Chilpéric I

Chilpéric I, born between 525 and 534, murdered between 20 and 28 September 584 in Chelles, is a Frankish sovereign of the Merovingian dynasty. Grandson of Clovis and son of Clotaire I, he was king of Soissons from 561 to 584.

On the death of Clotaire I, the kingdom of the Franks, reunified in 558, was shared between his four sons: Sigebert, Gontran, Caribert and their half-brother Chilpéric, who received the kingdom of Soissons. He is one of the last Merovingian kings to reign as absolute monarch over his subjects before power crumbles, captured by an ambitious nobility. Much of his reign is occupied by conflicts with his brothers, but especially with Sigebert in the first half of the 570s.

Chilpéric is married three times. His second wife, the Visigoth princess Galswinthe, died assassinated in 568 and the king quickly remarried to Frédégonde. His conflict with Sigebert is thus coupled with the rivalry between Frédégonde and Brunehaut, wife of Sigebert and sister of Galswinthe. This period of internal strife, the “royal faide”, did not end until 613, with the victory of Clotaire II, the only surviving son of Chilpéric and Frédégonde, over Brunehaut and his descendants.

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