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Thread: The Burgundians

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    The Burgundians

    It seems unfair that they haven't a thread of their own yet, being the fine Eastern Germanics that they were!

    Any self-respecting human being of a half way inquisitive bent is naturally interested in the origins of the placenames that surround him, especially that of the region in which he lives, so I would be very interested to hear if the present day Bourgognais [or however they spell it] feel any attachment to this part of their cultural inheritance. Of course, they are not Germanics in the strict sense of the word, but are at least cousins. Do they retain any personal names or traditions from those days, or do they hold reenactments perhaps?

    Unfortunately, I fear that the French centralist state has done its best to destroy such a thing... The present region that uses the name has shifted quite a way to the north and west from where it originally was. As always, it's interesting, and saddening to see how easy it is for the authorities to brainwash people into abandoning old identities by means of a simple boundary shift.

    Anyway, here's the present region;

    Here's the preRevolution comte;

    And the product of Jacobin butchery;

    Hard to have much emotional attachment to these four departementes;


    It seems, however, that the original territory settled by the wandering Barbarians included a wider area, and one more naturally defined by physical geography, taking in the Rhone/Saone basin, and thus including Franche Comte [the Free County of Burgundy], Savoy, and Francophone Switzerland.

    It seems, indeed that the area represents its own linguistic whole still;


    Some more traditional boundaries;


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    Re: The Burgundians

    http://www.friesian.com/germania.htm
    The Burgundians, c.407-534

    BURGUNDIANS
    Gebiccad.407 established at Worms
    Gundahar/Gondikar/Gunther 407-434 killed by Huns & Aëtius
    Gundioc/Gunderic 434-473 ceded Sapaduia (cisjurane Burgundy), 443; Sequania (transjurane Burgundy), 458
    Chilperic I 443-c.480
    Chilperic II 473-493 son of Gundioc, killed by Gundobad
    Gundomar I? 473-486 son of Gundioc?
    Godegisel 473-501 son of Gundioc, killed by Gundobad
    Gundobad 473-516 son of Gundioc, West Roman Generalissimo, 472-473
    Sigismund 516-524 killed by Franks
    Gudomar II 524-532 Overthrown by Franks

    The Burgundians, like the Franks, did not play a great role in undermining the Western Empire. They moved into the vacuum of Roman power, and were conveniently ceded Roman lands (443 & 458). King Gundobad briefly was a player in the last stages of Western politics, holding power as the commander of the Roman Army from 472 to 473. By 534, however, Frankish power could no longer be resisted, and Burgundy became another piece in the Frankish kingdom.

    The Kingdom of the Burgundians remained a unit in the many divisions of the Merovingian and Carolingian domains, until independent kingdoms resulted in the 880's. The map shows later subdivisions, especially of the Duchy and the Free County, which remained distinct for the longest. Upper and Lower Burgundy became a united Kingdom, based at Arles (hence, the "Arelate"). Eventually the Kingdom disappeared, with its parts largely absorbed by France. The name of Burgundy became primarily associated with the French Duchy of Burgundy (which bestowed its name on the wine of the region) and its subsequent possessions in the Low Countries.

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    Re: The Burgundians

    Burgundians

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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    The Burgundians or Burgundes were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr (the Island of the Burgundians), and from here to mainland Europe. In Þorsteins saga Víkingssonar, Veseti settled in an island or holm, which was called Borgund's holm, i.e. Bornholm. Alfred the Great's translation of Orosius uses the name Burgenda land. The poet and early mythologist Viktor Rydberg (18281895), (Our Fathers' Godsaga) asserted from an early medieval source, Vita Sigismundi, that the Burgundians themselves retained oral traditions about their Scandinavian origin.
    Contents

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    Early history

    [edit]

