Under the command of Clovis (King of the Franks), during 486 C.E., I and thousands of other soldiers pillaged the numerous churches. The Christians had not caused us any harm but the soldiers were only mindlessly following orders. I was a Germanic soldier so this mindless violence did not faze me that is until after pillaging one church Clovis received the request from the bishop to kindly return a vase taken from that church. Clovis decided to comply with the request of the bishop and to do so he asked the soldiers if we would be willing to give Clovis the vase in addition to his share. We agreed as he was our king but one soldier disagreed and smashed the vase. Clovis said nothing to the soldier but gathered the broken pieces and sent them to the bishop but Clovis was not happy that he was unable to fulfill the bishop’s request. After a year, during soldiers’ inspection, he beheaded the soldier that had broken the vase. This was the first incident where he tried to protect the church and in doing so he further disciplined his soldiers. At that moment, I knew no soldier would ever think about rebelling against Clovis (Emily Tai).
To make sure that the family of that soldier did not rise against Clovis, wergild was given. Wergild according to the Germanic law, was compensation if someone’s life was taken by another. The Germanic society was very violent so beheadings or any other type of violence were not punished by imprisonment or death sentence rather the offender was required to pay compensation called wergild. Other Germanic laws were quite violent and had instructions for the priests that carried out punishment according to these laws (Zeumer).
Later in his life, Clovis converted to Christianity. According to Gregory of Tours, this conversion was for two reasons. First was that his wife was also a convert and the second was that on the eve of a battle, Clovis prayed to Jesus Christ that if he won the battle he will become a devout Christian. The priest that baptized him was named Bishop Remigus. After his conversion, he relied on bishops and monks to serve as scribes. He was especially close to Bishop Gregory of Tours and the bishop also viewed Clovis with favor as he had readily given his protection to the Roman Church even before his conversion and then after his conversion he also allowed them to be a part of the government. Gregory of Tours wrote about Clovis’ life before and after the conversion to Christianity, in the book called “History of the Franks” and always portrayed Clovis as a good king (Tours). To me, Clovis was a good king and leader as he kept his army disciplined, allowed equal distribution of the plunder, and did not allow anyone to think that he was weak. He respected Christianity as he had agreed to return the vase to the bishop. Any other Germanic King would not have done this.
My favorite Illuminated manuscript is a collection of Black Books of Hours. This collection was made of vellum which was dipped in black ink. These black pages of the manuscript brought out the details of the work more prominently as compared to the traditional manuscript. The lettering was done using black or silver ink which shone against the black background. These were luxury manuscripts and showed off the wealth of the patron. Each page was a work of art which was exquisite and versatile. The ornate borders of each page are so incredible that one can spend hours observing just one page.
Emily Tai. History 111 Spring 2022 Third Module Second Lecture on Germanic Culture with Narration. 2022. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A244i0Zw58w.
Tours, Gregory of. Medieval Sourcebook: Gregory of Tours: On Clovis. 664, https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/gregtours1.asp.
Zeumer. Medieval Sourcebook: Ordeal of Boiling Water, 12th or 13th Century. 650, https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/source/water-ordeal.asp.