Battle of Vouillé

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

Battle of Vouillé
Part of Franco-Visigothic Wars
Battle between Clovis and the Visigoths.jpg
Depiction of the battle, c. 1335.
Result Frankish victory
Frankish conquest of Gallia Aquitania[1]
Kingdom of the Franks Kingdom of the Visigoths
Commanders and leaders
Clovis I Alaric II 
Clovis killing Alaric II at the Battle of Vouillé, 15th century miniature.


Due to Clovis' earlier victories over the Alemanni east of the Rhine, as well as the Burgundians in the Rhone Valley, the Franks growing power began to pose a threat to Alaric II's territory in Aquitaine and Hispania. Despite Theodoric's attempts to broker a peace between the factions, Clovis began a campaign to seize Aquitaine and Alaric's center of power in Toulouse. Alaric, his army, and a force of Auvergnants militia commanded by Apollinaris of Clermont marched north and met the Frankish army in Gaul.[2]


Clovis' army was slowed by a rain-swollen Vienne River, yet his forces were able to engage the Visigoths south of Vouillé.[3] With his missile troops stationed at the rear of his army, Clovis sent the rest of the army forward to fight hand-to-hand with the Visigoths.[3] Despite being a superior army in size and equipage, Alaric's soldiers wavered as all of the Auvergnat commanders except Apollinaris were killed.[2] During the melée Clovis allegedly killed the Visigothic king Alaric, whereupon the Visigothic army broke and fled.[3] Clovis's army proceeded south and plundered Alaric's treasure at Toulouse.[2]


After Clovis' success in this battle, the Byzantine emperor Anastasius made him an honorary consul and patrician.[4] The battle forced the Visigoths to retreat to Septimania, which they continued to hold, while 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. Clovis eventually drove the Goths out of Angoulême and his son, Theuderic I, defeated the Goths in Hispania.[2]


  1. ^ Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe: Society in Transformation, ed. Michael Frassetto, (ABC-CLIO, 2003), 362.
  2. ^ a b c d Showalter, Dennis (2013). Medieval Wars: 500 - 1500. London: Amber Books. p. 20. ISBN 9781782741190. OCLC 959829638.
  3. ^ a b c Bernard S. Bachrach, Merovingian Military Organization, 481-751 (University of Minnesota Press, 1972), 11
  4. ^ Clovis, Anastasius, and the Political Status 508 CE: The Frankis Aftermath of the Battle of Vouillé, Ralph W. Mathisen, The Battle of Vouillé, 507 CE: Where France Began, ed. Ralph W. Mathisen and Danuta Shanzer, (Walter de Gruyter Inc., 2012), 88.


  • Bernard S. Bachrach, Merovingian Military Organization, 481-751, University of Minnesota Press, 1972.
  • Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe: Society in Transformation, ed.Michael Frassetto, ABC-CLIO, 2003.


Coordinates: 46°35′00″N 0°20′00″E / 46.5833°N 0.3333°E / 46.5833; 0.3333