Childeric I (c. 440 – 481/82)
Son of the semi-legendary Merovech. Father of Clovis I
Childeric’s role as a barbarian ally of the Romans was important. He helped the Roman military commander Aegidius to repel the Visigoths near Orléans (463); at the request of Aegidius’ successor, Count Paulus, he attacked the Visigoths again in 469. Soon afterward he cleared Anglo-Saxon pirates from the district southwest of Orléans around Angers. Childeric’s tomb at Tournai was discovered in 1653.
The Salian Franks had – under the erms of a treaty with Rome – settled in Belgica Secunda, between the Meuse and Somme rivers, making their capital at Tournai.
Childeric’s role as a barbarian ally of the Romans was important. He helped the Roman military commander Aegidius to repel the Visigoths near Orléans in 463, and attacked the Visigoths again in 469.
Shortly after this he was instrumental in clearing cleared Anglo-Saxon pirates from the district southwest of Orléans around Angers.
Childeric’s tomb was discovered in Tournai in 1653.
The Location of Childeric’s Grave
Childeric’s tomb was discovered in 1653 (May 27) by a mason doing repairs in the church of Saint-Brice in Tournai, a city in modern Belgium.
Numerous precious objects were found, including a richly ornamented sword, a torse-like bracelet, jewels of gold and garnet cloisonné, gold coins, a gold bull’s head and a ring with the inscription CHILDERICI REGIS (“of Childeric the king”), which identified the tomb.
Some 300 golden bees were also found. Archduke Leopold William, governor of the Southern Netherlands (today’s Belgium), had the find published in Latin.
The treasure went first to the Habsburgs in Vienna, then as a gift to Louis XIV, who was not impressed with the treasure and stored it in the royal library, which became the Bibliothèque Nationale de France during the Revolution.
Next Page: The Grave Goods from Childeric’s Grave