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Charlie Martel and the Dagoberts

New - 21 June 2010


The Mother of All Family Trees

Generations 118 -- 124

Charlie Martel and the Dagoberts

 

Generation No. 118

1. Dagobert I [118] Lothar II (=Haldetrude) [117] Chilperic (=Fredegund) [116] Lothar I (=Aregund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

Dagobert I (circa 603 – 19 January 639) was the king of Austrasia (623–634), king of all the Franks (629–634), and king of Neustria and Burgundy (629–639). He was the last Merovingian dynast to wield any real royal power. Dagobert was also the first of the French kings to be buried in the royal tombs at Saint Denis Basilica. According to Wikipedia, “Dagobert was a serial monogamist.” [You got to love the guy! But in order, of course; no breaking out of the queue. Steady, ladies.]

married

1) Nanthilda
2) (mistress) Ragintrudis (Ragnetrude)
3) Wulfefundis (Wulfegunde)
4) Bertechildis (Berthilde)
5) Gomentrude

Children:

by Nanthilda, Nanthilda

Clovis II, who inherited the rest of his kingdom at a young age when his father
- died, and became King Clovis II of Neustria and Burgundy.
Regintrud who married into the Bavarian Agilolfings, either Theodo, Duke of
- Bavaria or his son Duke in Salzburg.

by Ragintrudis

Sigebert II

Dagobert was the eldest son of and Haldetrude (575-604) and Lothar II (Chlothar II), the latter whom was aka King Lothar II of the Franks. Lothar II had reigned alone over all the Franks since 613. In 623, Lothar was forced to make Dagobert king of Austrasia by the nobility of that region, who wanted a king of their own. [“How much is that Kingdom in the window? I do hope that kingdom’s for sale. How much is that Kingdom in the window? The one with the waggely tail.” (an old song)]

When Lothar II granted Austrasia to Dagobert, he initially excluded Alsace, the Vosges, and the Ardennes, but shortly thereafter the Austrasian nobility forced him to concede these regions to Dagobert. The rule of a Frank from the Austrasian heartland tied Alsace more closely to the Austrasian court. Dagobert created a new duchy (the later Duchy of Alsace) in southwest Austrasia to guard the region from Burgundian or Alemannic encroachments and ambitions. Dagobert made his courtier Gundoin the first duke of this new polity that was to last until the end of the Merovingian dynasty.

On the death of his father in 629, Dagobert inherited the Neustrian and Burgundian kingdoms. His half-brother Charibert, son of Sichilde, claimed Neustria but Dagobert opposed him. [Big surprise.] Brodulf, the brother of Sichilde, petitioned Dagobert on behalf of his young nephew, but Dagobert assassinated him and gave Aquitaine to his younger sibling. Charibert died in 632 and his son Chilperic was assassinated on Dagobert's orders. By 632, Dagobert had Burgundy and Aquitaine firmly under his rule, becoming the most powerful Merovingian king in many years and the most respected ruler in the West. [That’s the way one becomes “the Great”. Sigh.]

In 631, Dagobert led three armies against Samo, the rulers of the Slavs, but his Austrasian forces were defeated at Wogastisburg. [Bummer!] In 632, the nobles of Austrasia revolted under the mayor of the palace, Pepin of Landen (aka Pepin I). In 634, Dagobert appeased the rebellious nobles by putting his three-year-old son, Sigebert II, on the throne, thereby ceding royal power in the easternmost portion of his realms, just as his father had done for him eleven years earlier. As king, Dagobert made Paris his capital. Devoutly religious, he was responsible for the construction of the Saint Denis Basilica, at the site of a Benedictine monastery in Paris. He died in the abbey of Saint-Denis and was the first French king to be buried in the Saint Denis Basilica, Paris. [The juxtaposition of devoutly religious, and assassinations at every turn... may seem just a bit weird to the uninitiated.]

The pattern of division and assassination which characterize even the strong king Dagobert's reign continued for the next century until Pepin the Short finally deposed the last Merovingian king in 751, thereby establishing the Carolingian dynasty. The Merovingian boy-kings remained ineffective rulers who inherited the throne as young children and lived only long enough to produce a male heir or two, while real power lay in the hands of the noble families who exercised feudal control over most of the land... not to be confused wit the futile control of the Dagobert youngsters.

Dagobert was immortalized in the song Le bon roi Dagobert (The Good King Dagobert), a nursery rhyme featuring exchanges between the king and his chief adviser, Saint Eligius (Eloi in French). The satirical rhymes place Dagobert in various ridiculous positions from which Eligius' good advice manages to extract him. The text, which probably originated in the 18th century, became extremely popular as an expression of the anti-monarchist sentiment of the French Revolution. Other than placing Dagobert and Eligius in their respective roles, the song has no historical accuracy. And not having any historical accuracy, it was thus ideal as a tool of religious instruction for the young and naive (aka faithful).

In 1984, a 112-minute long French-Italian comedy, Le bon roi Dagobert (Good King Dagobert) was made, based on Dagobert I. The movie is surprisingly realistic in showing the realities of early barbarian France. The soundtrack was composed by Guido and Mauricio De Angelis.

 

2. Arnulf [118] Arnoald (=Dua) [117] Ansbert [116] rectification [114-115] Ferreolus (=Dinteria) [113] Sigimaerus I (=Tonantius) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

Saint Arnulf de Heristal, Bishop of Metz (15 August 582 - 16 August 640) was born in Metz, Austrasia, France. His parents were Margrave Arnoldus of Scheldt and Princess Dua of Suabia. Unfortunately but typical of the times, there were also rumors that Arnulf’s father was Governor Bodegisel II of Aquitaine. But inasmuch as having a bastard is not a tradition among Bishops of this age, we will quietly ignore such nasty, ugly rumors. Meanwhile, Arnie, as some of the less enlightened like to call him, wanted to become a monk at Lérins. However, when his wife took the veil and Arnulf was at the point of entering Lérins [it must have been an astoundingly romantic marriage], he was appointed bishop of Metz. Arnie hung in there until 626, when he resigned his see and retired to a hermitage near the abbey of Remiremont.

Married: Dobo (a Saxon)

Children:

Ansegis, Duke Maire du Palais Ansgise Margrave of Scheldt (Ansegis)
Saint Bishop Clodulf of Metz

In the interim, however, he joined forces with Pepin I, and together they forced Lothar II (in 623) who yield some of his royal power by giving the kingdom of Austrasia to his younger son, Dagobert I. [Arnulf had in fact been Dagobert’s tutor (and/or his chief counselor).] Arnulf and Pepin I, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, had been effectively granted semi-autonomy by Lothar II. Thus the Sigimerian line had come into its own, combining the heritage of Lothar I and Meroveus, with the more “Romantic” line down from Clodion. It is noteworthy that both the Sigimerian and Merovingian lines were still descended from Mary and Jesus.

This had followed an even greater power transfer from royal hands in 615, when Lothar II had been obligated to promulgate the Edict of Paris (an early, Frankish style Magna Carta) that reserved many heretobefore royal rights to the Frankish nobles. The latter had, apparently, grown rather weary of the continual warfare of the Merovingians and their family/sibling rivalries, tortures, wars, assassinations, and family picnics... the latter with bloodthirsty, ravenous ants.

 

3. Pepin I [118] Carolman of Brabant [117] Carolingians... unknown

Pipin I -- aka Blessed Maire du Palais Pepin I DE LANDEN, Duke of Brabant, aka Pepin of Landen (also Peppin, Pipin, or Pippin) (c. 580 – 27 February 640), also called the Elder or the Old (but NEVER to his face!), was the Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia under the Merovingian king Dagobert I from 623 to 629. He was also the mayor for Sigebert III from 639 until his own death. His comrade in political arms, Arnulf died in 641, while Pepin bit the dust in 640. Allegedly, this led Pepin to exclaim on his death bed that “Arnulf still lives.” There is, however, no truth to the rumor that either died on July 4th.

