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Brunhilda

Brunhilda

Brunhilda or Brunehaut, d. 613, Frankish queen, wife of Sigebert I of the East Frankish kingdom of Austrasia; daughter of Athanagild, the Visigothic king of Spain. After the murder (567) of her sister Galswintha, who was the wife of Sigebert's brother Chilperic I of the West Frankish kingdom of Neustria, and Chilperic's marriage to his mistress Fredegunde, Brunhilda was the major instigator in the war against Neustria. The struggle continued between Brunhilda and Fredegunde after the death (575) of Sigebert and the murder (584) of Chilperic. Throughout the reigns of her son, Childebert II, and of two grandsons, Brunhilda was the actual ruler of Austrasia and of Burgundy, when by her design that country was united with Austrasia after the death (592) of King Guntram. She was endowed with the gifts of a great statesman, but her unscrupulousness in the execution of her plans earned her the fierce hatred of the nobles, whom she nonetheless controlled. She was finally betrayed by them to Fredegunde's son, Clotaire II of Neustria. He put her to a horrible death.

(born circa 534—died 613, Renève, Burgundy) Queen of the Frankish kingdom of Austrasia. Daughter of a king of the Visigoths, she married the Austrasian king Sigebert I in 567. One of the most forceful monarchs of the Merovingians, she urged Sigebert to reclaim her murdered sister's lands from Chilperic I. When her husband was assassinated in 575, Brunhild was imprisoned at Rouen. She later took refuge at Metz, where her son Childebert II had been proclaimed king, and she struggled to establish her authority over her son and the reluctant Austrasian magnates. After Childebert's death she continued to influence affairs and impose her will on her grandsons. After a long career she fell into the hands of her enemies, including the founders of the Carolingian family; she was tortured and then dragged to death by a horse.

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