    Tribal Origins

    The Burgundians' tradition of Scandinavian origin finds support in place-name evidence and archaeological evidence (Stjerna) and many consider their tradition to be correct (e.g. Musset, p. 62). Possibly because Scandinavia was beyond the horizon of the earliest Roman sources, including Tacitus (who only mentions one Scandinavian tribe, the Suiones), they don't tell from where the Burgundians came, and the first Roman references place them east of the Rhine (inter alia, Ammianus Marcellinus, XVIII, 2, 15). Early Roman sources thought they were simply another East Germanic tribe.
    Ca 300, the population of Bornholm (the island of the Burgundians) largely disappeared from the island. Most gravefields ceased to be used, and those that were still used had few burials (Stjerna, in Nerman 1925:176).
    In the year 369, the Emperor Valentinian I enlisted their aid in his war against another Germanic tribe, the Alamanni (Ammianus, XXVIII, 5, 8-15). At this time, the Burgundians were possibly living in the Vistula basin, according to the mid-6th century historian of the Goths, Jordanes. Sometime after their war against the Alamanni, the Burgundians were beaten in battle by Fastida, king of the Gepids and were overwhelmed, almost annihilated.
    Approximately four decades later, the Burgundians appear again. Following Stilicho’s withdrawal of troops to fight Alaric I the Visigoth in AD 406-408, the northern tribes crossed the Rhine and entered the Empire in the Völkerwanderung, or Germanic migrations. Among them were the Alans, Vandals, the Suevi, and possibly the Burgundians. The Burgundians migrated westwards and settled in the Rhine Valley.
    There was, it seems at times a friendly relationship between the Huns and the Burgundians. It was a Hunnic custom for females to have their skull artificially elongated by tight binding of the skull when the child was an infant. Germanic graves are sometimes found with Hunnic ornaments but also with skulls of females that have been treated in this way; west of the Rhine only Burgundian graves contain a large number of such skulls. (Werner, 1953)
    [edit]

    Religion

    Somewhere in the east the Burgundians had been converted to the Arian form of Christianity, which proved a source of suspicion and distrust between the Burgundians and the Catholic Western Roman Empire. Divisions were evidently healed or healing circa AD 500, however, as Gundobad, one of the last Burgundian kings, maintained a close personal friendship with Avitus, the Catholic bishop of Vienne. Moreover, Gundobad's son and successor, Sigismund, was himself a Catholic, and there is evidence that many of the Burgundian people had converted by this time as well, including several female members of the ruling family.
    [edit]

    Early Relationship with the Romans

    Initially, the Burgundians seem to have had a stormy relationship with the Romans. They were used by the Empire to fend off other tribes, but also raided the border regions and expanded their influence when possible.
    [edit]

    The Burgundian Kingdoms

    [edit]

    The First Kingdom

    In 411, the Burgundian king Gundahar or Gundicar set up a puppet emperor, Jovinus, in cooperation with Goar, king of the Alans. With the authority of the Gallic emperor that he controlled, Gundahar settled on the left (Roman) bank of the Rhine, between the river Lauter and the Nahe, seizing Worms, Speier, and Strasbourg. Apparently as part of a truce, the Emperor Honorius later officially "granted" them the land. (Prosper, a. 386)
    Despite their new status as foederati, Burgundian raids into Roman Upper Gallia Belgica became intolerable and were ruthlessly brought to an end in 436, when the Roman general Aëtius called in Hun mercenaries who overwhelmed the Rhineland kingdom (with its capital at the old Celtic Roman settlement of Borbetomagus/Worms) in 437. Gundahar was killed in the fighting, reportedly along with the majority of the Burgundian tribe. (Prosper; Chronica Gallica 452; Hydatius; and Sidonius Apollinaris)
    The destruction of Worms and the Burgundian kingdom by the Huns became the subject of heroic legends that were afterwards incorporated in the Nibelungenlied—on which Wagner based his Ring Cycle—where King Gunther (Gundahar) and Queen Brünhild hold their court at Worms, and Siegfried comes to woo Kriemhild. (In Old Norse sources the names are Gunnar, Brynhild, and Gudrún as normally rendered in English.) In fact, the Atli of the Nibelungenlied is based on Attila the Hun.
    [edit]

    The Second Kingdom

    For reasons not cited in the sources, the Burgundians were granted foederati status a second time, and in 443 were resettled by Aëtius in the region of Sapaudia. (Chronica Gallica 452) Though Sapaudia does not correspond to any modern-day region, the Burgundians probably lived near Lugdenensis, known today as Lyon. (Wood 1994, Gregory II, 9) A new king Gundioc, or Gunderic, presumed to be Gundahar's son, appears to have reigned from his father's death. (Drew, p. 1) In all, eight Burgundian kings of the house of Gundahar ruled until the kingdom was overrun by the Franks in 534.
    As allies of Rome in its last decades, the Burgundians fought alongside Aëtius and a confederation of Visigoths and others in the final defeat of Attila at the Battle of Chalons (also called "The Battle of the Catalaunian Fields") in 451. The alliance between Burgundians and Visigoths seems to have been strong, as Gundioc and his brother Chilperic I accompanied Theodoric II to Spain to fight the Sueves in 455. (Jordanes, Getica, 231)
    [edit]

