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(born c. 539died September or October 584, Chelles, France) Merovingian king of Soissons. On the death of his father, Chlotar I, he and his three half brothers divided the kingdom. Chilperic received Soissons, the poorest share, but gained more land when one of his brothers died. Thus Chilperic became the ruler of most of the kingdom later known as Neustria. Ambitious, brutal, and debauched, he was called the Nero and Herod of his age by a contemporary writer. Chilperic murdered his own wife in order to marry his mistress, Fredegund. The murder led to years of intrigue by family members seeking revenge and civil war. He was finally killed, possibly at Fredegund's orders, by an unknown assassin. He was survived by his wife and an infant son.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Chilperic I, visit Britannica.com.
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