#24 Clovis and Sigibert – Two Frankish Kings in the Empire of the Franks

#24 Clovis and Sigibert – Two Frankish Kings in the Empire of the Franks The History of Cologne

After the collapse of the (Western) Roman Empire, the whole of Europe is in upheaval. Peoples once disparagingly called barbarians by the Romans are founding their empires on the former territory of the Imperium Romanum. On the Rhine and in northeastern Gaul, it is the Franks who once, as neighbors of the Romans on the right bank of the Rhine, only made the step across the Rhine and thus extended their dominion. Unlike other peoples of the so-called migration of peoples, they did not have to move far to find a new homeland like, for example, the Ostrogoths and Visigoths. But even if a map at that time suggests this. The rule of the Franks in the region is not completely uniform. Countless small princes rule their small area of influence as quasi warlords. In Cologne, a Frankish petty king named Sigibert resides in the Praetorium, Cologne's former governor's palace. He is worried about his small kingdom. For south of Cologne down the Rhine, the Alemanni have also extended their dominion and are expanding northward. To prevent Cologne from falling into the hands of the Alemanni, he asks his friend Clovis, who rules in northeastern Gaul, for help. Clovis agrees. What Sigibert does not know. Clovis himself not only wants to be ruler of his Frankish sub-kingdom. Clovis wants to be king of all Franks. And Sigibert stands in the way. The decision as to whether the Franks will live in a united empire in the future is made in Cologne around the year 500. Where else 😉 For SEO: Battle of Zülpich, Battle of Tolbiacum, St. Gereon, Köln, Germany

Map of Chlovis’ and Sigibert’s influence of power before ca. 510 AD

The location of the Franks before Chlovis’ conquests . “Les Francs rhénans” is the French term for “Ripuarian Franks”. These Franks are in charge of Cologne as well at the end of the 5th century. To the west are the Salian Franks who will be the predominant Frankish kingdom soon to be. South of Cologne, further down the Rhine, the Alemanni also extended their power to former Roman territories, mainly the former Roman province of “Upper Germania.”
By Odejea – Own workD’après :Michel Rouche, Clovis, Éditions Fayard, 1996, isbn2-213-59632-8, page 188.Hermann Kinder et Werner Hilgemann, Atlas Historique, (Traduction de Pierre Mougenot), 1964, réimpression 1983, Éditions Stock, page 112.les frontières indiquées sur cette carte, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8444101

Frankish territories at the time of Clovis’s death in 511

Everything in color was conquered and ruled by Clovis up until his death in 511. Then the empire was divided between his four sons. Cologne is in the east as titled here in the “Royaume de Theoderic I” Kingdom of Theoderic I

King Sigibert of Cologne

By © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9485857

Statue of Sigibert the Lame on the tower of the city town hall of Cologne

The battle at Zülpich (lat.: Tolbiacum)

The painting was painted by Ary Scheffer for the Versailles History Museum in 1834, acquired by the French State in 1836, and is housed in the Musée National du Château et des Trianon in Versailles, France. Both later countries, Germany and France, have their roots up until Clovis. Germans and the French share more in common that they know of, especially in late 19th and early 20th century.

An event that changed the history of the western world: The baptism of Clovis

Painted by “Master of Saint Giles” around the year 1500
The baptism of Clovis painted by an unknown person in the 15th century, so a thousand years after this event happened.
The Baptism of Clovis, miniature from the Vie de saint Denis c. 1250

Tomb of Clovis in the church of St Denis in Saint Denis.

Lex Salica

Link to original Latin version: here

Today’s Chlodwigplatz (Clovis Square)

Today’s Chlodwigplatz with the medieval southern gate from the 12th century. Why was the place so empty while I was describing it as a bustling and busy place in the episode? Well, thanks to Covid and lockdown during that time.
Even the traffic was calm.
Once past the gate you are walking on the “Bonner Straße” in the Severinsviertel (Severin’s quarter). You can see the church tower in the background of the church of St. Severin. Here you can still imagine how small space was in medieval Cologne.

Some time right before Christmas long before the world was struck by a pandemic

And don’t forget all the great bars around the Chlodwigplatz 😉

St. Gereon, residence of the Frankish kings

Right in front of here, the church of St. Gereon, Clovis proclaimed himself “King of all the Franks.” The French also the Germans see in Clovis their first king of their later two nations. And where did Clovis become king of all the Franks? Exactly, right here in Cologne. 🙂

2 thoughts on “#24 Clovis and Sigibert – Two Frankish Kings in the Empire of the Franks

  1. Thank you always, for the companion posts. Looking forward to listening to the podcast later this week, and still catching up on the German versions.

    Liked by 1 person

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