Upon the death of Chilperic I in 584, Chlothar II (584–628) became king of Neustria and, later, of all Francia. As an infant he was under the regency of his mother Fredegund, taking power upon her death in 597. In 599 Clothar declared war on his Burgundian nephews, but was defeated by them at the battle of Dormelles and subsequently at Étampes in 604. But at the River Aisne in 613 Chlothar won a battle against the combined Austrasian and Burgundian armies which enabled him at last to reunite the kingdom. Then, like his father, he set about gaining territories more peacefully, by seizing lands from his relatives upon their deaths. From 613 until Chlothar’s death in 628, all the Frankish lands were once again united into a single kingdom. However, because of the Merovingians’ continual internecine feuding, the royal grip on power had become steadily weakened, to the advantage of the regional nobility and of the church. In the 614 Edict of Paris he was obliged to concede to his being ‘the Mayor of the Palace’, a step on road to the possibility of a non-royal head of government, which was later to be exploited by Pepin the Short. In 623 Chlothar was also forced to cede rule of Austrasia to his son Dagobert. Charibert II, the son of Chlothar II and his junior wife Sichilde (Chlothar’s marriage was bigamous), was briefly king of Aquitaine from 620 to his death in 632.
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