Theodoric, King of the Franks

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Theodoric, King of the Franks

Also Known As: "Teodorico", "Théodoric", "Theuderic"
Death: May 534 (38-46)
Metz, Lorraine, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Clovis I the Great, King of the Franks
Husband of NN 1st wife / concubine of Theodoric and Suavegotha of the Burgundians
Father of Theudebert I, king of the Franks at Reims and Theodechildis
Half brother of Ingomer; Chlodomir I, King the Franks at Orléans; Childébert "the Catholic", I, King of the Franks; Chlothar I "the Old" King of the Franks and Clotilde, Queen consort of the Visigoths

Occupation: Merovingian King of Austrasie (511-534), Roi d'Auvergne et de Thuringe, King of the Franks
Managed by: Geir Thorsen
Last Updated:

About Theodoric, King of the Franks

He was King of Austrasia (511). At his father's death in 511, he inherited the newly created kingdom of Austrasia with its capital at Metz. Austrasia was the eastern part of the Merovingian kingdom of the Franks in 6th, 7th and 8th centuries, comprising, in general, parts of eastern France, western Germany, and the Netherlands.

THEODERICH ([485]-end 533, bur Metz). Gregory of Tours names Theoderich as son of King Clovis by one of his mistresses, born before his marriage to Clotilde[55]. "Theodorico, Chlomiro, Hildeberto, Hlodario" are named (in order) as sons of "Chlodoveus" in the Regum Merowingorum Genealogia[56]. In 508, he led his father's campaign against the Visigoths, allied with the Burgundians[57], and temporarily occupied Aquitaine. He succeeded his father in 511 as THEODERICH I King of the Franks, based at Reims, his territory covering the right bank of the Rhine, the Moselle valley and Champagne, the lands which were later to become the kingdom of Austrasia. He helped Hermanfrid King of the Thuringians defeat the latter's brother Baderic, after being promised half his kingdom, a promise which was not kept[58]. Gregory of Tours records that King Theoderich and his half-brother King Clotaire invaded Thuringia in 531, deposed King Hermanfred (who was later killed) and annexed the kingdom[59]. The Liber Historiæ Francorum records that "Theudericus et Theudobertus filius eius et Chlotharius rex" invaded Thuringia and attacked "Ermenfredum regem Toringorum", a marginal addition recording that "Teodericus filius Clodovei ex concubina" threw "Ermenfridum regem" from a wall and killed his two sons[60]. Adam of Bremen names "Hadugato" as the duke of the Saxons to whom "Theodericus rex Francorum" sent legates[61], undated but recorded immediately after the Thuringian invasion of 531. Gregory of Tours records the death of Theoderich in the twenty third year of his reign[62]. m firstly ---. The assumed birth date range of King Theoderich's son, Theodebert, indicates that the king's known wife, the daughter of the Burgundian king, could not have been Theodebert’s mother, considering her estimated birth date. The king must therefore have been married earlier, or at least have had an earlier concubine, although no information has been found about this first partner in any of the primary sources consulted. Europäische Stammtafeln states that the king’s first wife was named "Suavegotta (died by 566)"[63]. Presumably this is based on Flodoard’s history of Reims, quoted below under the king’s second wife. If this is correct, the king must have repudiated his first wife before marrying the Burgundian king’s daughter. However, no indication has been found in any source about such a repudiation. It is more natural to assume that, if Suavegotha was indeed the name of one of Theoderich’s wives (which in itself cannot be proved conclusively as discussed further below), she was his second wife. m secondly ([507/16]) SUAVEGOTHA? of Burgundy, daughter of SIGISMOND King of Burgundy & his first wife Ostrogotha of the Ostrogoths (495 or later-[after 549]). Gregory of Tours records that Theoderich King of the Franks married the daughter of Sigismond but does not name her[64]. Gregory does not name the mother of King Theoderich’s wife, but chronologically it is more probable that she was born from King Sigismond's first marriage, which is also suggested by the root "-gotha" in her first name. Her name is suggested by Flodoard’s history of the church of Reims, dated to the mid-10th century. This source records that "Suavegotta regina" bequeathed one third of "ville Virisiaci" by testament to the church of Reims during the bishopric of Bishop Mapinius, subject to the life interest of "Teudichildi prefate regine filie", adding that the latter later confirmed the donation during the bishopric of Bishop Egidius[65]. The identification of "Suavegotha regina" as King Theoderich’s wife depends on the identification of "Teudchildi" as their daughter which, as explained in more detail below, is uncertain. The link cannot therefore definitively be made between "Suavegotha" and the daughter of Sigismond King of Burgundy. Nevertheless, the chronology for such a link is favourable, as the editor of the Monumenta Germaniæ Scriptores edition of Flodoard dates Mapinius’s bishopric to "ca 549-573" and Egidius’s to "ca 573-590"[66]. MEDLANDS

