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Fredegarius

FREDEGARIUS

The 16th-century name for the author of a universal chronicle, whose final part, a continuation of the Historia Francorum of gregory of tours from 585 to 642, is almost the unique source of Frankish history for the period it covers. The chronicle contains many curiosities, such as the earliest legend of the Trojan origin of the Franks, the sole report of the first Slavic kingdom (ruled by the Frank Samo), and glimpses of what Gaul knew of the Byzantine world. For all the barbarism of its language, it is a major witness to the culture of its time.

The work grew out of an existing compilation of world chronology and history, which Fredegarius interpolated and augmented with an epitome of Gregory of Tours's Histories, bks. 14. He then added an original chronicle, which ends in 642 but alludes to events as late as 658. Why Fredegarius stopped is unknown; he meant to continue to his own time. Though the chronicle has been attributed to as many as three authors, writing at different times, recent opinion favors a single author, probably a Burgundian, writing c. 658 to 660, whose testimony is rarely that of an eyewitness.

Equally important, interesting, and barbaric in language are the eighth-century continuations of Fredegarius, which were commissioned by Childebrand, a brother of charles martel, and his son Nibelung. They constitute a Carolingian family chronicle between 642 and 737 to the death of King Pepin I (768).

Bibliography: Editions. Chronicon, ed. b. krusch, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores rerum Merovingicarum 2:1168. j. m. wallace-hadrill, ed. and tr., The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar with Its Continuations (New York 1960). Literature. j. m. wallace-hadrill, "Fredegar and the History of France," Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 40 (1958) 527550. w. goffart, "The Fredegar Problem Reconsidered," Speculum 38 (1963) 206241.

[w. goffart]

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