History Files


European Kingdoms

Germanic Tribes




Index of Germanic TribesMapBurgundians (Burgundiones) (Germans)

The early Germanic Burgundians (or Burgundiones) were located in eastern central Europe (within modern Poland and probably Moravia) by Tacitus in AD 98. In the third and fourth centuries they, like the Franks, did not play a great role in undermining the Western Roman empire - indeed the Burgundians were a relatively minor people. They crossed the Rhine with the Vandali in 406 and settled along the west bank, making their capital at Geneva. Once there, they found groups of other Germanic people who had been settled on vacant lands by the Romans in the third century, including the Chamavi and other constituent elements of the Franks.

(Additional information from The Oxford History of England: Roman Britain, Peter Salway.)

AD 98

In his work on Greater Germania, the Roman writer Tacitus locates the Germanic Burgundiones in eastern central Europe, immediately south of the Gepids and Gutones, with the Venedi on their eastern flank and the Vandali to their south.


Vandali and Burgundians who had crossed the Rhine to invade the Roman empire are defeated by Emperor Probus and are resettled in Britain.

406 - 409

With Roman authority gradually fading the former Celtic tribe of the Sequani are so ingrained into Roman civilisation that they are unable to reform their tribal status and protect themselves. Instead, when the Burgundiones cross the Rhine en masse they occupy the Sequani territory as their own, with recognition by a helpless Rome that they are an allied state.

410 - 411

Along with the Franks, the Burgundians support the rebellion of Roman usurper Jovinus.

? - c.411

Gebicca / Gifica / Gibica / Gibich / Giuki

Last tribal leader east of the Rhine. Semi-mythical.

Named as Gifica in the Old English poem Widsith, this Burgundian warrior hero is regarded as being at least partially mythical. He is mentioned as one of a long list of famous Germanic tribal rulers and leaders in the poem.

c.411 - 413

Gundahar / Gunther

Tribal leader, became king of the Burgundians in 413.

411 - 413

Gundahar and Goar of the Alans set up Jovinus as their puppet Roman usurper and establish a kingdom on the left bank of the Rhine.

Kingdom of the Burgundians
AD 413 - 534

Between 411-413, the new leader of the Burgundians, Gundahar, joined Goar of the Alans in setting up Jovinus as their puppet Roman usurper. Under the pretext of Jovinus' imperial authority, the Burgundians were able to establish themselves on the west bank of the Rhine (the Roman side) between the River Lauter and the Nahe. Here they founded a kingdom based upon the Romano-Gallic settlement of Borbetomagus (Worms).

Subjugated by the Huns in 437, they accepted Roman federate status and essentially moved into the vacuum of dwindling Roman power, being ceded Roman lands in 443 and 458. Towards the end of the fifth century, King Gundobad was briefly a player in the last stages of Western Roman politics, holding power as the commander of the army from 472 to 473. By 534, however, Frankish power could no longer be resisted, and Burgundy became another piece in the Frankish kingdom.

(Additional information from The Oxford History of England: Roman Britain, Peter Salway.)

413 - 436

Gundahar / Gunther

First Burgundian king west of the Rhine. Killed by Huns & Aëtius.

437 - 473


443 - 458

As part of a settlement with Rome, the Burgundians expand into Sapaduia (Cisjurane), or Savoy, in 443. The magister militum, Aëtius, had apparently been pursuing a policy of extending the settlement of friendly (or defeated) barbarians within Gaul under treaty, rather than Roman reconquest. The former is certainly easier given the lack of resources. However, the barbarians are rarely content to remain with what Rome can 'gift' them, and the Burgundians add Switzerland in 450 and further expand into Sequania (Transjurane, the former tribal lands of the Sequani tribe) in 458.


Rechiar of the Suevi is responsible for a large number of raids on the Roman province of Hispania Tarraconensis over the past seven years, with tacit approval by the Visigoths. Now the Visigoth king, Theodoric II, changes his policy and turns on the Suevi. He leads a large army which is bolstered by Burgundians under Gundioc and Chilperic, crossing the Pyrenees and defeating Rechiar at a site close to the modern town of Astorga in north-western Iberia.


The Visigoths have to fight a combined imperial army consisting of Romans, troops from Soissons under Comes Paulus, Burgundian foederati, and joint federate Britanni.

472 - 473

Gundobad, son of Gundioc, is the nephew of Ricimer. When the latter dies, Gundobad claims his position as commander of the Western Roman empire. When his father dies in 473, the Burgundian kingdom is left to the four sons, but Gundobad ensures it falls to him alone.

473 - 474


Son. Killed by Gundobad.

473 - 486


Brother. Killed by Gundobad.

473 - 500


Brother. Killed by Gundobad.

473 - 516

Gundobad / Gontebaud

Brother. Western Roman Commander (472-473).


