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Jumièges' Enervés and their grave

The grave | Philippe Alès / CC-BY-SA
Abbey Burial place Torture Benedictine Clovis II Jumièges abbey

Rebel teens!

This tombstone was strangely called Enervés (literally, "without pieces of gristle") tombstone... The legend said those recumbent figure were Clovis II and queen Bathilde's sons...

Those two young princes started to conspire against their old pater when he left for Crusades.

Why? In order to dethrone him, of course! But their dad was informed and came back in France. In the beginning, he tried to negotiate, to calm them down. But in vain! The two sons even fought a duel with him!


At the end, Clovis decided to send them in jail. Sentence? They burnt ("roast", as they said) their legs and arms pieces of gristle: in fact, the "enervation" was an old torture consisting of cutting and burning lower and upper limbs gristle! Oh my gosh!

In fact, the prisoner was after that completely handicapped, incapable of moving! So énervé means literally... "without gristles"!

Then, they put the two man on small boats and sent them on river Seine. Come what may, grumbled Clovis, looking at the frail skiff going away.

Oh, well, what happened next? The river dropped them off next to the abbey. Here, saint Philibert welcomed them and ordered them to stay here in order to pray. The two brothers accepted and stayed here for the rest of their life...

A legend?

Mhh... but there's a little problem... Clovis II's sons weren't conspirators (Thierry, Clotaire and Childéric were kings) and above all, Clovis never stepped on the Holy Land...

But we have this tombstone: we can see two men side by side, wearing a fleur-de-lis tunic, a crown on their heads...

They are noblemen, princes or king, for sure. These recumbent figures are typical of king saint Louis era recumbent statues. Strange, for a legend dating back to the 7th century!

Well, Guillaume de Jumièges didn't write a line about this in his history of the abbey, in the 11th century.

Even Mabillon said those statues belonged to duke of Bavière Tassillon and his son Théodon, exiled in Jumièges because they supported the Hans against Charlemagne...

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!