- [S15] Wikipedia.
Merovech (411-457) (Latin: Meroveus or Merovius; French: Mérovée) is the legendary founder of the Merovingian dynasty of the Salian Franks, that later became the dominant Frankish tribe. The name is a latinization of a form close to Old High German proper name Marwig, lit. "famed fight" (cf. m?ri "famous" + w?g "fight").
There is little information about him in the later histories of the Franks. Gregory of Tours only names him once as the father of Childeric I while putting doubt on his descent from Clodio. Many admit today that this formulation finds its explanation in a legend reported by Fredegar. The Chronicle of Fredegar interpolated on this reference by Gregory by adding Merovech was the son of the queen, Clodio's wife; but his father was a sea-god, bistea Neptuni. No other historical evidence exists that Merovech ever lived. Some researchers have noted that Merovech, the Frankish chieftain, may have been the namesake of a certain god or demigod honored by the Franks prior to their conversion to Christianity. It has been suggessted Merovech refers to or is reminiscent to the Dutch river Merwede, nowadays part of the Rhine-Meus-Scheldt delta but historically a main subsidiary of the Rhine, in the neighborhood of which the Salian Franks once dwelled according to Roman historians. Another theory considers this legend to be the creation of a mythological past needed to back up the fast-rising Frankish rule in Western Europe.
According to another legend, Merovech was conceived when Pharamond's wife encountered a Quinotaur, a sea monster which could change shapes while swimming. Though never stated, it is implied that she was impregnated by it. This legend was relatetted by Fredegar in the seventh century, and may have been known earlier. The legend is probably a back-formation or folk etymology used to explain the Salian Franks' origin as a sea coast dwelling people, and based on the name itself. The "Mero-" or "Mer-" element in the name suggests a sea or ocean (see Old English "mere," Latin "mare," or even the Modern English word "mermaid," etc.). The "Salian" in "Salian Franks" may be a reference to salt, a reminder of their pre-migration home ome on the shores of the North Sea (alternatively, it may refer to the Isala or IJssel river behind which their homeland, the Salland, may have been located). The legend could also be explained in a much easier way. The sea monster could have been a foreign conqueror, coming from the sea, taking the dead king's(Chlodio or Pharamond) wife to legitimise his rule.
The first Frankish royal dynasty called themselves Merovingians in his honor.
Reference in popular culture
The legend about Merovech's conception was adapted in 1982 by authors Henry Lincoln and Richard Leigh in their book Holy Blood Holy Grail, as the seed of a new idea. They hypothesized that this "descended from a fish" legend was actually referriing to the concept that the Merovingian line had married into the bloodline of Jesus Christ, since the symbol for early Christians had also been a fish. This theory, with no other basis than Lincoln and Leigh's concoction, was further popularized in 2003 via Dan Brown's bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code.
There is also a fictional character called The Merovingian in the movies The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (portrayed by Lambert Wilson). The character is modeled as an ancient and powerful leader of exiles. He also has extensive knowledge of the inner workings of the universe and uses this knowledge to support his decadent lifestyle.