    Aspirations to the Empire

    Also in 455, an ambiguous reference infidoque tibi Burdundio ductu (Sidonius Apollinaris in Panegyr. Avit. 442.) implicates an unnamed treacherous Burgundian leader in the murder of the emperor Petronius Maximus in the chaos preceding the sack of Rome by the Vandals. The Patrician Ricimer is also blamed; this event marks the first indication of the link between the Burgundians and Ricimer, who was probably Gundioc's brother-in-law and Gundobad's uncle. (John Malalas, 374)
    The Burgundians, apparently confident in their growing power, negotiated in 456 a territorial expansion and power sharing arrangement with the local Roman senators. (Marius of Avenches)
    In 457, Ricimer overthrew another emperor, Avitus, raising Majorian to the throne. This new emperor proved unhelpful to Ricimer and the Burgundians. The year after his ascension, Majorian stripped the Burgundians of the lands they had acquired two years earlier. After showing further signs of independence, he was murdered by Ricimer in 461.
    Ten years later, in 472, Ricimer–who was by now the son-in-law of the Western Emperor Anthemius–was plotting with Gundobad to kill his father-in-law; Gundobad beheaded the emperor (apparently personally). (Chronica Gallica 511; John of Antioch, fr. 209; Jordanes, Getica, 239) Ricimer then appointed Olybrius; both died, surprisingly of natural causes, within a few months. Gundobad seems then to have succeeded his uncle as Patrician and king-maker, and raised Glycerius to the throne. (Marius of Avenches; John of Antioch, fr. 209)
    In 474, Burgundian influence over the empire seems to have ended. Glycerius was deposed in favor of Julius Nepos, and Gundobad returned to Burgundy, presumably at the death of his father Gundioc. At this time or shortly afterward, the Burgundian kingdom was divided between Gundobad and his brothers, Godigisel, Chilperic II, and Gundomar I. (Gregory, II, 28)
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    Consolidation of the Kingdom

    According to Gregory of Tours, the years following Gundobad's return to Burgundy saw a bloody consolidation of power. Gregory states that Gundobad murdered his brother Chilperic, drowning his wife and exiling their daughters (one of whom was to become the wife of Clovis the Frank, and was reputedly responsible for his conversion). (Gregory, II, 28)1 This is contested by, e.g., Bury, who points out problems in much of Gregory's chronology for the events.
    C.500, when Gundobad and Clovis were at war, Gundobad appears to have been betrayed by his brother Godegisel, who joined the Franks; together Godegisel's and Clovis' forces "crushed the army of Gundobad." (Marius a. 500; Gregory, II, 32) Gundobad was temporarily holed up in Avignon, but was able to re-muster his army and sacked Vienne, where Godegisel and many of his followers were put to death. From this point, Gundobad appears to have been the sole king of Burgundy. (e.g., Gregory, II, 33) This would imply that his brother Gundomar was already dead, though there are no specific mentions of the event in the sources.
    Either Gundobad and Clovis reconciled their differences, or Gundobad was forced into some sort of vassalage by Clovis' earlier victory, as the Burgundian king appears to have assisted the Franks in 507 in their victory over Alaric II the Visigoth.
    During the upheaval, sometime between 483-501, Gundobad began to set forth the Lex Gundobada (see below), issuing roughly the first half, which drew upon the Lex Visigothorum. (Drew, p. 1) Following his consolidation of power, between 501 and his death in 516, Gundobad issued the second half of his law, which was more originally Burgundian.
    [edit]

    The Fall of the Second Kingdom

    The Burgundians were extending their power over southeastern Gaul; that is, northern Italy, western Switzerland, and southeastern France. In 493 Clovis, king of the Franks, married the Burgundian princess Clotilda, daughter of Chilperic.
    At first allies with Clovis' Franks against the Visigoths in the early 6th century, the Burgundians were eventually conquered by the Franks in 534 CE. The Burgundian kingdom was made part of the Merovingian kingdoms, and the Burgundians themselves were by and large absorbed as well.
    [edit]

