Archiver > GEN-MEDIEVAL > 1998-04 > 0892394571

From: Richard Borthwick< >
Subject: Re: Merovingian ancestry of Hildegarde?
Date: 12 Apr 1998 08:22:51 -0700

At 06:03 PM 10/04/98 -0500, you wrote:
>In article <>, (Luke
>Stevens) wrote:
>>Could anyone offer me an informed opinion as to how much credence can
>>be placed in the following line purporting to trace Charlemagne's wife
>>Hildegarde back to the Merovingians?
>>1. Sigebert I, King of Austrasia, d.575
>>2. Chlodosindis, m. Chrodoald
>>3. Fara, Duke of Bavaria, d. 641
>>4. Theodon II, Duke of Bavaria, d. 716, m. Regintrude, dau. of Dagobert I
>>5. dau., m. Godefrid
>>6. Houching, Duke of Allemania, d. 727
>>7. Hnabi, Duke of Allemania, d. 788
>>8. Emma, d. 798, m. Gerold I
>>9. Hildegarde, m. Charlemagne
>>1-3: Settipani's "La prehistoire de Capetiens" p.81
>>3-5: "Reallexicon der Germanischen Altertumskunde" art. "Agilolfinger"
>>5-9: Weis & Sheppard's "Ancestral Roots" 7th ed.
>Well, Settipani himself sums up the ambiguous evidence and attendant
>doubts about the identity of Chrodoald's wife, in the text you cite. I
>remain a little uneasy with his convenient transformation of 'amita' in
>the quoted source into 'paternal aunt'. And while elsewhere he supports
>5-9 (i.e. Godefrid->Hildgard, but not necessarily the Agilolfing
>connection), you should note that nowhere in _Prehistoire_ does he even
>mention Regintrude, wife of Theodon II (gen. 4), a difficulty which does
>not specifically invalidate the descent as you give it here, but which
>would make one want to examine the evidence cited in the Agilolfinger
>piece extremely closely. Have you done this?
>Nat Taylor
I have not yet read Settipani (it is on order!). The above descent seems to
follow in steps 2-5 (excluding Chlodosindis dau. of Sigebert) a
reconstruction by K A Eckhardt [1]. Eckhardt (p.105) has Chrodoald
(d.624/25) m. about 610 a name unknown dau. of Gisulf duke of the Lombards.
He is tentative (and well he may be) in making Theodo II (d.716) the son of
Fara (d.641). E Zoellner's very influential paper [2] addresses many of the
central problems of his subject particularly the question of the origins of
the Agilolfings and he has Eckhardt's hypothesis on this question in his
sights. Zoellner (or Stoermer) may have done the article on the Agilolfinger
in the rather more generally accessible *Lexikon des Mittelalters*.

M Werner [3] discusses Regintrud at some length (pp.221-236 see also his
chart at the end of the book). He considers the siblinghood of Adela of
Pfalzel and Regintrud to be firm. He is more tentative in adopting the rest
of Hlawitschka's well known articulation of the structure of the
Hugobert/Irmina family [4] - in particular the claim that Hugobert and
Irmina were parents of the two sisters Adela and Regintrud. He follows and
develops (again tentatively) Jarnut's hypothesis that Regintrud married
twice. Her first marriage was to a man unknown and by whom she had a
daughter Piltrud (Bilitrud/Beletrud/Plektrud) who in turn married
successively the brothers Theodold and Grimoald dukes of Bavaria. These two
men are known sons of Theodo II. Another son of Theodo II (and his immediate
successor) was Theodebert (d. by 717/18) duke of Bavaria. Theodebert was
Regintrud's second husband by whom she had Hucbert and Guntrud and possibly
a second son who is identified as Tassilo II. So Piltrud married her
step-uncles. This hypothesis originally proposed by Jarnut [5] set out to
explain the claim in the sources that Swanahild second wife of Charles
Martel was the niece of Piltrud and of Odilo duke of Bavaria. According to
the Jarnut/Werner hypothesis Swanahild was the daughter of Piltrud's
half-brother (possibly Tassilo II) by a sister (possibly named 'Imma')
sister of duke Odilo.

While the Jarnut/Werner hypothesis rules out certain options when attempting
to solve the problem of the origin of duke Odilo (and of his putative sister
Imma), the hypothesis as such does not commit one to a particular answer.
Jarnut (p.351) does think it probable that Odilo (and his unnamed sister)
was son of duke Gotfrid of Alemannia. In this he agrees with Eckhardt. But B
Behr [6] disagrees with them both.

The last of the Agilolfing dukes of Bavaria, Tassilo III, was the son of
duke Odilo by Hiltrud daughter of Charles Martel. This is not in dispute.

The onomastic argument for the Jarnut/Werner genealogical hypothesis is
interesting. Hucbert (d.735) has a variant of the name of Regintrud's
probable father, Hugobert; and Guntrud (who married a Lombard king) has a
variant of Regintrud's name (guntrud -> gerentrud -> regentrud). 'Piltrud'
is a variant of 'plektrud' which was name of another of Regintrud's probable
sisters (first wife of Pippin II).

