Monday, January 13, 2020

The Carolingian Dynasty

The Carolingians derive their name from ‘Carolus’, the Latin form of ‘Charles’. It is unsurprising that there were several members of the dynasty by the name of Charles, the most prominent of whom being Charlemagne. Nevertheless, the name of the dynasty refers to Charles Martel, who is generally regarded to be its founder. Some sources, however, claim that the Carolingians are named as such thanks to the significance of Charlemagne.The roots of the Carolingian dynasty may be traced all the way back to Arnulf, the bishop of Metz. Along with Pippin I (known also as Pippin of Landen, or Pippin the Elder), Arnulf is the earliest known ancestor of the Carolingians. Both Arnulf and Pippin were prominent figures in the Merovingian court during the 7th century AD and played a prominent role in its politics.
For example, in 613 AD, the two men led a rebellion against Brunhild, the Merovingian regent, which brought about her downfall. Their actions also allowed the Frankish lands, which was at that time divided between Austrasia and Neustria, to be reunited under a new king, Chlothar II. 
The relations between the two were further strengthened by the marriage of Arnulf’s son, Ansegisel, to Pippin’s daughter, Begga. Prior to Charles Martel, the line of Arnulf and Pippin became known either as ‘Arnulfing’ or ‘Pippinid’. Ansegisel and Begga had a son, Pippin II (known also as Pippin of Herstal), who, like his maternal grandfather before him, held the office of the mayor of the palace of Austrasia. During this time the Kingdom of the Franks was divided once again, but Pippin triumphed over the Neustrians in 687 AD at the Battle of Tertry and reunited the kingdom once more. In addition, Pippin adopted the title dux et princeps Francorum (Duke and Prince of the Franks) and was the mayor of the palace of both Austrasia and Neustria. 
Although the Merovingians continued to occupy the throne, their authority was now severely reduced, and Pippin was effectively the ruler of the entire kingdom, though as a power behind the throne. For instance, Pippin chose to retain Theuderic III as king, and after his death, replaced him with three successive Merovingian rulers. (Read more.)

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