« Burgon, John William Burgundians Burial »


BURGUNDIANS: A Germanic race, akin to the Goths and Vandals, whose earliest known home was on the Baltic between the Oder and the Vistula. In the middle of the second century they had begun to move southward; in the middle of the third they were driven further to the southwest, and occupied what is now Franconia, north and east of Lyons. With their neighbors on the southwest, the Alemanni, they had many conflicts, and summoned the aid of the Romans; they are found cooperating on the Rhine with Valentinian I. against them in 370. Next they occupied the right bank of the river, and the Vandal invasion of Gaul in the fifth century carried them across with it, to receive an allotment of land in Germania prima, a province of Gaul, in 413, and become subject to the empire. By this time they had adopted the religion of their Roman neighbors, probably almost in a body. Peaceful relations with the Romans did not last long, however. In 435 King Gundicar attacked the first Belgian province, but was driven back by Aëtius. A year later they were again defeated by the Huns, acting with the Romans, and lost their king and much of their power. But they must have recovered before many years, for in 457, with the consent of the West-Goths, they occupied the province Lugdunensis prima; in the following decade they extended their rule over the Provincia Viennensis; and about 472 they added the greater part of the Maxima Sequanorum. After Gundicar's death, his sons Gunduic and Chilperic I. shared the kingship, and the latter reigned alone after his brother's death. Gunduic's son, Gundobad, succeeded Chilperic; he had three brothers, Godegisel, Chilperic II., and Godomar. Godegisel appears as a partaker of his sovereignty; Chilperic was said to have been put to death by his order, but this is not certain, as Avitus speaks of Chilperic's death and Godomar's (which happened early in his reign) as a great blow to him. Gundobad was succeeded by his son Sigismund, who was captured by the Frankish kings in 523 and put to death in the next year. His brother Godomar II. maintained himself against the Franks for ten years; but he also succumbed, and in 534 the Burgundian territory became part of the Frankish kingdom.

The religious development of the Burgundians during the progress of these events is peculiar. They had come from the Rhine to the Rhone as Catholic Christians; but most of them joined the Arians in their new home. The royal house seems to have been slow to change; Gunduic and Chilperic II. were Catholics; but Gregory of Tours mentions Gundobad, with his brother Godegisel, as Arians. The change to Arianism seems to have followed from the feudal relations of the Burgundians to their more powerful West-Gothic neighbors. Gundobad was not a persecutor, though some churches were taken from the Catholics; Avitus of Vienne seems even to have had hopes of his conversion. But, though the bishop failed with the father, he succeeded with the son; Sigismund returned to the Church in his father's lifetime, followed by many of the people. But not until Gundobad's death did the decisive movement away from Arianism occur. Sigismund's son Sigeric followed his father's example, and Godomar had become a Catholic even earlier. In 517 a synod was held at Epao, the present Albo, south of Vienne (see Epao, Synod of), the decrees of which plainly show that Arianism was no longer dangerous, and that the time for its total suppression was believed to have come. Certainly it disappeared from that time, though no exact date can be assigned. By the union with the Frankish kingdom, the Burgundian Church lost its independence and became merely a part of the Frankish ecclesiastical organization.

(A. Hauck.)

Bibliography: Sources are to be found in MGH, Legum, section iii., Concilia, vol. i., ed. F. Maassen, 1893; MGH, Leges, ed. G. H. Pertz, vol. iii., 1863; Chronica Minora sæc. iv–vii, ed. T. Mommsen, in MGH, Auct. ant., vols. ix. (1892), xiii., part i. (1894); G. S. A. Sidonius, Epistolarum libri, Carmina, ed. C. Lütjohann, in MGH, Auct. ant., viii. (1887) 1–264; A. E. Aviti, Opera, ed. R. Pieper, in MGH, Auct. ant., vii., part 2 (1883). Consult: H. Derichsweiler, Geschichte der Burgunden, Münster, 1863; A. Jahn, Die Geschichte der Burgundionen, 2 vols., Halle, 1874; P. Milsand, Bibliographie bourguignonne, 2 vols., Dijon, 1885–88; L. M. J. Chaumont, Histoire de Bourgogne, Lyons, 1887; Retting, KD, vol. i.; Hauck, KD, vol. i.; Neander, Christian Church, vols. iii., iv., passim.

« Burgon, John William Burgundians Burial »
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