ABSTRACT

Although Clovis II was involved in the overthrow of Grimoald, and although Balthild was partly responsible for the elevation of Childeric I I as king of Austrasia, most of the evidence relating to Neustria during this period relates to the Church, and in particular to the monastic policy associated with the queen. As we have seen, this policy had its political ramifications . Balthild was supposedly responsible for the death of nine bishops. 1 8 lt is unlikely that she was so bloodthirsty in her pursuit of ecclesiastical reform. Nevertheless , her involvement in Church affairs undoubtedly created antagonisms. Indeed her ecclesiastical policies may have been related to her fallfrom power. In a rather cryptic passage the Vita Balthildis links the murder of the queen ' s appointee , Sigobrand of Paris, caused by his pride , with her enforced retirement. 1 9 The date , around 664-5 , seems to have coincided with the coming of age of Balthild's son, Chlothar I I I .20 Whatever the cause, she was allowed to retire to her foundation of Chelles, where interestingly enough she seems at first to have been somewhat unpopular. According to her biographer , however, she managed to win over her detractors , with the help of various bishops .2 1 Her closing years were marked by displays of patience and humility, which set her in the tradition of earlier saint-queens, particularly Chlothild , Ultrogotha and Radegund.22