2005 The Merovingians

Ordained by God

victory_of_king_merovech In the fourteenth century there was a belief that the “right to rule” had been ordained by God. This belief originated in the raising of Clovis of the Franks to the position of King. Onlookers at the time looked at the appointment with disbelief, surely there had to be some special reason for Clovis’ appointment?

In 486, Clovis, the teenage leader of a minor tribe, was given the approval of Felix, Bishop of Rome, to take control of the Western Roman Empire. It could not have been an easy decision to take.  Pope St Gelatius, one of the Popes involved in the early dealings with Clovis, gives us a glimpse of his dilemma in a letter he wrote to Anastasius, the Eastern Emperor of the time.

There are two powers, August Emperor, by which this world is chiefly ruled, namely, the sacred authority of the priests and the royal power. Of these that of the priests is the more weighty, since they have to render an account to God, in their own personal divine judgment, for even the kings of men,.”

The Franks


Clovis’ tribe, the Salian, (Saline, Salty) Franks, were, and had been for generations, a maritime nation. They were almost certainly Celtic, but were lumped together with their near neighbours, the Ripuarian ( River) Franks of Germanic origin, simply because of their geographical proximity.   For centuries they had been monopoly controllers of virtually all shipping between Gaul and Britain. It is probable that the final successful Roman invasion of Britain in 43, was carried out in Frankish ships. They had close relationships with the Celtic tribes in Briton and may have brokered a deal with the Triumvertes, which made the invasion possible.

Their continued dominance of cross-channel trade was achieved by providing an efficient service operating out of their home base in the Rhine Delta, roughly corresponding to the Netherlands of today. Their corresponding base in Britain was to the north of the Thames estuary, possibly on Mersea island, using the Colne and Blackwater rivers.

The Salian Franks reinforced their control of channel navigation by operating a system of protectionist piracy along the majority of the coasts of the channel. It was a model, which would be copied by all the inhabitants of the same geographical area, right through to the 1500’s.

Their home bases on both sides of the channel, surrounded as they were by lakes and swamps, esturinal mud and marsh were virtually unassailable from land. These lands were known in myth lrdend and in reality as the wastelands. Because of this insulation from outside events. The Franks were relatively undisturbed by the Romans and the subsequent waves of Germanic peoples who had journeyed west into the rest of Gaul causing varying degrees of disruption.

The Conquest of Gaul

Fig 01 Fig 01 Gaul at the time of Clovis. Shows the limited area under control of the Franks at the time Clovis received the Pope's accolade. In the years leading up to 486, in order to gain a bigger power base, gain ports to the west of the Frankish homeland and to further improve the defence of all his possessions, Clovis had successfully incorporated the surrounding tribes under his control, sweeping their leaders to one side. However, his was still a relatively minor kingdom compared with those carved out by the Germanic tribes of Goths, Burgundians , Sueves and Vandals.

Fig 03 Fig 03 Kingdom of Franks at death of Clovis Shows the way that in the tradition of the Franks, Clovis empire was sub divided amongst his children. Worse they then declared war on each other in an attempt to increase their share!

Despite these inauspicious beginnings, within ten years Clovis was in control of the majority of Gaul.His family were regarded as the rightful Kings of Gaul, to be renamed “Frankia” and eventually much of the Germanic lands. The dynasty he founded lasted for four hundred and fifty years. Much of his success was due to the extraordinary support he received from the Bishops of Rome.

An Intriguing Choice


The choice of Clovis as not only the successor of Rome but the champion of the Church of  Rome was an intriguing choice.

Admittedly Franks had served in the Roman army. At least two of their leaders, Arbogast and Bauto had reached the rank of Magister Militum in the western empire. These had not, however, been happy experiences for the Roman Empire. A Caesar had been murdered, and a revolt had made it necessary for a full scale invasion of the west from Constantinople.

One would have thought that as the Bishop of Rome, Miletus would have thrown his weight behind the Roman General, Syagrius, who still controlled most of what is now Northern France.  Syagrius was by reputation a wise and progressive ruler who had substantial support from the western provinces of Roman Britain. Syagrius had however clashed with the Franks in an attempt to break their monopoly of cross-channel trade.