King Theoderich & his first [wife/concubine] had one child:

a) THEODEBERT ([499/504]-end 547). Gregory of Tours names Theodebert as son of Theoderich, specifying that he was born before the death of his paternal grandfather[67]. His birth date range is narrowed more precisely to [499/504] on the assumption that he was a young adolescent when he led the Frankish campaign against the Danes, dated to 515: Gregory of Tours records that his father sent him "with a powerful army" to repel the Danish invasion led by Chlochilaich[68]. The Liber Historiæ Francorum records that "Theudericus et Theudobertus filius eius et Chlotharius rex" invaded Thuringia and attacked "Ermenfredum regem Toringorum"[69]. He succeeded his father in 533 as THEODEBERT I King of the Franks at Reims, Gregory of Tours recording that his childless uncle Childebert then adopted him as his heir[70]. Gregory records King Theodebert's campaign in northern Italy, which he appears to date to before the death of Queen Wisigardis which is recorded in the following section[71]. Theodebert subjugated Pannonia and threatened to attack Byzantium across the Danube. He was killed while hunting[72]. Gregory of Tours records that he died in the fourteenth year of his reign, and 37 years after the death of his paternal grandfather[73]. The Marii Episcopi Aventicensis Chronica records the death in 548 of "Theudebertus rex magnus Francorum"[74]. m firstly ([end 533/early 534]) as her second husband, DEOTERIA, widow of -, daughter of -. Gregory of Tours records that Theodebert seduced Deoteria, wife of an inhabitant of Cabrières near Béziers, after his betrothal to Wisigardis, and in a later passage that he married her after the death of his father[75]. According to Gregory of Tours, Theodebert deserted her after being pressured to marry his previous betrothed, but refused to take her back after his second wife died[76]. m secondly (betrothed before 533, 540) WISIGARDIS, daughter of WACHO King of the Lombards & his second wife Ostrogotha of the Gepides (-[541/42]). Paulus Diaconus names "Wisigarda…[et] secunda Walderada" as the two daughters of King Wacho & his second wife, specifying that Wisigarda married "Theodeperto regi Francorum[77]. Gregory of Tours records that Theoderich betrothed his son Theodebert to "Wisigard, a king's daughter" and in a later passage that Theodebert married her "seven years [after he] had become engaged to [her]" after being pressured to desert Deoteria but that Wisigardis "soon died"[78]. m thirdly ([542/47]) -. Gregory of Tours records that Theodebert "married another woman" after his second wife died but gives no details[79]. MEDLANDS King Theodebert & his first wife had two children:

i) daughter([532/33] or before-drowned Verdun -).

ii) THEODEBALD ([534]-555). Gregory of Tours names Theodebald as the son of Theodebert and his wife Deoteria, implying that he was born after his parents' marriage[82].

King Theodebert & his [first/second/third] wife had one child:

iii) BERTHOARA (-after 566).

