|When King Clovis came to
be baptized after his
conversion to Christianity, Bishop Remigius said to him, 'Meekly
thy neck, Sicamber ...', as remarked by Gregory of Tours who
gave on this occasion an example of his more or less comprehensive
of Roman-Germanic history. (Remigius' original phrase is provided by
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).
of Childeric I, son of Meroveus and father of Clovis.
||The Sicambri, a powerful tribe
along the Danube and the Rhine, were dwelling along the eastern banks
the Lower Rhine in the time of Caesar. Regarding the Migration Period,
however, these people also were dispersed to such an extent that
of Tours might have remembered merely a 'migratory legend' somehow
to that part of land which was called Salia some hundred years
'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
Clovis, is believed to have been recorded in 417 for rendering heroic
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 Toxandria we
are calling now North and South Brabant. However, there is no further
historical information that Meroveus was of Sicambrian descent.
Karl Müllenhoff (Zeitschrift
Altertum, 6, p. 433) follows Heinrich Leo (Lehrbuch
der Universalgeschichte 2, 28) connecting the Merovingian
with the Dutch watercourse Merwe (Merwede). Franz Joseph Mone
(Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der teuschen
1836, p. 47) recounts some authors who already combined
Emil Rückert (Oberon von Mons und die Pipine
von Nivella, 1836, p. 39) sums up
|Das herrschende Geschlecht der
Franken wohnte an der
Merwe oder Merowe, d. h. der unterhalb Löwenstein mit der Maas
Waal und hiervon empfing es den Namen Merowinger, Morowinger, welchen
ein König aus diesem Hause, Meroväus oder Moroväus,
trug. Der Mervengau ist jenes Maurungania ad Albim (wohl Vahalim),
der Geograph von Ravenna als früheren Aufenthalt der prima linea
|[The ruling Frankish
dynasty was dwelling on
the Merwe or Merowe (today
the Dutch Merwede), where the Meuse meets the Waal
Castle (the ‘Lovensteyn’ or ‘Loevestein’);
and the Merovings or Morovingians received their name from which
and also one of their kings, Meroveus, Moroveus, or Mervig, was named
This district called ‘Mervengau’ is that ‘Maurungania ad Albim’
the ‘Vahalim’) (Vahal, Waal) which
the Geographer ('Cosmographer') of
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
as marked today by Dutch towns Deventer and Kampen. Regarding
exploration of Frisian and Lower Saxon lands, as Ewig remarks (Die
Merowinger und das Frankenreich), the Franks holding Salland
were also settling in the northern German lands up to the middle course
of Weser river until 365/370. Following archaeological research, Saxon
tribes extended their territory southwards at that time. Then, at the
beginning of 5th century, the Franks withdrew to regions
mainly on the left side of the lower Rhine.
of 1630, painted by C.J.Visscher.
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
and appointed his trustee Brunstijn van Herwijnen as the castle's
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 contributes
a (con-)temporarily appearing ruler called King Nidung to the
region whom the author has regarded to substantiate Fredegar's
of the Merovingian genesis in his publication quoted and linked above.
Since the medieval scribes of the Old Norse manuscripts have apparently
situated this mighty
ruler in Frankish Hesbaye as well as in Jutland – mentioning
there as sovereign of Thy –, the lands around the Limfjord on
ancient 'Amber Route' (of considerable strategic importance) might be
the effort to scrutinise there the roots of the first Meroveus. At
are at least two locations of interest whose former spelling and
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 Fredegar's insinuation, we may wonder about Emil
successive order of Merovingian onomastics and question furthermore:
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
spelled Salland or Salia seem to remember?
Reinhard Wenskus remarks that Bishop Freculf of Lisieux,
formerly pupil at
the scriptorium of Charlemagne's Aachen residence, claims Scandinavian
origin of the Franks, cf. J.
P. Migne, Patrologiae cursus completus, Seria I, latina, see
de Scanza insula ... exordium habuisse; de qua Gothi et ceterae
nationes Theotiscae exierunt, quod et idioma lingua eorum testantur.
(Quot. by Reinhard Wenskus, Sachsen – Angelsachsen –
Thüringer, in: Walther
Lammers (Ed.), Entstehung und Verfassung des Sachsenstammes,
1967, see pgs 514–515.)
Ortelius Map of Jutland outlined by M. Jordano.
We may wonder if
Freculf could rate the tip of Jutland among a Scandinavian environment.
Otherwise, these locations could have been the temporary seat of the
migrating Merovingian eponym of the Franks.
Another etymological explanation seems to come out very intriguingly by
the translators of the Old English Beowulf at
wæs á syððan
Karl Simrock equated these people with the Merovings (Ger. 'Merowinge(r)',
cf. Beowulf, Stuttgart & Augsburg
1859, p. 147),
and also Francis B. Gummere correspondingly translated this very passage
|And ever since the Merovings' favor
has failed us wholly...,
|whereas other reputable philologists (e.g. Levin
Ludwig Schücking, Martin Lehnert, Gisbert Haefs) have emended the
question to the compound
The Chronicle of Fredegar provides the following passage in book III,
9, as already quoted at endnote 17 of the superior
by the Svava:
|Fertur, super litore
maris aestatis tempore Chlodeo cum uxore resedens, meridiae uxor ad
mare labandum1 vadens,
bistea Neptuni Quinotauri similis eam adpetisset.
Cumque in continuo aut a bistea aut a viro fuisset concepta, peperit
filium nomen Meroveum, per co regis Francorum post vocantur Merohingii.
|[It is said that in the summertime at noon
Chlodeo sat with his wife on the seashore, and she went to take a bath
in the Labadian1
where a beast of Neptune
which resembled a Quinotaur took possession of her. From this
beast, as from her husband, she bore a son named Merovech, of whom the
Frankish kings are called Merovings.]
Does this 'Greek version' allow to transfer this location to a shore of
Clodeo's domain somewhere on the North Sea? And we further may ask for
compromise to all translators mentioned above: Is there
generally reason enough to contradict the
derivative-based identification mere-wícingas →
1 Fredegar most
likely means Labadus or Lebedus
(Lebedos), one of
the twelve cities of the Ionian League located on the
Aegean Sea as the
urbs Ioniæ in Asia
minori, maritima in parte Australi Isthmi
peninsulæ Ioniæ; quæ etiam Labadus
as explained by the author of the Annales
Veteris et Novi Testamenti...,
Jacobi Usserii Annales, Genevæ MDCCXXII, Index