Alternatively, there was Gundobad, the king of the Burgundians, who had also served successfully as a Roman General.

Finally if he had bided his time just a few years, there was the outstanding candidate. Theoderic, King of the Ostrogoths, Champion of Rome, Roman law and all things Roman. Educated in Constantinople, Theoderic was the king of Italy, recognised as Caesar of the West by the Byzantine, Eastern Empire.  He was the effective ruler not only of Italy, but because he was the appointed regent for the young king of the Visigothic empire, he also effectively controlled South West Gaul and Hispania.  By virtue of his defeat of the Vandals he was the master of  North West Africa.  Not only that, but St Gelasius apparently worked well with Theoderic, with whom he had regular commuications.
Theodoric was a trinitarian christian, supposed the same faith.

Nevertheless, Clovis’ approval carried over to a third and forth Pope, Anastasius and  Symmmachus. It must be concluded that the Church of Rome, even at this early date, wanted to separate from the Orthodox Christian faith.

Descent from Jesus

children of jesus Fig 08 The children of Jesus All these Franks and by the time of Dagobert II there must have been thousands of them were reputed to be direct descendants of "The Children of Jesus"

They did not want this motivation to become public knowledge, so they looked for a different explanation. Ultimately the alternative explanation became common knowledge. No one is really sure whether it originated with Clovis himself, his advisors or the Church but it was generally accepted.

josephes Fig 09 In England's green and pleasant landThe legend says that several of Jesus relatives married into British Royal Families. It is the line from Jesus' son Josophes that the line to the Merovingians started. Just think of the words of the Hymn "Jerusalem".

It was explained that Clovis was descended from Jesus and therefore had the right to rule. This was never specifically denied by the Church of Rome and was actively encouraged by Clovis’ Merovingian descendants.


All bases were covered however in the Franks subsequent dealings with Vikings, who made increasingly frequent raids on the Channel coast.  The Franks then did not hesitate to claim that they were descended from a god of the sea.  Presumably they thought this alternative would be more impressive to a pagan audience.

Clovis’ ancestor Merovich was said to have had two fathers, his mother having been impregnated by a sea monster/god whilst swimming. Thus those who would not accept christianity could still believe in the Merovingians as “Sons of God”.
fisher kings Fig 10 The Fisher Kings Generation after generation of Kings who do not appear other than in legend. They lived in the 'wastelands' and suffered from severe sickness or injury.

Leaving that to one side, the descent from Jesus, as described was in itself largely mythical, involving visits of the holy family to Britain, intermarriage with local rulers and the bloodline then passed through the “Fisher Kings” who dwelled in the “wastelands” to the Merovingians, Clovis ancesters.



It would appear these theories of messianic descent were first formally documented in the 13th century.

It is also claimed that they are echoes of the same stories in the British/Welsh histories, from a much earlier time, perhaps concurrent with the rise of the Franks.

The Donation of Constantine


There was another aspect of the Pope’s appointment of Clovis which needed clarification. For centuries the church made use of a document called the ‘Donation of Constantine’ to justify their right to appoint temporal rulers.   The church claimed this document showed that Constantine the Great had given temporal control over the whole of the Western European Empire to the Pope in Rome.

Retrospectively this document was used to defend the popes right to choose clovis( and to interfere in the affairs of other kings.)

This document is at the very least open to interpretation. It appears to appoint the Pope to be temporal ruler of Rome and then Italy and the “Western Districts”. The “Western Districts” would not be a term used to describe the Western Empire, it sits much better as meaning the Western districts of Italy, perhaps Sicily. In any case the document has since been proved to be one of the most outrageous forgeries in history!

Investigations now date it to 750, about the time that Pepin the short deposed the Merovingians. Its origins are purported to be the scriptorium at St Denis in Paris which would make it a creation of Pepin and have no bearing on the selection of Clovis although the argument may well have preceded the forgery.

Clovis’ Baptism

The church then perpetrated another forgery. A letter, supposedly written by Pope Anastasius, congratulated Clovis on his baptism in the Roman Church. Recent investigations have proved this second forgery was executed much later, perhaps at about the same time the original forgery was exposed, about 1550.

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The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.