Married: Itta *

Children

Begga, married Ansegisel and was later canonized (but not necessarily because of the marriage... even if it might have helped a bit)
• Gertrude, who entered the convent of Nivelles that had been founded by her mother, and who was also later canonized.
• Grimoald, later mayor of the palace like his father
• Bavo (or Allowin), became a hermit and later canonized

*Saint Itta or Itta of Metz (also Ida, Itte or Iduberga) (592-652), was the sister of Saint Modoald, bishop of Trier, as well as abbess Saint Severa.** Their father was Arnoald, Bishop of Metz, son of Ansbertus (Ansbert). On the advice of the missionary bishop Saint Amand, bishop of Maastricht, after Pepin's death, she founded the Benedictine nunnery at Nivelles, with a monastery under the abbess. She herself entered it and installed as abbess her daughter Gertrude, perhaps after resigning the post herself. Her other daughter, Abbess Begga of Andenne married Ansegisel, son of Arnulf of Metz. By Begga, she is the grandmother of Pepin of Heristal (Pepin II) and therefore, one of the matriarchs of the great Carolingian family. Her sons included Bavo (a canonized hermit) and Grimoald, later mayor of the palace, and father of King Childebert the Adopted. Both her daughters were later canonized, as was she.**

**An abbess with a name like Saint Severa has really got to give you pause.

***What with all the canonizing going on, it should be mentioned that said canonization has a dual meaning: one is associated with the Roman Catholic Church and the other refers to anyone being used as cannon fodder... which from the viewpoint of the Catholic hierarchy is pretty much the same thing.

Pepin's father is named Carolman by the Chronicle of Fredegar, the chief historical source for Pepin's life. His byname comes from his probable birthplace: Landen, modern Belgium. He is sometimes called Pepin I while his other nicknames (Elder and Old) come from his position at the head of the family called the Pippinids after him. Through the marriage of his daughter Begga to Ansegisel, a son of Arnulf of Metz, the clans of the Pippinids and the Arnulfings [previously noted herein as the Sigimerians] were united, giving rise to a combined family which would eventually rule the Franks as the Carolingians.

Between 628 and 639 Pepin I was a Mayor of the Merovingian Palace in Austrasia. Chief Minister of King Clotaire II and King Dagobert I. Frankish mayor of the palace, duke of Brabant, and the chief political figure during the reigns of the Frankish kings Clotaire II, Dagobert I, and Sigebert II. The husband of Blessed Itta, he was a close ally of Bishop Arnulf of Metz with whom he overthrew Queen Brunhilda of Austrasia. He was soon appointed mayor of the palace for his role. Following an incident in which he reprimanded King Dagobert I for his adulterous life, he was exiled from the court and went into retirement near Aquitaine. [No one had ever told him that criticizing kings is uncool?]

Recalled to serve as tutor to Dagobert’s three year old son, Pepin once more became the chief figure of the kingdom until his death. Pepin earned a reputation for defending the interests of the Church, promoting the spread of Christianity, and working to have only truly worthy bishops appointed to Frankish sees. Pepin was praised by his contemporaries for his good government and wise counsel. [Doing anything other than spending one’s time assassinating and rushing into land-grab wars... has got to be considered “by his contemporaries as good government and wise counsel."]

One should recall that in 613, several leading magnates of Austrasia and Burgundy had abandoned Brunhilda, the great-grandmother and regent of their king, Sigebert II, and had turned to Chlothar II of Neustria for support, promising not to rise in defense of the queen-regent and recognizing Chlothar as rightful regent and guardian of the young king. Chief among these leading men were Warnachar II, Rado, Arnulf, and Pepin. The latter two were described by Fredegar as the "two most powerful barons of Austrasia" and they made some agreement with Chlothar at Andernach. However, while Rado was confirmed as mayor in Austrasia and Warnachar in Burgundy, Pepin did not receive his reward until 623, when he was appointed mayor in Austrasia after Chlothar made his young son Dagobert II king there. Arnulf, his lifelong friend, was appointed adviser to the new king alongside him.

Pepin was also mayor in Austrasia for the heir Sigebert II and Pepin oversaw the distribution of the treasury between Sigebert and his brother, Clovis II... and indirectly on behalf of his stepmother Nanthilda who was ruling on Clovis' behalf in Neustria and Burgundy. Sigebert's share of the inheritance was amicably surrendered, partly because of the friendship between Pepin and the Burgundian mayor of the palace, Aega. Pepin and Arnulf's successor as chief counselor to the king, Cunibert, Bishop of Cologne, received the treasure at Compiègne and brought it back to Metz. Not long after, both Pepin and Aega died. According to one source, Pepin was so popular in Austrasia that he was never canonized. [<grin>] He was, however, with the aid of a good PR unit to eventually be listed as a saint in some martyrologies. [I suppose that they have an “ology” for just about everything.]

 

To properly put all of these three luminaries in perspective, we will reprise Figure 1 from the previous web page.

Figure 1. Clodion and Basina to Charlemagne (reprise)

Clodion

Generation No. 119

1. Sigebert II [119] Dagobert I (=Raintrude) [118] Lothar II (=Haldetrude) [117] Chilperic (=Fredegund) [116] Lothar I (=Aregund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

Sigebert II was the son of Dagobert the Great (aka King Dagobert I of Austrasia and the Franks), by Raintrude. His children included:

Children: Dagobert II... descending to the Comte de Razes... which we will not follow.

Sigebert II is sometimes accredited as being the first roi fainéant of the Merovingian dynasty... among his many and varied other honors. The last effective rule of his kin was often limited to the region around Laon and they were sometimes derisively referred to as "Kings of Laon". In addition, Louis V of France was nicknamed le Fainéant ("the Do-Nothing")... and yet, King Louis V does have the advantage of being a critical link in the MOAFT! So... he can’t be all bad... just slightly less than effective.

[Roi fainéant is French for "do-nothing king". Besides being routinely applied to ex-King Shrub, it is more often used to refer to the later kings of the Merovingian and Carolingian dynasties, after they seemed to “have lost their initial energy”... i.e., become pretty much plagues on their people. They were generally considered "useless" by Carolingian and early historians, though current historical opinion is more nuanced... i.e., politically correct.]

 

2. Clovis II [119] Dagobert I (=Nanthilda) [118] Lothar II (=Haldetrude) [117] Chilperic (=Fredegund) [116] Lothar I (=Aregund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

Clovis II, King Clovis II of Neustria and Burgundy (637 – 27 November 655 or 658) was the son of King Dagobert I of Austrasia and the Franks and, another of Dagobert's wives, Nanthilda. He succeeded his father Dagobert I in 639 as King of Neustria and Burgundy.

Married Batilde (Balthild), who was later canonized as Saint Batilde

Children

Lothar III (Chlothar III)
Childeric II, who married Blichilde)
Theuderic III, who became King Theuderic III of Neustria and Burgundy.

Clovis II’s brother Sigebert II had been King of Austrasia since 634. Clovis was initially under the regency of his mother Nanthilda until her untimely death in her early thirties in 642. This death allowed him to fall under the influence of the secular magnates, who reduced the royal power in their own favor. Clovis' wife, Balthild, was an Anglo-Saxon aristocrat sold into slavery in Gaul. She had been owned by Clovis' mayor of the palace, Ebroin, who gave her to him to garner royal favor. [Just another tale of riches to rags to riches.] Bathild bore Clovis II three sons who all became kings after his death. [This is not necessarily an ideal in that this pretty much provided stock for regicidal purposes.] The eldest, Lothar III (Chlothar III), succeeded him and his second eldest, Childeric II, was eventually placed on the Austrasian throne by Ebroin. The youngest, Theuderic III, succeeded Childeric in Neustria and eventually became the sole king of the Franks. And wouldn’t you just know it! Childeric II initiated a fourth line of descent... which we will refer to as the . Clovis II was buried in Saint Denis Basilica, Paris.

Clovis was a minor for almost the whole of his reign... and possibly contributing to the delinquency of a... nation. He is sometimes regarded as king of Austrasia during the interval 656–57 when Childebert the Adopted had usurped the throne. He is often regarded as another early roi fainéant.

 

3. Ansegis [119] Arnulf (=Dobe) Arnulfings [118] Arnoald (=Dua) [117] Ansbert (Blitildis) [116] rectification [114-115] Ferreolus (=Dinteria) [113] Sigimaerus I (=Tonantius) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

Duke Maire du Palais Ansgise Margrave of Scheldt (Anseis, aka Ansegisal) was born in 607 in Austrasia. He died in 685, after 78 years of being unable to spell and pronounce his entire name accurately. This affliction did not, however, prevent him from becoming the Margrave of Scheidt... thus leading one to believe that the names alone are worth the trouble to construct this history. He was also Lord of Brabant, by virtue of his marriage to Begga of Brabant. (The latter is called a dowry.)

