed a gentle and caressing tone, and deceived Athanaghild’s daughter with protestations of love and repentance. She spoke no more of a separation, and flattered herself that his return to her was sincere; when one night, by the king’s order, a faithful servant was introduced into her room, and strangled her whilst she slept. On finding her dead in bed, Hilperik affected surprise and grief, pretended to shed tears, and a few days after restored to Fredegonda the rights of a wife and a queen.§
Thus perished this young woman, to whom a sort of secret revelation seemed to have given warning of the fate which was reserved for her; a gentle and melancholy being, who appeared amidst Merovingian barbarism like an apparition of another age. Notwithstanding the weakness of the moral sense in the midst of innumerable crimes and miseries, there were minds deeply touched by such unmerited misfortunes; and in accordance with the spirit of the age, their sympathies were touched with superstition. It was said that a crystal lamp, suspended near Galeswintha’s tomb on the day of her burial, had suddenly given way without any one’s touching it, and had fallen on the marble pavement without breaking or going out; to complete the miracle, it was asserted that the spectators had seen the marble yield like a soft material, and the lamp sink half way into it.* Such stories may make us smile, we who read them in old books written for men of another age; but in the sixth century, when these legends passed from mouth to mouth, as the living and poetical expression of the popular feelings and faith, those who listened to them became thoughtful, and wept.Æthera mole sua tabulata palatia pulsant ...Singula silva favens ædificavit opus.Altior innititur, quadrataque porticus ambit,Et sculpturata lusit in arte faber.
[* ] Venantii Fortunati Carmin., lib. ix. cap. xv. t. i. p. 326, ed. Luchi.
[† ] V. pactum legis Salicæ, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic. t. iv. p. 159; et ibid., Marculf. Formul., p. 475.
[* ] Fiscalini, Liti, Lidi, Lazi. Vide Recueil des Historiens de la France et des Gaules, t. iv. passim.
[† ] Cùm ergo ille ad prandium invitatus venisset, conspicit, gentili ritu, vasa plena cervisiæ domi adstare. Quod ille sciscitans quid sibi vasa in medio posita vellen . . . (Vita S. Vedasti, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic. t. iii. p. 373.)
[* ] Tractavi mercedem illam implere, quam me tua dulcedo expetnt. Et requirens virum divitem atque sapientem, quem tuæ sorori deberem adjungere, nihil melius quam meipsum inveni. Itaque noveris quia eam conjugem accept, quod tibi displicere non credo. At illa. quod bonum, inquit, videtur in oculis domini mei faciattantum ancilla tua cum gratia regis vivat. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic. t. ii. p. 205.)
[* ] Exin regressus, quinquagesimo primo regni sui anno, dum in Cotia silva venationem exerceret, a febre corripitur, et exinde Compendium villam rednt (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic. t. ii. p. 214.)
[† ] Chilpericus vero, post patris funera, thesauros, qui in villa Brinnaco erant congregati, accepit, et ad Francos utiliores petnt, ipsosque muneribus mollitos sibi subdidit. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic. t. ii. p. 214.)
[‡ ] Koning signifies king, in the dialect of the Franks. Vide “Lettres sur l’Histoire de France,” Letter ix.
[§ ] Et mox Parisius ingreditur, sedemque Childeberti regis occupat. (Greg. Turon. loc. sup. cit.)Admirande mihi nimium rex, cujus opimePrœlia robur agit, catinina lima polit.Venantii Fortunati Carmin., lib. ix. p. 580.Cum sis progenitus clara de gente Sycamber,Floret in eloquio lingua Latina tuo.Ibid. p. 560.
[* ] Confectique duos libros, quasi sedulium meditatus, quorum versicuh debiles nullis pedibus subsistere possunt (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. vi. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic. t. ii. p. 291.)
[† ] Sed non diuhoc et licuit possidere, nam conjuncti fratres ejus eum exinde repulere. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic. t. ii. p. 214.)
[‡ ] Et sic inter se hi quatuor . . . . divisionem legitimam faciunt, deditque sors Chariberto regnum Childeberti, sedemque habere Parisius; Guntchramno vero regnum Chlodomeris, ac tenere sedem Aurelianensem; Chilperico vero regnum Chlotacharli patris ejus cathedramque Suessiones habere, Sigiberto quoque regnum Theuderici sedemque habere Remorum. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 214.)
[§ ] That is, towns which were in the territories of one king, though belonging to another.
