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Frankish Royal Tombs in the Cathedrals of Cologne and Saint-Denis

  • Joachim Werner

The centuries between A.D. 400 and 800, which make the transition between Antiquity and the Middle Ages, are sparsely documented and have often been called by the English the ‘Dark Ages’, the dark centuries of Western European history. This paucity of written historical sources is greatly to be regretted, for these were decisive centuries for the formation of European society and in them occurred events whose results are to be seen even to the present day. The Roman Empire with its ancient civilisation collapsed; the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean went over to Islam; the Slavs settled in the Balkans, North-Central Europe, and the territory around the Danube as far as Austria; and these Danube-lands came under the domination of the Mongolian Avars.

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[1] Chifflet, J. J., Anastasis Childerici I Francorum regis sive Thesaurus sepulchrális Torna¢i Nerviorum effossus et commentario illustratus (1655), esp. 36–49. See also l’Abbé Cochet, , Le tombeau de Childéric Ier, roi des Francs (1859); Babelon, E., ‘Le tombeau du roi Childéric et les origines de l’orfèvrerie cloisonnée’, Mém. Soc. Antiq. de France, LXXVI (1924); Böhner, K., ‘Das Langschwert des Frankenkönigs Childeric’, Banner Jahrb., CXLVIII (1948), 218 ff.; Arbman, H., ‘Les épées du tombeau de Childéric’, Meddel. fran Lunds Univ. Historical Museum (1948), 97 ff.

[2] Doppelfeld, Otto, ‘Die Domgrabung, XI. Das fränkische Frauengrab’, Kölner Domblatt, 16–17 (1959), 41 ff.; Das Frauengrab unter dem Chor des Kölner Domes’, Germania, 38 (1960), 87 ff.; ‘Die Rosettenfibeln aus dem Kölner Dom’, Mouseion: Studien aus Kunst und Geschichte für Otto H. Förster (1961), 168 ff.; Werner, Joachim, ‘Zikaden aus dem fränkischen Frauengrab im Kolner Dom’, Germania, 41 (1963), 392 ff.

[3] Doppelfeld, Otto, ‘Die Domgrabung, XII. [3] Totenbett and Stuhl des Knabengrabes’, Kölner Domblatt, 18–19 (1960), 85 ff.; Die Domgrabung, XIII Der Helm aus dem fränkischen Knabengrab’, Kölner Domblatt 20 (1961–62), 103 ff.; Die Domgrabung, XIV Das Inventar des fränkischen Knabengrabes’, Kölner Domblatt, 21–22 (1963), 1 ff.

[4] France-Lanord, A. and Fleury, M., ‘Les Bijoux Mérovingiens d’Arnegonde’, Art de France, 1 (1961), 7 ff.; Das Grab der Amegundis in Saint- Denis’, Germania, 40 (1962), 341 ff.

[5] Salin, E., ‘Sépultures gallo-romaines et mérovingiennes de la basilique de Saint-Denis’, Monuments Piot 49 (1957), 93 ff.; Les Tombes galloromaines et mérovingiennes de la Basilique de Saint-Denis’, Mém. Acad. Paris, 44 (1958), 169 ff.; Fleury, M., ‘Nouvelle campagne de fouilles de sépultures de la basilique de Saint-Denis’, Comptes Rendus Paris 1958 (1960), 194 ff.

[6] Alföldi, Maria R., ‘Zum Ring der Königin Arnegunde’, Germania, 41 (1963), 55 ff.; Fleury, Michel, ‘L’Anneau sigillaire de la reine Amégonde, femme de Clotaire Ier ’, Annexe aux Procès-verbaux de la Commission municipale du Vieux Paris (Séance du 11 février 1963) (Paris, 1963).

[7] In Gregory of Tours’ History there is an example of a similar variation in spelling—Aregisilo, Arnegysilo, Armegisilo.

[8] After Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks (trans. by Dalton, O. M.) (1927), vol. 11, bk. IV, 3 , but spelling of personal names amended.

This article is the revised version of the text of a lecture given by Joachim Werner, Professor of Pre- and Proto-History in the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität at Munich, when guest of the British Council, to the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Durham in October 1962. It is based on preliminary reports of the discoveries at Cologne and Saint-Denis, and its author states that it is intended purely for the information of the British public. It is not meant to anticipate future detailed publication of the new finds by their distinguished excavators Otto Doppelfeld, Michel Fleury and Albert France-Lanord. The author is much indebted, as is the Editor, to Mrs Sonia Hawkes, for revising the English text and making it ready for publication in ANTIQUITY.

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  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
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