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The Edict of Paris was promulgated 18 October 614 (or perhaps 615) in Paris by Chlothar II, the Merovingian king of the Franks. It is one of the most important royal instruments of the Merovingian period in Frankish history and a hallmark in the history of the development of the Frankish monarchy. It is the last of the Merovingian capitularia , a series of legal ordinances governing church and realm.
The Edict was decreed hard on the heels of the canons promulgated at the Fifth Synod of Paris, to which it should be compared. Chlothar had recently assumed the full kingship of the Franks, in 613, when he deposed his cousin Sigebert II, king of Austrasia, and his regent, his great-grandmother Brunhilda. The Edict has been commonly seen as a series of concessions to the Austrasian nobility, which had sided with him against Brunhilda. In Der Staat des hohen Mittelalters, Heinrich Mitteis compared the Edict to the English Magna Carta. More popular now is the belief that it was primarily aimed at correcting abuses which had entered the judicial system during the civil wars which had dominated the kingdom since the beginning of the feud of Brunhilda with Chlothar's mother, Fredegund (568). It cannot be known how much of the Edict's language and ideas stem from the king and his officers and courtiers and how much from the nobles. Some of its clauses were designed to amend decisions of the prelates at the synod that had just finished sitting. The bishops insisted upon freedom in the choice of bishops, but Chlothar modified the council's decisions by insisting that only the bishops he wanted, or those sent from amongst suitable priests at court, should be consecrated.
The Edict throughout attempts to establish order by standardising orderly appointments to offices, both ecclesiastic and secular, and by asserting the responsibilities of all—the magnates, bishops, and the king—to secure the happiness and peace of the realm: the felicitas regni and pax et disciplina in regno. Among the true concessions granted by the Edict were the ban on Jews in royal offices, leaving all such appointments to the Frankish nobility, the granting of the right to bishops of deposing poor judges (if the king was unable at the time), and certain tax cuts and exemptions. Despite the exclusion of Jews from high office, their right to bring legal actions against Christians was preserved. Similarly, the right of a woman not to be married against her will was affirmed.
The most famous of the twenty seven clauses of the Edict is almost certainly number twelve, in which Chlothar says in part that nullus iudex de aliis provinciis aut regionibus in alia loca ordinetur, meaning that judges should be appointed only within their own regions. It has been interpreted as a concession, granting the magnates more control over appointments and the king less ability to influence, and conversely as a piece of anti-corruption legislation, intended to ease the penalisation of corrupt officers.
The Edict of Paris remained in force during the reign of his successor, Dagobert.
The Merovingian dynasty was the ruling family of the Franks from the middle of the 5th century until 751. They first appear as "Kings of the Franks" in the Roman army of northern Gaul. By 509 they had united all the Franks and northern Gaulish Romans under their rule. They conquered most of Gaul, defeating the Visigoths (507) and the Burgundians (534), and also extended their rule into Raetia (537). In Germania, the Alemanni, Bavarii and Saxons accepted their lordship. The Merovingian realm was the largest and most powerful of the states of western Europe following the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
The 510s decade ran from January 1, 510, to December 31, 519.
Year 511 (DXI) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Felix and Secundinus. The denomination 511 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
Clovis was the first king of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the form of leadership from a group of royal chieftains to rule by a single king and ensuring that the kingship was passed down to his heirs. He is considered to have been the founder of the Merovingian dynasty, which ruled the Frankish kingdom for the next two centuries.
Austrasia, was a territory which formed the northeastern section of the Merovingian Kingdom of the Franks during the 6th to 8th centuries. It was centred on the Meuse, Middle Rhine and the Moselle rivers, and was the original territory of the Franks, including both the so-called Salians and Rhineland Franks, which Clovis I conquered after first taking control of the bordering part of Roman Gaul, now northern France, which is sometimes described in this period as Neustria.