[* ] Ecce pauper remansit fiscus noster, ecce divitiæ nostræ ad ecclesias sunt translatæ: nulli penitus, nisi soli episcopi regnant: periit honor noster, et translatus est ad episcopos civitatum. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. vi. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 291.)
[† ] Habebat tunc temporis Ingoberga in servitium suum duas puellas pauperis cujusdam filias, quarum prima vocabatur Marcovefa, religiosam vestem habens; alia vero, Merofledis; in quarum amore rex valde detinebatur; erant enim, ut diximus, artificis lanarii filiæ. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 215.)
[‡ ] Quo operante, vocavit regem. Ille autem sperans aliquid novi videre, adspicit hunc eminus lanas regias componentem: quod videns, commotus in ira, reliquit Ingobergam (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 215.)
[* ] Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 215, et seq.
[The thoughtful reader will not fail to compare this indifference on the part of Haribert to the ecclesiastical anathema with that manifested by Napoleon, who, on receiving the sentence of excommunication from Pius VII., ordered his general to seize the Pope, and bring him a prisoner to Fontainebleau, which was done; and he will further contrast the inefficiency of the papal vengeance in these cases, with the terrible might of such a power in the hands of a Gregory the VIIth. In the instance of Haribert, we see the unripeness of the ecclesiastical power; in that of Henry the IVth, Emperor of Austria, its maturity; and in that of Napoleon, its decay.—Ed.]
[* ] Domina mea, ecce dominus rex victor revertitur, quomodo potest filiam suam gratanter recipere non baptisatam? (Gesta Reg. Francor., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 561.)
[† ] Numquid similem tui invenire poterimus, quæ eam suscipiat? moda tumetipsa suscipe eam. (Gesta Reg. Francor., apud Script. Rer Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 561.)
[‡ ] Cum qua dominus meus rex dormiet hac nocte? quia domina mea regina commater tua est de filia tua Childesinde. Et ille art. St cum illa dormire nequeo, dormiam tecum. (Gesta Reg. Francor., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 561.)
[§ ] Nefandem rem facisti per simplicitatem tuam: jam enim conjux mea esse non poteris amplius. (Gest. Reg. Francor., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 561.)
[∥ ] Rogavitque eam sacro velamine induere cum ipsa filia sua, deditque et prædia multa et villas; episcopum vero, qui eam baptisavit, exilio condemnavit; Fredeguadem vero copulavit sibi ad reginam. (Ibid.)
[* ] Porro Sigibertus rex, cùm videret quod fratres ejus indignas sibimet uxores acciperent, et per vilitatem suam etiam ancillas in matrimonium sociarent . . . (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 216.)
[† ] Erat enim puella elegans opere, venusta adspectu, honesta moribus atque decora, prudens consilio, et blanda conloquio. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 216.)
[‡ ] Ille vero, congregatis senioribus secum, præparatis epulis cum immensa lætitia atque jocunditate eam accipit uxorem. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 216.)
[§ ] Rex enim cùm inter prandendum quoddam vas lapideum vitrei coloris auro gemmisque mirabiliter ornatum juberet offeri plenum mero. (Vita S. Fridolini, apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iii. p. 388.)
[† ] V. Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 227, de Andarchio et Urso, Ibid. lib. ix. p. 342, de Sichario et Chramnisindo.—Ibid. lib. iv. p. 210, de Cautino episcopo, et Catone presbytero.
[* ] For the orthography of this name, I adopt the form proper to the Gothic dialect; that which answers to it in the dialect of the Franks is Galeswinde or Gaileswinde.
[† ] Quod videns Chilpericus rex, cúm jam plures haberet uxores, sororem ejus Galsuintham expetnt, promittens per legatos se alias relicturum, tantum condignam sibi regisque prolem mereretur accipere. Pater vero ejus has promissiones accipiens. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv., apud Script Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 217.)
[* ] Accedere ad me ei non pigeat cum thesauris suis, ego enim accipiam eam faciamque magnam in populis. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 216.)
[† ] Rectius est enim ut hi thesauri penes me habeantur, quam post hanc, quæ indigne germani mei thorum adivit. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv., apud Script. Rer. Gallic et Francic., t. ii. p. 216.)
[* ] Ut quisquis sine fratris voluntate Parisius urbem ingrederetur, amitteret partem suam, essetque Polioctus martyr, cum Hilario atque Martino confessoribus, judex ac retributor ejus. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 295.)