    The Burgundian Laws

    The Burgundians left three legal codes, among the earliest from any of the Germanic tribes.
    The Liber Consitutionum sive Lex Gundobada (The Book of the Constitution following the Law of Gundobad), also known as the Lex Burgundionum, or more simply the Lex Gundobada or the Liber, was issued in several parts between 483 and 516, principally by Gundobad, but also by his son, Sigismund. (Drew, p. 6-7) It was a record of Burgundian customary law and is typical of the many Germanic law codes from this period. In particular, the Liber borrowed from the Lex Visigothorum (Drew, p. 6) and influenced the later Lex Ribuaria. (Rivers, p. 9) The Liber is one of the primary sources for contemporary Burgundian life, as well as the history of its kings.
    Like many of the Germanic tribes, the Burgundians' legal traditions allowed the application of separate laws for separate ethnicities. Thus, in addition to the Lex Gundobada, Gundobad also issued (or codified) a set of laws for Roman subjects of the Burgundian kingdom, the Lex Romana Burgundionum (The Roman Law of the Burgundians).
    In addition to the above codes, Gundobad's son Sigismund later published the Prima Constitutio.
    [edit]

    Origin of Burgundy

    The name of the Burgundians has since remained connected to the area of modern France that still bears their name: see the later history of Burgundy. Between the 6th and 20th centuries, however, the boundaries and political connections of this area have changed frequently; none of those changes have had anything to do with the original Burgundians. The name Burgundians used here and generally used by English writers to refer to the Burgundes is a later formation and more precisely refers to the inhabitants of the territory of Burgundy which was named from the people called Burgundes. The descendants of the Burgundians today are found primarily among the French-speaking Swiss and neighbouring regions of France.
    [edit]

    See also

    For later legends of the Burgundian kings, see Nibelung.
    For a list of Kings of Burgundy, see King of Burgundy.
    [edit]

    Notes

    Note 1: Gregory was somewhat of a Frankish apologist, and commonly discredits the enemies of Clovis by attributing to them some fairly shocking acts. As with Godegisel, he also commonly refers to the treachery of Clovis' allies, when in fact Clovis seems to have bought them off (e.g., in the case of the Ripuarians). Additionally, Gregory's chronology of the events surrounding Clovis and Gundobad has been questioned by Bury, Shanzer, and Wood, among others. As such, his contributions here should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
    [edit]

    References
    • Bury, J.B. The Invasion of Europe by the Barbarians. London: Macmillan and Co., 1928.
    • Dalton, O.M. The History of the Franks, by Gregory of Tours. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1927.
    • Drew, Katherine Fischer. The Burgundian Code. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1972.
    • Gordon, C.D. The Age of Attila. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1961.
    • Murray, Alexander Calder. From Roman to Merovingian Gaul. Broadview Press, 2000.
    • Musset, Lucien. The Germanic Invasions: The Making of Europe AD 400-600. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1975.
    • Nerman, Birger. Det svenska rikets uppkomst. Generalstabens litagrafiska anstalt: Stockholm. 1925.
    • Rivers, Theodore John. Laws of the Salian and Ripuarian Franks. New York: AMS Press, 1986.
    • Rolfe, J.C., trans, Ammianus Marcellinus. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1950.
    • Shanzer, Danuta. ‘Dating the Baptism of Clovis.’ In Early Medieval Europe, volume 7, pages 29-57. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 1998.
    • Shanzer, D. and I. Wood. Avitus of Vienne: Letters and Selected Prose. Translated with an Introduction and Notes. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2002.
    • Werner, J. (1953). "Beiträge sur Archäologie des Attila-Reiches", Die Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaft. Abhandlungen. N.F. XXXVIII A Philosophische-philologische und historische Klasse. Münche
    • Wood, Ian N. ‘Ethnicity and the Ethnogenesis of the Burgundians’. In Herwig Wolfram and Walter Pohl, editors, Typen der Ethnogenese unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Bayern, volume 1, pages 53–69. Vienna: Denkschriften der Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1990.
    • Wood, Ian N. The Merovingian Kingdoms. Harlow, England: The Longman Group, 1994.
    [edit]

