The Ax and the Vase
rex ex nobilitatedux ex virtute
King through noble birth ... commander through right of virtue.
“Let us set out the beginnings of the kings of the Franks and their origin, and also the origins of the people and its deeds ... Priam and Antenor, two Trojan princes, embarked on ships with twelve thousand of the men remaining from the Trojan army. They came to the banks of the Tanis River. They sailed into the Maeotian swamps, penetrated the frontiers of the Pannonias, and began to build a city as their memorial. They called it Sicambria, and lived there many years, growing into a great people.”
--Liber Historiae Francorum, author(s) unknown.
At the age of fifteen, Clovis inherits a Roman province in the north of Gaul. He is the son of Childeric, a profligate king so debauched his own people expel him for the span of eight years, and Basina, a scandalous queen of overweening pride.
By twenty, he has deposed Rome in Gaul; and this is only the beginning. Clovis’ demonstrations of authority—and revenge—become legend, a tool of his provocative power and charisma.
Clovis falls in love with Evochilde, who becomes his concubine. Dying in childbirth, she leaves behind the sickly prince Theuderic. Clovis’ mother is banished as a strumpet; his younger sister is sent to marry Theodoric the Great, in Italy. The court is a world of men; and men betray and disappoint—even the men Clovis needs the most.
Clovis is persuaded to take a wife, the Catholic Clotilde. Clotilde becomes Clovis’ queen and his passion. She makes a formidable mate, but importunes him constantly to accept her Church and her God.
At last, in battle once again, struck by the power of spiritual fervor, gaining a difficult victory … Clovis converts to his wife’s Catholic Christianity—and thereby, he prospers and gains dazzling success. He continues to expand, through politics, alliance, and finally murder and deception. He sets down the code of the famous, infamous, long-lived Salic Law, is baptised, and accepts the tenet of the divine right of a king. He has ruled thirty years, and set a course beyond even his own comprehension. His legacy immortalized, Clovis dies at forty-five.
He was the founder, the first king, of France.