Clovis (given name)

Clovis is the modern conventional French (and thence English) form of the Old Frankish name ᚺᛚŌᛞᛟᚹᛁᚲ (in runic alphabet) or *Hlōdowik (in Latin alphabet), equivalent to the modern forms Louis (French), Lodewijk (Dutch), Lewis (English), and Ludwig (German).

Other names
Related namesLouis, Lewis, Ludovic, Ludovico, Luigi, Luis, Ludwig, Lodewijk, Aloysius, Alois, Luiz


The name *Hlōdowik or *Hlōdowig is traditionally considered to be composed of two elements, deriving from both Proto-Germanic *hlūdaz ("loud, famous") and *wiganą ("to battle, to fight") respectively, resulting in the traditional practice of translating Clovis' name as meaning "famous warrior".

However, scholars have pointed out that Gregory of Tours consequently transcribes the names of various Merovingian royal names containing the first element as chlodo-. The use of a close-mid back protruded vowel (o), rather than the expected close back rounded vowel (u) which Gregory does use in various other Germanic names (i.e. Fredegundis, Arnulfus, Gundobadus, etc.) opens up the possibility that the first element instead derives from Proto-Germanic *hlutą ("lot, share, portion"), giving the meaning of the name as "loot bringer" or "plunder (bringing) warrior". This hypothesis is supported by the fact that if the first element is taken to mean "famous", then the name of Chlodomer (one of Clovis' sons) would contain two elements (*hlūdaz and *mērijaz) both meaning "famous", which would be highly uncommon within the typical Germanic name structure.[1][2]

Frankish royaltyEdit

  • Clovis I (c. 466–511), the first king of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler
  • Clovis II (637–c. 658), king of Neustria and Burgundy
  • Clovis III (reigned 675–676), the king of Austrasia
  • Clovis IV (682–695), the sole king of the Franks from 691 until 695
  • Clovis (died 580), son of Chilperic I and Audovera, assassinated by his father and stepmother
  • Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne, King of Aquitaine from 781 and sole ruler of the Franks 814-840, but counted as "Louis I of France" even though West Francia (the nucleus of the later kingdom of France) was formed only after his death.

Modern useEdit

Because of the importance of Clovis I in the national historiography of France, the form Clovis has been occasionally revived beginning in the 19th century. In the same period, the form Chlodwig has seen some limited use in Germany.[3]

Fictional charactersEdit


  1. ^ Julius Pokorny (1959), Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch, Bern.
  2. ^ Nederlandse Voornamenbank, Lodewijk, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Meertens Institute.
  3. ^ The name Chlodwig is not now in use as a given name in Germany, but it exists as a surname, with a very limited (five individuals) found in the German phonebook as of 2013; see Somewhat more widespread as a surname is the variant Klodwig (67 entries;

See alsoEdit