Ancient history


Mérovée, Merowech or Merowig (eminent warrior) (born c. 411 - died in 457), considered the second king of the Salian Franks, is a king whose existence is shrouded in so much obscurity that many historians do not did not hesitate to question it and make it a legendary king. He would have reigned from 448 to 457.

This king, however, gave his name to the first dynasty that reigned over France, the so-called Merovingian dynasty. The Merovingian kings never disputed his existence and gloried in belonging to his lineage.

The name is of Latin origin:Meroveus or Merovius; German:Merowich; Italian:Meroveo, other languages ​​Merovech, Merovich, Merwich).


There is no contemporary document. Only a few information concerning him are reported by Grégoire de Tours, who makes him the possible son of Clodion the Hairy and the supposed leader of the Franks at the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields in 451. He is the third king of the Merovingian dynasty. Other more recent research has made him the son-in-law of Clodion, having married his daughter Clodoswinthe of Francia (418-449) and reuniting the Guilhemide dynasty again. His birth is a mystery:son of Clodion or simple member of the family. A prince of this name would have reigned over the Franks, around this time, and would have had a son of Clodion as a rival to the throne.

Founding legend

According to a legend, related to a probably much later period - Fredegar (III, 9) speaks of it in the 7th century - his mother, the wife of King Clodion, already pregnant, was seduced by a "Beast of Neptune similar to the Quinotaur" as she bathed in the ocean. Pregnant a second time, the two bloods mixed to give birth to a new dynasty whose members were invested with great powers and an aura of magic and the supernatural, characteristic of the Merovingians.


Merovée would have been adopted by Aétius, who according to the testimony of Priscus, would have undoubtedly granted him a territory in Gaul, where his elder brother had already made an establishment. He would have settled in Belgian Gaul, in the region of Brabant and would have established his residence in Tournai.

Most historians agree that Merovée would have commanded the Franks, allied with the Gallo-Romans and other Germans, at the bloody battle that General Aetius won over Attila in 451, at the Champs Catalauniques, a plain near Châlons- in Champagne and Troyes. Thanks to this warlike union between invaded and former invaders, the "great king" of the Hunnic Empire was defeated and withdrew definitively towards the east of Europe:the terrible "scourge" was defeated.

This victory definitively seals the establishment of these Frankish Germans, now firmly established in northern Gaul that the Roman Empire in full decline abandons them. (There then remains only an isolated Gallo-Roman domain). The kings of the first Frankish dynasty are called Merovingians, in honor of this king, who gives territory to his people and brings them through the great gate into the Roman Empire.

Mérovée dies after ten years of reign. His son Childeric I succeeds him

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