Francia at the death of Chlothar, 561

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Map Code: Ax02296

The Frankish Kingdom founded by Clovis I was divided at his death in c. 513 between his four surviving sons, a partition which inevitably generated rivalry and conflict, but also, sometimes, cooperation. Theuderic I (485–534) ruled from Rheims and Metz, coming into conflict with the Thuringians to the northwest, conquering them in 531 and annexing their lands around the River Rhine. Chlodomer (495–524) ruled from Orléans. In 523 he and his brothers attacked the Burgundians, capturing and killing their leader Sigismund and his sons, but in 524 at the Battle of Vézeronce, Chlodomer was killed. The Franks were defeated, but they regrouped and ten years later managed to annexe all of Burgundy. Childebert I (496–558) ruled from Paris (and later Orléans). In 531 he defeated the Visigothic King Amalaric, who retreated to Barcelona, where he was assassinated. In 532 he laid siege to Autun in Burgundy; in 535 he took Provence; in 542 he captured Pamplona; and with his brother Chlothar’s help, he also secured Arles and Marseilles on the Mediterranean coast. Chlothar I (497–561), ruling from Soissons over areas along the western coast, was in perpetual conflict with his brothers, but never at outright war. He also rejected Christian monogamy and took five wives. Chlothar managed briefly to reunite all Francia by surviving his brothers and seizing their territories when they died, but upon his own death in 561, the kingdom was once again divided, between his own four surviving sons Caribert, Gontran, Sigebert and Chilperic.

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