Married: Begga of Brabant, daughter of Pepin I, the latter the Lord of Brabant, Mayor of Palace of Austrasia -- sister of Grimoald, Lord of Brabant, Mayor of Palace of Austrasia -- Begga was also destined to become Saint Begga of Brabant

Children: Maire du Palais Pépin II D'HÉRISTAL à Austrasia... aka in brief as either Pepin II, Pepin the Fat, or Pepin of Heristal

Ansegis’ parents were Saint Arnulf de Heristal, Bishop of Metz and Dobo. Seriously... Dobo. Sigh.

Significantly, Ansegis was descended in the line from Sigimaerus I, this line becoming known as the Arnulfings (after Ansegi' grandfather). Between 632 and 638, Ansegis was a Mayor of the Merovingian Palace in Austrasia, under Kings Dagobert I and Sigebert II.

 

4. Begga of Brabant [119] Pepin I (=Itta) [118] Carolman of Brabant [117] Carolingians... unknown

Saint Begga of Brabant (c. 613-694) was born in Landen, Belgium. On the death of her husband in the year 691, she built a church and convent at Andenne on the Meuse River and died there... presumably after living there past the grand opening and gala ball. She was also known as Begue. Her parents were Blessed Maire du Palais Pepin I DE LANDEN Duke of Brabant and Saint Itta.

Married: Ansegis, Margrave of Scheidt, Duke Maire du Palais Ansgise Margrave of Scheldt.

Children: Pepin II (the Fat, of Heristal, and formally: Maire du Palais Pépin II D'HÉRISTAL à Austrasia.

Begga's genealogy might appear somewhat less stellar than her husbands, but their union did combine the Carolingian line from Carolman of Brabant, with the Sigimerian (Arnulfing) line, the latter which extended back to Clodion, Lord of Tournai. In fact, the latter had two distinct branches, one of which included Meroveus. Clodion, in turn traced his lineage back to Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Accordingly, even if Begga herself apparently did not have quite so illustrious a genecology, she at least married well.

However... not shown in Figure 1... are the following items:

(1) Begga was the daughter of Pepin I and Itta.

(2) Itta was the daughter of Arnoald and Dua.

(3) Begga married Ansegis, the son of Arnulf and Dobo.

(4) Arnulf was the son of Arnoald and Dua.

Thus Begga’s maternal grandparents (shown in item 2), Arnoald and Dua, were the same as her grandparents-in-law (shown in item 4).

You really got to love this stuff!

 

Generation No. 120

1. Theuderic III [120] Clovis II (=Batilde) [119] Dagobert I (=Nanthilda) [118] Lothar II (=Haldetrude) [117] Chilperic (=Fredegund) [116] Lothar I (=Aregund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

King Theuderic III of Neustria and Burgundy (or Theuderich, Theoderic, or Theodoric; in French, Thierry) (654 – 691) was the king of Neustria (including Burgundy) on two occasions (673 and 675 – 691) and king of Austrasia from 679 to his death in 691... the latter making him the king of all the Franks from 679. His parents were King Clovis II of Neustria and Burgundy and Saint Batilde.

Married:

1) Clotilda, a daughter of Ansegisel and Begga of Landen (sister to Pepin II)
2) Amalberge (Amalaberga) before 674, daughter of Wandregisis and Farahild

Children:

by Clotilda

Bertrada of Prüm (676-740), married Martin of Laon
Clovis IV, king (682-695)
Childebert III (683-711), eventually King Childebert III of Neustria

by Amalberge

Chrotlind, born about 670

And possibly:

Clovis III, king of Austrasia (675-676)
Clotaire IV, king of Austrasia (717-719)

Theuderic III, has been described as a puppet — a roi fainéant — in this case being so described by the Mayor of the Palace, Ebroin, who may have even appointed him... without the support of the nobles. Theuderic assumed the throne at the age of nine and died when he was only thirteen. [Thus, Theuderic was not entirely useless... at least to Ebroin.] He succeeded his brother Childeric II in Neustria in 673, but Childeric III of Austrasia displaced him soon thereafter until he died in 675 and Theuderic retook his throne. When Dagobert II died in 679, he received Austrasia as well and became king of the whole Frankish realm.

He and the Neustrian mayor of the palace, Waratton, made peace with Pepin of Heristal, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, in 681. However, on Waratton's death in 686, the new mayor, Berthar, made war with Austrasia and Pepin vanquished the Burgundo-Neustrian army under Berthar and Theuderic (a Neustrian) at the Battle of Tertry in 687, thus paving the way for Austrasian dominance of the Frankish state.

He was succeeded by Childebert III, and thereafter Dagobert III. This would then lead to Blanche Fleur (who would marry Flora of Hungary)... and ultimately to a critical descendant, Betrada of Leon.

 

2. Childeric II (Toulousians) [120] Clovis II (=Batilde) [119] Dagobert I (=Nanthilda) [118] Lothar II (=Haldetrude) [117] Chilperic (=Fredegund) [116] Lothar I (=Aregund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira)[112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

Childeric II... well... not a lot is known about the King whose reign lasted for fewer than two years, the termination of which coincided with his becoming terminal himself.

Married: Blichilde

Children: Childeric III

Generation No. 121

1. Childebert III [121] Theuderic III (=Clotilde) [120] Clovis II (=Batilde) [119] Dagobert I (=Nanthilda) [118] Lothar II (=Haldetrude) [117] Chilperic (=Fredegund) [116] Lothar I (=Aregund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

King Childebert III of Neustria, called the Just (French: le Juste) (670 or probably 683 – 23 April 711) was the son of Theuderic III (King Theuderic III of Neustria and Burgundy) and Clotilda (or Doda) and sole king of the Franks (695–711). Clotilde was a daughter of Ansegisel and Begga of Landen... thus combining the Merovingian and Sigimerian/Arnulfing lines. Of particular note is the fact that Clotilde was also the sister of Pepin II, making the latter Mayor of the Palace, the uncle of Childebert III, called the Nephew... King Childebert III of Neustria

Married: Edonne

Children:

Dagobert III, King Dagobert III of Neustria and Burgundy
Clotaire IV

Childebert III may have been nothing more than a puppet of the mayor of the palace, Pepin II of Heristal, though his placita show him making judicial decisions of his own will, even against the Arnulfing clan [Sigimerians]. His nickname (le Juste) has no comprehensible justification except possibly as a result of these judgments, for the Liber Historiae Francorum calls him a "famous man" and "a just man of good memory". He spent almost his entire life in a royal villa on the Oise. It was during his reign of sixteen years that, in 708, the bishop of Avranches, Saint Aubert, founded, at the urging of the Archangel Michael (the latter who apparently had just the right "connections"), the monastery of Mont-Saint-Michel. Considering the site of this rocky tidal island, Childebert might have also been an investor in the Florida everglades.

Upon his death on April 23, 711, southern Gaul began to grow independent... which is to say, they had their gall! The breakaway regions of Burgundy under Bishop Savaric of Auxerre, Aquitaine under Duke Odo the Great, and Provence under Antenor, all became sovereign in their own rights.

 

2. Pepin II [121] rectification [120] Ansegis (=Begga of Brabant) [119] Arnulf (=Dobe) [118] Arnoald (=Dua) [117] Blitidis (=Ansbert) [116] Lothar I (=Ingund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira)[112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

or

2. Pepin II [121] rectification [120] Ansegis (=Begga of Brabant) [119] Arnulf (=Dobe) [118] Arnoald (=Dua) [117] Ansbert (=Blitidis) [116] rectification [114-115] Ferreolus (Dinteria) [113] Sigimaerus I (=Tonantius) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

or

2. Pepin II [121] rectification [120] Begga of Brabant (=Ansegis) [119] Pepin I (=Itta) [118] Carolman of Brabant [117] ... Carolingians...

Maire du Palais Pépin II D'HÉRISTAL à Austrasia was born in Héristal, Liège, Belgique. His parents were Duke Maire du Palais Ansgise Margrave of Scheldt and Saint Begga of Brabant. Pepin, sometimes called Pepin the Middle (but probably not on his first birthday) was the grandson and namesake of Pepin I the Elder by the marriage of Pepin I's daughter Begga and Ansegisel, son of Arnulf of Metz. The marriage united the two houses of the Pippinids and the Arnulfings which created what would be called the Carolingian dynasty.

Married

1) Plectrude (*), Plectrude, who inherited substantial estates in the Moselle region.
2) (concubine) Alpais (Alpaida, Alpaide, or Chalpaida), Alpais.

(*) Plectrude (652-April 714) at one point threw her step-son Charles Martel into prison. Nothing like a little palace intrigue to spice things up among the mothers.