    External links
    History

    The Burgundians were one of the Germanic peoples who filled the power vacuum left by the collapse of the western half of the Roman empire. In 411, they crossed the Rhine and established a kingdom at Worms. Amidst repeated clashes between the Romans and Huns, the Burgundian kingdom eventually occupied what is today the borderlands between Switzerland, France, and Italy. In 534, the Franks defeated Godomar, the last Burgundian king, and absorbed the territory into their growing empire.
    Its modern existence is rooted in the dissolution of the Frankish empire. When the dynastic dust had settled in 880s, there were three Burgundies: the kingdom of Upper Burgundy around Lake Geneva, the kingdom of Lower Burgundy in Provence, and the duchy of Burgundy in France. The two kingdoms of Burgundy were reunited in 937 and absorbed into the Holy Roman Empire under Conrad II in 1032, while the duchy of Burgundy was annexed by the French throne in 1004.
    During the Middle Ages, Burgundy was the seat of some of the most important Western churches and monasteries, among them Cluny, Citeaux, and Vézelay.
    During the Hundred Years' War, King Jean II of France gave the duchy to his younger son, rather than leaving it to his successor on the throne. The duchy soon became a major rival to the French throne, because the Dukes of Burgundy succeeded in assembling an empire stretching from Switzerland to the North Sea, mostly by marriage. The Burgundian Empire consisted of a number of fiefdoms on both sides of the (then largely symbolic) border between the French kingdom and the Holy Roman Empire . Its economic heartland was in the Low Countries, particularly Flanders and Brabant. The court in Dijon outshone the French court by far, both economically and culturally. In Belgium and The Netherlands, a 'Burgundian lifestyle' still means 'enjoyment of life, good food, and extravagant spectacle'.
    In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, Burgundy provided a power base for the rise of the Habsburgs, after Maximilian of Austria had married into the ducal family. In 1477 the last duke Charles the Bold was killed in battle and Burgundy itself taken back by France. His daughter Mary and her husband Maximillian moved the court to the palace at Coudenberg, Brussels and ruled the remnants of the empire (the Low Countries and Franche-Comté, then still a German fief) from there.
    See also: Duke of Burgundy [edit]

    Wine

    Main article: Burgundy wine
    Burgundy produces wines of the same name. The best-known wines come from the Côte d'Or, although also viticulturally part of Burgundy are Beaujolais, Chablis, Côte Chalonnaise, and Mâcon.
    The two most important wine regions in France are Bordeaux (on the South West coast, rather arid) and Burgundy (in the East towards Switzerland). Bordeaux wines are strict, weighty, academic, stentorian; Burgundy wines are varied, complex, human, and sophisticatedly homely. Although "Burgundy" means red, the Burgundy region produces both white wines and red wines.
    [edit]

    Geography

    Highest point: Haut-Folin (901m) in the Morvan.
    The Canal of Burgundy joins the Rivers Yonne and Saône, allowing barges to navigate from the north to south of France. Construction began in 1765 and was completed in 1832. At the summit there is a tunnel 3.333 kilometers long in a straight line. The canal is 242 kilometers long, with a total 209 locks and crosses two counties of Burgundy, the Yonne and Cote d'Or. The canal is now mostly used for riverboat tourism; Dijon, the most important city along the canal, has a harbor for leisure boats.
    [edit]

    Culture

    Famous Burgundian dishes include coq au vin and beef bourguignon.
    [edit]

    Trivia

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    Re: The Burgundians

    It was a terrible crime, a genocide (even officially according to the UN), when the French revolutionaries abolished Burgundy; quite similair to how Polacks and Soviets cleansed former Low German/Prussian lands. It was since the abolition of the free north of Italy, the former Longobardian Kingdoms, the undoing of the last East Germanic entity in Europe...

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    Re: The Burgundians

    Burgundy still exists as a region.



    Englishmen really like to attack anything related to the french revolution don't they?

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    Re: The Burgundians

    Quote Originally Posted by Allowyn View Post
    Burgundy still exists as a region.

    But the buggers moved it! The original heartland of the former Kingdom of Burgundy included the modern French speaking Cantons of la Suisse, no? And a good large part of the Franche Comte on this map, as well as a lot of that blue area [the map is too small for me to read the name, but it's south of Lac Geneve].
    These regions were framed more to convenience the centralising Parisian government, than to adequately reflect local and regional identities and heritage. Or am I wrong? Please educate me!
    Perhaps, indeed, you know of archaeological evidence that implies that the Germanic Burgundians ignored these more easterly parts, and settled more around Laon?
    Englishmen really like to attack anything related to the french revolution don't they?
    This wasn't a major consideration of mine. Believe me!

