Historical setting: 589 C.E. Journey toward the Loire
This new day we set out to follow the rivers to reach the Loire. At our pace it takes barely more than a day to come into sight of Sens, a city that keeps its Celtish ways even after the Romans came and built a wall and left. The city itself remembers its deep love of nature and all Creation and it is a great power seat for the bishop, but I have no message to deliver here. This night we stay in an inn adjacent to a stable for travelers on horseback. Tomorrow we will start a longer trek to Orleans. We have come to the end of the map given us by the iron merchant.
Following the patterns of rivers and creeks I wonder if we would be more efficient reaching the Loire by boat. But just now we need to cross over the waters at a rocky and shallow place with rapids and falls and I am reassured horses offer the best passage. The view of Orleans has a long welcome from this approach into the civitas. The king’s castle rises high above the city like a shadow fortress to the fabled gates of heaven. I wonder aloud to Ana why King Guntram would choose to live so far from his city.
She reminds me, “His son is here, Clothar II, of course that would be a reason for him to come here and stay; but also, here is his sister-in-law Ferdigund, the child’s mother and regent and the widow of Chilperic.”
Yes, that would surely make an awkward homecoming. No wonder he spent weeks traveling to get here with the Bishop of Tours and his whole entourage.
But this thought I share with Ana, “Guntram didn’t think twice about taking in Siegebert’s widow, Brunhilda, and that young king for whom she was the regent.”
“Yeah, Laz, You’re thinking like a guy. Underneath all the King’s warring things, the swords and arrows and fast horses there are tangles of women with long tentacles of hate twisting deep into the histories. You’re forgetting that it was Brunhilda’s own sister who fell victim to Ferdigund’s jealousy. And Brunhilda is now the regent of another child, ruler of a land that just meets with Guntram’s lands in the Vosges.”
“How do you think of these things? I expect we won’t be getting any royal invitations to breakfast at this castle.”
“Yes,” Ana agrees, “We’d best choose our accommodations for this night among the commoners.”
[Missing footnote? This history is a recap from an earlier blog where it was noted. The story is indeed an interesting chapter or Wikipedia find.]
(Continues Tuesday, August 23, 2022