Childeric I, (c. 437- c. 482), king of the Salian
Franks, supposedly succeeded his father Merovech
(Merwing) as king in 457 or 458. With his tribe he was established around the town of Tournai
, on lands which he had received as a foederatus of the Romans
, and for some time he kept the peace with his allies.
About 463, in conjunction with the Roman General Aegidius, he fought against the Visigoths, who hoped to extend their dominion along the banks of the Loire River; after the death of Aegidius he assisted Count Paul in attempting to check an invasion of the Saxons. Paul having perished in the struggle, Childeric delivered Angers from some Saxons, followed them to the islands at the mouth of the Loire, and massacred them there. He also stopped a band of the Alamanni who wished to invade Italy.
These are all the facts known about him. The stories of his expulsion by the Franks; of his stay of eight years in Thuringia with King Basin and his wife Basine; of his return when a faithful servant advised him that he could safely do so by sending to him half of a piece of gold which he had broken with him; and of the arrival at Tournai of Queen Basine, whom he married, are entirely legendary.
After the fall of the Western Empire in 476 there is no doubt that Childeric regarded himself as freed from his engagements towards Rome. He died in 481 and was buried at Tournai, leaving a son Clovis, afterwards king of the Franks. His tomb was discovered in 1653, when numerous precious objects, arms, jewels, coins and a ring with a figure of the king, were found.
From an encyclopedia with the initals E. B., ed. 1911, copyright expired.