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Clovis The Riparian King Of Cologne

Clovis The Riparian King Of Cologne

Posted: 1179097539000
Classification: Query
I hope I am posting this in the right spot....I have come across Clovis the Riparian, King of Cologne. I have found that his parents are either Theodemir Magnus Frank Chief and Valentina Justina OR Pharamond King of Westphalia and Argotta Queen of Franks. His lived from either 398-448 OR 375-420.

I am wondering if anyone has come across him and discovered who his parents are or if these are two different people.

Any direction would be appreciated! Thank you!

Re: Clovis The Riparian King Of Cologne

Posted: 1186602084000
Classification: Query
You might want to check out this page:

Everywhere you look you will find variations, I do not think anyone has it perfect. Good luck, Jim.

Re: Clovis The Riparian King Of Cologne

Posted: 1186612599000
Classification: Query
Thank you for the link, Jim. It looks good! You are right, everyone will have something different, I just wondering if anyone had any strong opinions. Thanks for the reply!

Re: Clovis The Riparian King Of Cologne

Posted: 1297484417000
Classification: Query

Re: Clovis The Riparian King Of Cologne

Posted: 1298042589000
Classification: Query

When you look at the web page in the link, initially it looks pretty good. Unlike the majority of web pages this one has two quality source citations. But, it is important to check the sources which are cited to see if they actually say what they’re represented to say.

This is an English translation of Christian Settipani’s Addenda to Les Ancêtres de Charlemagne (1990):
Scroll to page 8 and read it to see what it actually says.

Then, Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks is also online:
Click on “Book II” and scroll down to Chapter 9. Read it for yourself.

Taking Christian Settipani’s paper, if you’ll notice on p. 8, referred to in the citation (Christian Settipani, AdC-Addendas, pg. 8) the subject under discussion is Clodio, as being potentially the son of Theodemer or as a son of Faramond. Read the footnotes also.
This Clodio is an earlier Frankish king, and was a king of the Salic Franks, not of the Riparian Franks. So, aside from a similarity of his name, this is not about Clovis ‘the Riparian’ King of Cologne.

Likewise, the other cited source, Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks, does not even mention Clovis ‘the Riparian,’ The first mentioned king of the Riparian Franks by Gregory is Sigibert ‘the Lame,’ who we know from other sources was a grandson of Clovis ‘the Riparian.’ The more famous Clovis I, King of the Franks, instigated Cloderic to kill his father, Sigibert, so as to inherit his kingdom of Cologne. Clovis then had Cloderic killed and became king of the combined Franks, Salic and Riparian (see Book II, Chapter 40 in the link to Gregory below).

The bottom line is that neither of these sources say what they are alleged to say here. Neither one is about Clovis ‘the Riparian’ and neither supports this genealogy shown here. So, unfortunately this site helps no one.


Re: Clovis The Riparian King Of Cologne

Posted: 1298130419000
Classification: Query
To begin with, everything you have pointed out is spot on and I see no way to improve on it.

As to Clovis the Riparian, the earliest place I ever saw him was in Ancestral Roots who cited an article in NEGHR which in turn cited J. Depoin: "Grandes Figures Monocales au Temps Merovingiens"in Revvue Mabillon, XI (1921). The line was then worked over a little by David Kelley (who did not look at the first two generations but was concerned with the generations between Munderic and Arnulf) and later the same area was further adjusted by Settipani in L'apport de l'onomastique dans l'etude des genealogies carolingiennes in Onomastique et Parente Dans L'Occident Medieval (Kelley agreed to some of his adjustments and kept an open mind about others I think). Acknowledging that the line was first laid out by Depoin, Settipani then went back and reconstructed it but notably the line started in his article with Sigibert the Lame andd he refers to no ancestor earlier than that (as I think he would have done had he known the name of one or even the probable name of one). There is a strong sense that Clovis first wife (Theoderic was not Chlotilde'S son) was probably a daughter of the leader of the Ripuarians and Sigibert's sister. Hence Clovis and Sigibert are referred to as kinsmen by Gregory, purportedly quoting Clovis himself.
"'Audite, quid contingerit. Dum ego', inquid, 'per Scaldem fluvium navigarem', Chlodericus, filius parentis mei, patrem suum insequebatur, verbo ferens, quod ego eum interficere vellim." Reader's of the Penguin Gregory see the word brother and may interpret it as "brother king" meaning no more than fellow but as Gregory has Clovis say the words "parentis mei" and since it is unlikely in this instance he had the text of Clovis utterance verbatim (he will have heard it from a retainer or lady in waiting of Queen Clothilde who spent her last years at Tours before Gregory became Bishop) it means that in fact Gregory regarded them as relatives. I think here however, "parentis" includes in-laws and is similar to our "kin". However, in classical latin it does suggest a blood relationship and that is what Depoin decided it was (If Depoin is right it seems more likely to me that Basina of Thuringia might have been the aunt of Sigebert but again there is no way to know that and in the best latin sense parentis should suggest that Sigibert was Childerich's brother which - since there were two independent kingdoms - Salic and Ripuarian - whose particularity was so intense that the Merovingians had to place a separate king on the Austrasian throne and that king took names alliterative with the old Ripuarian line) On balance I think Clovis married into the Ripuarians. Indeed this may have been the initial source of his power. Note that the Salians were settled in the low country. Syagrius son of Aegidius, the former commander of Clovis father Childerich had ccontrol of the area after the empire collapsed. When Childerich died Clovis will have needed some backing to attack Syagrius and it most probably came from his in-laws the Ripuarians.

