Queen Arnegundis

Embroidered remains of Queen Arnegundis' silk garment. 6th century AD. Embroidered remains of Queen Arnegundis' silk garment. 6th century AD.

In the mid-twentieth century, excavations were carried out in the basilica of Saint Denis, the grave church of the Merovingian kings of the Franks. In this church, now in a suburb of Paris, a large number of sarcophagi were discovered. No. 49, discovered in 1959, yielded, so it appeared, the remains of Queen Arnegundis (Aregund, Aregunda, Arnegund, Aregonda, Arnegonda), the wife of the Frankish king, Clotaire I.

Queen Arnegundis died c. AD 580. She was buried in full regalia, and her grave has yield many costly items, including fragments of her garments.

The textiles included a garment made of a purple silk, and another garment, reddish-brown in colour and also made of silk, with sleeves that were decorated around the cuffs with gold thread embroidery. The gold thread was made from narrow gold sheet strips that wrre wrapped around silk thread (generally called passing). The gold thread, the use of silk, and the red and purple colours (both colours not readibly available in the Germanic lands north of the Alps) all emphasise the special quality of the garments, and the possible links with the Byzantine world.

Source: PÉRIN, P. and T. CALLIGARO (2005). 'La tombe d'Arégonde: Nouvelles analyses en laboratoire du mobilier métallique et des restes organiques de la défunte du sarcophage 49 de la basilique de Saint-Dénis', Antiquités Nationales 37 (2005), pp. 181-206.

Digital source (retrieved 26 December 2016).

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 26 December 2016).


Last modified on Monday, 26 December 2016 19:46