Ragnachar, King of the Salian Franks at Cambrai

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Ragnachar of the Salian Franks

Also Known As: "Racagnaire", "Roi de Cambrai"
Birthdate: (44)
Birthplace: Cambrai, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Death: 509 (44)
Probably Camaraco or Cambrai, Frankish Kingdom (Captured by his relative, King Clovis, who had fled after losing a battle to him; killed with an ax personally by Clovis over having allowed himself to be captured alive.)
Immediate Family:

Son of Ragnhard I, King of Cambrai and Wife of Ragnhard de Cambrai
Husband of Wife of Ragnomar de Cambrai
Father of Ragnomare d'Orleans d'Orléans; Theutbald de Cambrai; Wadon de Cambrai, I and Chrodulphe de Cambrai
Brother of Rignomer of the Salian Franks; Ricchar of the Salian Franks and Ragomer de Cambrai

Occupation: (Rey de los Francos en Cambrai), Roi de Cambrai, roi de Cambrai
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Ragnachar, King of the Salian Franks at Cambrai


Parents: Unknown (Frankish relatives of Clovis, whose parents were Childeric I, King of the Franks, and Basina, former wife of Basinus of the Thuringi who left the Thuringian king to be with the Frankish king after he had given Childeric refuge)


  • 2. Ricchar
  • 3. Rignomer (d. in Le Mans)

Spouse: None. No heirs.

Basic information:

Birth: Unknown. Was already a king and a military leader at Cambrai in 486 when he allied with Clovis to attack Syagrius, post-Roman Gallic king at Soissons.

Baptism: Not applicable. He was pagan throughout his life.

Marriage: No wife. Lived a life of debauchery. Any children would have been illegitimate and are not in any known records. (Please identify the source for Maurianne d'Aquitaine. Proposed children Ricchar or Ricmer, and Rignomer or Ragnoare, were brothers of Ragnachar, and likewise killed by Clovis without known heirs.)

Death: 509, following an apparent war with Clovis, who had converted to Catholicism (creating a 13-year division among the Franks over religion) in 496.

Burial: Unknown

Occupation: King of the Salian Franks at Cambrai.

From the Foundation for Medieval Genealogy page on Merovingians:


Three brothers, relatives of King Clovis although the exact relationship is not known:


  • Gregory of Tours records "a king called Ragnachar…sunk in debauchery" living at Cambrai whom King Clovis defeated in battle and murdered[33].
  • The relationship between the two monarchs is indicated by the Liber Historiæ Francorum which records that "Clodovechus" defeated "Ragnachario parente suo"[34].


  • Gregory of Tours names Ricchar as brother of Ragnachar, recording that he was murdered with his brother by King Clovis[35].

3. RIGNOMER (-killed Le Mans ----).

  • Gregory of Tours names Rignomer as brother of Ragnachar and Ricchar, recording that he was put to death at Le Mans after his brothers were killed[36].


  • [33] Gregory of Tours II.42, pp. 156-7.
  • [34] Liber Historiæ Francorum 9, MGH SS rer Merov II, p. 251.
  • [35] Gregory of Tours II.42, p. 157.
  • [36] Gregory of Tours II.42, p. 157.

From the English Wikipedia page on Rignomer:


Ragnachar or Ragnarius (died 509) was a Frankish petty king (regulus) who ruled from Cambrai. According to Gregory of Tours, Ragnachar "was so unrestrained in his wantonness that he scarcely had mercy for his own near relatives", an attribute he shared with his contemporary, fellow king and relative, Clovis.[1]

In 486, Ragnachar allied with Clovis, who was king of the Salian Franks, in order to attack Syagrius, the Roman ruler of Soissons.[2] After Clovis was baptised a Christian in 496, about half of the 6,000 or so Frankish warriors who formed the armies of the various reguli refused to join him and cleaved to Ragnachar, still a traditional pagan.[3] Hincmar of Reims, in his life of Saint Remigius, who baptised Clovis, writes: "Finally, many of the army of the Franks, not yet converted to the faith, followed the king's relative Ragnachar across the Somme for some distance."[4]

