The Merovingians were a Salian Frankish dynasty that came to rule the Franks in a region known as Francia in Latin

for 300 years from the middle of the 5th cent ury, their territory largely corresponding to ancient Gaul as well as the Roman provinces of Raetia, Germania Superior and the southern part of Germania Magna. The Merovingian dynasty was founded by Childeric I (c.457 481) the son of Merove ch, leader of the Salian Franks, but it was his famous son Clovis I (481 511) wh o united all of Gaul under Merovingian rule. After the death of Clovis there were frequent clashes between different branches of the family, but when threatened by its neighbours the Merovingians presented a strong united front. During the final century of the Merovingian rule, the dynasty was increasingly p ushed into a ceremonial role. The Merovingian rule ended in March 752 when Pope Zachary formally deposed Childeric III.[1][2] Zachary's successor, Pope Stephen II, confirmed and anointed Pepin the Short, in 754 beginning the Carolingian mon archy. Part of a series on the History of France National Emblem Prehistory[show] Ancient[show] Early Middle Ages[show] Middle Ages[show] Early modern[show] 19th century[show] 20th century[show] Portal icon France portal v t e The Merovingian ruling family were sometimes referred to as the "long-haired kin gs" (Latin reges criniti) by contemporaries, as their long hair distinguished th em among the Franks, who commonly cut their hair short. The term "Merovingian" c omes from medieval Latin Merovingi or Merohingi ("sons of Merovech"), an alterat ion of an unattested Old West Low Franconian form, akin to their dynasty's Old E nglish name Merewiowing,[3] with the final -ing being a typical patronymic suffi x. Contents 1 2 3 4 Origins History Government and law Religion and culture 4.1 Significant Merovingian saints 4.1.1 Kings 4.1.2 Queens and abbesses 4.1.3 Bishops and abbots 5 Historiography and sources 6 Numismatics 7 Language 8 Merovingians in pseudo-history and popular culture 9 References 10 Notes 11 External links Origins Signet ring of Childeric I. Monnaie de Paris.

an d emerges into wider history with the victories of his son Childeric I (reigned c. who quickly allied amon g themselves and against one another. gold 1.[5] Triens of Dagobert I and moneyer Romanos. Very little is in fact known about the course of the 7th century due to a scarcity of sources.[4] Internally. History Frankish gold Tremissis. when he defeated Syagrius. leader of the Salian Franks. Eventually. according to Grego ry of Tours. who increasingly substituted their own interest for their king's. He subsequently went on to decisively defeat the Visigothic kingdom of T oulouse in the Battle of Vouillé in 507. imitation of Byzantine Tremissis. yearly warfare often did not constitute general devastation but took on an almos t ritual character. Clotaire II in 613 reunited the entire Frankish realm under one rule r. Coin of Chlothar II. 629-639. Childeric's son Clovis I (481 511) went on to unite most of Gaul north of the Loire under his control ar ound 486. The frequent wars had weakened royal power. Later divisions produced the stable units of Austrasia. After Clovis' death. The kings.457 481) against the Visigoths. while the aristocracy had made great gains and procured enormous concessions from the kings in return for their supp ort. . Burgundy an d Aquitania. and over the next century this tradition of partiti on continued. and Alemanni. These concessions saw the very considerable power of the king parcelled out and retained by leading comites and duces (counts and dukes). maintained unity and conquered Burgundy in 534. with established 'rules' and norms. bu t Merovingians remained in power until the 8th century. even whe n divided under different kings. weakening royal power further.The Merovingian dynasty owes its name to the semi-legendary Merovech (Latinised as Meroveus or Merovius and in French as Merovée). Even when several Merovingian kings simultaneously ruled their own realms. who had sent troops to Spain and pagan Sla vic territories in the east. is commonly seen as the last powerful Merovingian K ing. 584-628. were not the main agents of political conflicts . Later kings are known as rois fainéants ("do-nothing kings"). even strong-willed men li ke Dagobert II and Chilperic II. despite the fac t that only the last two kings did nothing. Clotaire's son Dagobert I (died 639). Leadership among the early Merovingians was probably based on mythical descent (reflected in Fredegar's account of the Quinotaur) and alleged divine patronage.32g. the Merovingian kingdom included all of Gaul but Burg undy and all of Germania magna but Saxony. with differing outcomes. Saxons. the kingdom was divided among Clovis' sons and later among his grand sons and frequently saw war between the different kings. After the fall of the Ostrogoths. He won the Battle of Tolbiac against the Alemanni in 496. Augaune. the kingdom. To the outside. Clovis adopted his wife Clotilda's Catholic (i. the kingdom not unlike the late Roman Empire was conceived of as a sing le entity ruled collectively by these several kings (in their own realms) among whom a turn of events could result in the reunification of the whole kingdom und er a single ruler. Monnaie de Paris. La ter. at which time. After thi s their borders with Italy (ruled by the Lombards since 568) and Visigothic Sept imania remained fairly stable. Neustria. Many kings came to the throne at a young ag e and died in the prime of life.e. his kingdom was part itioned among his four sons. the Roman ruler in those parts. expressed in terms of continued military success. leaving this role to their mayors of the palace. mid-500s. British Museum. The death of one king created conflict bet ween the surviving brothers and the deceased's sons. However. conflicts were intensified by the personal feud around Brunhilda. Nicene) Christian faith. the Franks also conquered Provence. Upon Clovis' death in 511.

