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In Henry H. Howorth's The Ethnology of Germany.-Part VI. The Varini, Varangians, and Franks.-Section II (1884), p.228 he writes:

We must remember also that in a genealogical table attached to an old MS. of the Salic Laws, and given by Bouquet, which derives the royal stock from Pharamund, we read that the latter bore Cleno and Cludion, that Chludius bore Chlodebaud , who bore Chloderic, the father of Chlovis ( op. cit. , ii, 696). Meroveus is not named at all in this list, and Chlodebaud takes his place.

This piqued my interest since it was the first time hearing about Chlodebaud and in fact, nowhere on Wikipedia does he exist.

So I started digging in.

The earliest reference I've found is in Andre Duchesne's Historiae Francorum Scriptores, 5 vol. (1636) - Volume I, p.793:

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Faramundus genuit Cleno & Cludiono. Chludius genuit Chlodebaudo. Chlodebaudus genuit Chloderico.

So now I'm trying to find the origination of Chlodebaudo.

I'm not adept at Latin so this is taking quite some effort to decipher, but it seems like this reference is taken from a Salic Law manuscript, if I'm not mistaken (as affirmed by Howorth):

Ex Veteri Ms. Cod. Legis Salica

  1. Is this Salic Law manuscript available anywhere to cross reference?
  2. Has Duchesne's Historiae Francorum Scriptores (1636) been translated into English?
  3. Are there any earlier (than 1636) references to Chlodebaud?

A quick Google of Chlodebaud does return some references to a certain King of Franks at Cologne (c. 430 - c. 450) which would fit the Clovis I timeline, but I'm not sure where those references come from.

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  • 1
    Since "Clovis" was rendered as "Chlovis" in your first quote, did you check for "Clodebaud"?
    – Spencer
    Nov 3, 2022 at 17:34
  • Although its difficult to prove a negative, the answer to all three questions appears to be "no". Duchesne left behind 100 folio volumes of notes (now reportedly in the Bibliothèque nationale de France) which supposedly include excerpts from various manuscripts. It seems possible that there may be additional information about this particular manuscript in there. But given that this manuscript is not annotated with even a bit more detail as seen with other manuscripts (e.g. "from the king's library"), the chances seem slim.
    – njuffa
    Sep 18, 2023 at 21:16
  • I don't understand in Duchesne's excerpt why an "h" appears from "Cludiono" to "Chludius" (father of "Chlodebaudo") which I assume to be the same person. (and why not "Clodio" ? I don't understand how accusative works in medieval latin). Moreover it is unclear to me where Clovis is supposed to appear in that text, since the sons of Chlodericus are named "Childemius" and "Hlodmare"...
    – Evargalo
    Sep 19, 2023 at 7:17
  • @Evargalo If they're the same person then the h or lack of should appear in both forms. It may be a compilation of different sources where the name was spelled more than one way. Hlod from Hlodmare is another variant of this name element. Sep 19, 2023 at 7:48
  • @DamionKeeling : I agree, and that's what adds to the confusion...
    – Evargalo
    Sep 19, 2023 at 9:30

1 Answer 1

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There is an available French paper by Ètienne Renard from 2018 focusing on several versions of the Merovingian family tree based on a lost archetype. The paper is available online and the associated pdf is translatable through e.g. google translate.

Renard highlights the existence of 2 contradictory genealogies in the B-branch of the genealogy (sourced to the 10th to 11th century, see p.1016):

  • one where Merovech was the son of Chlodio (the commonly accepted chronology during the Carolingian era) and
  • one where Chlodebaude was the son and successor of Chlodio (with Merovech completely absent)

The differences in the genealogies reunite with Clovis being probably the grandson of Chlodebaude or Merovech.

In the latter chronology, Chlodebaude (or Glodobode, Chlodebaudo, Hlud-baud) might have only ruled only a few years, perhaps dying before the battle of the Catalaun fields in 451. This could explain why Gregory of Tours did not mention that any Merovingian king participated in this famous battle, which would have been a clear source of prestige. His child Childeric was perhaps too young (p. 1037). Maps on the territory controlled by his father are found in the paper.

The hypothesis of Jean-Pierre Poly is considered in the paper, in which Merovech and Chlodebaude are one and the same, Merovech being the nickname of Chlodebaude (p. 1017).

He could however (this is only a personal opinion) also just be a mythical or invented figure/ like Faramund/Faramond (who is also in your source) or Boggis, Childesinde or others, who are not attested in early sources close to the 5th century and are nowadays considered "false" Merovingians". There are various lists of "false" Merovingians, e.g. on French or German Wikipedia. Chlodebaude is currently not listed among them, but there does not seem to be a source about him before the 10h-11th century. Any source from the 17th century would undoubtely have to be based on the earlier sources or its descendants.

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