|When King Clovis came to be baptized after his
conversion to Christianity, Bishop Remigius said to him, 'Meekly bend
thy neck, Sicamber ...', as remarked by Gregory of Tours who certainly
gave on this occasion an example of his more or less comprehensive knowledge
of Roman-Germanic history. (Remigius' original phrase is provided by Gregory's
Francorum, Book II ch 31: »Mitis depone colla, Sigamber...
Baptism of King Clovis.
view of the altarpiece by the Master of Saint Gilles (abt 1500).
The Seal Ring
of Childeric I, son of Meroveus and father of Clovis.
||The Sicambri, a powerful tribe migrating formerly
along the Danube and the Rhine, were dwelling along the eastern banks on
the Lower Rhine in the time of Caesar. Regarding the Migration Period,
however, these people also were dispersed to such an extent that Gregory
of Tours might have remembered merely a 'migratory legend' somehow related
to that part of land which was called Salia some hundred years later:
'Franks originally came from Pannonia and
first colonized the banks of the Rhine. Then,
they crossed the river, marched through
Thongeria, and set up in each country
district and each city long-haired kings
chosen from the foremost and most noble
family of their race ...'.
|A Germanic chief called Meroveus, forwarded as grandfather of
Clovis, is believed to have been recorded in 417 for rendering heroic service
to the Romans. At that time, as merited high-ranking mercenary, he was
obviously rewarded with the leadership of Salia (nowadays pertaining to
Dutch and Belgian territory) with that Gaulish region
are calling now North and South Brabant. However, there is no further creditable
historical information that Meroveus was of Sicambrian descent.
Karl Müllenhoff (Zeitschrift für deutsches
Altertum, 6, p. 433) follows Heinrich Leo (Lehrbuch
der Universalgeschichte 2, 28) connecting the Merovingian location
with the Dutch watercourse Merwe (Merwede). Franz Joseph Mone
(Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der teuschen Heldensage,
1836, p. 47) recounts some authors who already combined likewise.
Emil Rückert (Oberon von Mons und die Pipine
von Nivella, 1836, p. 39) sums up accordingly:
|Das herrschende Geschlecht der Franken wohnte an der
Merwe oder Merowe, d. h. der unterhalb Löwenstein mit der Maas vereinigten
Waal und hiervon empfing es den Namen Merowinger, Morowinger, welchen auch
ein König aus diesem Hause, Meroväus oder Moroväus, Merwig,
trug. Der Mervengau ist jenes Maurungania ad Albim (wohl Vahalim), welches
der Geograph von Ravenna als früheren Aufenthalt der prima linea Francorum
|The ruling Frankish dynasty was dwelling on the Merwe or Merowe
the Dutch Merwede), where the Meuse meets the Waal below Lionstone
Castle (the ‘Lovensteyn’ or ‘Loevestein’);
and the Merovingians or Morovingians received their name from that watercourse,
and also one of their kings, Meroveus, Moroveus, or Mervig, was named likewise.
This district called ‘Mervengau’ is that ‘Maurungania ad Albim’ (obviously
the ‘Vahalim’) (Vahal, Waal) which the Geographer
of Ravenna notes as the early location of the ‘prima linea Francorum’.
|Eugen Ewig, eminent researcher in Frankish history, considers the earliest
region of the Salians rolling out to the region of Overyssel (the former
as marked today by Dutch towns Deventer and Kampen. Regarding archaeological
exploration of Frisian and Lower Saxon lands, as Ewig remarks (Die
Merowinger und das Frankenreich), the Franks holding
were also settling in the northern German lands up to the middle course
of Weser river until 365/370. At that time martial Saxon tribes began to
extend their territory from the north-east to the upper Lippe river, where
to find nowadays German towns Minden and Lippstadt. A few decades later,
at the beginning of 5th century by archaeological indication,
the Franks had to withdraw from the so-called
moving then to lands on the left side of the lower Rhine.
of 1630, painted by C.J.Visscher.
The castle was (re-?)built
between 1357 and 1368 by Lord Diederick van Horne who was (nick-)named
Loef (Lion). In 1385 Albrecht van Beieren took over possession of the castle
and appointed his trustee Brunstijn van Herwijnen as the castle's keeper.
colourized old photo of Loevestein Castle was made on the eastern bank
of the Waal, approximately 2 miles (3 km) from the Merwede's mouth.
|The Thidrek saga and the Old Swedish Didriks chronicle will contribute
a (con-)temporarily appearing ruler called King Nidung to the Salian-Toxandrian
region whom the author has regarded to substantiate Fredegaire's version
of the Merovingian genesis in his publication quoted and linked above.
Since the medieval scribes of these manuscripts have localized that mighty
ruler in Frankish Hesbaye as well as in Jutland – mentioning him
there as sovereign of Thy –, the lands around the Limfjord on the
ancient 'Amber Route' of considerable strategic importance, might be worth
the effort to scrutinise there the roots of Meroveus I. At present, there
are at least two locations of interest whose former spelling and tradition
seem to indicate themselves as name spending godfather: The isle of Mors
with known word forms of 'Morø...' and, close to the east, Cap Salling.
Thus, referring to Fredegaire's insinuation, we may wonder about Emil Rückert's
successive order of Merovingian onomastics and question furthermore: Was
there already any recurrently related Nordic homeland of the invading Salian
founder, the name spending godfather of that dynasty which the Dutch
Merwede and its contemporarily surrounding region spelled Salland
or Salia seem to remember?
||Extract from the
Ortelius Map of Jutland by M. Jordano.