Children:

by Plectrude:

Drogo of Champagne
Grimoald, both of whom died before their father

by Alpais (Alpaida or Chalpaida)

Charles Martel, Maire du Palais Charles MARTEL à Austrasia
Childebrand

Pepin II (also Pippin, Pipin, or Peppin) of Heristal (640 – 16 December 714) was the Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia from 680 to his death and of Neustria and Burgundy from 687 to 695. He was also the first mayor of the palace to "reign" as Duke and Prince of the Franks, and thereby he clearly overshadowed the Merovingian rois fainéants. As they say: De man, he had de powa!

Pepin II established himself as Mayor of the Merovingian Palace in Metz, Austrasia, after one of his men lanced King Dagobert II to death, impaling him to a tree, while the latter was hunting on December 23, 679. The Church of Rome was quick to approve the assassination, and immediately passed the Merovingian administration in Austrasia to Pepin II. As mayor of Austrasia, allied with Martin, the duke of Laon, fought the Neustrian mayor Ebroin, who had designs on all Francia. Ebroin defeated the Austrasians at Lucofao (Bois-du-Fay, near Laon) and came close to uniting all the Franks under his rule. But then, as luck (or intrigue) would have it, he was assassinated in 681, the victim of a combined attack by his numerous enemies. Pepin immediately made peace with his successor.

Pepin II defended the autonomy of the Mayor of Austrasia against Theodoric III of Neustria and Theodoric's mayor of the palace. Theuderic and his mayor were decisively defeated at the Battle of Tertry (Textrice) in the Vermandois in 687. They withdrew themselves to Paris, where Pepin followed and eventually forced on them a peace treaty with the condition the mayor leave his office. Pepin was then created mayor in all three of the Frankish kingdoms (Austrasia, Neustria, and Burgundy). Then, adding a bit of insult to injury, Pepin began calling himself Duke and Prince of the Franks (dux et princeps Francorum). In the ensuing quarrels, the defrocked mayor killed his mother-in-law, and fled. His abandoned wife then married Pepin's eldest son Drogo, Duke of Champagne, and thereby helped to make Pepin's place in Neustria secure.

Pepin II retained Theodoric III on the throne and after his death replaced him with three successive Merovingian kings. After several years of warfare Pepin defeated the Frisians on his northeastern border (689) and married his son Grimoald to Theodelind, daughter of the Frisian chief Radbod. Over the next several years, Pepin subdued the Alemanni, Frisians, and Franconians, bringing them within the Frankish sphere of influence. Knowing the power of control via a religion, he also began the evangelization of Germany. In 695, he placed Drogo in the Burgundian mayorship and his other son, Grimoald, in the Neustrian one.

Just before Pepin's death, Plectrude convinced him to disinherit his bastards in favor of his grandson, Theudoald, the son of Grimoald, who was still young (and amenable to Plectrude's control). Pepin II died suddenly [sort of like abruptly being disinherited] at an old age on 16 December 714, at Jupille (in modern Belgium). His legitimate grandchildren claimed themselves to be Pepin's true successors and, with the help of Plectrude, tried to maintain the position of mayor of the palace after Pepin's death.

However, Charles Martel (who was illegitimate, the son of a concubine) had gained favor among the Austrasians, primarily for his military prowess and ability to keep them well supplied with booty from his conquests.

[Booty and conquests are always telling arguments. Plus which, despite any lack of royal blood on mommy's side, there was the "blood will tell" attribute from his daddy's side. There is also ye olde diversity card wherein one parent with somewhat less incestuous blood might just make all the difference. Considering Martel's accomplishments... something was working in the DNA lottery.]

Despite the efforts of Plectrude to silence her rival's child by imprisoning him, he became the sole mayor of the palace --and de facto ruler of Francia. Of course, there was the minor [pardon the pun] necessity for a civil war among half-siblings, which lasted for more than three years after Pepin's death. [As they say: “Where there’s a will... there’s a war.”]

 

Generation No. 122

1. Dagobert III [122] Childebert III [121] Theuderic III (=Clotilde) [120] Clovis II (=Batilde) [119] Dagobert I (=Nanthilda) [118] Lothar II (=Haldetrude) [117] Chilperic (=Fredegund) [116] Lothar I (=Aregund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

Dagobert III (699-715) was Merovingian king of the Franks (711-715). He was a son of Childebert III and Edonne. He succeeded his father as the head of the three Frankish kingdoms --Neustria and Austrasia, unified since Pippin's victory at Tertry in 687, and the Kingdom of Burgundy -- in 711, at the age of twelve. Real power, however, still remained with the Mayor of the Palace, Pippin II of Heristal, who died in 714. Pippin's death occasioned open conflict between Pepin’s heirs and the Neustrian nobles who elected the mayors of the palace.

Married: a Saxon Princess.

Children: Blanche Fleur (married Flora of Hungary and became a princess)

Dagobert III’s tenure on the throne was not necessarily a happy one. While attention was focused on combating the Frisians in the north, areas of southern Gaul began to secede during Dagobert's brief time. Savaric, the fighting bishop of Auxerre [grin], in 714 and 715 subjugated Orléans, Nevers, Avallon, and Tonnerre on his own account. Meanwhile, Eudo in Toulouse and Antenor in Provence were essentially independent magnates.

 

Merovingian Dynasty End

According to Laurence Gardner, Bloodline of the Holy Grail, Dagobert III was NOT the son of Dagobert II, nor in his line -- except as both were descended from Dagobert I. Dagobert III was King of Austrasia from 674 to 679. His father’s (Dagobert II’s) story is recounted by Gardner (pages 222 to 224):

“By 655, Rome was in a position to begin dismantling the Merovingian succession in Gaul. At that time, the Mayor of the Austrasian Palace (akin to a Prime Minister) was firmly under papal control. When King Sigebert II died, his son Dagobert [II] was only five years old -- at which point Mayor Grimoald took action. First, he kidnapped Dagobert and had him conveyed to Ireland, to live in exile among the Scots Gaels. Then, not expecting to see the young heir again, Grimoald told Queen Immachilde that her son had died.

Prince Dagobert was educated at Slane Monestary, near Dublin, and he married the Celtic Princess Matilde when he was fifteen. Subsequently, he went to York under the patronage of St. Wilfred. But then Matilda died, and Dagobert decided to return to France -- where he appeared much to the amazement of his mother. In the meantime, Grimoald had placed his own son on the Austrasian throne, but Wilfred of York and others spread word of the mayoral treachery, and the House of Grimoald was duly discredited. Having married Gizelle de Razes, a niece of the Visigoth king, Dagobert was reinstated in 674, after an absence of nearly 20 years, and the Roman intrigue was thwarted -- but not for long.

Dagobert II’s reign was short but effective: his major success was in centralizing the Merovingian sovereignty. But the Catholic movement set itself firmly to negate his Messianic heritage because it overshadowed the supremacy of the Pope. Dagobert’s jealous enemies included his own powerful Mayor, Pepin the Fat of Heristal (or Herstal). Two days before Christmas 679, Dagobert was hunting near Stenay in the Ardennes when he was confronted by one of Pepin’s men and lanced to death -- impaled to a tree. The Church of Rome was quick to approve the assassination, and immediately passed the Merovingian administration in Austrasia to the ambitious Major.

Pepin the Fat was in due course succeeded by his illegitimate son, the well-known Charles Martel (“the Hammer”) who gained recognition by turning back the Moorish invasion near Poitiers in 732. He then sustained the Roman endeavor by gaining control of other Merovingian territories. When Martel died in 741, the only Merovingian of any notable authority was Dagobert’s II’s nephew, Childeric III. Martel’s son, Pepin the Short, was the Mayor of Neustria. Up to that point (except for the Grimoald affair), the Merovingian monarchy had been strictly dynastic -- hereditary succession was an automatic and sacred right, a matter in which the Church had no formal say whatsoever. But that tradition was destined to be overturned when Rome grasped the opportunity to create kings by papal authority. In 751 Pepin the Short, in league with Pope Zacharias, secured Church approval for his own coronation as King of the Franks in place of Childeric. The Church’s long awaited ideal had come to fruition -- and from that time onwards kings were endorsed and crowned only by self-styled Roman prerogative.

So Pepin became king, with the full blessing of the Pope, and Childeric was deposed. The pledge of allegiance made by the Roman Church in 496 to King Clovis I and his descendants was broken. After two and a half centuries, the Church was suitably geared to usurp the ancient legacy of the Merovingian bloodline, and to take control of the Frankish realm by appointing its own kings. Childeric was publicly humiliated by the bishops. His hair, kept long by Nazarite tradition, was cut brutally short, and he was incarcerated in a monastery, where he died four years later.

