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Merovech, King of the Salian Franks

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Merovech. (Merovee)(Latinised as Meroveus or Merovius). [Merovingians Chart].
Born about 415AD; son of Chlodio, King of the Salian Franks].

Merovech is the founder of the Merovingian dynasty of the Salian Franks, which later became the dominant Frankish tribe. The first Frankish royal dynasty called themselves Merovingians ("descendants of Meroveus") after him. Eventually the Merovingians, and their Frankish legacy, would indeed continue the legal and cultural tradition of the Roman Empire throughout Central and Northern Europe (and thus the world) in direct and indirect ways. (S1).

There is little information about him in the later histories of the Franks. Gregory of Tours only names him once as the father of Childeric I while putting doubt on his descent from Chlodio. Many admit today that this formulation finds its explanation in a legend reported by Fredegar. The Chronicle of Fredegar interpolated by Gregory, added that Merovech was the son of the queen, Chlodio's wife; but his father was a sea-god, bistea Neptuni. Hughes (S2) states that Argotta, Chlodio's wife and daughter of Pharamond, brought into the marriage with Chlodio a son, Merovech, from a previous marriage to Quintus Tarus, Prefect of Provence. (S2). This then would explain the wording of Fredegar, that Merovech was the son of the queen, but not of Chlodio.

A contemporary Roman historian, Priscus writes of having witnessed in Rome a “lad without down on his cheeks as yet and with fair hair so long that it poured down his shoulders, Aetius had made him his adopted son”. Priscus writes that the excuse Attila used for waging war on the Franks was the death of their king and the disagreement of his children over the succession, the elder being allied with Attila and the younger with Aetius. As Chlodio died just before Attila’s invasion, this seems to suggest that Merovech was in fact Chlodio’s son. (S1).

He is said to be one of several barbarian warlords and kings that joined forces with the Roman general Aetius against the Huns under Attila at the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains in Gaul. (S1).

He, or at least his forces, probably took part in the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. The Battle of the Catalaunian Plains (or Fields), also called the Battle of Châlons or the Battle of Maurica, took place in 451AD between a coalition led by the Roman general Flavius Aëtius and the Visigothic king Theodoric I against the Huns and their allies commanded by their leader Attila. It was one of the last major military operations of the Western Roman Empire. The battle was a strategic victory for the Romans, stopping the Huns' attempt to conquer Roman Gaul. The Huns were later destroyed by a coalition of Germanic peoples at the Battle of Nedao in 454AD. The Salian Franks were part of the allied forces which fought on the Roman side.

He died (between about 453AD and 457AD)(IN 458AD-S1).

WIFE:
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CHILDREN of Merovech:
  1. CHILDERIC I, King of the Franks . [Merovingians Chart]. King of the Salian Franks from 457AD until his death in 481.


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