Battle of Tolbiac (or Zulpich), 496
The battle of Tolbiac or Zulpich (496 AD) might have been a victory won by Clovis and other Franks that prevented a westward movement of the Alemanni.
At the time of the battle the Franks were split into two major groups - the Salian Franks led by Clovis and the Ripuarian Franks, based around Cologne. The Ripuarian Franks were threatened by the Alemanni, a group of German tribes who were based to their south and south-east. The Ripuarian Franks were probably led by King Sigebert, who may have suffered defeat in an earlier battle at the same location. This possible defeat may have triggered a call for help from Clovis (although no such call is mentioned in Gregory of Tours, our main source for this battle). All Gregory states is that a war broke out between Clovis and the Alemanni and that a battle was fought.
According to Gregory of Tours this battle triggered Clovis's conversion to Christianity. His wife Clotilda had spent the years since their marriage attempting to convince Clovis to convert but he had refused. When the battle against the Alemanni began to go against him, Clovis called for aid from his gods but with no effect. He then called for aid from Christ, and promised to convert if he won. After this the ALA began to flee. Their king was killed and the survivors surrendered. After this victory Clovis took instructions from Bishop Remi of Rheims, and was baptised, along with 3,000 of his men.
There is a huge amount of uncertainty about this battle. Gregory of Tours doesn't give a location for the battle between Clovis and the Alemanni. He also doesn't make any reference to a Frankish presence at the battle near Zulpich in which Sigibert was wounded. The date of 496 is taken from the traditional date of Clovis' baptism, at Christmas 496, and the start of his reign is dated at 481 because the battle was said to have happened in the fifteenth year of his reign. An alternative theory is that Clovis's battle with the Alemanni took place ten years later, in around 506, or that another battle was fought at this later date. This theory does require his entire reign to be shifted by ten years.
We do at least know that Clovis did win a significant victory over the Alemanni, for a letter of congratulation from Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, has survived. This letter also tells us that some of the Alemanni sought refuge with the Ostrogoths, and Theodoric 'suggests' that Clovis shouldn't pursue them any further.
Zülpich — Roman Baths, Scenic Cycling, Captivating History
Zülpich, located west of Cologne and Bonn, is a treasure trove of German history.
Commonly agreed to be the site of a town with the Latin name of Tolbiacum, it is famous for the Battle of the Tolbiac. The traditional date of this battle between the Franks, led by Clovis I, and the Alamanni is 496, although some put it at 506.
In the 1930s, explorers found Roman baths dating to the 2nd century. They are one of the best-preserved Roman baths north of the Alps and the site now hosts a museum on the cultural history of bathing from Roman times to today.
— Top Areas Of Interest
During Roman times, the baths were not only used as a spa and public restroom, they also included exercise spaces. The bath in Zülpich had five fires that were used to heat the water.
The freshly warmed water was used for bathing and then moved through an underground system to flush out the latrines. Well-preserved terrazzo floors resting on brick pillars show that the water flowed under the floors.
Zülpich castle is integrated into the town walls. It was originally built in the 13th century by Archbishop Siegfried von Westerburg. Completed in the 14th and 15th centuries, the castle’s gothic fortifications, thick walls, and circular towers were set on fire by the French in 1689. It later housed a distillery in the 19th century.
Heavily damaged in World War II, the castle has been reconstructed on a simpler scale.
The roads surrounding Zülpich are touted as some of the best cycling in West Germany, with roads as flat as the Netherlands. While not totally accurate -), the roads do provide a scenic way to see the surrounding countryside.
Still, I agree… With small villages every 2 to 3 km, and many lovely views, a ride around Zülpich is a great way to spend a free day.
Battle of Magetobriga ? (60 BC).
What we know of the Battle of Tolbiac is legendary because it wasn't written down until almost a hundred years after the fact by Gregory of Tours who only consulted oral sources. There are problems with Gregory's account. For one thing he mentions two different battles, Tolbiac and Zulpich, but these might be two different names for the same battle. Gregory didn't realize that his two sources were giving different names to the same battle. Other parts of Gregory's account seem to be too fantastic to be real, for instance, the intervention of God to turn defeat into victory. There are other problems as well, but you didn't really ask about Tolbiac. Tolbiac is legendary because between the event and the story being written down, fictional elements crept into the story so that the story is no longer reliable.