Thus began a new dynasty of French kings, the ‘Carolingians’ -- so named after Pepin’s father, Charles (Carolus) Martel.

The ‘official’ histories of the era were, not surprisingly, compiled by Vatican scribes, or by others who operated by Vatican authority. The inevitable result was that accounts of Dagobert’s life were suppressed to the point of his non-existence in the chronicles. Not for another thousand years were the true facts of his existence to be made public once more. And only then did it become apparent that Dagobert had a son called Sigebert, who was rescued from the mayoral clutches in 679. Following his father’s murder, he was removed to his mother’s home at Rennes-le-Chateau in Languedoc. By the time of Childeric’s deposition, Sigebert (effectively Sigebert III) had become the Count of Razes, succeeding his maternal grandmother, the Visigoth, Bera II. In time the deposed Merovingian line from Sigebert included the famous crusader, Godefroi de Bouillon, Defender of the Holy Sepulchre.

[One might also note that Rome’s treachery against the Merovingian (in favor of the Carolingian) could also account for the virtual deification of Charles Martel as the savior of Europe from the Muslim hoards -- see following.]

 

2. Childeric III [121] Childeric II (=Blichilde) (Toulousians) [120] Clovis II (=Batilde) [119] Dagobert I (=Nanthilda) [118] Lothar II (=Haldetrude) [117] Chilperic (=Fredegund) [116] Lothar I (=Aregund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira)[112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

Childeric III was the son of Childeric II and Blichilde... the next link in the Toulousian line that would lead ultimately to Guilhelm de Toulouse de Gellone, Master of Aquitaine, and Davidic Sovereign of Septimania. Childeric III was deposed by Pepin III (Pepin the Short).

Children Theuderic IV, Lord of Septimania

 

3. Charles Martel [121] Pepin II (=Alpais) [120] Ansegis (=Begga) [119] Arnulf (=Dobo) [118] Arnoald (=Dua) [117] Blitidis (=Ansbert) [116] Lothar I (=Ingund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

or

3. Charles Martel [121] Pepin II (=Alpais) [120] Ansegis (=Begga) [119] Arnulf (=Dobo) [118] Arnoald (=Dua) [117] Ansbert (=Blitildis) [116] rectification [114-115] Ferreolus (=Dinteria) [113] Sigimaerus I (=Tonantius) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

or

3. Charles Martel [121] Pepin II (=Alpais) [120] Begga (=Ansegis) [119] Pepin I [120] Carolman of Brabant [119] ... unknown

Charles "The Hammer" Martel, Maire du Palais Charles MARTEL à Austrasia (Latin: Carolus Martellus, English: Charles "the Hammer") (ca. 688 – 22 October 741) was the latest, most improved version of what would be known as the Carolingian line. He was proclaimed Mayor of the Palace and ruled the Franks in the name of a titular King. Late in his reign he proclaimed himself Duke of the Franks (not bothering during the last four years of his reign to even bother with the facade of a King). By any name he was the de facto ruler of the Frankish Realms. In 739 he was offered an office of Roman consul by the Pope, which he rejected... an act which is typically done by only the extremely self-confident and powerful of Mayors, Dukes, and Kings. Charlie expanded his rule over all of the Frankish kingdoms: Austrasia, Neustria and Burgundy.

[Meanwhile the Church was still living in the heady days of the Roman empire, where being a "consul" was a big deal.]

married

1) Rotrude of Treves, (690-724) (daughter of St. Leutwinus, Bishop of Treves)
2) Swanhild
3) (mistress) Ruodhaid

Children

by Rotrude

Hiltrud (d. 754), married Odilo I, Duke of Bavaria
Carloman
Landrade (Landres), married Sigrand, Count of Hesbania
Auda, Aldana, or Alane, married Thierry IV, Count of Autun and Toulouse
Pippin III, the Short

by Swanhild

Grifo

by Ruodhaid

Bernard (b. before 732-787)
Hieronymus
Remigius, archbishop of Rouen (d. 771)
Ian (d. 783)

Charles Martel was born in Heristal, in present-day Belgium, the illegitimate son of Pippin the Middle and his concubine Alpaida (or Chalpaida/Alphais). He was described as a tall, powerfully built man, who was more agile than his size would lead men to believe. Considering his later history of exceptional success, one could make a really good case for the beneficial infusion of some, allegedly non-royal, concubine blood into the genetic mix.

According to Wikipedia, Charles is best remembered for winning the Battle of Tours (also known as the Battle of Poitiers) in 732, which has traditionally been characterized as an event that halted the Islamic expansionism in Europe that had already conquered Iberia. Clearly, his public relations acumen knew no bounds, in that Charles Martel was able to perpetuate the history, to wit: "Charles's victory has often been regarded as decisive for world history, since it preserved western Europe from Muslim conquest and Islamization." Yeah... well... maybe.

In addition to being the leader of the army that prevailed at Tours, Charles Martel was a truly giant figure of the Middle Ages. A brilliant general, he is considered the forefather of western heavy cavalry, chivalry, founder of the Carolingian Empire (which was named after him), and a catalyst for the feudal system, which would see Europe through the Middle Ages. Although some recent scholars have suggested he was more of a beneficiary of the feudal system than a knowing agent for social change, others continue to see him as the primary catalyst.

The following tale is told of Charles and of the origins of his name:

In 676, Pepin of Heristal and his wife Plectrude were talking together in a room when they were intruded upon by a messenger, bringing news that the Mayor's mistress, Alpaida, had given birth to a son at Heristal. The messenger, fearful of arousing the wrath of Plectrude, decided not to announce the news directly. Instead, he said: "Long live the king, it is a carl" ('man'). Pippin, equally cautious of his wife, dismissed the messenger as follows: "A carl, is it? Then let him be called that." This was done, and, so legend claims, the child was named "Carl". In Germany he's still called "Karl Martell". Alpaida also bore Pippin II another son, Childebrand.

In December 714, Pepin of Heristal died. Prior to his death, he had, at his wife Plectrude's urging, designated Theudoald, his grandson by their son Grimoald, his heir in the entire realm. This was immediately opposed by the nobles because, among other things, Theudoald was a child of only eight years of age. To prevent Charles using this unrest to his own advantage, Plectrude had him gaoled in Cologne, the city which was destined to be her capital. This prevented an uprising on his behalf in Austrasia, but not in Neustria. In 715, the Neustrian noblesse proclaimed Ragenfrid mayor of their palace on behalf of, and apparently with the support of, Dagobert III, the young king, who in theory had the legal authority to select a mayor, though by this time the Merovingian dynasty had lost most such powers.

Before the end of the year, Charles Martel had escaped from prison and been acclaimed mayor by the nobles of that kingdom. The Neustrians had been attacking Austrasia and the nobles were waiting for a strong man to lead them against their invading countrymen. That year, Dagobert III died and the Neustrians proclaimed Chilperic II king without the support of the rest of the Frankish people. In 716, Chilperic and Ragenfrid together led an army into Austrasia, allied with another invading force under Radbod, King of the Frisians. The three met Charles in battle near Cologne, which was still held by Plectrude. Charles had little time to gather men, or prepare, and the result was his only defeat. Martel may have fought a brilliant battle, but mostly this consisted of his fleeing the field as soon as he realized he did not have the time or the men to prevail, retreating to the mountains of the Eifel to gather men, and train them. His enemies promptly made their first mistake by not pursuing Charles, and instead turning to besiege their other rival in the city and took it and the treasury, and received the recognition of both Chilperic as king and Ragenfrid as mayor. Plectrude surrendered on Theudoald's behalf.

Meanwhile, Charles, having been given the time to better prepare, fell upon the previously triumphant army near Malmedy as it was returning to its own province, and, in the ensuing Battle of Amblève, routed them.

Several things were notable about this battle, in which Charles set the pattern for the remainder of his military career: First, he appeared where his enemies least expected him, while they were marching triumphantly home and where they far outnumbered him. He also attacked when least expected, at midday, when armies of that era traditionally were resting. Finally, he attacked them in the manner they least expected it, by feigning a retreat to draw his opponents into a trap. The feigned retreat was new to Western Europe -- it was a traditionally eastern tactic. It also required both extraordinary discipline on the part of the troops and exact timing on the part of their commander. Charles, in this battle, had begun demonstrating the military genius that would mark his rule, in that he never attacked his enemies where, when, or how they expected, and the result was an unbroken victory streak that lasted until his death.