MapGundobad is defeated in battle near Dijon by Clovis of the Franks.


The new king of the Visigoths is tentatively accepted by his nobles, but is unable to hold Narbonne against the Burgundians.

509 - 510

The Ostrogoths intervene at Narbonne, driving out both Visigoths and Burgundians. This forces the Franks and Burgundians to withdraw from the Mediterranean coast.


MapClovis, the powerful founder of the Frankish kingdom, dies and his domain is divided between his four sons. The kingdom of Austrasia is created in the north-east of France, bordering the Burgundians, while that of Orleans borders it on the west.

516 - 524


Captured by Franks and assassinated.

516 - 534

Gudomar / Godomar



Sigismund had earlier assassinated the cousin of the four ruling Frankish kings. Now all of them join in an expedition against him and he is captured. The victorious Franks return home, leaving a garrison behind, but Sigismund's brother, Gudomar, arrives with troops supplied by his ally, the Ostrogoths, and the garrison is massacred. Chlodomer of Orleans has Sigismund and his sons, Gisald and Gondebaud, assassinated on 1 May 524 and leads a second expedition against the Burgundians. He is killed at the Battle of Vézeronce, although the Franks are victorious.


The kingdom is overthrown by the Franks and is relegated to a Frankish sub-kingdom. At some point around this date, the Burgundians take Provence from the Ostrogoths, but then it is almost immediately transferred to the Franks.

Merovingian Kingdom of Burgundy
AD 534 - 843

The Burgundians were conquered in stages by the Merovingian Frankish kings, with Theudebert I of Austrasia taking the northern regions, Childebert I of Neustria taking the central regions, and Chlothar I of Soissons seizing the southern area. The latter swiftly consolidated his rule over all of the Burgundian lands, annexing them directly to his kingdom. It wasn't until Chlothar's death, when the Frankish kingdom was partitioned, that his third son, Guntrumn, became its first independent ruler.

(Additional information from The Ethnology of Germany Part 3: The Migration of the Saxons, Henry H Howorth (Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol 7, 1878), and from The History of the Franks, Volume II, Gregory of Tours (O M Dalton, Trans, 1967).)

534 - 561

Clotaire / Chlothar I

King of the Franks of Soissons.


When Chlothar dies in 561, his third son, Guntramn, gains Burgundy during the division of the Frankish kingdom. Of the rest of Chlothar's domains, Charibert gains Paris and Orleans as Neustria, Sigisbert I gains Austrasia, and Chilperic I gains Soissons.

561 - 593

Gunthchramn / Guntramn / Gontrand

Son. Signed peaceful Treaty of Andelot in 588.


When Sigisbert of Austrasia is assassinated, his widow and son put themselves under the protection of Childebert's uncle, Guntramn, and he adopts the boy as his own son.

Gunthchramn and Childebert II
Gunthchramn of Burgundy is shown here seated next to Childebert II of Austrasia, in a beautifully-coloured plate from the Grandes Chroniques de France


The Lombards invade the Merovingian Frankish region of Provence. In return, the Frankish king of Austrasia, Childebert II, and Guntramn invade Lombard Italy. They capture Trent and open negotiations with the Eastern Roman emperor via Ravenna, perhaps with the view of carving up Italy between them. The Lombards, fearing Frankish domination, elect a king to end their disunity. He is successful in throwing out the invaders and restoring the strength of the kingdom.

587 - 590

Gunthchramn of Burgundy compels Waroch of Bro Erech to renew his oath in writing and demands a thousand solidi in compensation for raiding Nantes. That compensation has not been paid by 588, even though Waroch has promised it both to Gunthchramn and Chlothar II of the Franks. In 589 or 590, Gunthchramn sends an expedition against Waroch under the command of Beppolem and Ebrachain. Ebrachain is an enemy of Fredegund, queen consort to the late King Chilperic, and it is she who sends the Saxons of Bayeux to aid Waroch.

Beppolem fights Waroch alone for three days before dying, at which point Waroch attempts to flee to the Channel Islands. Ebrachain destroys his ships and forces him to accept renewed peace, the renewal of his oath, and surrendering a nephew as a hostage. Despite all of this, the Bretons retain their spirit of independence and refuse to be cowed by the powerful Franks.

593 - 595

On the death of Guntramn, his adopted son, Childebert of Austrasia annexes the kingdom. When Childebert himself dies just two years later, his second son, Theuderich receives the Burgundian kingdom. His eldest son, Theudebert, receives Austrasia.

595 - 613

Theuderich / Thierry II

Son of Childebert II of Austrasia.

605 - 606

Upon the death of Childebert of Austrasia in 595, the Thurgau, Kembsgau, and Alsace had all passed to Burgundy under Theuderich II. Now in 605 Theuderich goes to war with his brother, Theudebert II of Austrasia. His army, which does not want to fight its Austrasian countrymen, he places under the command of Protadius with instructions to induce the soldiers to fight.

