Humanities › History & Culture Biography of Clovis, Founder of the Merovingian Dynasty Share Flipboard Email Print Public Domain History & Culture Medieval & Renaissance History People & Events Daily Life American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Melissa Snell History Expert B.A., History, University of Texas at Austin Melissa Snell is a historical researcher and writer specializing in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. She authored the forward for "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Crusades." our editorial process Melissa Snell Updated May 25, 2019 Frankish King Clovis (466-511) was the First Merovingian. Fast Facts: Clovis Known For: Uniting several Frankish factions and founding the Merovingian dynasty of kings. Clovis defeated the last Roman ruler in Gaul and conquered various Germanic peoples in what is today France. His conversion to Catholicism (instead of the Arian form of Christianity practiced by many Germanic peoples) would prove a landmark development for the Frankish nation.Also Known As: Chlodwig, ChlodowechBorn: c. 466Parents: Clovis was the son of the Frankish king Childeric and the Thuringian queen BasinaDied: Nov. 27, 511Spouse: Clotilda Occupations KingMilitary Leader Places of Residence and Influence EuropeFrance Important Dates Became the ruler of Salian Franks: 481Takes Belgica Secunda: 486Marries Clotilda: 493Incorporates territories of the Alemanni: 496Gains control of Burgundian lands: 500Acquires parts of Visigothic land: 507Baptized as a Catholic (traditional date): Dec. 25, 508 About Clovis Clovis succeeded his father as ruler of the Salian Franks in 481. At this time he also had control of other Frankish groups around present-day Belgium. By the time of his death, he had consolidated all the Franks under his rule. He took control of the Roman province of Belgica Secunda in 486, the territories of the Alemanni in 496, the lands of the Burgundians in 500, and portions of Visigothic territory in 507. Although his Catholic wife Clotilda ultimately convinced Clovis to convert to Catholicism, he was interested, for a time, in Arian Christianity and was sympathetic to it. His own conversion to Catholicism was personal and not a mass conversion of his peoples (many of whom were already Catholic), but the event had a profound influence on the nation and its relationship to the papacy. Clovis convoked a national Church council at Orléans, in which he participated significantly. The Law of the Salian Franks (Pactus Legis Salicae) was a written code that most likely originated during the reign of Clovis. It combined customary law, Roman law, and royal edicts, and it followed Christian ideals. Salic Law would influence French and European law for centuries. The life and reign of Clovis were chronicled by Bishop Gregory of Tours more than half a century after the death of the king. Recent scholarship has revealed some errors in Gregory's account, but it still stands as an important history and biography of the great Frankish leader. Clovis died in 511. His kingdom was divided among his four sons: Theuderic (born to a pagan wife before he wed Clotilda), and his three sons by Clotilda, Chlodomer, Childebert, and Chlotar. The name Clovis would later evolve into the name "Louis," the most popular name for French kings. Clovis Resources Clovis in Print Clovis, King of the Franks by John W. CurrierBiography from Ancient Civilizations by Earle Rice Jr. Clovis on the Web Clovis: Fairly extensive biography by Godefroid Kurth at the Catholic Encyclopedia.The History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours: Abridged translation by Earnest Brehaut in 1916, made available online at Paul Halsall's Medieval Sourcebook.The Conversion of Clovis: Two accounts of this significant event are offered at Paul Halsall's Medieval Sourcebook.