Thus when Clovis had Sigibert's son, Chloderic the Parricide killed, he gave the impression of someone avenging family honor and remembering an old debt and hospitailty. Were it not for Gregory spilling the beans that might well be how it would have seemed for ever after (and Gregory is telling the story near a century later).

As a subtext to this, it is not clear how Chlotilde (Gregory's likely source through her surviving retainers) for inside information on Clovis court regarded the affair. It appears that the Burgundian Royal House had close blood ties with the Ripuarian Franks (Aregund and Ingund were said to be daughters of a Chlodomir Frankish King of Works. Since they were born ca 510-520 this person would have been about Chloderic the Parricide's age.

One gets the sense from their names and the names of thier children that they had strong blood ties to the Burgundians and all the stories among the overentusiastic to the contrary notwithstanding, though this story is likely to have been late, it trumps the "They were daughters of Baderic King of the Thuringians" school of "thought" (If they were that closely related to Radegonde, Gregory would never have let us hear the end of it). ASsuming arguendo that they were Ripuarian Franks with (as only seems logical - since the Burgundian Kingdom had been founded at Worms) strong Burgundian ties - The Thuringians, Ripuarians, Salii and Burgundians were intermarried and all tied by marriage to the family of Theodoric the Ostrogoth in Italy, the story of the temptation, subversion and then murder of Chloderic by Clovis, true or not, may have been the fruit of another of Chlothilde's resentments (Her husband's family in addition to avenging her had the tendency to obliterate all those she might have cherished). Hence Gregory may have outed Clovis, a man he otherwise tried to paint as a "second Constantine".

Whoever the father of Sigibert was he was likely quite powerful (And may well have been a son of Theodemer - interesting how that "Gothic" name precedes the Ostrogoths into the area by almost a century - but it is authentic - Gregory cites it from a much older historian)

Depoin may have seen notices of "kings" with these names in ancient authors, saints lives and the like and strung them together assuming an hereditary succession - not that sound an assumption in the early 5th century but which of us are not driven to do this at times by the dearth of sound records (And Gregory, well informed as he was and living near the time probably had less access to good records than Depoin. Thank Heavens and Gutenburg. If I can ever get my hands on the Revue Mabillon article I will post any cites for these two mystery generations here. For the moment, I assume, as apparently Settipani does in Onomastique et Parente and Kelly would if asked I am sure that these first two generations are not reliable (I admit it did not cross my mind to ask him on those occasions when I might have).

One interesting thing that comes out of all of this is that at the time of the fall of Syagrius (who had inherited a sort of Frankish hegemony from his father Aegidus) you had three Frankish kings in Nuestria, Clovis, two Ripuarian kings (Sigibert or his father and Chlodomer I of Rhiems) and three Thuringian Kings (Not to mention 3 Burgundian Kings and enough Saxon and Frisian Kings on the continent and in Britain to fill an auditorium) Tremendously fragmented. Most of Clovis life was spent unifying the Franks in and out of the old Empire. Defeating the Goths and Alemanni were sort of a satisfying final act.

Anyway, in conclusion, I would not accord any significance to Clovis the Riparian or Childebert. Although I would not accuse Depoin of inventing them from whole cloth (many others have done such things but I think not him) but until we know where he found these names, nothing really can be assumed about them. What Settipani says is true (about "maybe" the Ripuarians and Salii sprang from Theodemer around 400 though there is no reason it "need" be so) but Settipani says (as you point out) nothing about Clovis and Childebert, Kelly says nothing about them and Gregory says nothing about them and that is pretty significant. I would, for the time being, start the line with Sigibert.