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    Re: The Burgundians

    Would be even more interesting, to study the correlation between Burgundy (or Borgogne), and the story of Savoy family (kings of the future "reign of Italy")

    Indeed, Savoy regions ("Savoy" and "Haute Savoy") were part of Piedmontese reign until 1860.



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    Re: The Burgundians

    Quote Originally Posted by Oswiu View Post
    The original heartland of the former Kingdom of Burgundy included the modern French speaking Cantons of la Suisse, no? And a good large part of the Franche Comte on this map, as well as a lot of that blue area [the map is too small for me to read the name, but it's south of Lac Geneve].
    These regions were framed more to convenience the centralising Parisian government, than to adequately reflect local and regional identities and heritage. Or am I wrong? Please educate me!
    Perhaps, indeed, you know of archaeological evidence that implies that the Germanic Burgundians ignored these more easterly parts, and settled more around Laon?

    This wasn't a major consideration of mine. Believe me!
    1. We would have to declare war on Switzerland and take the cantons...
    2. To form a region you have to take in count many factors, among them economical activities. They are at the end an administrative entity. That the burgundias settled here and there is just not enough.
    3. The region of France-Comté existed before the revolution. It was not the revolution who created it.
    4. The amount of burgundian germanics who settled in the wide area you mention is between 80 000 and 100 000 according to my sources.

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    Re: The Burgundians

    Quote Originally Posted by Allowyn View Post
    1. We would have to declare war on Switzerland and take the cantons...
    Who we?

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    Burgundians

    Burgundians


    The Burgundians or Burgundes were an East Germanic tribe which may have emigrated from mainland Scandinavia to the island of Bornholm, whose old form in Old Norse still was Burgundarholmr (the Island of the Burgundians), and from there to mainland Europe. In Þorsteins saga Víkingssonar, Veseti settled in an island or holm, which was called Borgund's holm, i.e. Bornholm. Alfred the Great's translation of Orosius uses the name Burgenda land. The poet and early mythologist Viktor Rydberg (1828–1895), (Our Fathers' Godsaga) asserted from an early medieval source, Vita Sigismundi, that the Burgundians themselves retained oral traditions about their Scandinavian origin.


    Tribal Origins


    The Burgundians' tradition of Scandinavian origin finds support in place-name evidence and archaeological evidence (Stjerna) and many consider their tradition to be correct (e.g. Musset, p. 62). Possibly because Scandinavia was beyond the horizon of the earliest Roman sources, including Tacitus (who only mentions one Scandinavian tribe, the Suiones), they don't tell from where the Burgundians came, and the first Roman references place them east of the Rhine (inter alia, Ammianus Marcellinus, XVIII, 2, 15). Early Roman sources thought they were simply another East Germanic tribe.

    Ca 300, the population of Bornholm (the island of the Burgundians) largely disappeared from the island. Most gravefields ceased to be used, and those that were still used had few burials (Stjerna, in Nerman 1925:176).

    In the year 369, the Emperor Valentinian I enlisted their aid in his war against another Germanic tribe, the Alamanni (Ammianus, XXVIII, 5, 8-15). At this time, the Burgundians were possibly living in the Vistula basin, according to the mid-6th century historian of the Goths, Jordanes. Sometime after their war against the Alamanni, the Burgundians were beaten in battle by Fastida, king of the Gepids and were overwhelmed, almost annihilated.

    Approximately four decades later, the Burgundians appear again. Following Stilicho’s withdrawal of troops to fight Alaric I the Visigoth in AD 406-408, the northern tribes crossed the Rhine and entered the Empire in the Völkerwanderung, or Germanic migrations. Among them were the Alans, Vandals, the Suevi, and possibly the Burgundians. The Burgundians migrated westwards and settled in the Rhine Valley.

