|A King of the Franks|
|Died||probably after 450|
|Issue||Merovech (uncertain, but probable relative)|
|Father||Theodemeres or Pharamond (uncertain)|
Chlodio (d. approx. 450) also Clodio, Clodius, Clodion, Cloio or Chlogio, was a Frankish king who attacked, and apparently then held, Roman-inhabited lands and cities in the Silva Carbonaria forest, now in central Belgium, then Cambrai and Tournai, and reached as far south as the River Somme.
Modern historians believe he was a descendant of the earlier Salian Franks, reported by Roman sources in the 4th century.
He is known from very few records, but Gregory of Tours reported that in his time people believed he was also an ancestor of the Merovingian dynasty.
Chlodio is a short form of the Frankish names *Hlodowig (Clovis) and *Hlodhari (Chlothar), which are derived from the Germanic root *hlod- ('famous').
In later medieval chronicles, several different ancestries were given, naming people known from real Roman history. These pedigrees are considered unreliable today.
The non-contemporary Liber Historiae Francorum says his father was Pharamond, a Frankish King only known from such medieval records. Pharamond in turn was said to be the son of a real Frankish king, known to have fought the Romans, Marcomer.
The Chronicle of Fredegar, on the other hand, makes Chlodio son of Theudemeres, another real Frankish king who Gregory of Tours reported to have been executed with his mother by the Romans.
Gregory of Tours (II,9) reported that "Chlogio" (as he spells his name in Latin) attacked from a fort (castrum) named "Dispargum" on the edge of the "Thoringian" land, which is described as being west of the Rhine. One translation of what Gregory wrote, adding some Latin key words in square brackets:
This description of locations does not match the normal medieval and modern "Thuringia", which is far inland and east of the Rhine and Frankish areas.
Dispargum has therefore been interpreted many ways, for example possibly as Duisburg on the Rhine itself, or Duisburg near Brussels, or Diest, which is also in Belgium. The latter two proposals would fit the geography well, because they are within striking distance of the Silva Carbonaria, and close to Toxandria, which is known to have been settled by the Salians in the time of Julian the Apostate. It requires "Thoringorum" (genitive case) to be referring to the "Civitas Tungrorum". This matches Gregory's previous mention in the same passage of how the Franks had earlier settled on the banks of the Rhine and then moved into "Thoringia" on the left side of the Rhine.
According to this account, he held power in the northernmost part of still-Romanized Northern Gaul, together with an area further northeast apparently already Frankish.
Two works written after Gregory of Tours, added details which are mostly not considered reliable, but which may contain some facts derived from other sources. These are the Liber Historiae Francorum and the Chronicle of Fredegar. It is the first of these which specifies that Chlodio first pushed west through Roman-inhabited territories of the Silva Carbonaria, a large forested region which ran roughly from Brussels to the Sambre, and then took the Roman city of Turnacum (modern Tournai), before moving south to Cameracum (modern Cambrai). According to Lanting & van der Plicht (2010), the Frankish conquest of Turnacum and Cameracum probably happened in the period 445–450.
In about 448 AD, a marriage party of the Franks of Chlodio was attacked and defeated at a village named Vicus Helena in Artois by Flavius Aëtius, the commander of the Roman army in Gaul. This is known because the future emperor Majorian was present, and this incident was therefore celebrated in the panegyric written by Sidonius Apollinaris for him. The passage describes "Cloio" as having overrun the land of the Atrebates (Artois, a province north of the Somme, and partly between Tournai and Cambrai).
As explained above, Gregory of Tours mentions that "some people said" that Merovech, the ancestor of the 'Merovingian' dynasty, was in the line of Chlodio, although Merovech's son Childeric I is known only from records associating him with Romanized northern Gaul. Only once his son Clovis I took power in that area did he turn to Kings still ruling in more traditionally Frankish areas. According to Gregory's understanding, the Frankish regions had many kings, but they were all part of one specific noble family, including Chlodio. However, according to the Gesta episcoporum Cameracensium, Clovis and his noble-blooded competitor King Ragnachar of Cambrai (the town Chlodio had put under Frankish control) were related not through the male line, but through Clovis's mother, Basina, a "Thuringian" princess whom his father met when exiled from Gaul. Gregory reports that Clovis asked Ragnachar: "Why have you humiliated our family in permitting yourself to be bound? It would have been better for you to die." He then killed him with an axe and told Ricchar, "If you had aided your brother, he would not have been bound", before killing Ricchar in the same way.
A contemporary Roman historian, Priscus writes of having witnessed in Rome, a "lad without down on his cheeks as yet and with fair hair so long that it poured down his shoulders, Aetius had made him his adopted son". Priscus writes that the excuse Attila used for waging war on the Franks was the death of their king and the disagreement of his children over the succession, the elder being allied with Attila and the younger with Aetius. It has been speculated that this Frankish succession dispute may involve the family of Chlodio and Merovech. On the other hand, it has also been concluded that the Franks in this story must be Rhineland Franks, with whom Aëtius had various interactions.