Dagobert I was the king of Austrasia (623–634), king of all the Franks (629–634), and king of Neustria and Burgundy (629–639). He was the last king of the Merovingian dynasty to wield any real royal power. Dagobert was the first of the Frankish kings to be buried in the royal tombs at Saint Denis Basilica.
Chlothar II, called the Great or the Young, was king of Neustria and king of the Franks, and the son of Chilperic I and his third wife, Fredegund. He started his reign as an infant under the regency of his mother, who was in an uneasy alliance with Clothar's uncle King Guntram of Burgundy, who died in 592. Clothar took power upon the death of his mother in 597; though rich, Neustria was one of the smallest portions of Francia. He continued his mother's feud with Queen Brunhilda of Austrasia with equal viciousness and bloodshed, finally achieving her execution in an especially brutal manner in 613, after winning the battle that enabled Chlothar to unite Francia under his rule. Like his father, he built up his territories by seizing lands after the deaths of other kings.
Neustria, was the western part of the Kingdom of the Franks.
Chlothar I was a king of the Franks of the Merovingian dynasty and one of the four sons of Clovis I.
An edict is a decree or announcement of a law, often associated with monarchism, but it can be under any official authority. Synonyms include dictum and pronouncement.
Saint Arnulf of Metz was a Frankish bishop of Metz and advisor to the Merovingian court of Austrasia, who retired to the Abbey of Remiremont. In French he is also known as Arnoul or Arnoulf. In English he is known as Arnold.
Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks, or Frankish Empire, was the largest post-Roman barbarian kingdom in Western Europe. It was ruled by the Franks during Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. It is the predecessor of the modern states of France and Germany. After the Treaty of Verdun in 843, West Francia became the predecessor of France, and East Francia became that of Germany. Francia was among the last surviving Germanic kingdoms from the Migration Period era before its partition in 843.
Fredegund or Fredegunda was the Queen consort of Chilperic I, the Merovingian Frankish king of Soissons. She served as regent during the minority of her son Chlothar II from 584 until 597.
Charibert I was the Merovingian King of Paris, the second-eldest son of Chlothar I and his first wife Ingund. His elder brother Gunthar died sometime before their father's death. He shared in the partition of the Frankish kingdom that followed his father’s death in 561, receiving the old kingdom of Childebert I, with its capital at Paris.
Brunhilda was queen consort of Austrasia, part of Francia, by marriage to the Merovingian king Sigebert I of Austrasia, and regent for her son, grandson and great grandson.
Liber Historiae Francorum is a chronicle written anonymously during the 8th century. The first sections served as a secondary source for early Franks in the time of Marcomer, giving a short breviarum of events until the time of the late Merovingians. The subsequent sections of the chronicle are important primary sources for the contemporaneous history. They provide an account of the Pippinid family in Austrasia before they became the most famous Carolingians.
Clovis III was the Frankish king of Austrasia in 675 and possibly into 676. A member of the Merovingian dynasty, he was a child and his reign so brief and contested that he may be considered only a pretender. He is sometimes even left unnumbered and Clovis IV is instead called Clovis III. The only source for his reign is the contemporary Suffering of Leudegar.
Quierzy, also known as Quierzy-sur-Oise, is a commune in the Aisne department in Hauts-de-France in northern France, straddling the Oise River between Noyon and Chauny.
Felix was a patrician in the Frankish kingdom under the Merovingians. He had his seat at Toulouse. According to the tenth-century Miracula sancti Martialis lemovicensis, Felix was "a noble and renowned patrician from the town of Toulouse, who had obtained authority over all the cities up to the Pyrenees and over the iniquitous people of the Wascones," that is, the Basques. Felix is probably the first ruler of the Duchy of Aquitaine that evolved from the old kingdom of Charibert II in the decades following his death (632) and Dagobert I's subjection of the Basques. Although he stands at the head of the list of semi-independent rulers of Aquitaine that extends through the Middle Ages, he is described as "mysterious" and "obscure".