Little Bits of History

Another One Bites the Dust

Posted in History by patriciahysell on December 23, 2014
King Dagobert II by Michael Nicholson

King Dagobert II by Michael Nicholson

December 23, 679: King Dagobert II is murdered. The Austrasian king ruled what is today parts of France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The kingdom was begun when Clovis I died in 511 and his four sons divided his lands with Theuderic I receiving Austrasia. The region under control grew over time as more lands were conquered and brought under rule. Over the decades, lands and rulers came and went depending on the strength of both the king and his queen, as the queens were able to fight each other as well. Dagobert II was the son of Sigibert III of the Merovingian line. With political intrigue inside the palace, Sigebert III adopted Childebert before he had children of his own.

When Sigebert died in 656, Childebert’s father seized the throne for his son and had Dagobert tonsured (a symbol of religious devotion and humility as well as a sign of his being unfit to rule). Dagobert was exiled. His mother may have been a conspirator in his travails. Dagobert was given to Desiderius, Bishop of Pointers and then sent to a monastery in Ireland in order to be trained as a page for the English court. He may have married while in exile or it may be a tale to help establish a link between some abbeys and the Merovingian line.

The nobles of Austrasia appealed to Clovis II, king of Neustria who got rid of Childebert and his father but kept the lands for his own to rule. There was a need to give the Austrasians their own king and several tries were made to set up a puppet throne unsuccessfully. After a prince was murdered on a hunt in 675, Dagobert was returned to the lands and eventually took the throne in 676. He was about 26 years old by the time he was made king. The power struggle of the times remained at play with the young man’s reign given mostly to establishing cloisters and abbeys in his kingdom while other vied for the power of the throne.

The conflict between Neustria and Austrasia was not truly quelled. On this day, with history repeating itself, Dagobert was murdered while on a hunting trip. Near Stenay-sur-Meuse in the Ardennes, Dagobert met his end, probably on the orders of Ebroin, mayor of the palace in Neustria. Dagobert had no male heir and so the lands were divided among the lords of the Rhineland. Pippin II, Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia essentially ruled the lands while the throne remained empty until after the battle of Tertry in 687 when Theuderic III became the new king. Dagobert was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church and his feast day is celebrated on December 23.

Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude. The first is the resource of intrigue and produces only secondary results, the second is the resort of genius and transforms the universe. – Martin Van Buren

Society bristles with enigmas which look hard to solve. It is a perfect maze of intrigue. – Honore de Balzac

Most governments do have inbuilt biases in favour of the rich and powerful, and most do contain plenty of manipulators who love intrigue, who have lost whatever moral compass they may once have had and who protect themselves with steely cynicism. – Geoff Mulgan

There is a fundamental difference between men and women – women need romance, men need intrigue. – Sherry Argov

Also on this day: Jolly Old Elf – In 1823, Twas the Night Before Christmas was first published.
Survivor, The Real Story – In 1972, the Andes flight disaster finally comes to an end.
Tokyo Tower – In 1958, Tokyo Tower was dedicated.
Around the World in Nine Days – In 1986, the Voyager landed at Edwards Air Force Base completing a non-stop trip around the world.

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