Re: Clovis The Riparian King Of Cologne

Posted: 1298131367000
Classification: Query
Another very quick note. In Thorpe's readable and I think generally very good translation of Gregory, he says that Clovis said "chloderic, the son of your king, my brother". The LAtin from "The Latin Library" goes "chlodericus, filius parentis mei" which literally means "Chloderic, son of my relative (kinsman)" The words "regis vestri" and "fratri (mei)" are absent. There are probably more than one manuscript in existence so it may be that Thorpe translated from a different manuscript but I tend to doubt it. I would have to see it certainly. He is calling Sigibert the lame his relative (though I would assert this includes kinship by marriage) not his "brother" (colleague) in kinship

Re: Clovis The Riparian King Of Cologne

Posted: 1298133444000
Classification: Query
Here was something by a fellow named Jared Olar that would appear to solve the mystery:

"If I recall correctly (hopefully somebody here will refresh my memory and offer correction as needed), Depoin was the one who misinterpreted the Life of St. Goar's references to Frankish kings Clovis and his son Childebert, thus inventing the non-existent Clovis the Ripuarian and his son Childebert. Gregory of Tours does tell the stories of Sigebert the Lame and his parricide son Cloderic (whom Gregory identifies as kinsmen of Clovis the Merovingian), and also tells of Munderic and his attempt to establish himself as a Frankish king -- but Gregory, contrary to Wagner's statement, does not identify Munderic as a Merovingian. Gregory doesn't say anything at all about Munderic's parentage or ancestry, but says only that he "pretended to be of royal blood" -- that doesn't necessarily mean that Munderic asserted a descent from Merovech, since the house of Merovech was not the only Frankish royal dynasty prior to Clovis' ridding himself of his rival kings. Presumably it is in one of the later saints' lives that identifies Munderic as son of Cloderic."

Re: Clovis The Riparian King Of Cologne

Posted: 1298140301000
Classification: Query
Thanks everyone for your input and thank you Grady for all of the reading! I'm going to go with he didn't exist until more evidence surfaces.

Re: Clovis The Riparian King Of Cologne

Posted: 1298169538000
Classification: Query
It is possible that we have the names somewhere of Sigibert's real father and grandfather scattered in the records of the fall of the empire. One has to be caeful with Gregory's time scheme (often he was not sure) but it appears that the story is probably set around 500 before Alaric fell (The Ripuari and Alemanii were two of the "peoples" that Clovis overcame to cause Alaric to want to make peace with him before the final battle. Sigibert will have been born ca 440 (a few years either way) as he was "old" when Chloderic killed him. Clholderic was probably in his thirties before he felt he had a sufficient following to try such a stunt and if his father were about thirty when he was born (statistical guess) then that would be a birth date of Sigibert around (or in the decade beffore) 440. That would suggest that Sigibert's father's floruit was about 450 (when the great barbarian coalition was assembled by the Romans to fight the Huns). His grandfather would have been about 420 (born 390 or so) and would have been involved in the matters surrounding the rise and fall of Constantine and Iovinus, the invasions of the Visigoths and the rise of Aetius. I admit it is not certain the names are recorded or that they were yet in any position of authority in Cologne. We know from Sidonius that at Augusta Trevorum (Trier), the family of Arbogastes the Frank (involved in the troubles of the late pagan usurper Eugenius) was installed as count (470's). That suggests at least three powerful Rhenish Frankish families in the late 400's - the "Ripuari", the "Arbogastes", and the "Chlodomeri". Anything further up the River belonged to the Alemanii or whomever Clovis placed over them. It is also probable that the Frisii remained independent down the River.

The Franks and other Germans -probably families of men who had been prominent in Roman service- began to organize into Roman style familia in the late 4th century. It was during this era that two great Gothic clans appear and additionally, the success, if temporary, of the Vandal Stilicho, the Franks Marcomir and Theodemir and the first Arbogast all encouraged this (and the Burgundians being progressive may have already been doing this as well). By the dawn of the fifth century, the families of these military leader clans among the Vandals and Burgundians (and probably the Rhenish Franks) had begun to intermarry extensively so that by the fall of the empire in the West there was a tightly bound barbarian network of kinship among German Generals and later kings. Theodoric the Ostrogoth used and even expanded on this. Cologne (Colonia CAludia Ara Agrippinensium) was not an unimportant town in elaher the Roman or German organizations. One day someone may unearth a tomb and an inscription may tell us more.