King Theoderich & his second wife had one child:

b) THEODECHILDIS [Techilde]? ([516/20]-[570/595]). Procopius records that "Varnis…Hermegisclus” married "Theodeberti Francorum regis sororem" after the death of his first wife, that she gave birth to "Radiger", for whom his father requested marriage with "puellæ…natione Brittiæ, cuius frater tunc temporis Rex Anglorum erat", and that Radiger later married his own stepmother after his father died[93]. It is possible that the name of this daughter was Theodechildis but, as will be explained, the link is tentative. Three different primary sources name a Queen Theodechildis. Fortunatus, dated to the late 6th century, wrote an epitaph to “Theodechildis Reginæ”, commenting that "frater, genitor, conjux, avus, atque priores" of his eponymous subject were "regius ordo"[94]. Gregory of Tours, in one of his lesser-known works, records the return of "Nunninus…tribunus" from Auvergne and his entry in Auxerre "tempore…Theudechildæ reginæ" after giving tribute which he had collected "de Francia" to the same queen[95]. Flodoard, in his mid-9th century history of the church of Reims, names "Teudechildi, prefatæ reginæ [=Suavegotta regina] filiæ" when recording that her mother allowed her daughter the usufruct of property which she donated to the church of Reims, and later that Theodechildis made her own testamentary donation of the same property to Reims[96]. It is probable that these three sources all refer to the same person: the only reference to another person named "Theodechildis" in the mid- to late-6th century relates to the concubine of King Charibert, who was a shepherd’s daughter (see below). However, none of the sources specifies that Queen Theodechildis was the daughter of King Theoderich. In addition, there is no source which confirms that "Suavegotha" was the name of Theoderich’s wife, as discussed more fully above. There are three indications that Queen Theodechildis may have been King Theoderich’s daughter, and if so that she may also have been the same daughter who married the two kings of the Warnes. Firstly, Fortunatus and Gregory accord the title "regina" to her, which provides the possible link to the Procopius text concerning the king’s daughter. This is particularly relevant as so few individuals were described in contemporary sources as "queen" and therefore the number of alternative possible co-identities is restricted. Secondly, the common use of the root "Theode-" in the first part of the two names suggests a close relationship. Thirdly, the chronology is favourable. Little help is provided by the history written by Gregory of Tours, the most thorough contemporary source for early Merovingian history, which does not refer to any daughter of King Theoderich I. The reference to Auxerre in Gregory’s other work suggests a connection with Burgundy, which was ruled by King Gontran at the time (see below). Assuming that the co-identity between Theodechildis and the daughter of King Theoderich is correct, it is possible that she retired to Burgundy after being repudiated by her second husband. One remaining possible thread to trace further is indicated by Settipani, who states that her nephew King Theodebald succeeded as king in 547 "sous la régence de sa tante Theodechildis"[97]. However, the author does not provide the source reference on which he bases this statement. There is no way therefore at present to verify whether the primary source in question includes the crucial link between the phrase "sa tante" and the name "Theodechildis". [A charter dated 2 Oct [499], classified as spurious in the collection, of "Clodoveus rex Francorum" purports to be written when "filia mea…Theodechildis" was becoming a nun[98]. The editor of the Monumenta Germaniæ Scriptores series assumes that this charter refers to the daughter of King Theoderich[99], but if this is correct the document must be misdated. Another charter, also classified as spurious, in the name of "Theodechildis filia Chlodoveo" purports to record a donation to the monastery of St Peter at Sens dated Sep 569[100].] m firstly ([540]) as his [second] wife, HERMENGISEL King of the Warnes, son of --- (-before 547). m secondly (before 547, repudiated [547/50]) her stepson, RADEGIS of the Warnes, son of HERMENGISEL King of the Warnes & his [first] wife -. . MEDLANDS;p=thierry;n=rey+de+reims

(Thierry d'Austrasie (Mérovingien)) Titres: Roi de Reims (511), Roi de Thuringe (531), Roi d'Austrasie;pz=elisabeth+therese+marie+helene;nz=de+belgique;ocz=0;p=thierry;n=d+austrasie+merovingien

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Theodoric, King of the Franks's Timeline

Age 7
Metz, Austrasia
Age 24
May 534
Age 42
Metz, Lorraine, France