Facts and Events
Chlothar II (or Chlotar, Clothar, Clotaire, Chlotochar, or Hlothar, giving rise to the name Lothair; 584–629), called the Great (le Grand) or the Young (le Jeune), King of Neustria, and, from 613 to 629, King of all the Franks, was not yet born when his father, King Chilperic I died in 584. His mother, Fredegund, was regent until her death in 597, at which time the thirteen-year-old Chlothar began to rule for himself. As king, he continued his mother's feud with Brunhilda, queen of Austrasia, with equal viciousness and bloodshed.
Clotaire II d. 629, Frankish king, son of Chilperic I and Fredegunde . He succeeded (584) his father as king of Neustria, but his mother ruled for him until her death (597). In 613, after the death of his cousin Theodoric II, king of Austrasia , he was called in by Austrasian nobles to assume rule. He thus became king of all the Franks. He put Brunhilda to death, restored peace with the help of the nobility, and was compelled to grant (614) a charter giving far-reaching privileges to nobles and clergy. He was also forced to agree that each of the component parts of the Frankish lands, Austrasia, Neustria, and Burgundy, was to have its own mayor of the palace; the mayors of the palace were the chief royal administrators. In 623 he sent his son Dagobert I to be king of Austrasia. Dagobert later succeeded to all the Frankish lands.
Clotaire II (584-629), called the Great (le Grand) or the Young (le Jeune), King of Neustria, and from 613-629 King of all the Franks, was not yet born when his father, King Chilperic I died in 584. His mother, Queen Fredegonde, was regent until her death in 597, at which time the thirteen year old Clotaire II began to rule for himself. As King, he continued his mother's feud with Queen Brunhilda of Austrasia with equal viciousness and bloodshed. A treaty of King Clotaire II and the Lombards. Enlarge A treaty of King Clotaire II and the Lombards.
In 599, he made war with his cousins, Theuderic II of Burgundy and Theudebert II of Austrasia, who defeated him at Dormelles (near Montereau). At this point, however, the two brothers took up arms against each other. In 605, he invaded Theuderic's kingdom, but did not subdue it. He remained often at war with Theuderic and the latter died in Metz in late 613 while preparing a campaign against him. At that time, Warnachar, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, and Rado, mayor of the palace of Burgundy, abandoned the cause of Brunhilda and her great-grandson, Sigebert II, and the entire realm was delivered into Clotaire's hands. Brunhilda and Sigebert met Clotaire's army on the Aisne, but the Patrician Aletheus, Duke Rocco, and Duke Sigvald deserted the host and the grand old woman and her king had to flee. As far as the Orbe they got, but Clotaire's minions caught up with them by the lake Neuchâtel. Both of them and Sigebert's younger brother Corbo were executed by Clotaire's orders.
In that year, Clotaire II became the first king of all the Franks since his grandfather Clotaire I died in 561 by ordering the murder of the infant Sigebert II (son of Theuderic), whom the aging Brunhilda had attempted to set on the thrones of Austrasia and Burgundy, causing a rebellion among the nobility. This led to the delivery of Brunhilda into Clotaire's hands, his thirst for vengeance leading to his formidable old aunt enduring the agony of the rack for three whole days, before suffering a horrific death, chained between four horses that were goaded in separate directions, eventually tearing her apart.
In 615, Clotaire II promulgated the Edict of Paris, a sort of Frankish Magna Carta that reserved many rights to the Frankish nobles while it excluded Jews from all civil employment for the Crown. The ban effectively placed all literacy in the Merovingian monarchy squarely under ecclesiastical control and also greatly pleased the nobles, from whose ranks the bishops were ordinarily exclusively drawn. Clotaire was induced by Warnachar and Rado to make the mayoralty of the palace a lifetime appointment at Bonneuil-sur-Marne, near Paris, in 617. By these actions, Clotaire lost his own legislative abilities and the great number of laws enacted in his reign are probably the result of the nobles' petitions, which the king had no authority not to heed.
In 623, he gave the kingdom of Austrasia to his young son Dagobert I. This was a political move as repayment for the support of Bishop Arnulf of Metz and Pepin I, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, the two leading Austrasian nobles, who were effectively granted semi-autonomy.
Clotaire II died in 629 after 45 years on the throne, longer than any other Merovingian dynast. He left the crown greatly reduced in power and prepared the way for the rise of the mayors and the rois fainéants.