In Spring 717, Charles confirmed his supremacy with a victory at the Battle of Vincy, near Cambrai (Neustria). He also demonstrated an unusual diplomatic streak -- extraordinary for the times when mercy for an enemy was almost nonexistent. For example, he allowed the defeated Plectrude and young Theudoald to live and treated them with kindness. He proclaimed Clotaire IV king of Austrasia in opposition to Chilperic and deposed the archbishop of Rheims, Rigobert.

After subjugating all Austrasia, he marched against Radbod and pushed him back into his territory, even forcing the concession of West Frisia (later Holland). He sent the Saxons back over the Weser and thus secured his borders—in the name of the new king Clotaire, of course. In 718, Chilperic made an alliance with Odo the Great, the duke of Aquitaine; but the alliance was quickly defeated, at the Battle of Soissons, by Charles. When Clotaire IV died, Odo gave up on Chilperic and, in exchange for Charles recognizing his dukedom, surrendered the king.

Between 718 and 723, Charles secured his power through a series of victories: he won the loyalty of several important bishops and abbots (by cleverly donating lands and money), he subjugated Bavaria and Alemannia, and he defeated the pagan Saxons. (The Saxons were pagans for the most part because they weren’t buying Christianity. Bad boys, Saxons; bad boys!) Accordingly, Charles became intent upon punishing the Saxons, allegedly for having invaded Austrasia. In 718, he laid waste their country -- a typical fate for anyone questioning the right of religion to devastate the environment. In 719, Charles seized West Frisia without any great resistance on the part of the Frisians. In fact, their ruler, Aldegisel, accepted Christianity, and Charles -- not really trusting the sudden conversion -- sent Willibrord, bishop of Utrecht, the famous "Apostle to the Frisians" to convert the people. Charles also did pretty much the same thing when he supported Winfrid, later Saint Boniface, as the "Apostle of the Germans."

When Chilperic II died in 720, Charles appointed Theuderic IV (according to Wikipedia, the son of Dagobert III). Still a minor, he nevertheless occupied the throne from 720 to 737. Charles was in fact making a habit of appointing kings who were rois fainéants, and thus mere puppets in his hands. By the end of his reign they were so useless that he didn't even bother appointing one; and in fact, very few really noticed the absence of “the king”.

Upon putting to rest the civil wars of his reign, he turned to the east and began imposing Frankish authority over the dependent Germanic tribes. Let’s face it: He had spent a lot of time and effort in building a well-disciplined and effective fighting force. One doesn’t like to waste such a good army... and there is always the spoils of war necessary for maintaining such an army. There were also the “fringe benefits”, such as the Agilolfing princess Swanachild, who apparently became his concubine. Southern Germany was soon re-incorporated into the Frankish kingdom, as had northern Germany been during the first years of Charles’ reign.

By 730, with his own realm secure, Charles had pretty much run out of local enemies. And as such kingdoms are wont to do, the de facto king had to find new bogeyman to justify his army and the costs of its maintenance. As it turned out, this new enemy had already raised its ugly head. In 721, the emir of Córdoba had built up a strong army from Morocco, Yemen, and Syria -- one designed to conquer Aquitaine, the large duchy in the southwest of Gaul, nominally under Frankish sovereignty, but in practice almost independent since the Merovingian kings had faded in power. The duchy was in the hands of the Odo the Great, the Duke of Aquitaine. The invading Muslims had besieged the city of Toulouse, then Aquitaine's most important city. Odo immediately retreated to find help. (...something like the US Marines, who call retreating, "advancing in the opposite direction.")

Odo -- soon to have “the Great” added to his name -- returned three months later just before the city was about to surrender and defeated the Muslim invaders at the Battle of Toulouse (June 9, 721). Basically what happened was that after Odo had fled, the Muslims had become overconfident and, instead of maintaining strong outer defenses around their siege camp and continuous scouting, they had done neither. Thus, when Odo returned, he was able to execute a classic enveloping movement, launch a near complete surprise attack on the besieging force, scattering it at the first attack, and slaughtering units caught resting or that fled without weapons or armour.

With the developments in Iberia, Martel came to the conclusion that he needed a virtually full-time army --one he could train intensely-- as a core of veteran Franks who would be augmented with the usual conscripts called up in time of war. Inasmuch as troops were typically only available after the crops had been planted and before harvesting time... Charles had created instead a year-round infantry that would, among other things, be able to withstand the Muslim heavy cavalry. Charles, of course, would need to pay them year-round as well, so that their families could buy the food they would have otherwise grown. To obtain money he seized church lands and property, and used the funds to pay his soldiers. The irony is that the same Charles who had secured the support of the ecclesia by donating land, was now seizing bits of it back. [As they say, easy come, easy go.] Curiously and inexplicably, Church officials found these actions less than ideal and promptly became enraged... even to the extent that for a time, it looked as though Charles might be excommunicated for his having demonstrated that he was nothing more than an “indian-giver”... and thus not only a backslider, but a politically incorrect one at that.

But then... a classic foreign threat came to his “communicated” rescue. Then as now, it seemed, the threats were Muslims. First in Aquitaine in 725. Then 12 years later, Charles turned to the Umayyads, thrice rescuing Gaul from Umayyad invasions. In one case, when he destroyed an Umayyad army sent to reinforce the invasion forces of the campaigns in 735, "Charles Martel again came to the rescue". Charles Martel might have preferred his wars against the Saxons -- but he was determined to prepare for what he thought was a greater danger.

Fortunately for Charlie, the Muslims were not really aware of the true strength of the Franks, or the fact that they were building a real army instead of the typical barbarian hordes that had dominated Europe after Rome's fall. They considered the Germanic tribes, including the Franks, simply barbarians and were not particularly concerned about them. It was only after the Battle of Tours -- in which the Muslims suffered a catastrophic defeat -- that they began to acknowledge the Franks as a growing military power.

Keep in mind, of course, that the Cordoban emirate had previously invaded Gaul in 721, and had been stopped in its northward sweep at the Battle of Toulouse. It was rather like: okay, the barbarians got lucky once... and the fault was mistakes by the Toulouse besiegers. But more importantly “the hero of that less celebrated event had been Odo the Great, Duke of Aquitaine, who was not the progenitor of a race of kings and patron of chroniclers.” From the viewpoint of historians, a “great” king not only needs to create a dynasty (the longer the better)... but to also make certain that the history of the times paints a stunning, heroic posture of the royal personage.

Meanwhile, Odo, the hero of Toulouse, was about to suffer a major defeat at the hands of the Muslims in 732, just prior to the Muslims sacking Bordeaux. Worse yet, when Odo had gathered his second... apparently expendable... army, he engaged the Muslims again at the Battle of the River Garonne -- where the western chroniclers state, "God alone knows the number of the slain" -- the city of Bordeaux was soon sacked and looted. Odo quickly sought help from Martel... Odo's "great" tag being recalled.

In turns out that one Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi had been at Toulouse and had strongly opposed the Emir's decision not to secure outer defenses against a relief force... the mistake that allowed Odo to attack with impunity before the Islamic cavalry could assemble or mount. When Abdul became the new emir of Cordoba, he had quickly decided that he was not going to permit any such disaster again. Abdul brought with him a huge force of Arabs and Berber horsemen... and this time, the Umayyad horsemen were ready for battle. Not unexpectedly, the results had been horrific for the Aquitanians.

Charles agreed to come to Odo's rescue, provided Odo acknowledged Charles and his house as his overlord, which Odo did formally at once. Like, what were Odo’s options? Undoubtedly, he also bequeathed his “the Great” title to Charlie. And in this manner, “Odo faded into history while Charles marched into it.” Charles was, however, pragmatic, and while most commanders would never use their enemies in battle, Odo and his remaining Aquitanian nobles formed the right flank of Charles' forces at Tours. Charles was, simply, loath to let good armies fester.

The Battle of Tours earned Charles the cognomen "Martel" ('Hammer'), for the merciless way he hammered his enemies -- said hammering undoubtedly being done with select troops as the hammering instrument. It’s also possible that in the event Charles had failed at Tours, Islam might in fact have overrun Gaul... and perhaps the remainder of western Christian Europe. Supposedly, the Umayyad armies would have then taken the fast track from Rome to the Rhine -- stopping only at the English channel for a tea and biscuits -- had Martel not prevailed. Or so the story goes.

Martel’s PR unit had in fact managed to convey the idea that Charlie had rescued Christendom from Islam, and “preserved the relics of ancient and the germs of modern civilization." Such opinions tend to ignore the possibility of pure revenge on the part of Abdul and his resurrected Muslims, as well as the apparent fact that the Arabs had little intention of occupying northern France. Like, we are talking about France, you know... the stomping grounds for a lot of wars. Why bother to occupy it?