Ragnachar was reputed to divide all the gifts or food he received between himself and his favourite, a counsellor named Farro, and have a saying, "Enough for me and my Farro". This practice Gregory says enraged the other Franks, and when Ragnachar's spies came back from observing the movements of Clovis's army, they are reported to have said it was of "sufficient strength for you and your Farro".[1] Before he defeated him in 509, Clovis took advantage of their disaffection and bribed Ragnachar's military followers, his leudes, with "armlets and belts [that were] made to resemble gold [but were only] bronze gilded so as to deceive", and thus deprived him of his support.[5] Clovis then went to war against him.

The leudes captured Ragnachar and his brother Ricchar (Riccar), while they were fleeing after their defeat in battle.[6] They brought them, hands tied behind their backs, to Clovis. Gregory reports that Clovis asked Ragnachar: "Why have you humiliated our family in permitting yourself to be bound? It would have been better for you to die."[1] He then killed him with an axe and told Ricchar, "If you had aided your brother, he would not have been bound", before killing him in the same way.[1]

Ragnachar's other brother, Rignomer, was later killed on Clovis's orders at Le Mans. At their death all of their family's riches and Ragnachar's kingdom passed to Clovis.[1] Hincmar's account of Ragnachar continues with his subsequent defeat, noting that the leudes followed him "until, the grace of Christ cooperating, the glorious victory obtained, that same Ragnachar, submitting to the shame of baseness, was bound by his own Franks to be handed over; King Clovis killed him and all the people of the Franks by the Blessed Remigius were converted to the faith and received baptism".[4]


  • 1.^ Gregory, II, 42.
  • 2.^ Bachrach (1972), 4.
  • 3.^ Bachrach (1972), 9. Gregory, II, 31, wrote that, "More than three thousand were baptised from out of [Clovis's] army" (De exercito vero eius baptizati sunt amplius tria milia).
  • 4.^ Bachrach (1972), 9; Hincmar, 15: Multi denique de Francorum exercitu, necdum ad fidem conversi, sum regis parente Ragnario ultra Sumnam fluvium aliquandiu deguerunt, donec, Christi gratia cooperante, gloriosis potitus victoriis, eundem Ragnarium, flagitiis turpitudinum inservientem, vinctum a Francis sibi traditum, rex Hludowicus occidit et omnem Francorum populum per beatum Remigium ad fidem converti et baptizari obtinuit..
  • 5.^ Bachrach (1972), 31; Gregory, II, 42.
  • 6.^ Bachrach (1972), 13.


Bachrach, Bernard. Merovingian Military Organization, 481–751. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1972.

Bachrach, Bernard. "Procopius and the Chronology of Clovis's Reign," Viator, 1 (1970), 21–31.

Dill, Samuel. Roman Society in Gaul in the Merovingian Age. London: Macmillan, 1926.

Gregory of Tours. History of the Franks, trans. E. Brehaut, Records of Civilization 2. New York: Columbia University Press, 1916.

Hincmar of Reims. "Vita Remigii episcopi Remensis", trans. B. Krusch, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, SS r. Merov. 3. Hanover, 1896.

Kurth, Godefroi. Clovis, I. Paris, 1896.

Wallace-Hadrill, J. M. The Long-Haired Kings and Other Studies in Frankish History. London: Butler & Tanner, 1962.

He was King of the Franks at Cambrai. Gregory of Tours mentioned Ragnachar, King of Cambrai, and his brothers Ricchar and Ragnomer. Ragnomer was made ruler of Le Mans by King Chlodoweg in 490. [2:42.]

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Ragnachar, King of the Salian Franks at Cambrai's Timeline

Cambrai, Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Age 40
Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Cambrai, France
Age 44
Probably Camaraco or Cambrai, Frankish Kingdom
Age 44