Accounts of Magetobriga were written down almost immediately. Both Cicero and Caesar mention it, and they both wrote within five years of the battle. Neither author witnessed the battle, but both of them met and spoke with the Gaul Diviciacus who certainly knew more about the battle than any Roman did. Caesar also met and spoke with other Gauls who were at Magetobriga. I'm sure there was a battle and the written accounts are reasonably accurate. The location of the battle might be problematic. I'm unaware of any evidence that it was fought at the modern town of Amage, near Luxeuil. That's were English Wikipedia says it was fought, but there's no citation of a source for that fact.
Gregory of Tours first inserted the thematic element that has shaped subsequent interpretations of Tolbiac as a climacteric in the course of European history: Clovis is said to have attributed his success to a vow that he had made: if he won, he would convert to the religion of the Christian God who had aided him. He became a Christian in a ceremony at Reims at Christmas 496 [ 1 ] the traditional date of the battle of Tolbiac has been established to accord with this firmly attested baptismal date, by accepting as literal truth Gregory's account which has a clear parallel with the conversion of Constantine I, connected by Lactantius with the equally conclusive Battle of the Milvian Bridge. A surviving letter from Avitus of Vienne, congratulating Clovis on his baptism, makes no mention of the supposed recent battlefield conversion. [ 2 ]
Historia Francorum ii.30-31 directly affirms the parallel Gregory is establishing with the conversion of Constantine the Great before the Battle of Milvian Bridge:
"at last a war arose with the Alamanni, in which he was driven by necessity to confess what before he had of his free will denied. It came about that as the two armies were fighting fiercely, there was much slaughter, and Clovis's army began to be in danger of destruction. He saw it and raised his eyes to heaven, and with remorse in his heart he burst into tears and cried: "Jesus Christ, whom Clotilde asserts to be the son of the Living God, who art said to give aid to those in distress, and to bestow victory on those who hope in thee, I beseech the glory of thy aid, with the vow that if thou wilt grant me victory over these enemies, and I shall know that power which she says that people dedicated in thy name have had from thee, I will believe in thee and be baptized in thy name. For I have invoked my own gods but, as I find, they have withdrawn from aiding me and therefore I believe that they possess no power, since they do not help those who obey them. I now call upon thee, I desire to believe thee only let me be rescued from my adversaries." And when he said thus, the Alamanni turned their backs, and began to disperse in flight. And when they saw that their king was killed, they submitted to the dominion of Clovis, saying: "Let not the people perish further, we pray we are yours now." And he stopped the fighting, and after encouraging his men, retired in peace and told the queen how he had had merit to win the victory by calling on the name of Christ. This happened in the fifteenth year of his reign. [ 3 ] "Then the queen asked saint Remi, bishop of Rheims, to summon Clovis secretly, urging him to introduce the king to the word of salvation. And the bishop sent for him secretly and began to urge him to believe in the true God, maker of heaven and earth, and to cease worshipping idols, which could help neither themselves nor any one else. But the king said: "I gladly hear you, most holy father but there remains one thing: the people who follow me cannot endure to abandon their gods but I shall go and speak to them according to your words." He met with his followers, but before he could speak the power of God anticipated him, and all the people cried out together: "O pious king, we reject our mortal gods, and we are ready to follow the immortal God whom Remi preaches." This was reported to the bishop, who was greatly rejoiced, and bade them get ready the baptismal font. The squares were shaded with tapestried canopies, the churches adorned with white curtains, the baptistery set in order, the aroma of incense spread, candles of fragrant odor burned brightly, and the whole shrine of the baptistery was filled with a divine fragrance: and the Lord gave such grace to those who stood by that they thought they were placed amid the odors of paradise. And the king was the first to ask to be baptized by the bishop. Another Constantine advanced to the baptismal font. " [ 4 ]
The traditional date of the battle in 496 was challenged by A. van de Vyver, whose revised chronology placed the battle in 506. This was extensively debated and is followed in some modern accounts. [ 5 ] The date of 506 also follows Gregory's chronology which places the death of Childeric around the same time as that of St. Pertpetuus, who died in 491. Hence 15 years from 491 would be 506. Coin evidence from Childeric's grave contain coins of Emperor Zeno who died in 491, but none after.
