Saturday, October 19, 2013

Brunehaut vs Fredegonde

Two fierce Merovingian queens. From MyLadyWeb:
Brunehaut, or Brunehild, was the daughter of Athanagilde, king of the Visigoths of Spain. In A. D. 565, she wed Sigebert, king of the Franks of Austrasia. Contrary to the custom of the times, Sigebert had resolved to have but one wife, and to choose her from a royal family; his choice fell on Brunehaut--beautiful, of regal bearing, modest, dignified, agreeably conversant and wise. Sigebert quickly became very much attached to his new bride and eventually loved her so much that he was willing to go to war against his own brother to please her.

Why to war? Now that is a soap-opera of historic proportions!

Fredegonde was the daughter of poor peasants in the neighborhood of Montdidier in Picardy, and at an early age joined the train of Queen Audovere, the first wife of King Chilperic. She was beautiful, dexterous, ambitious, and bold; and she attracted the attention, and before long awakened the passion of the king. She pursued with ardor and without scruple her unexpected good fortune. Queen Audovere was her first obstacle and her first victim.  On the pretext of a spiritual relationship which rendered her marriage with Chilperic illegal, Queen Audovere was repudiated and banished to a convent. But Fredegonde's hour had not yet come; for Chilperic married instead Galsuinthe, daughter of the Visigothic king, Athanagild, whose youngest daughter, Brunehaut, had just married Chilperic's brother, Sigebert, king of Austrasia. Chilperic, king of Neustria, brother of Sigebert, had married Galsuinda, daughter of Athanagilde, sister of Brunehaut; but before long Galsuinthe was found strangled in her bed, and that Chilperic wed Fredegonde making her his queen. An undying hatred arose between Fredegonde and Brunehaut, who, to avenge her sister's death, persuaded Sigebert to make war upon his brother. (Read more.)

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