Online Encyclopedia

CLOTAIRE II

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 557 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CLOTAIRE II. (d. 629) was the son of Chilperic I. On the assassination of his father in 584 he was still in his cradle. He was, however, recognized as king, thanks to the devotion of his mother Fredegond and the protection of his uncle Gontran, king of Burgundy. It was not until after the death of his cousin Childebert II. in 595 that Clotaire took any active part in affairs. He then endeavoured to enlarge his estates at the expense of Childebert's sons, Theodebert, king of Austrasia, and Theuderich II., king of Burgundy; but after gaining a victory at Laffaux (597), he was defeated at Dormelles (600), and lost part of his kingdom. After the war between Theodebert and Theuderich and their subsequent death, the nobles of Austrasia and Burgundy appealed to Clotaire, who, after putting Brunhilda to death, became master of the whole of the Frankish kingdom (613). He was obliged, however, to make great con-cessions to the aristocracy, to whom he owed his victory. By the constitution of the 18th of October 614 he gave legal force to canons which had been voted some days previously by a council convened at Paris, but not without attempting to modify them by numerous restrictions. He extended the competence of the ecclesiastical tribunals, suppressed unjust taxes and undertook to select the counts from the districts they had to administer. In 623 he made his son Dagobert king of the Austrasians, and gradually subdued all the provinces that had formerly belonged to Childebert II. He also guaranteed a certain measure of independence to the nobles of Burgundy, giving them the option of having a special mayor of the palace, or of dispensing with that officer. These concessions procured him a reign of comparative tranquillity. He died on the 18th of October 629, and was buried at Paris in the church of St Vincent, afterwards known as St Germain des Pres.
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