Theodechildis

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Theodechildis

Also Known As: "Téchildis", "Theudechild", "Theodechild"
Birthdate:
Death: between 570 and 595 (49-79)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Theodoric, King of the Franks and Suavegotha of the Burgundians
Wife of Hermengisel, King of the Warnes
Ex-wife of Radegis dos Warnes
Half sister of Theudebert I, king of the Franks at Reims

Managed by: Thomas Mathias Cullen, Jr.
Last Updated:

About Theodechildis

King Theoderich & his second wife had one child:

b) [Theodechildis 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 -. . ]

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