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Chlothar II
Clothaire II 584 628.jpg
Coin of Chlothar II
King of the Franks
Reign 10 October 613 – 18 October 629
Predecessor Sigibert II
Successor Dagobert I as King of the Franks
Charibert II as King of Aquitaine
King of Neustria
Reign 584–613
Predecessor Chilperic I
King of Paris
Reign 595–613
Predecessor Childebert II
Born 584
Died 18 October 629 (aged 44–45)
Spouse
  • Haldetrude
  • Bertrude
  • Sichilde
Issue Charibert II
Dagobert I
House Merovingian
Father Chilperic I
Mother Fredegund
Signature Chlothar II's signature
Division of Gaul - 587
The kingdom of Chlothar at the start of his reign (yellow). By 613 he had inherited or conquered all of the coloured portions of the map.
Clotaire II Lombards
A treaty of King Chlothar II and the Lombards.

Chlothar II (or Chlotar, Clothar, Clotaire, Chlotochar, or Hlothar; 584 – 18 October 629), 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 Chlothar's uncle King Guntram of Burgundy, who died in 592. Chlothar 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.

His reign was long by contemporary standards, but saw the continuing erosion of royal power to the French nobility and the church against a backdrop of feuding among the Merovingians. The Edict of Paris in 614, concerned with several aspects of appointments to offices and the administration of the kingdom, has been interpreted in different ways by modern historians. In 617 he made the mayor of the Palace a role held for life, an important step in the progress of this office from being first the manager of the royal household to the effective head of government, and eventually the monarch, under Pepin the Short in 751. Chlothar was forced to cede rule over Austrasia to his young son Dagobert I in 623.

Unusually for a Merovingian monarch, he practised monogamy, though early deaths meant that he had three wives. He was generally an ally of the church and, perhaps inspired by the example of his uncle Guntram, his reign seems to lack the outrageous acts of murder perpetrated by many of his relations, the execution of Brunhilda excepted.

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