The Monnaie de Paris has unveiled a new series entitled “Women of France,” which begins with a coin dedicated to Queen Clotilde (474 – 545). Remembered in French history as the woman who brought Christianity to France by prompting her husband King Clovis to receive baptism, Queen Clotilde’s place in Catholicism was secured when she was canonized in 550 for her fervent faith and efforts.
Clotilde was born as a Princess of Burgundy in 474; she was the daughter of King Chilpéric II of Burgundy and the niece of King Gondebaud, who inherited the Burgundian crown from his brother. Her life took an ominous turn when in 493 her uncle Gondebaud had his two brothers, including her father, murdered. Clotilde’s mother had also been killed by drowning, so Clotilde and her elder sister Chrona became wards of their uncle.
Clotilde, who had already espoused fervent Christian belief as did her mother, was comforted by her faith. She watched her sister take her vows and found the church dedicated to Saint Victor. In the year of her father’s death, her Uncle was approached by Clovis, King of the Franks since 509, and asked for the hand of Clotilde, which was granted.
Clovis, the dynamic son of Childeric I, a Merovingian king of the Salian Franks, became the first king of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler. He is credited with changing the form of leadership from the consensus of a group of royal chieftains to sole rule by a single king, ensuring that the Crown or united throne was passed down to his heirs.
Clovis and Clotilde were married shortly after Clovis’ proposal and five children soon followed. Clotilde wished for her husband’s conversion, which finally occurred in the year 496, after the Battle of Tolbiac against a collection of Germanic tribes known as the Alamanni. According to tradition, Clovis prayed to God and swore that he would consent to baptism if he emerged victorious on the battlefield. As a result of this victory, King Clovis converted to Catholicism and was baptized by Bishop Remigius of Reims on Christmas Day of that year.
The coins, issued in both gold and silver, share the same obverse and reverse designs. The obverse includes a portrait of Clotilde, depicted with an aureola around her head, confirming her status as a saint. As Queen of the Franks, she is wearing a crown. The background of the coin is a pattern similar to the tapestries of the era.
On the reverse, the scene of Clovis’ baptism is depicted. This major event in France’s history marked Clotilde’s reign. The background of the coin also includes a pattern or texture similar to the tapestries of the era. King Clovis’ baptism date is inscribed on the reverse and includes both the monetary denomination and year of issue.
|10 EURO||.900 silver||22.2 grams||37 mm.||Proof||5000 pieces|
|50 EURO||.920 Gold||8.45 Grams||22 mm.||Proof||1000 pieces|
The first coin will be available from March 21. The series will consist of three releases in 2016 — a second coin will feature Queen Matilda, wife of England’s William the Conqueror, and the third coin in the series will be dedicated to Joan D’Arc, military leader and emblematic figure of the Hundred Years’ War.
The style of minting for the Women of France series follows closely of the successful French coin series “From Clovis to the Republic.” For more information on this and other coins offered by the Monnaie de Paris, please visit their Web site. Information is offered in English & French, with international orders dispatched where applicable.