In 606 at Quierzy-sur-Oise, Theuderich re-assembles the army, but the men once again refuse to fight their countrymen. The king orders Uncilen, duke of Alemannia, to coerce them. Uncilen, however, declares that the king has ordered the death of Protadius. The despised general is promptly killed by his troops and the king is forced to sign a treaty with Austrasia. Queen Brunhilda, who had induced Theuderich to war, has Uncilen's foot removed. According to the Lex Alamannorum, a duke is only eligible for office if he can mount a horse. Being unable to continue to exercise his office, Uncilen is removed.


Sigisbert / Sigebert (II)

Son. 'False' king of Burgundy & Austrasia. Killed by Clothar II.



Great-grandmother and regent.

613 - 751

Chlothar II manoeuvres the nobles of Austrasia into abandoning Brunhilda and Sigisbert, the illegitimate son of Theuderich. They are both captured and put to death (painfully and prolonged in the case of Brunhilda). The Frankish empire is reunited under Chlothar II, and it seems likely that Gunzo, duke of Alemannia and father of Sigisbert's fiancé, is removed from his office. Clothar's son, Dagobert I, continues to hold the empire together, but after he dies, Burgundy is ruled by his son, Clovis II, as king of the Franks & Neustria in 638-656. Burgundy remains united to Neustria, but with its own administration.

The death of Brunhilda
Brunhilda, long a bitter enemy of Clothar II, was tied to the feet of wild horses and torn apart. After this, the Liber Historiae Francorum states that 'finally she died'

751 - 840

With the Pope's blessing, the Carolingian mayors of the palace depose the Merovingians and take control of the empire. Neustria, Austrasia, and Burgundy are controlled directly.

840 - 843

Louis I wills the Frankish empire to his sons, but tries to ensure that the eldest gains the biggest share, in order to avoid the fragmentation of territory that so weakened the Merovingians. Lothar receives Middle Francia (the Rhine corridor, the kingdom of Burgundy, and Italy), while Charles the Bald receives Western Francia (France and the duchy of Burgundy).

Frankish Kingdom of (Upper) Burgundy
AD 843 - 1032

The partition of the Frankish empire that was agreed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843 also resulted in the division of the Burgundian territories. The larger part of the kingdom lay on the east bank of the River Saone. This fell to Lothar, king of Middle Francia, to rule directly, and it retained the name of the kingdom of Burgundy. Its capital was at Arles, thanks to which it is occasionally known as the Burgundian kingdom of Arles. The lesser division, on the west bank of the Saone, formed the duchy of Burgundy.

843 - 855

Lothar I of Middle Francia rules the kingdom directly. On his death, Burgundy is further divided between his sons. Lothar II receives Lotharingia and northern Burgundy, while Charles receives southern Burgundy, which includes Lyon, Provence, and Vienne (former city of the Allobroges tribe), and which comes to be known as the kingdom of Provence.

855 - 869

Upper Burgundy is ruled directly by Lothar II, king of Lotharingia.

863 - 875

Louis II

King of France.

879 - 887

Boso of Lower Burgundy & Provence

Brother of Richard, first duke of Burgundy.

887 - 928

Louis III of Lower Burgundy & Provence

Emperor of Eastern Franks. King of Provence & Italy.


Burgundy regains control of the Swiss territories.

928 - 933

Hugh of Arles of Lower Burgundy

King of Italy (926-947) & Emperor (933).


Provence ceases to be a separate kingdom when Hugh exchanges it with Rudolph II of Upper Burgundy for the crown of Lombardy, otherwise known as the kingdom of Italy.

888 - 912

Rudolf I of Upper Burgundy

912 - 937

Rudolf II of Upper Burgundy

King of Italy (922-926), Lower Burgundy (933) & Emperor (922).

921 - 923

Segments of the Italian nobility are unhappy with Berengar of Friuli, so they invite Rudolph to take the throne. At the same time, Berengar's own grandson, Berengar of Ivrea, is encouraged by Rudolph to rise against him. Berengar retreats to Verona and watches helpless as Italy is ravished by invading Magyars, their attacks the trigger for a change of leadership in Italy in the first place. Rudolph's forces unite with the men of Berengar of Ivrea and defeat those of Berengar of Friuli at the Battle of Fiorenzuola on 29 July 923. Rudolf rules Italy and also holds the title of Germanic Roman Emperor, only to find a rival in Hugh of Arles.

937 - 993

Conrad the Peaceful


With the accession of the Saxon king, Otto I, the power of the Germanic Roman empire is confirmed. Otto is quite vigorous in establishing new counties and border areas within and without the empire's borders. The county of Ardennes under Sigfried gains the stronghold of Lucilinburhuc (the later Luxemburg), Arnulf I the Elder is restored in Flanders, and the March of Austria is formed from territory already captured from Hungary (around 960).