    There was, it seems, at times a friendly relationship between the Huns and the Burgundians. It was a Hunnic custom for females to have their skull artificially elongated by tight binding of the skull when the child was an infant. Germanic graves are sometimes found with Hunnic ornaments but also with skulls of females that have been treated in this way; west of the Rhine only Burgundian graves contain a large number of such skulls. (Werner, 1953)


    Somewhere in the east the Burgundians had Christianized to the Arian form of Christianity from their native Germanic polytheism, which proved a source of suspicion and distrust between the Burgundians and the Catholic Western Roman Empire. Divisions were evidently healed or healing circa AD 500, however, as Gundobad, one of the last Burgundian kings, maintained a close personal friendship with Avitus, the Catholic bishop of Vienne. Moreover, Gundobad's son and successor, Sigismund, was himself a Catholic, and there is evidence that many of the Burgundian people had converted by this time as well, including several female members of the ruling family.




    The First Kingdom


    In 411, the Burgundian king Gundahar or Gundicar set up a puppet emperor, Jovinus, in cooperation with Goar, king of the Alans. With the authority of the Gallic emperor that he controlled, Gundahar settled on the left (Roman) bank of the Rhine, between the river Lauter and the Nahe, seizing Worms, Speyer, and Straßburg. Apparently as part of a truce, the Emperor Honorius later officially "granted" them the land. (Prosper, a. 386)

    Despite their new status as foederati, Burgundian raids into Roman Upper Gallia Belgica became intolerable and were ruthlessly brought to an end in 436, when the Roman general Aëtius called in Hun mercenaries who overwhelmed the Rhineland kingdom (with its capital at the old Celtic Roman settlement of Borbetomagus/Worms) in 437. Gundahar was killed in the fighting, reportedly along with the majority of the Burgundian tribe. (Prosper; Chronica Gallica 452; Hydatius; and Sidonius Apollinaris)

    The destruction of Worms and the Burgundian kingdom by the Huns became the subject of heroic legends that were afterwards incorporated in the Nibelungenlied—on which Wagner based his Ring Cycle—where King Gunther (Gundahar) and Queen Brünhild hold their court at Worms, and Siegfried comes to woo Kriemhild. (In Old Norse sources the names are Gunnar, Brynhild, and Gudrún as normally rendered in English.) In fact, the Etzel of the Nibelungenlied is based on Attila the Hun.



    The Second Kingdom

    For reasons not cited in the sources, the Burgundians were granted foederati status a second time, and in 443 were resettled by Aëtius in the region of Sapaudia. (Chronica Gallica 452) Though Sapaudia does not correspond to any modern-day region, the Burgundians probably lived near Lugdunum, known today as Lyon. (Wood 1994, Gregory II, 9) A new king Gundioc, or Gunderic, presumed to be Gundahar's son, appears to have reigned from his father's death. (Drew, p. 1) In all, eight Burgundian kings of the house of Gundahar ruled until the kingdom was overrun by the Franks in 534.

    As allies of Rome in its last decades, the Burgundians fought alongside Aëtius and a confederation of Visigoths and others in the battle against Attila at the Battle of Chalons (also called "The Battle of the Catalaunian Fields") in 451. The alliance between Burgundians and Visigoths seems to have been strong, as Gundioc and his brother Chilperic I accompanied Theodoric II to Spain to fight the Sueves in 455. (Jordanes, Getica, 231)


    [edit] Aspirations to the Empire

    Also in 455, an ambiguous reference infidoque tibi Burdundio ductu (Sidonius Apollinaris in Panegyr. Avit. 442.) implicates an unnamed treacherous Burgundian leader in the murder of the emperor Petronius Maximus in the chaos preceding the sack of Rome by the Vandals. The Patrician Ricimer is also blamed; this event marks the first indication of the link between the Burgundians and Ricimer, who was probably Gundioc's brother-in-law and Gundobad's uncle. (John Malalas, 374)

    The Burgundians, apparently confident in their growing power, negotiated in 456 a territorial expansion and power sharing arrangement with the local Roman senators. (Marius of Avenches)

    In 457, Ricimer overthrew another emperor, Avitus, raising Majorian to the throne. This new emperor proved unhelpful to Ricimer and the Burgundians. The year after his ascension, Majorian stripped the Burgundians of the lands they had acquired two years earlier. After showing further signs of independence, he was murdered by Ricimer in 461.