It is interesting that there was a habit among the Germans of this time that when a certain "Germanic" people beccame used to the rule of one of these families, usurpers and conquerors tried to identiify with it. There were several ways in which this was done (and it is well attested from the Merovingian era) but one of the more interesting effects that may be of use is the alliteration of names. Among the Saxons in Britain (who for most of the "pagan" period were vassals of either the Nuestrian or Austrasian Merovingian king) The earliest rulers in "Wessex" all began their name with the letter "C". The Nortumbrians for a time liked "O". The kings of Wessex, when they were not affecting the names of Merovingian nobility used "A" (Aethelbert, etc) and the Wessex clan (when it has been exiled to Kent and married into some Kentish royal blood) dropped the their old preference for "C" and adopted the "A" of the Kentish royal house.

The most interesting use is the letter "S" only ever used by the Royal house of Essex in Britain and only with the element "Sige" (Sigeric, Sigebert etc). This name had been adopted by Lothar for his son "Sigebert" who became ruler of Austrasia (which led to some speculation in the peanut gallery that Ingund, Sigebert's mother may have been neice of King Sigibert of Cologne- they were doubtless related but perhaps not in that way) The Royal clan of Essex in Britain first appears in the 570's. They were pagan and very unpleasant toward Christians in Britain so Pope Gregory sent St Augustine to covert them.

The Saxons who settled in Essex probably did not settle there before the 570's and were almost certainly part of the overflow of a band of Saxons who had gone into Italy (with Austrasian connivance) with Alboin king of the Lombards. When Alboin died and the Lombards experiencced setbacks they sent many of these warlike Saxons home. My guess is that Thudebert or Theudebald had put one of his relatives (Sige something - see the parallel example of Theuderic's cousin Sigivald who irritated the people of Clermont so mightily). When Theudebald died, the Saxons at first refused to pay homage to Lothar and there was a war. It may be that in typical Merovingian fashion Lothar gave Sigebert his name at this time and made him a "king" over Austrasia to placate the restive Ripuarians and Saxons.

Anyway, these Saxons returning after many years and finding nothing to do in Saxony (and not much inclined to farming) went to Britain where the only place Aetehlburt's father, Eormenric (Saxon version of Gothic heroic name Hermanneric) who was then King in Kent could send them was against the British in Verulamnium and possibly (still) in London. It is possible that the British polity (called by scholars now "Calchvynned" or chalk mountain though I prefer "Verulamium")was already to some extent partially "Saxonized" in culture if not in blood - they appear to have incorporated communities of Saxons to defend themselves - and was and had been for many years at peace with Kent. It is not clear why Eormenric would war with them except that this is the period when Kent became briefly the dominant kingdom in Britain, changes in the situation on the continent with Chilperic and his wife Fredegunda meddling with the Saxon/Breton colony at Bayeaux (it may be from this time and not 495 that the "Credicingas" invaded Hampshire. In my other post on this site I mention Wessex dating and recent work on that) and Eormenric may just have had a lot of warlike Saxons dumped on him that he had to find homes for. Or there could have been a crisis or breakdown in whatever passed for leadership at Verulmium (We are completely in the dark about all this though better off than a century ago).

Though there would be five or six generations unaccounted for, the kings and later "earls" of Essex (pre conquest) may have been descendants of the Kings of Cologne, just as the kings of Kent were [verifiably in this case] descendants of the Merovoingians (cf Gregory of Tours Book IV 26)Cologne. I emphasize that though I think the possible desccent of Essex is intriguing, there is no very solid basis now for saying that the Earls of Essex were descended from the Kings of Cologne - and one can and should I think be able to speculate all kinds of things as long as he makes it clear it is speculation and does not thereby trouble someone else unduly.

Anyway, what is the old saying "From they to whom much is given, much is expected" We have a lot of blank areas. We have been left a lot of information that, interpreted rightly may fill some of these blank areas. We have had good people going at it for a long time (plus a few wrong turns but it would scarcely be any fun otherwise). The sad thing here is that the main thing we probably remember poor Depoin for (and he gave much that was good) is an error he would probably now be the first to admit and correct. It is just one of those things.

Anyway, I will let it go with that. Sorry to run on so long again. I am glad people raise such interesting questions. I particularly profited from the opinion of the poster whose answer to you I first responded directly to and from the chance to read again Mr. Olar's post at the newsgroup.

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