Map of Germany AD 962
Germany in AD 962 may have had its new emperor to govern the territories shown within the dark black line, but it was still a patchwork of competing interests and power bases, most notably in the five great stem duchies, many of which were attempting to expand their own territories outside the empire, creating the various march or border regions to the east and south (click on map to show full sized)

At the same time, Saxony gains Hermann Billung as its duke, charged with maintaining the duchy's eastern borders and expanding them further to the east, alongside the recently-created North March. Perhaps as a reaction to this or as the culmination of a process that is already heading that way, the duchy of Poland is formed around the same time.

993 - 1032

Rudolf III


Savoy becomes a county in its own right when Rudolf grants the title of count to Humbert White Hands, a great-grandson of Louis III of Burgundy.


As agreed by Rudolf III in 1006, following his death and with no heir to succeed him, the kingdom (including its Swiss territories) is inherited by Franconian Emperor Conrad II the Salian. Although the kingdom continues to operate with a fair degree of autonomy, from this point onwards, the emperors also count themselves as kings of Arles. In 1038, Burgundy is handed by Conrad to his son, Henry the Black, along with the neighbouring duchy of Swabia.

Duchy of Burgundy
AD 843 -1482

MapThe partition of the Frankish empire which was agreed by the Treaty of Verdun in 843 also resulted in the division of the Burgundian territories. The larger part of the kingdom lay on the east bank of the River Saone (which flowed due south to feed into the Rhone). This retained the name of the kingdom of Burgundy. The lesser division lay on the west bank of the Saone and was also titled a kingdom, but its lord, Charles II the Bald, appointed a duke to administer it, and it became known as the duchy of Burgundy.

843 - 877

Charles II the Bald

King of West Francia.

880 - 921

Richard the Justicer of Autun

Brother of Boso, king of Burgundy.

921 - 936

Rudolf / Raoul

King of France (923-936).

936 - 952

Hugh the Black

952 - 956


956 - 965

Odo of Paris

965 - 1002

Otto-Henry the Great

1002 - 1015

Otto William

1015 - 1032


1032 - 1076

Robert I

Son of Robert II the Pious, king of France.


Despite reigning for nearly thirty years, Henry I of France is unable to achieve anything more than the preservation of the Capetian dynasty after facing incessant conflict with rebel lords. Many of them have shown pretensions for independence, including Henry's brother, Robert I, duke of Burgundy.

1076 - 1079

Hugh I

1079 - 1102

Odo / Eudes I the Red

Brother of Henry, count of Portugal (1093-1112).

1102 - 1143

Hugh II

1143 - 1162

Eudes II

1162 - 1192

Hugh III

1192 - 1218

Eudes III

1218 - 1272

Hugh IV

1272 - 1306

Robert II

1306 - 1315

Hugh V

1315 - 1349

Eudes IV

1349 - 1361

Philip of Rouvre

Betrothed to Margaret of Flanders, but died of the plague first.

1361 - 1364

The duchy reverts to the French throne under John II. Upon his death, Burgundy is held by a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. Philip the Bold is the fourth son of John II.

1364 - 1404

Philip the Bold

Free County of Burgundy 1384.

1368 - 1405

Philip marries Margaret of Mâle in 1368, and in 1384 she becomes countess of Flanders, thereby passing the county into the hands of the dukes of Burgundy, where it remains after Philip's death in 1405.


Charles VI of France is not able to govern until he reaches his majority in 1388 since his uncles, including Philip the Bold, hold power and take maximum advantage of their position. Upon his birthday he has them removed and recalls his late father's advisors into the government. His first episode of madness in 1392 allows Philip to seize power again, but it sparks a long-running dispute between various factions in France.

1404 - 1419

John the Fearless


1419 - 1467

Philip the Good

Also count of Holland. duke of Luxembourg (1441-1467).

1441 - 1482

Philip gains the duchy of Luxembourg.

1467 - 1477

Charles the Bold

Also count of Holland.

1474 - 1477

Duke René of Lorraine is facing increasing pressure both from Louis XI of France and Charles the Bold of Burgundy. He has already allied himself with Charles, but Burgundian garrisons have been established in Lorraine so René now switches allegiance to Louis. Charles invades Lorraine, forcing René to abandon Nancy on 30 November 1475. The city is recaptured on 5 October 1476 before René leads an army of Swiss mercenaries into the Battle of Nancy on 5 January 1477. Charles is defeated and killed, ending the Burgundian Wars.

1477 - 1482

Mary of Burgundy

Also countess of Holland. m Maximilian of Habsburg 1477.


The duchy of Burgundy reverts to the French throne through the efforts of Louis XI of France. The Free County of Burgundy & Flanders passes to Austria. The county of Holland passes to the Habsburgs.