Lonely Clovis

Oct 2012
211
There is a famous story of Clovis, after hunting down all his male relatives, giving a speech in which he bemoaned his loneliness. His biographer noted drying that this was just a cynical ploy to lure out any remaining relatives who might be out there. Can anyone provide a cite for this story?
Thanks.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,463
Dispargum
Gregory of Tours, "Ten Books of History" aka "History of the Franks" Bk II, Chapter 42.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,676
Cornwall
Very, very cruel ruthless man. Seems to happen with a lot of heroes of the past. Probably the only way to get to become one to be honest.

Mind you I'm not certain old Gregory was a factual encyclopaedia
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,463
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Absolutely Gregory is not to be trusted on many details including this one. For one thing, while Clovis killed many kings, we're not certain which of them were his relations. Gregory (our only source) does not establish any genealogical links with any of the kings Clovis killed. He says that at least one king, Ragnachar, was related to Clovis, but Gregory does not say how. Was Ragnachar an uncle of Clovis? A cousin? An in-law? We don't know. Gregory also says that all of the early kings of the Franks were drawn from the same noble family but again, gives no genealogical details. Gregory, like most 6th century aristocrats, attached great importance to genealogy. If Gregory hadn't been born into a great family, he probably never would have become a bishop. That's just the way the world worked back then. But Gregory may have been predisposed to find genealogical links between great men that may not have actually existed. We just don't know how inter-related, if at all, the early Frankish kings were to each other.

Does anyone know the genealogy of Alaric II's mother Ragnachilde? There's a theory out there that she was Frankish (I know there are other theories, too) and if so, she may have been related to Clovis making Alaric II some kind of cousin of Clovis. This would add Alaric II to the list of relatives that Clovis killed.

Also, according to another genealogical theory, Clovis did not kill all of his relatives. If Sigebert the Lame and Chloderic the Parricide were related to Clovis, Chloderic was survived by two children who each figure into different theories of how the Carolingians were related to the Merovingians. The reason Clovis wanted to kill his relatives was to secure the Frankish kingdom for his own line. He did not want any pretenders out there claiming rights to the throne in defiance of his own descendants. If these Carolingian theories/claims are correct (and they are probably unprovable) then Clovis was right to be concerned.