    Ten years later, in 472, Ricimer–who was by now the son-in-law of the Western Emperor Anthemius–was plotting with Gundobad to kill his father-in-law; Gundobad beheaded the emperor (apparently personally). (Chronica Gallica 511; John of Antioch, fr. 209; Jordanes, Getica, 239) Ricimer then appointed Olybrius; both died, surprisingly of natural causes, within a few months. Gundobad seems then to have succeeded his uncle as Patrician and king-maker, and raised Glycerius to the throne. (Marius of Avenches; John of Antioch, fr. 209)

    In 474, Burgundian influence over the empire seems to have ended. Glycerius was deposed in favor of Julius Nepos, and Gundobad returned to Burgundy, presumably at the death of his father Gundioc. At this time or shortly afterward, the Burgundian kingdom was divided between Gundobad and his brothers, Godigisel, Chilperic II, and Gundomar I. (Gregory, II, 28)


    [edit] Consolidation of the Kingdom


    According to Gregory of Tours, the years following Gundobad's return to Burgundy saw a bloody consolidation of power. Gregory states that Gundobad murdered his brother Chilperic, drowning his wife and exiling their daughters (one of whom was to become the wife of Clovis the Frank, and was reputedly responsible for his conversion).[1] This is contested by, e.g., Bury, who points out problems in much of Gregory's chronology for the events.

    C.500, when Gundobad and Clovis were at war, Gundobad appears to have been betrayed by his brother Godegisel, who joined the Franks; together Godegisel's and Clovis' forces "crushed the army of Gundobad." (Marius a. 500; Gregory, II, 32) Gundobad was temporarily holed up in Avignon, but was able to re-muster his army and sacked Vienne, where Godegisel and many of his followers were put to death. From this point, Gundobad appears to have been the sole king of Burgundy. (e.g., Gregory, II, 33) This would imply that his brother Gundomar was already dead, though there are no specific mentions of the event in the sources.

    Either Gundobad and Clovis reconciled their differences, or Gundobad was forced into some sort of vassalage by Clovis' earlier victory, as the Burgundian king appears to have assisted the Franks in 507 in their victory over Alaric II the Visigoth.

    During the upheaval, sometime between 483-501, Gundobad began to set forth the Lex Gundobada (see below), issuing roughly the first half, which drew upon the Lex Visigothorum. (Drew, p. 1) Following his consolidation of power, between 501 and his death in 516, Gundobad issued the second half of his law, which was more originally Burgundian.


    [edit] The Fall of the Second Kingdom


    The Burgundians were extending their power over southeastern Gaul; that is, northern Italy, western Switzerland, and southeastern France. In 493 Clovis, king of the Franks, married the Burgundian princess Clotilda (daughter of Chilperic), who converted him to the Catholic faith.

    At first allies with Clovis' Franks against the Visigoths in the early 6th century, the Burgundians were eventually conquered by the Franks in 534. The Burgundian kingdom was made part of the Merovingian kingdoms, and the Burgundians themselves were by and large absorbed as well



    [edit] The Burgundian Laws



    The Burgundians left three legal codes, among the earliest from any of the Germanic tribes.

    The Liber Consitutionum sive Lex Gundobada (The Book of the Constitution following the Law of Gundobad), also known as the Lex Burgundionum, or more simply the Lex Gundobada or the Liber, was issued in several parts between 483 and 516, principally by Gundobad, but also by his son, Sigismund. (Drew, p. 6-7) It was a record of Burgundian customary law and is typical of the many Germanic law codes from this period. In particular, the Liber borrowed from the Lex Visigothorum (Drew, p. 6) and influenced the later Lex Ribuaria. (Rivers, p. 9) The Liber is one of the primary sources for contemporary Burgundian life, as well as the history of its kings.

    Like many of the Germanic tribes, the Burgundians' legal traditions allowed the application of separate laws for separate ethnicities. Thus, in addition to the Lex Gundobada, Gundobad also issued (or codified) a set of laws for Roman subjects of the Burgundian kingdom, the Lex Romana Burgundionum (The Roman Law of the Burgundians).

    In addition to the above codes, Gundobad's son Sigismund later published the Prima Constitutio



    Origin of Burgundy


    The name of the Burgundians has since remained connected to the area of modern France that still bears their name: see the later history of Burgundy. Between the 6th and 20th centuries, however, the boundaries and political connections of this area have changed frequently; none of those changes have had anything to do with the original Burgundians. The name Burgundians used here and generally used by English writers to refer to the Burgundes is a later formation and more precisely refers to the inhabitants of the territory of Burgundy which was named from the people called Burgundes. The descendants of the Burgundians today are found primarily among the French-speaking Swiss and neighbouring regions of France.



    (From WIKIPEDIA)

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