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Carolingians(kărəlĭn`jēənz), dynasty of Frankish rulers, founded in the 7th cent. by Pepin of LandenPepin of Landen
(Pepin I), d. 639?, mayor of the palace of the Frankish kingdom of Austrasia. With Arnulf, bishop of Metz, he called in King Clotaire II of Neustria to overthrow (613) Queen Brunhilda of Austrasia.
..... Click the link for more information. , who, as mayor of the palace, ruled the East Frankish Kingdom of Austrasia for Dagobert I. His descendants, Pepin of HeristalPepin of Heristal
(Pepin II) , d. 714, mayor of the palace (680–714) of the Frankish territory of Austrasia; grandson of Pepin of Landen and father of Charles Martel.
..... Click the link for more information. , Charles MartelCharles Martel
[O.Fr.,=Charles the Hammer], 688?–741, Frankish ruler, illegitimate son of Pepin of Heristal and grandfather of Charlemagne. After the death of his father (714) he seized power in Austrasia from Pepin's widow, who was ruling as regent for her grandsons, and
..... Click the link for more information. , CarlomanCarloman,
d. 754, mayor of the palace in the kingdom of Austrasia after the death (741) of his father, Charles Martel. Ruling with his brother, Pepin the Short, he carried on successful wars against the dukes of Aquitaine, the Saxons, the Swabians, and the Bavarians.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Pepin the ShortPepin the Short
(Pepin III), c.714–768, first Carolingian king of the Franks (751–68), son of Charles Martel and father of Charlemagne. Succeeding his father as mayor of the palace (741), he ruled Neustria, Burgundy, and Provence, while his brother Carloman (d.
..... Click the link for more information. , continued to govern the territories under the nominal kingship of the MerovingiansMerovingians,
dynasty of Frankish kings, descended, according to tradition, from Merovech, chief of the Salian Franks, whose son was Childeric I and whose grandson was Clovis I, the founder of the Frankish monarchy.
..... Click the link for more information. . In 751, with the knowledge and backing of Pope Zacharias, Pepin the Short deposed the last Merovingian king, Childeric III. To emphasize the importance of the church and to legitimize his reign, Pepin was consecrated by a bishop of the Roman church. The family was at its height under Pepin's son, CharlemagneCharlemagne
(Charles the Great or Charles I) [O.Fr.,=Charles the great], 742?–814, emperor of the West (800–814), Carolingian king of the Franks (768–814).
..... Click the link for more information. , who was crowned emperor in 800. His empire was divided by the Treaty of Verdun (843) after the death of his son, Emperor Louis ILouis I
or Louis the Pious,
Fr. Louis le Pieux or Louis le Débonnaire, 778–840, emperor of the West (814–40), son and successor of Charlemagne. He was crowned king of Aquitaine in 781 and co-emperor with his father in 813.
..... Click the link for more information. , among Louis's three sons. Lothair ILothair I
, 795–855, emperor of the West (840–55), son and successor of Louis I. In 817 his father crowned him coemperor. He was recrowned (823) at Rome by the pope and issued (824) a constitution, proclaiming his right to confirm papal elections.
..... Click the link for more information. inherited the imperial title and the middle part of the empire. Louis the GermanLouis the German,
c.804–876, king of the East Franks (817–76). When his father, Emperor of the West Louis I, partitioned the empire in 817, Louis received Bavaria and adjacent territories.
..... Click the link for more information. founded a dynasty that ruled in Germany (kingdom of the East Franks) until 911, his successors being Charles IIICharles III
or Charles the Fat,
839–88, emperor of the West (881–87), king of the East Franks (882–87), and king of the West Franks (884–87); son of Louis the German, at whose death he inherited Swabia (876).
..... Click the link for more information. (Charles the Fat), ArnulfArnulf
, c.850–899, Carolingian emperor (896–99), king of the East Franks (887–99), illegitimate son of Carloman of Bavaria. In 887 he led the rebellion of the kingdom of the East Franks (Germany) against his uncle, Carolingian Emperor Charles III, and was
..... Click the link for more information. , and Louis the ChildLouis the Child,
893–911, German king (900–911), son and successor of King Arnulf. He was the last of the German line of the Carolingians. The archbishop of Mainz was regent for him.
..... Click the link for more information. . The third son of Louis I, Charles IICharles II
or Charles the Bald,
823–77, emperor of the West (875–77) and king of the West Franks (843–77); son of Emperor Louis I by a second marriage.
