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Childebert II of Austrasia

Childebert II (570-595), king of Austrasia, was a son of Sigebert.

When his father was assassinated in 575, Childebert was taken from Paris by Gundobald, one of his faithful leudes, to Metz, where he was recognized as sovereign. He was then only five years old, and during his long minority the power was disputed between his mother Brunhilda and the nobles.

Chilperic, king at Paris, and King Gontran of Burgundy, sought alliance with Childebert, who was adopted by both in turn. But after the assassination of Chilperic in 584, and the dangers occasioned to the Frankish monarchy by the expedition of Gundobald in 585, Childebert threw himself unreservedly into the arms of Gontran.

By the pact of Andelot in 587 Childebert was recognized as Gontran’s heir, and with his uncle's help he quelled the revolts of the nobles and succeeded in seizing the castle of Woėwre. Many attempts were made on his life by Fredegond, who was anxious to secure Gontran's inheritance for her son Clotaire II.

On the death of Gontran in 592 Childebert annexed the kingdom of Burgundy, and even contemplated seizing Clotaire's estates and becoming sole king of the Franks. He died, however, in 595. Childebert II had had relations with the Byzantine Empire, and fought in 585 in the name of the emperor Maurice against the Lombards in Italy.

See also: List of Frankish Kings

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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