Thursday 29 November 2012

Clothar and the Disappearing Monkey

Wikipedia's list of historical anniversaries is an invaluable resource - the chronological inspiration for many a post on this blog, I must admit - but it has its little quirks. Browsing on it last night, I found that the very first entry in the Events section read '561 - king Clothar I dies at a monkey Compiegne...' Annoyingly, someone has since nipped in and removed the intriguing words 'a monkey'...
I looked up Clothar and found his entry disappointingly lacking in monkey action, but full of bloodshed. Clothar, King of the Franks, seems to have occupied most of his life in warfare and pillage, when not bumping off members of his own family, beginning with his brother Chlodomer's children and ending with his rebellious son Chram, whom he burnt to death with his wife and children in a cottage in Brittany, whither the unfortunate Chram had fled. Following this last deed, he travelled to Tours to pray forgiveness at the tomb of St Martin, before going on to die at a monkey Compiegne.
Shouty Waldemar Januszczak has a TV series on BBC4 at the moment called The Dark Ages: An Age of Light. The Dark Ages, he booms, were no such thing - they were 'AN AGE OF LIGHT!' Well, no doubt he has a point, but when you read about the likes of Clothar, you do get the impression there was rather a lot of dark around too.

1 comment:

  1. I was looking forward to the Dark Ages programme but found wossisname unwatchable - too much emphatic 'jibbing' as my grandfather would have called it.