Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



The Frankish civil wars of AD 561-613 were a series of devastating encounters involving the four sons of Chlothar I and their descendants. While no party was guiltless during this period, modern scholars have tended to focus on two prominent Queens, Brunhild of Austrasia and Fredegund of Neustria, and the possibility of a blood-feud between their two families. King Sigibert of Austrasia married Brunhild because he believed she was worthy of a king, unlike many of the wives his brothers were taking. One of these women was Fredegund, who was married to King Chilperic of Neustria. Fredegund is often blamed for the assassination of Galswinth, Brunhild’s sister, even though Chilperic is the more likely culprit. This murder is what many modern scholars believe started a blood-feud between the two families, which both queens were integral in prosecuting. Even though Brunhild and Fredegund were integral figures throughout this series of bella civilia, it is apparent that the majority of the conflict which erupted during this period centered on the partition of Chlothar I’s kingdom in 561. Furthermore, the impact of the nobility, bishops, and even the armies of these kingdoms in promoting and prolonging civil war is largely ignored by modern scholars. This thesis will argue that the wars of this period cannot simply be reduced to the machinations of two queens or a blood-feud between the families. Instead, these wars were far more complex finding origins varying from scheming nobles to greed of the common soldier.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Dietz, Maribel



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