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Chlothar III (or Chlotar, Clothar, Clotaire, Chlotochar, or Hlothar, giving rise to the name Lothair; 649–73) was the eldest son of Clovis II, king of Neustria and Burgundy, and his queen Balthild. When Clovis died in around 657 or 658, Chlothar, who was only a little child at eight or nine years old, succeeded him under the regency of his mother, Balthild.

Chlothar III
Tiers de sou de Clotaire III frappé à Paris.jpeg
A tremissis of Chlothar III minted at Paris
King of Neustria and Burgundy
Reign 658-673
Predecessor Clovis II
Successor Theuderic III
King of Austrasia
Reign 657-662
Predecessor Childebert the Adopted
Successor Childeric II
Born 649
Died 673 (aged 23–24)
Burial Saint Denis Basilica, Paris
Dynasty Merovingian
Father Clovis II
Mother Balthild

The Historia Langobardorum reports that in the early 660s a Frankish army invaded Provence and then Italy (bk 5, ch V). This force came upon the camp of the Lombard king Grimoald I of Benevento, at Rivoli near Asta. Grimuald pretended to flee. The Franks looted the camp and celebrated. Then, after midnight, Grimuald attacked and drove them back to Neustria.

After the death of Saint Eligius in 661, the Life of Eligius — written soon after Chlothar's death — records that a plague reduced the population of France's cities. A plague in the British Isles, according to Bede, did the same there in 664.

During the regency, Austrasians begged for a king of their own and in 662, the 13 year old Clothar's government gave Austrasia to another son of Clovis II, Childeric II, who was 12.

Also during his reign, the mayor of the palace Erchinoald died and a council of Franks elected Ebroin to replace him. As of 668, Bede tells that Ebroin was running the nation's foreign policy and internal security. Given that the Liber historiae Francorum admits four years for Chlothar's reign, it remains possible that Chlothar began to exert some real authority from 669 onwards when his mentors let the now adult king govern.

Chlothar died in Spring 673. He was buried in Saint Denis Basilica and a tomb, probably his, was discovered there recently.[when?] Then, his brother Theuderic III succeeded him.

It is notable that he is often described as the first roi fainéant—do-nothing king—of the Merovingian dynasty; and at least until the last four years of his life this description is fitting.

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Chlothar III
Born: 649 Died: 673
Preceded by
Childebert the Adopted
King of the Franks of Austrasia
Succeeded by
Childeric II
Preceded by
Clovis II
King of the Franks of Neustria and Burgundy
Succeeded by
Theuderic III