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Gundobad, Patrician of Rome (472-473) also became King of the Burgundians (473-516), after his father, though he had to fight off three brothers to seize his title.

When the former Patrician, Ricimer, who had been controlling the Empire, hidden behind the throne, died in 472, Gundobad, his own nephew seized the title. With his new power he elevated the current Count of the Domestics, Glycerius, to the Imperial throne. Gundobad, however left office in 473, as his father, Gundioc, had died and he had inherited Burgundy along with his three brothers; Godegisel, Chilperic and Godomar.

But Gundobad was not content with his fractured portion of Burgundy, and turned against his brothers with hope of control over all the land.

In 486 he killed Gundomar, through little is known of this encounter.

In 493 he turned his sword against Chilperic, and drowned his wife. Gundobad exiled his two daughters, one becoming a nun. The other, Clotilde, was found by the men of Clovis I, King of the Franks, who sent word to Gundobad, asking Clotilde's hand in marriage. Gundobad was too afraid to decline.

Gundobad's battle with Godegisel raged long. Unknowingly, both called upon Clovis trying to persuade him to join forces against the other. Clovis sided with Godegisel, who had offered him his pleasure of tribute and crushed Gundobad's force. Gundobad fled but King Clovis pursued him to Avignon. Gundobad feared the worst with Clovis's mighty army at the gates. But a man of wit called Aridius went from Gundobad to Clovis and charmed him into taking his advice, which was to spare Gundobad but force him into paying a yearly tribute.

Gundobad later broke his promise of tribute as he regained his power and besieged Godegisel, locked up in the city of Vienne. As famine devoured Vienne, Godegisel expelled the common people from the city for fear for himself. An outraged expelled artisan seeking vengeance on Godegisel went to Gundobad, and with his help he navigated the aqueduct and broke into the city. He murdered Godegisel in 501 in an Arian church along with the bishop.

Gundobad was now sole king of Burgundy. He made peace with the Franks, converted to Christianity, and died peacefully succeeded by his son Sigismund in 516.

Sourced from Gregory of Tours' History of the Franks

Last updated: 05-23-2005 00:49:30