it was customary for men of the Early Middle Ages to w ear their hair at or near the shoulders. though he did not assume royal dignity. limiting the expansion of Islam onto the European continent. with the supp ort of the nobility and the blessing of Pope Zachary. . It was now the sons of the mayor that divided the realm amon g each other under the rule of a single king. whose blonde hair was reported to reach nearly to his waist. the us urper Pepin made shearing Childeric his foremost strategic goal. Childeric and Theuderic. After this. both Childeric and Theuderic. During the last years of his life he even ruled without a ki ng. were sent to live in monastic confinement. After Pepin's long rule. Under Charles Martel's leadership. but after a brief struggle the king's hair was seve red. which was said to reach to his lowe r back. His sons Carloman and Pepin again ap pointed a Merovingian figure-head to stem rebellion on the kingdom's periphery. The impact of these twin haircuts was immediate.The conflict between mayors was ended when the Austrasians under Pepin the Middl e triumphed in 687 in the Battle of Tertry. The Merovingians derived their royal power from their long hair. When Childeric was captured he was forcibly tonsured. fighting against nobles and his own stepmother. This was unusual. though not a king . His reputation for ruthlessness further undermine d the king's position. bereft of their long hair (Pepin was said to have kept the two severed manes as trophies). the Franks defeated th e Moors at the Battle of Tours in 732. was notable for his thick golden-red hair. was the political ruler of the Frankish kingdom and left this position as a he ritage to his sons. was a major asset to him (and possibly his greatest claim to hold t he throne) at a time when the Merovingian dynasty was faltering. Pepin. correctly reaso ning that the psychological impact of cutting Childeric's famed hair would be mo re critical in deposing the dynasty. in 751. Childeric III. Childeric's mane. his son Charles Martel assumed power. became one of the Frankish Kings. were rendered ineligible to hold the throne. the Carolingians ruled the Franks as Kings. As such. It is not clear if Pepin h imself wielded the scissors. which was thoug ht to confer upon them martial prowess. W ith Pepin. Pepin shortly thereafter ordered the shearing of Childeric's teenage son Th euderic. Pepin finally displaced the last Merovingian and. the last Merovingian king . w hose exceptionally long hair endowed them with royal mystique in the eyes of the ir countrymen. with its striking color and length. However. which made Childeric's hair exceptional ly long even by Merovingian standards.

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