Dagobert I

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Dagobert I (c. 603 – 19 January 639) was the king of Austrasia (623–634), king of all the Franks (629–634), and king of Neustria and Burgundy (629–639). He was the last Merovingian dynast to wield any real royal power. Dagobert was the first of the Frankish kings to be buried in the royal tombs at Saint Denis Basilica.

Contents

Rule in Austrasia

Dagobert was the eldest son of Chlothar II and Haldetrude (575–604). Chlothar II had reigned alone over all the Franks since 613. In 623, Chlothar was forced to make Dagobert king of Austrasia by the nobility of that region, who wanted a king of their own.

When Chlothar II granted Austrasia to Dagobert, he initially excluded Alsace, the Vosges, and the Ardennes, but shortly thereafter the Austrasian nobility forced him to concede these regions to Dagobert. The rule of a Frank from the Austrasian heartland tied Alsace more closely to the Austrasian court. Dagobert created a new duchy (the later Duchy of Alsace) in southwest Austrasia to guard the region from Burgundian or Alemannic encroachments and ambitions. The duchy comprised the Vosges, the Burgundian Gate, and the Transjura. Dagobert made his courtier Gundoin the first duke of this new polity that was to last until the end of the Merovingian dynasty.

United rule

On the death of his father in 629, Dagobert inherited the Neustrian and Burgundian kingdoms. His half-brother Charibert, son of Sichilde, claimed Neustria but Dagobert opposed him. Brodulf, the brother of Sichilde, petitioned Dagobert on behalf of his young nephew, but Dagobert assassinated him and gave his younger sibling Aquitaine.

Charibert died in 632 and his son Chilperic was assassinated on Dagobert's orders. By 632, Dagobert had Burgundy and Aquitaine firmly under his rule, becoming the most powerful Merovingian king in many years and the most respected ruler in the West.

In 631, Dagobert led three armies against Samo, the rulers of the Slavs, but his Austrasian forces were defeated at Wogastisburg.

Rule in Neustria, from Paris

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