Martel’s greatest success may be that many later historians believed Charles had saved Christianity and western civilization, and that no power would have remained in Europe to halt Islamic expansion had the Franks failed. The Renaissance might have been stunted in its crib... even if much of the knowledge and wisdom of the Renaissance derived from Muslims sources.

Unfortunately for the Martel PR Unit, there is the distinct possibility that the “purpose of the Arab force defeated by Charles Martel was not to conquer the Frankish kingdom, but simply to pillage the wealthy monastery of St-Martin of Tours". Chronicles written in the mid-eighth century (who might have had actual knowledge of the facts and possible implications) pictured the battle as just one of many military encounters between Christians and Saracens. Moreover, the battle/war was considered only one in a series of wars fought by Frankish princes for booty and territory. One version presented the battle of Poitiers as what it really was: an episode in the struggle between Christian princes as the Carolingians strove to bring Aquitaine under their rule.

It’s also a fair bet that Martel at Poitiers might have been “a mere raid and thus a construct of western myth making. There is, for example, the implied assumption -- one that is enormously intriguing -- “that a Muslim victory might have been preferable to continued Frankish dominance.” Nevertheless, Poitiers provided the impetus for Charles Martel to ostensibly clear southern France from Islamic attackers for decades, and simultaneously and to definitely unify the warring Frankish kingdoms into the foundations of the Carolingian Empire (with its ready and reliable troops).

Charles, it should be noted, was “forced” by the ventures of the Frisians, who had expelled the Christian missionaries, to invade independence-minded Frisia again in 734. [It’s amazing how often the gospel (“the good news”) requires military intervention to make its case known to the barbarians.] Charles found in fact that it was necessary to wholly subjugate the populace (including destroying every pagan shrine). Christians (not to mention Muslims) have always exhibited a complete lack of tolerance, love, and mercy to anyone who is not their brother in spirit (aka religious conviction and/or philosophical mindset), as well as in bodily bloodlines.

Interestingly enough, by 736, while engaged with yet more Umayyad expansionist activities, Martel paused in his hammering of the forces led by Abdul Rahman's son. Instead, apparently deciding that his own fate might be terminal, he began preparing for his sons to take control of the Frankish realm. Charles might have decided not to risk troops he could not afford to lose, or to take the time to starve a city into submission. The new territorial imperative had become setting up the administration of an empire his heirs would reign over.

In 737, at the tail end of Martel''s campaigning in Provence and Septimania, the king, Theuderic IV, died. Martel, titling himself major domus and princeps et dux Francorum, did not appoint a new king and no one else acclaimed one. The throne lay vacant until Martel's death... "he cared not for name or style so long as the real power was in his hands." It’s a Peppinide thing.

The interregnum, the final four years of Charles' life, was more peaceful than most of it had been and much of his time was now spent on administrative and organizational plans to create a more efficient state. Charles set about integrating the outlying realms of his empire into the Frankish church. He erected four dioceses in Bavaria (Salzburg, Regensburg, Freising, and Passau) and gave them Boniface as archbishop and metropolitan over all Germany east of the Rhine, with his seat at Mainz. Boniface had been under his protection since 723 on; such that the archbishop himself acknowledged that without Martel’s military support, the saint would have been unable to administer his church, defend his clergy, or prevent idolatry. It was in fact, Boniface who had defended Charles most stoutly for his deeds in seizing ecclesiastical lands to pay his army in the days leading to Tours, ostensibly as just one of those thing he had do to defend Christianity.

In a bit of irony, Pope Gregory III begged Charles in 739 for his aid against Liutprand, a onetime ally of Charles. Accordingly, Charles ignored the Papal plea... all of which showed how far Martel had come from the days when he was tottering on excommunication. His refusal also set the stage for his son (Pepin III) and grandson (Charlemagne the Great) to rearrange Italian political boundaries to better suit the Papacy, and ultimately, to protect it.

Charles Martel died on October 22, 741, at Quierzy-sur-Oise in what is today the Aisne département in the Picardy region of France. He was buried at Saint Denis Basilica in Paris. His territories were divided among his adult sons a year earlier: to Carloman he gave Austrasia and Alemannia (with Bavaria as a vassal), to Pippin III the Younger Neustria and Burgundy (with Aquitaine as a vassal), and to Grifo nothing (though some sources indicate he intended to give him a strip of land between Neustria and Austrasia.)

Though Charlie had never cared about titles, his son Pippin III did, and at one point asked the Pope: "who should be King, he who has the title, or he who has the power?" The Pope, highly dependent on Frankish armies for its own independence from Lombard and Byzantine power (the Byzantine Emperor still considered himself to be the only legitimate "Roman Emperor", and thus, ruler of all of the provinces of the ancient empire, whether recognized or not)... pragmatically declared: "he who had the power". The Pope then immediately crowned Pippin III.

Decades later, in 800, Pippin's son Charlemagne was crowned emperor by the Pope, further extending the principle of “might makes right” and delegitimizing any nominal authority of the Byzantine Emperor in the Italian peninsula. Even though the Byzantine Emperor claimed authority over all the old Roman Empire, as the legitimate "Roman" Emperor, it was simply not reality. The bulk of the Western Roman Empire had come instead under Carolingian rule, the Byzantine Emperor having had almost no authority in the West since the sixth century.

Charlemagne, a consummate politician, however, preferred to avoid an open breach with Constantinople. An institution unique in history was being born: the Holy Roman Empire. Though the sardonic Voltaire ridiculed its nomenclature, saying that the Holy Roman Empire was "neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire," it constituted an enormous political power for a time, lasting until 1806, by which time it had become a nonentity. Though his grandson, Charlemagne, became its first emperor, the "empire" such as it was, was largely born during the reign of Charles Martel.

Martel might also be credited with changing Europe from a horde of barbarians fighting with one another -- which they had been doing with gusto and extraordinary enthusiasm for centuries -- into an organized state... and which had the military prowess to defeat all those other barbarians and convert them to the One Cruel Faith.

Meanwhile, it is notable that the Northmen (Vikings) did not begin their European raids until after the death of Martel's grandson, Charlemagne. They had the naval capacity to begin those raids at least three generations earlier, but chose not to challenge Martel, his son Pippin III, or his grandson, Charlemagne. This was probably fortunate for Martel, who despite his enormous gifts, would probably not have been able to repel the Vikings in addition to taking on the Muslims, Saxons, and everyone else. The Danes had in fact constructed defenses to defend from counterattacks by land, and had the ability to launch their wholesale sea raids as early as Martel's reign, but in the end, they chose not to challenge Charles Martel. It was, apparently, not quite the era of Sea Power as the ultimate determinant of world power.

 

Generation No. 123

Blanche Fleur [123] Dagobert III (=Saxon princess) [122] Childebert III (=Edonne) [121] Theuderic III (=Clotilde) [120] Clovis II (=Batilde) [119] Dagobert I (=Nanthilda) [118] Lothar II (=Haldetrude) [117] Chilperic (=Fredegund) [116] Lothar I (=Aregund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

Princess Blanche Fleur (b. 713) was the daughter of King Dagobert III of Neustria and Burgundy and a Saxon Princess.

Married: Count Cambert DE LAON (aka Flora of Hungary)

Children: Bertrada of Leon, aka Princess Bertha ("Big foot")

According to some sources, Cambert, aka Charibert, was the son of Pepin II's brother, Martin of Laon.

 

Generation No. 124

1. Bertrada of Leon (Big-foot) [124] Blanche Fleur (=Flora of Hungary) [123] Dagobert III (=Saxon princess) [122] Childebert III (=Edonne) [121] Theuderic III (=Clotilde) [120] Clovis II (=Batilde) [119] Dagobert I (=Nanthilda) [118] Lothar II (=Haldetrude) [117] Chilperic (=Fredegund) [116] Lothar I (=Aregund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

Princess Berthada of Leon (727-783), also known as "Big-foot", was the daughter of Count Cambert DE LAON (Flora of Hungary) and Princess Blanche Fleur.

Married: King Pépin I LE BREF of the Franks

Children:

Charlemagne, Emperor Charlemagne d'Occident, Roi des Francs,
Carloman, King Carolman of the Southern Franks
Gisela (who later became a nun)

Bertrada of Leon, also called Bertha Broadfoot (cf. latin: Regina pede aucae i.e. the queen with the goose-foot), was a Frankish queen... of whom people often talked frankly about. Big foot? Goose Foot? Wow!

