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Battle of Vouillé
Part of The battles of Clovis I
Date 507 AD
Location Vouillé, Vienne
Result Decisive Frankish victory, territorial gain of Gallia Aquitania
Belligerents
Franks Visigoths
Commanders
Clovis I Alaric II
Strength
unknown unknown
Casualties and losses
unknown unknown, Alaric II was killed

The Battle of Vouillé or Vouglé (from Latin Campus Vogladensis) was fought in the northern marches of Visigothic territory, at Vouillé, Vienne near Poitiers (Gaul), in the spring of 507 between the Franks commanded by Clovis and the Visigoths of Alaric II, the conqueror of Spain.

Clovis and Anastasius I of the Byzantine Empire agreed that each would attack the Goths on their own side.

The Franks crossed the Loire river. Clovis himself killed Alaric. It may have been that huge defections in the field, from optimates and gothic nobles, was the cause of defeat, as increased royal power in the clan of the Balths was eroding the other clans' independence. Rank families from the Goths have been sifting away to "distant" and derelict Spanish regions across the Pyrenees, according to Jordanes, where land tenure was for grabs in depopulated high plains of Castile and the draft in military duties was easier to dodge.The battle forced the Goths to retreat to Septimania, which they continued to hold. The success at Vouillé allowed the Franks to control the southwestern part of France, and capture Toulouse. Alaric's illegitimate son Gesalec tried to organize a counterstrike at Narbonne, but he was deposed and ultimately killed when Narbonne was taken by Burgundian allies of the Franks, who held it until 511. The Franks might have pushed farther, had Theodoric the Great not intervened.

Frankish Aquitaine, formerly linked to Hispano-Roman trade routes and territories, drifted into a role as an isolated outpost, to judge from the lack of trade items in its 7th and 8th century archaeology. Its Frankish kings resided at Toulouse.

Clovis, the Frankish king, is an excellent example of the change of warfare that occurred at that time: wars were no longer about the conquest of territory with the view to its long term expansion; they provided immediate profit in the form of plunder. His very name meant 'glory by combat' and his successes in battle and his conversion to Christianity brought him Roman recognition. After his success in this battle the Byzantine emperor, Anastasius, made him a consul.

Literature

  • Eugen Ewig: Die Merowinger und das Frankenreich, Stuttgart u.a. 1993.
  • Herwig Wolfram: Die Goten, München 2001.

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