The Battle of Tolbiac, Painted by Ary Scheffer (1795–1858)
This painting, by the Dutch-French artist Ary Scheffer (1795–1858), endeavors to re-create a scene from the Battle of Tolbiac (or Zülpich), fought between the Franks and the Alemanni at the turn of the 5th and 6th centuries. Depicted atop a black horse, with his arm stretched skyward, is the ruler of the Franks at that time—King Clovis (r. 481-511). This campaign by the Franks against the Alemanni was said to have occurred around the year 496, but the accuracy of the traditional timeline is still debated, and others suggest the date of the campaign and battle should be pushed back to the year 506. Such chronological arguments are the joy of historians, but the Alemanni campaign is especially debated because of the impact it was said to have had on King Clovis and his successors. According to tradition and legend, a battlefield experience during the Alemanni campaign set King Clovis on the fast-track to converting to Christianity. Gregory of Tours (539-594), a bishop and historian, recorded the supposed religious influence that the Alemmani campaign had on King Clovis:
“Finally war broke out against the Alamanni and in this conflict he was forced by necessity to accept what he had refused of his own free will. It so turned out that when the two armies met on the battlefield there was great slaughter and the troops of Clovis were rapidly being annihilated. He raised his eyes to heaven when he saw this, felt compunction in his heart and was moved to tears. ‘Jesus Christ,’ he said…I want to believe in you, but I must first be saved from my enemies.’ Even as he said this the Alamanni turned their backs and began to run away” (History of the Franks, II.30).
Such is the scene that Ary Scheffer re-created in the painting above. It shows King Clovis pleading for spiritual aid in his battle against the Alemanni. After the campaign was over, Clovis’ Christian wife, Queen Clotilde, worked quickly to capitalize on her husband’s religious experience. She called in Saint Remigius, bishop of Rheims, and together they convinced King Clovis to be baptized and to officially convert.
Consequences [ edit ]
The Alemanni abandoned the Lower Rhine and left the Ripuarian Franks alone. Clovis, who profited only a little, allowed his ally to retain the territory. Clovis later relied on Sigebert's assistance during the conquest of the northern part of the Visigothic kingdom.
Another consequence was the conversion of Clovis to Arianism as he was baptized by the Arian Bishop Remigius of Rheins, who wrote him a letter regarding his conversion. He was later baptized into Catholicism around 508 AD as indicated by the letter written by Avitus of Vienne after a long period of reflection (most historians believe his conversion dates to 498 or 499), which brought him the support of neighbouring Christians, along with that of the influential clergy. In addition, it allowed Clovis to undertake conquests and crusades to Christianise his new territories or expunge Arianism, considered heretics by the clergy.
Delve into Zülpich in Germany
Zülpich in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia with its 20,208 residents is located in Germany - some 316 mi or ( 509 km ) South-West of Berlin , the country's capital .
Local time in Zülpich is now 09:14 PM (Wednesday) . The local timezone is named " Europe/Berlin " with a UTC offset of 1 hours. Depending on your mobility, these larger destinations might be interesting for you: The Hague, Haarlem, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Norvenich. While being here, you might want to check out The Hague . We discovered some clip posted online . Scroll down to see the most favourite one or select the video collection in the navigation. Are you curious about the possible sightsseing spots and facts in Zülpich ? We have collected some references on our attractions page.
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New Attraction 2011
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Interesting facts about this location
Naturschutzsee Füssenich is a lake in Westdeutschland, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With a depth of 28 m, its surface area is 65 ha.
Wassersportsee Zülpich is a lake in Westdeutschland, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. At an elevation of 154 m, its surface area is 85 ha.
