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Bill Thayer

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Book VI
Chapter 6

This webpage reproduces a section of
Italy and Her Invaders

Thomas Hodgkin

published by the Clarendon Press

The text, and illustrations except as noted,
are in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Book VI
Chapter 7

Vol. IV
Note E
On the Correspondence of 588
between the Austrasian Court and the Court of Constantinople

These letters, as given in Troya's Codice Diplomatico Langobardo, IV.1.24‑40, are:

1. From Childebert to Maurice, stating that 'parens noster, filius Scaptimundi, apud vos in Urbe Regiâ commoratur,' and praying for his return. It is almost certain that Scaptimund must be another name for Hermenigild.

2. From Childebert to 'the most glorious and everywhere exalted lord, his sweetest nephew, King Athanagild.' C. informs A. that he has sent an ambassador (the bearer of this letter) to deliberate with the most serene Princeps of the Roman Republic as to the best course to pursue in Athanagild's interests.

3. From Childebert to Theodosius (a child of three years old), soliciting his intervention on behalf of the exiled orphan.

4. From Childebert to Paulus, father of the Emperor, asking him to help in establishing friendly relations between the two States.

5. From Childebert to Domitian, cousin of the Emperor and bishop of Melitene, recommending the Frankish ambassadors to his good offices.

6. From Queen Brunichildis to the Emperor, containing courtly compliments and commendation of the ambassadors. (Both this and the two preceding letters speak of the Empire and the Franks as 'foederati' to one another: not quite like the old use of the word when the Goths were 'foederati' to the Empire.)

7. From Queen Brunichildis to 'the glorious lord, to be named with unspeakable desire, her sweetest grandson, King Athanagild.' Brunichildis congratulates herself that these letters will meet the lovely eyes of one who recalls to her that sweetest daughter whom, for her sins, she has lost, and yet not lost entirely so long as her offspring survives.

8. From Queen Brunichildis to the Empress [Anastasia]. B. hopes that the design which her son has had in view, in  p278 sending this embassy to Constantinople, will, by Christ's help, redound to the benefit of all truly Catholic nations. Her little grandson has had to travel far in his babyhood, and has learned the hardships of captivity in his tender and innocent years. By the love which the Empress bears to her own son, Theodosius, and by the grief which she would feel in being sundered from him, she is entreated to gladden the heart of Brunichildis by restoring her grandchild to her embrace, and so mitigating the sorrow caused by the death of both his parents. (This and the preceding are the two best letters of the series.)

9. (Again) from Brunichildis to Anastasia, commending Childebert's ambassadors to the favour of 'Her Tranquillity.'

10. From Childebert to Honoratus, the Apocrisiarius, or Nuncio of the Pope at Constantinople, asking him to help the ambassadors in establishing a firm peace between the Empire and the Franks.

11 and 12. From Childebert to John, Bishop of Constantinople. The fame of John's sanctity, after filling the East, has reached also to the North, 'even to us Germans.' [It is to be remembered that Procopius, who wrote at Constantinople, always calls the Franks 'Germans.'] He is therefore entreated to assist the ambassadors in treating of matters which will be for the common good of both nations 'perpetually federate together,' and to obtain from 'our most pious father, Augustus,' the liberation of Childebert's little nephew, who, 'a stranger as well as an exile, is now detained in your royal city.'

13. From Childebert to the Patrician Venantius.

14. From the same to Italica, Patricia, wife of Venantius.

15. From the same to Theodore, Master [of the Offices].

16. From the same to John, Quaestor.

17. From the same to Megas, Curator (or perhaps to the Great Curator) of the Palace.

All these five letters in similar words commend the ambassadors to the care of the receivers, and express the hope that their negotiations may confirm the ancient friendship between the kings of the Franks and 'the most tranquil sovereigns of the Roman Republic,' and may strengthen 'the Catholic charity' for the love of which they are sent forth.

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