Chilperic I and Fredegund

Rigunth1, daughter of Chilperic2, often made malicious charges against her mother [Fredegund]3 and said that she was the mistress and that her mother should pay her homage, and she continuously attacked her with abuse and provocation. Sometimes they would strike each other with slaps and punches. Her mother said to her: “Why are you so troublesome to me, daughter? Look, here are your father’s things that I have. Take and do with them as you like.” And she went into the treasury and opened a chest quite full of necklaces and costly jewels. For a long time she took them out one by one and handed them to her daughter but finally said: “I am tired; you put in your hand and take what you find.” And when she thrust in her arm and was taking things from the chest, her mother seized the lid and slammed it down on her neck. And she was holding it down with such force that the lower board was crushing her daughter’s gullet so that her eyes were actually ready to pop out when one of the maids who was within called loudly: “Run, I beg you, run; my mistress is being choked to death by her mother.” And those who were awaiting their coming outside rushed into the little room and saved the girl from imminent death and led her out. After that their hostility became even more vehement and they were always brawling and hitting each other, above all because of Rigunth’s constant sleeping around.

Gregory of Tours, History of the Franks 9. 34

Translation based on Earnest Brehaut [1916]

1 c. 570 – after 585.

2 Chilperic I (c. 539 – September 584), king of Neustria.

3 Concubine and then wife of Chilperic (d. 597)