Battle of Tolbiac
The Battle of Tolbiac was fought between the Franks under Clovis I and the Alamanni. The date of the battle has traditionally been given as 496, though other accounts suggest it may have been fought in 506. The site of "Tolbiac", or "Tulpiacum" is usually given as Zülpich, North Rhine-Westphalia, about 60 km east of what is now the German-Belgian frontier. The Franks were successful at Tolbiac and established their hegemony over the Alamanni.
Kelz Airfield is a former World War II military airfield in Germany. It was located about 2 miles north of Vettweiß (Nordrhein-Westfalen) approximately 315 miles southwest of Berlin. The airfield was built by the United States Army Air Forces during March 1945 as a temporary Advanced Landing Ground as part of the Western Allied invasion of Germany. It was closed in July 1945 and dismantled.
Schloss Eicks is a mansion of Renaissance architecture located in the village of Eicks belonging to the town of Mechernich based in the district of Euskirchen in the south of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Eicks Castle was first mentioned in the 14th century. Johann von Eicks had a small territory with its own jurisdiction. Eicks Castle, then a fortified water castle surrounded by a moat was destroyed in 1365.
APA citation. Kurth, G. (1908). Clovis. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04070a.htm
MLA citation. Kurth, Godefroid. "Clovis." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04070a.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Joseph P. Thomas.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Clovis (Chlodovechus reconstructed Frankish: *Hlōdowig 466 &ndash 27 November 511) 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.
Constantine the Great (Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus &Kappa&omega&nu&sigma&tau&alpha&nu&tauῖ&nu&omicron&sigmaf ὁ &Muέ&gamma&alpha&sigmaf 27 February 272 ADBirth dates vary but most modern historians use 272". Lenski, "Reign of Constantine" (CC), 59. &ndash 22 May 337 AD), also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was a Roman Emperor of Illyrian and Greek origin from 306 to 337 AD.
Armies in Post-Roman Europe, AD 500 to 650
How these armed forces were raised has intrigued me, especially at the inflexion point of the demise of the Empire in the West. Clovis, as an example, had perhaps 400 or 500 warriors as a following around AD 481. With support from other Frankish leaders (reguli) by 486 (vs Syagrius at Soissons), Clovis emerged as a military factor in Gaul. Remaining Roman troops, who were likely almost all barbarian, were incorporated into his armed retinue. Whatever troops remained of the "Loire army" evidently were also added.
It seems to be unknown who these troops were. Perhaps they were descendants of Roman soldiers brought from Britain in the early 5th century. Perhaps they were vestiges of comitatenses stationed at Soissons, or even included some limitanei from what had been the frontier on the Rhine. (Perhaps some were just armed bands.) It is also unknown how many there were. However, the success of Clovis may have benefitted from a pool of experienced Roman troops, whatever their origins.
This situation may have lasted for another generation of 20-25 years as sons of soldiers still followed in their fathers' military role. By the demise of Clovis in 511, although many sons still would follow in the 'family business,' another model of raising an army seems to have emerged, at least from the few sources available.
The militarization of Roman society had proceeded from about AD 400, partly due to barbarian influence, and partly dues to the adoption of some of these influences by Gallo-Romans in Gaul - most especially south of the Loire where Roman society in Aquitaine was much better established than in the north. Roman land owning aristocrats had long maintained their own armed retinues - bucellarii and others raised from their estates. The Goths south of the Loire, many becoming established in their own estates, did so as well. In addition, the Goths had arrived in Gaul as an armed nation, in theory male warriors all. As the Visigoths became more familiar with Roman institutions, and the Gallo-Romans more used to barbarian presence, the integration of the two into the military of that kingdom followed (Edward James, De Re Militari [article], 2014). An important factor mentioned by James in his article is that the Gallo-Romans in Aquitaine did not have a 'foreign' aristocracy imposed upon them. They essentially remained in place through some system(s) of hospitalitas. Romans became part of the king's host.