[† ] De civitatibus vero, hoc est Burdegala, Lemovica, Cadurco, Benarno et Begarro, quas Gailesindam . . . tam in dote quam in Morgane giba, hoc est matutinali dono, in Franciam venientem certum est adquisisse. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. ix., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 344.)
[§ ] (Hadriani Valesii Rer. Francic., lib. ix. p. 24.)Post, aliquas urbes, Pictavis attigit acres,Regali pompa, prætereundo viam.Hanc ego nempe novus conspexi prætereuniemMolliter argenti turre rotante vehi.(Venantii Fortunati Carmin., lib. vi. p. 562.)
[∥ ] It is more than probable that Fortunatus heard from the persons who accompanied Galeswintha the circumstances of her departure, and even the touching expressions which, in the midst of declamatory speeches, are to be found in his piece of poetry. This is the reason that I have considered this composition as an historical document.
[† ] Legatis sane Anthanahildi regis quærentibus, ut tactis sanctorum pignoribus fides firmaretur, quod Galsonta in vita sua solio regni non pelleretur, Chilpericus non abnuit... (Aimoini Monachi Floriac de Gest Franc., lib. iii. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iii. p. 68.
[† ] Dum Dominus ab initio præcepit ut relinquat homo patrem et matrem, et adhæreat suæ uxori, ut sint duo in carne una, et quod Dominus conjunxit, homo non separet, ego enim in Dei nomine, ille, illi dulcissimæ conjugi meæ, dum et ego te per solidum et denarium secundum legem Salicam visus fui sponsare, ideo in ipsa amoris dulcedine, dabo ergo tibi... (Formul. Bignon. apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. iv. p. 539.) Ego Chilpericus rex Francorum, vir. inluster... (Ibid. passim.) De civitatibus vero, hoc est Burdegala, Lemovica, Cadurco, Benarno et Begorra tam in dote quam in morganegiba....cum terminis et cunto populo suo. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. ii. ibid. t. ii. p. 344, 345.)
[‡ ] Per hanc chartulam libelli dotis sive per festucam atque per andelangum. (Formul. Lindenbrog., ibid. t. iv. p. 555.)—Handelang or handelag, from the word hand, expressed, in the Germanic language, the action of delivering, giving, transmitting with the hand.
[* ] A quo etiam magno amore diligebatur. Detulerat enim secum magnos thesauros. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 217.)
[† ] Sed per ainorem Fredegundis, quam prius habuerat, ortem est inter eos grande scandalum. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv. cap. xxvii., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 217.)
[‡ ] Cumque se regi quereretur assidue injurias perferre, diceretque nullam se dignitatem cum eodem habere, petiit ut, relictis thesauris quos secum detulerat, liberam redire permitteret ad patriam. (Ibid.)
[§ ] Quod ille per ingenia dissimulans, verbis eam lenibus demulstit. Ad extremum eam suggillari jussit á puero, mortuamque reperit in strato...Rex autem. cúm eam mortuam deflesset, post paucos dies Frodegundem recepit in matrimonio. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic., t. ii. p. 217.)
[* ] Post quod factum reputantes ejus fratres, quod sua emissione antedicta regina fuerit interfecia, eum de regno dejiciunt. (Greg. Turon. Hist. Franc., lib. iv., apud Script. Rer. Gallic. et Francic. t. ii. p. 217.) Non tulerunt fratres, tanto scelere maculatum consortem esse suum, sed conjurati simul regno pellere moliti sunt. Quod consilium non tam astu Chilperici quam ipsa levitate qua cœptum fuerat, dissipatum est. (Aimoini Monachi Floriac. de Gest. Franc., lib. iii. cap. v. ibid. t. iii. p. 68.) The passage in Gregory of Tours is obscure from the words regno dejiciunt; if taken literally, we must suppose that there is some deficiency in the accounts, as we can find no later narrative to show that Hilperik regained his kingdom. Aimoin, an historian of the tenth century, has corrected the words of Gregory of Tours, perhaps with the help of some documents now lost. I have followed his text, according to the example of Adrian of Valois, who ends it by the following induction: “Tamen bellum Chilperico a fratribus, præsertim a Sigiberto, qui, instigante Brunichilde uxore, sororem ejus Gailesuintham ulcisci cupiebat, denunciatum puto, et priusquam ad arma veniretur, Guntchramni Francorumque decreto pacem inter ambos compositam discordiamque dijudicatam esse...” (Adriani Valesii Rer. Francic., lib. ix. p. 26.)