Clotilda

Queen of the Franks

Clotilda
Detail of Clotilda from Clovis et Clotilde by Antoine-Jean Gros, 1811. Public Domain

This profile of Clotilda is part of
Who's Who in Medieval History

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 

Clotilda was also known as:

Clotilde, Chlothilde, Chlotilde, Chrodechilde, Chrodigild, and Chrotechildis

Clotilda was known for:

Convincing her husband, Clovis, to convert to Catholicism instead of Arianism, an act that would establish the Frankish kingdom as a Catholic nation and create a significant alliance with the papacy.

Clotilda is also known for her piety and charitable work, and, though never officially canonized by the Church, was locally regarded as a saint after her death.

Occupations:

Queen
Saint
Woman of Note

Places of Residence and Influence:

Europe
France

Important Dates:

Born: c. 474
Married Clovis and became queen: 493
Died: June 3, 545

About Clotilda:

Clotilda's father was Chilperic, and her grandfather was Gundioc, king of Burgundy, who divided his territory among his four sons when he died. Both of her parents were killed by Gundioc's son Gundobad, and Clotilda and her sister fled to Geneva and her uncle Godegesil's protection. In 493, having heard good reports of the princess, Clovis obtained Gundobad's permission to marry her, and Clotilda became Queen of the Franks.

According to the History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours, Clotilda tirelessly urged her husband to choose Catholicism over the Arian heresy that other Germanic peoples subscribed to.

Since the majority of the Franks were also Catholic, this proved a wise political choice as well.

Clotilda bore Clovis three sons that grew to adulthood: Chlodomer,  and . It has been suggested that the reason Clovis bequeathed his kingdom in four parts to these sons and his eldest by a pagan bride, Theuderic, is that Clotilda convinced him to do so in order that her sons might share in the inheritance.

However, the practice of gavelkind (dividing property equally among male heirs) was not new in Francia; her grandfather had engaged in it, after all. So this theory may not hold water.

After the death of Clovis, Clotilda retired to Tours, where according to Gregory she did many good works and became known as a devout Christian. This did not prevent her from encouraging her sons to seek vengeance on her uncle, Gundobad, by conquering Burgundy. 

More Clotilda Resources:

Clotilda on the Web

St. Clotilda
Concise biography by Godefroid Kurth at the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Early Europe
Women and Gender Issues
Hagiography



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