November 17th 594: Gregory of Tours died

On this day in 594, French bishop and writer Gregory of Tours died. Born into a prominent family which boasted many bishops, Gregory soon also joined the clergy. He was appointed bishop of Tours by King Sigebert and Queen Brunhild in 573. Gregory lived during an unstable time in the Merovingian realm, with the murder of Sigebert leading to Tours coming under the rule of his brother Chilperic who ruled the western Frankish kingdom. After Chilperic’s own murder, control of Tours shifted several more times. Gregory was forced to adapt and mute his criticism as leaders came and went while still protecting his people from the wars that ravaged their land. As part of his role as bishop, Gregory undertook tasks such as restoration of churches, promotion of cults, and working with church legislation. Gregory’s greatest legacy, however, is his ten volume Historia Francorum, which tells the history of the Frankish people, and provides modern historians with invaluable insights into his era. After his death in 594, the popular Gregory was readily embraced as a saint by the people of Tours, with November 17th as his feast day.


anonymous asked: Top 10 historical pairings 
Yes, I know, Ulysse and Penelope aren’t really historical, but I’ve so much feelings for them *^*



Brunhilda was the younger daughter of Athanagild and Goiswintha, the Visigothic king and queen of Hispania and Septimania (modern-day Spain and Southern France). In 567, she married Sigebert I, the Frankish king of Austrasia. She had been raised as an Arian Christian, but before her marriage she converted to Roman Catholicism. Brunhilda and Sigebert’s marriage proved to be a happy one that produced two daughters and a son. Not long after their marriage, Sigebert’s half-brother, Chilperic married Brunhilda’s older sister, Galswintha. Unfortunately for Brunhilda and Galswintha, they had unknowingly married into one of the most dysfunctional families in history. Sigebert and Chilperic loathed each other and their relationships with their older brothers, Charibert and Guntram, were no less rocky.

Less than a year after her marriage, Galswintha was strangled in her bed. Chilperic wept crocodile tears over her death, but no one was fooled and figured that he or his mistress Fredegund were behind his wife’s murder. This was not helped by the fact that Chilperic wed Fredegund only a few days after his previous wife’s death. Brunhilda was enraged at her sister’s death and convinced Sigebert to declare war on Chilperic. What followed were roughly forty years of war interspersed with truces. In 575, Sigebert was assassinated by two men in the employ of Fredegund and Brunhilda was taken prisoner in Rouen. Then, however, Merovech (Chilperic’s son by his first wife, Audovera) visited Rouen, married Brunhilda, and declared war on his father and stepmother. The marriage between Merovech and Brunhilda did not last: it was annulled on the grounds of consanguinity, but Merovech did manage to help Brunhilda escape and return to Austrasia.

Afterwards, Brunhilda was determined to serve as regent for her young son, Childebert II. Her nobles protested but Brunhilda won out and carried out a number of reforms, that included the building of roads, churches, abbeys and reorganizing finances and the royal army. In 577, she convinced her childless brother-in-law, Guntram, to adopt Childebert as the heir to Burgundy which he did. Two years later, she married her daughter Ingund to Hermenegild, a Visigothic prince of Hispania. Throughout most of this time, Chilperic was preoccupied with a war against Gwereg of Gwened and then in 584, he was assassinated for unknown reasons, though it is generally supposed that either Brunhilda or Fredegund was behind his death.

In 592, Guntram died and Chilebert became the new king of Burgundy and used his new power to declare war on Clotaire II, son of Chilperic and Fredegund. He died not soon after, though, leaving his older son, Theudebert II, as the new king of Austrasia and his younger son, Theuderic II, as the new king of Burgundy. In the meantime, Fredegund died in 597, but peace was not forthcoming because troubles quickly flared up between Theudebert and Theuderic. During this time, Brunhilda became known as a ruthless, cunning woman and arranged for the murders of Uncelen, Duke of Alemannia; Desiderius, Bishop of Vienne; her grandson  Theudebert;  and Theudebert’s son, Merovech. In 613, she was betrayed by two mayors of the palace who defected to the side of Clotaire II. Clotaire ordered the executions of Brunhilda and her two great-grandsons and became the new King of the Franks.

Many scholars believe that Brunhilda was the inspiration for Brynhildr, the shieldmaiden of the 13th century Völsunga saga.