..... Click the link for more information. (Charles the Bald), founded the French Carolingian dynasty, which ruled, with interruptions, until 987. Its rulers were Louis IILouis II
or Louis the Stammerer,
846–79, French king. He succeeded (877) his father, Emperor of the West Charles II, as king. On Louis's death his kingdom was divided between his sons Carloman and Louis III.
..... Click the link for more information. (Louis the Stammerer), Louis IIILouis III,
c.863–882, French king, son of King Louis II. He became joint ruler with his brother Carloman on the death of Louis II (879), despite the attempts of Louis the Younger to become French king.
..... Click the link for more information. , CarlomanCarloman,
d. 884, king of the West Franks (France), son of King Louis II (Louis the Stammerer). He became joint ruler with his brother Louis III in 879. His reign was disturbed by revolts in Burgundy, by the loss (879) of Provence to Boso, count of Arles, and by an invasion of
..... Click the link for more information. , Charles IIICharles III
(Charles the Simple), 879–929, French king (893–923), son of King Louis II (Louis the Stammerer). As a child he was excluded from the succession at the death (884) of his half-brother Carloman and at the deposition (887) of King Charles III (Charles the
..... Click the link for more information. (Charles the Simple), Louis IVLouis IV
or Louis d'Outremer
[Fr.,=Louis from overseas], 921–54, French king (936–54), son of King Charles III (Charles the Simple). He spent his youth as an exile in England, but at the death of King Raoul he was recalled by the nobles under the leadership
..... Click the link for more information. (Louis d'Outremer), LothairLothair,
941–86, French king (954–86), son and successor of King Louis IV. During the early part of his reign he was dominated by Hugh the Great. Even after Hugh's death he was involved in conflict with the great feudal lords and controlled only a small part of
..... Click the link for more information. (941–86), and Louis VLouis V
(Louis the Sluggard), c.967–987, last French king of the Carolingian dynasty; son of King Lothair. His father had him crowned in 979, but he did not become king until Lothair's death in 986. He was childless and was succeeded by Hugh Capet.
..... Click the link for more information. . In the Carolingian period, a landed economy was firmly established. The kings consolidated their rule by issuing capitulariescapitularies
, decrees and written commands of the Carolingian kings of the Franks, so called because they were divided into capitula, or chapters. Both legislative and administrative, they were the chief written instrument of royal authority.
..... Click the link for more information. and worked closely with church officials. Until the late 9th cent., Charlemagne and his successors were generous patrons of the arts. He encouraged the Carolingian Renaissance, a return to Roman classicism and Byzantine and Greco-Roman styles. Charlemagne successfully conquered all of Gaul and parts of Germany and Italy. He created a papal state in central Italy in 774. After his death the kingdom was divided; its authority, eventually eroded, was reestablished in France in 893.
See H. Fichtenau, The Carolingian Empire (1949; tr. 1957, repr. 1965); D. Bullough, The Age of Charlemagne (1965); F. L. Ganshof, The Carolingians and the Frankish Monarchy (tr. 1971); E. James, The Origins of France: Clovis and the Capetians, A.D. 500–1000 (1982); R. McKitternick, The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians (1983).
a royal and imperial dynasty of the Frank-ish state, named for Charlemagne.
The Carolingians replaced the Merovingians in 751 and ceased to exist in the tenth century. The early development of the Carolingian (Pepinid) line began in the seventh century, when their ancestor, Pepin of Landen, became chief of Austrasia. His grandson, Pepin of Herstal (died in 714), ruled as chief of the whole Frankish state, and his great-grandson, Charles Martel (chief, 715-41), strengthened the position of the family even more by his energetic activity. He laid the ground for the dynastic coup which his son, Pepin the Short, carried out in 751 to establish himself as the first Frankish king of the Carolingian line. The dynasty reached its apogee under Charlemagne (ruled 768-814, emperor from 800), who subordinated almost all of Western Europe to his authority. On Charlemagne’s death, the imperial crown passed to his son Louis the Pious (ruled 814-^40). By the Treaty of Verdun in 843, the empire was divided among the sons of Louis: Lothair, Louis the German, and Charles the Bald. Charles III the Fat (emperor 881-87) restored the unity of the empire for a short time. After its final breakup, the Carolingians ruled in Italy until 905, in the East Frankish kingdom (Germany) until 911, and in the West Frankish kingdom (France) until 987.