In the less Romanized north, this took longer, but the Pactus Legis Salicae makes reference to Romano homine conviva regis, and in an important sense establishes a military relationship between Frank and Roman. Aquitaine as said was far more Romanized, and the Frankish kings rarely went there, maintaining influence and authority through the military aristocracy (Goth and Roman) and the Church. There were Frankish officials, but they were more agents than viceroys.
The Visigoths in Spain are not well known to me (attention @johnincornwall). There were probably some military similarities, although at times slaves were mobilized in Spain.
The Gallo-Romans, the Hispano-Romans (?) and possibly the Italians made up more of the successor kingdoms' military forces than many realize.
In another post there can be an examination of how these armies were raised well into the 6th century. By then, very many Romans, and Goths, had become 'Franks.'
This is pretty much how I see it (I did an article on this for Slingshot some years ago). The militarisation of the Gallo-roman nobility seems to have gone further in northern Gaul than in the south, where nobles still dwelt in country villas and lived a life of otium. In the north the latifundia estates remained intact (there's the will of Remigius to prove it), but the villa buildings were gone. My conclusion is that the nobility took up residence in the much safer fortified towns and no longer had the time and spare cash for elegant country living.
For the existence of legions along the Loire, there is, besides Procopius, the Vita Sancti Dalmati:
Scilicet posteaquam pia atque inclita et Christiane religionis cultrix Francorum ditio Rutenam urbem, coniurante sibi populi eius favore, subiecit, desiderio refectus [refertus] pontifex Christiani regis Theodoberti tendebat videre praesentiam. Cumque ad illum devotissimus ardue festinaret in Ultralegeretanis [ultralegeretannis] partibus quodam loco, ubi aliqua, ut dicam, prope legio bretonum manet, vespertinam ospitalitatem habuisse narratur.
Naturally, after the realm of the Franks [who were] pious and illustrious and devotees of the Christian religion, had subjugated the city of Rodez (the people themselves conspiring in their [the Franks’] favour), the priest [Dalmas], filled with desire, strove to look upon the presence of the Christian king Theudebert. As the devout one [Dalmas] was tirelessly hurrying to him [Theudebert] in the region beyond-Loire [or: beyond-Loir], it is said he enjoyed an evening’s hospitality in a certain place where some sort of Breton [or: Brittonic] legion (so to speak) nearby was stationed.
BTW I don't think Soissons was Syagrius' capital. It was the chief town of Belgica II, one of the four imperial provinces of Syagrius' domain, the other three being Lugdunensis II, II and IV Senonia. Belgica II was actually under Clovis' control as a foederatus under Syagrius' overlordship, as Remigius mentions in a congratulatory letter to Clovis on his accession in 481:
Rumor ad nos magnum pervenit, administrationem vos Secundum Belgice suscepisse. Non est novum, ut coeperis esse, sicut parentes tui semper fuerunt.
Word of great import has reached us that you have received the administration of Belgica Secunda. This is not a new thing, that you should begin to be what your forefathers always were.
I suspect Paris was Syagrius' capital since it is the only town mentioned in the 10-year war following Syagrius' defeat at Soissons. It was besieged on and off during that period, which indicates its importance.
Syagrius reoccupied Soissons in 486, feeling himself militarily strong enough to face down Clovis:
In the fifth year of his reign Siagrius, king of the Romans, son of Egidius, had his seat in the city of Soissons which Egidius, who has been mentioned before, once held [before it was ceded to Clovis]. And Clovis came against him with Ragnachar, his kinsman, because he used to possess the kingdom [i.e. the province of Belgica Secunda], and demanded that they make ready a battlefield. And Siagrius did not delay nor was he afraid to resist. - Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks, 2.7
At this point Syagrius had no barbarian mercenary or foederati troops (the sources don't mention any). He had a good home-grown Gallo-roman army. Clovis formed an alliance with the Salian Franks. His personal troops numbered 6,000 men (half were baptised with him at Reims in 496) so we are probably looking at a combined force around the 10,000 - 15,000 mark, and Syagrius didn't hesitate to confront it in open battle. Methinks those Loire legions weren't so piddling after all.