How is it that Odilo (d.about 748), if he was son of duke Gotfrid (d.709) of
Alemannia (following Eckhardt and others), became duke of Bavaria? Eckhardt
explains this by having a daughter of Theodo II (d.716) marry duke Gotfrid.
This is not really plausible on chronological grounds. His onomastic
argument is interesting but I think his onomastic points points may well
invite an explanation of the relationship between Odilo and the previous
dukes that did not rely on Odilo's mother being a daughter of Theodo II. On
several reconstructions of the early Agilolfings, the succession of the
duchy was shared by collateral branches of the family group (eg Eckhardt
himself on p.105). An onomastic case could be made for the Alemannic family
being a collateral branch of the (in the male/female line of the
Agilolfings). Behr does not think there is any solid evidence that Odilo was
son of Gotfrid (i.e. a member of the Alemannic ducal family). Zoellner
(pp.103-106) canvasses the evidence and possible hypotheses regarding
Odilo's origins.

Now to Hildegard. What is known for certain is that she was the daughter of
count Gerold by his wife Imma sister of Ruadpert and daughter of Nebi/Hnabi.
In Thegan's "Vita" of Louis the Pious Nebi is made a son of Huoching son of
Gotfrid. Behr accepts this as probable but not certain. There is some
difficulty (noted by Eckhardt [7] p.62-64) with the name 'Huoching'.
Strictly speaking, so goes his argument, 'Huoching' is not a personal name
but a clan name like 'Agilolfing'. The personal name would be 'Hoc/Huoch'.
Thegan or his source misread/misheard the original source and the line
should have been reported thus: duke Gotfrid begat Nebi/Hnabi, Nebi
Huoching begat Imma. On this account 'Huoching' properly refers to the clan
name of the Alemannic ducal family. Thus according to Eckhardt Gotfrid would
be g-grandfather of Hildegard instead of her g-g-grandfather.

ES [8] XII:24 gives the certain information on Hildegard and relies heavily
on Borgolte [9]. The latter points out (p.185) that The Nebi in question had
interests in the middle Rhine region not in Alemannia (Swabia) and Borgolte
follows T Mayer in rejecting a connection with the Alemannic ducal family,
or at least considers it not proven. There was a Nebi who may have been
connected with the ducal family and whose interests lay in Alemannia.
Thegan's genealogy of Hildegard most likely confused the two.

The claim that Hildegard has a descent from the Merovingians through the
Agilolfings seems very weak. The claim that Hildegard descended from duke
Gotfrid is is weak. It is almost certain that Regintrud was not a daughter
of a Merovingian king but the daughter of Hugobert count of the palace and
his wife Irmina of Oehren. It is also likely that she was not the wife of
Theodo II but of his son Theodebert. The best chance for an Agilolfing
descent rests on Alda/Aldana being the daughter of Charles Martel by the
Agilolfing, Swanahild. For reasons recent postings to this group that chance
is slim (following Hlawitschka I am agnostic on this filiation for
Alda/Aldana). One should also note that K F Werner ([10] pp.161-166) thinks
that an Agilolfing connection for Hildegard comes through her father,
Gerold, but his argument has to do with name groups and not with precise

[1] K A Eckhardt *Merowingerblut II: Agilolfinger und Etichonen*
(Witzenhausen, 1965) pp.105, 153
[2] E Zoellner 'Das Geschlecht der Agilolfinger' in *Mitteilungen
Oberoestereichischen Landesarchivs* (Linz, 1978) vol.2 pp.83-110
[3] M Werner *Adelsfamilien im Umkreis der fruehen Karolinger: Die
Verwandschaft Irminas von Oehren und Adelas von Pfalzel* (Sigmaringen, 1982)
[4] E Hlawitswchka 'Die Vorfahren Karls des Grossen' in *Karl der Grosse,
Lebenswerk und Nachleben I* (1965) ed. W Braunfels
[5] J Jarnut 'Beitraege zu den fraenkisch-bayerisch-langobardischen
Beziehungen im 7. und 8. Jahrhundert (656-783)' in *Zeitschrift fuer
bayerische Landesgeschichte* 39 (1976), pp.331-352.
[6] B Behr *Das alemannische Herzogtum bis 750* (Frankfurt, 1975) pp.184ff]
[7] K A Eckhardt *Merowingerblut I: Die Karolinger und ihre Frauen*
(Witzenhausen, 1965)
[8] "ES": D Schwennicke (ed) *Europaeische Stammtafeln: Stammtafen zur
Geschichte der Europaeishen Staaten - Neue Folge* Band XII (Marburg, 1992)
[9] M Borgolte *Die Grafen Alemanniens in merowingischer und karolingischer
Zeit: Eine Prosopographie* (Sigmaringen, 1986)
[10] K F Werner 'Important noble families in the kingdom of Charlemagne - a
prosopographical study of the relationship between king and nobility in the
early middle ages' in T Reuter (ed) *The Medieval Nobility* (Amsterdam/New
York/Oxford, 1978, 137-202. Translated from the German by T Reuter.

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