She was born in Leon (Laon), in today's Aisne, France, the daughter of Caribert (Cambert) of Laon. She married Pepin the Short, the son of the Frankish Mayor of the Palace Charles Martel, in 740, although the union was not canonically sanctioned until several years later. [Probably something to do with the big/goose foot bit.] Eleven years later, in 751, Pepin III and Bertrada became King and Queen of the Franks, following Pepin's successful coup against the Frankish Merovingian monarchs.

There’s just nothing like a successful coup to get the canonical sanctioning of a marriage on track.

Bertrada lived at the court of her elder son, Charlemagne, and apparently their relationship was excellent. She recommended he marry his first wife, Desiderata, a daughter of the Lombard king Desiderius, but he soon divorced her. [Just possibly, Desiderata might have been a bit too much of a modern woman.] This may be the only episode that ever strained relations between mother and son. Bertrada lived with Charlemagne until her death in 783; the king buried her in Saint Denis Basilica with great honors.

From a genealogical viewpoint, Momma Big Foot brought with her as her dowry, the true Merovingian line via Dagobert the Great. This she combined with Pippin's line via Sigimer (and/or Meroveus) and, importantly, Charles Martel. The marriage was a HUGE success, and managed (among other things) to create a more viable royal line via Charlemagne, while Martel's other grandson, Guilhelm de Toulouse de Gellone had to settle for also-ran.

 

2. Pepin III [122] Charles Martel (=Rotrude) [121] Pepin II (=Alpais) [120] Ansegis (=Begga) [119] Arnulf (=Dobo) [118] Arnoald (=Dua) [117] Blitidis (=Ansbert) [116] Lothar I (=Ingund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

or

2. Pepin III [122] Charles Martel (=Rotrude) [121] Pepin II (=Alpais) [120] Ansegis (=Begga) [119] Arnulf (=Dobo) [118] Arnoald (=Dua) [117] Ansbert (=Blitildis) [116] rectification [114-115] Ferreolus (=Dinteria) [113] Sigimaerus I (=Tonantius) [112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

or

Pepin III [122] Charles Martel (=Rotrude) [121] Pepin II (=Alpais) [120] Begga (=Ansegis) [119] Pepin I [120] Carolman of Brabant [119] ... Carolingian... unknown

Pepin III or Pippin (714 – 24 September 768), called the Short, and often known as Pepin the Younger, and later, King Pépin I LE BREF of the Franks. He was the Mayor of the Palace and Duke of the Franks from 741 and King of the Franks from 751 to 768. He was the son of Charles Martel, mayor of the palace and duke of the Franks, and of Rotrude of Trier (690-724).

Married:

(1) Leutberga (Danube region) (735)
(2) Bertrada of Laon (740), his second cousin)

Children:

By Leutberga (repudiated after the birth of Charlemagne, and sent to a convent)

5 Children, sent to convents

By Bertrada of Laon

Charlemagne
Carloman
Gisela (who later became a nun)
a short-lived child named Pippin

Pepin III's father, Charles Martel, died in 741, dividing the rule of the Frankish kingdom between Pepin and his elder brother, Carloman, his surviving sons by his first wife: Carloman became Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia, Pepin became Mayor of the Palace of Neustria. Grifo, Charles's son by his second wife, Swanahild (aka Swanhilde), may also have been intended to receive an inheritance, but he was imprisoned in a monastery by his two half-brothers. Carloman, who by all evidence was a deeply pious man, also retired to a monastery in 747. This left Francia in the hands of Pepin as sole mayor of the palace and dux et princeps Francorum, a title originated by his grandfather and namesake Pepin of Heristal.

Upon their assumption, Pepin and Carloman, neither who had proved themselves in battle in defense of the realm as their father had, installed Childeric III as king, even though Martel had left the throne vacant since the death of Theuderic IV. Childeric had the title of king, but he was considered weak. As time passed, with his brother bowing out of the picture, Pepin became discontent with the royal power being with Childeric.

First Carolingian King

Since Pepin had control over the magnates and actually had the power of the king, he suggested the Pope make the Carolingian name royal in law as well as fact. Pepin asked Pope Zachary, "Is it right that the royal power sit with the person with the title of King, or the person who makes the decisions as King?" The Pope answered that the de facto power is more important than the de jure power. This support of the papacy, discouraged opposition, and Pepin was elected [sic] King of the Franks by an assembly of Frankish leading-men, with a large portion of the proto-king’s army on hand (in the event that the nobility inclined not to honor the Papal bull).

Pippin was anointed at Soissons, by Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz and Major Benefactor of Pepin’s father, Charles Martel and his army. Boniface -- who was known as Twoface to his friends... of whom he had none -- was along with his niece, Saint Leoba, a court advisor. Meanwhile, Grifo had escaped his monasteric imprisonment (i.e., a typical, very serious Catholic school), and thereafter continued his rebellion. Sadly, he was eventually killed in the battle of Saint-Jean de Maurienne in 753. Childeric III was thereafter deposed, his hair shaved off, and confined to a monastery. Childeric III was considered to be the last of the Merovingians. [Although, technically, Charlemagne and his descendents came from the Merovingian line, via Bertrada, grand-daughter of Dagobert III.]

Pepin added to his power after Pope Stephen II traveled all the way to Paris to anoint him in a lavish ceremony at Saint Denis Basilica, bestowing upon him the additional title of patricius Romanorum (Patrician of the Romans). As life expectancies were short in those days -- and Pepin wanted family continuity -- the Pope also anointed Pepin's sons, Charles (eventually known as Charlemagne) and Carloman.

Pepin the Short's first major act was to go to war against the Lombard king Aistulf. Victorious, he forced the Lombard king to return property seized from the Church and confirmed the papacy in possession of Ravenna and the Pentapolis. This became the so-called Donation of Pepin whereby the Papal States were founded. In 759, he drove the Saracens out of Gaul with the capture of Narbonne and then consolidated his power further by integrating Aquitaine into the kingdom. In taking Narbonne, and formally annexing Aquitaine (whose status was always dependent on the strength of her suzerains), he completed the work of his father save for one last task: fully subduing the Saxons. He was preparing for war against them when his health began to fail, and thus, this final task was left for his son, Charlemagne.

Pepin died during a campaign -- see what we mean life being short... and a fact which just might account for Pepin’s nickname. He was brought to Saint Denis to be buried near the saint in 768 and was interred there in the basilica with his wife Bertrada... the latter the key linkage between Pepinides, et al, and Merovingians. Pepin was buried "outside that entrance [of Saint Denis Basilica] according to his wishes, face down, for the sins of his father Charles Martel". [You have to admire such blind dedications... although, perhaps not to excess.]

Historical opinion often seems to regard Pippin as the lesser son and lesser father of two greater men, though he is sometimes accorded to be a great man in his own right. He had continued to build up the heavy cavalry which his father had begun. He had maintained the standing army that his father had found necessary to protect the realm and form the core of its full army in wartime. He had not only maintained his father's policy of containing the Moors, he drove them over and across the Pyrenees with the capture of Narbonne. He had also continued his father's expansion of the Frankish church (missionary work in Germany and Scandinavia) and the infrastructure (feudalism) that would prove the backbone of medieval Europe.

In reality, his rule, while not as great as either his father's or son's, was historically important and of “great benefit” to the Franks as a people... assuming you count imposition of Christianity on a people as a “great benefit”. Pepin's assumption of the crown and the title of Patrician of Rome, were harbingers of his son's imperial coronation, the latter which is usually seen as the founding of the Holy Roman Empire. In other words, disaster and destitution for the people... as opposed to being a “great benefit.” He certainly made the Carolingians de jure what his father had made them de facto -- the ruling dynasty of the Franks and the foremost power of Europe. While not known as a great general, he was undefeated during his lifetime... an impressive span of 27 years from the time of his father’s death to his own.

 

3. Theuderic IV [124] accounting rectification [122-123] Childeric III [121] Childeric II (=Blichilde) (Toulousians) [120] Clovis II (=Batilde) [119] Dagobert I (=Nanthilda) [118] Lothar II (=Haldetrude) [117] Chilperic (=Fredegund) [116] Lothar I (=Aregund) [115] Clovis I (=Clotilde) [114] Childeric (=Basina II) [113] Meroveus (=Meira)[112] CLODION (=Basina I) [1-111]

Theuderic IV was the son of Childeric III, or of Dagobert III (accounts vary). His father had been deposed by Pepin III.

Married: Alda, sister to Pepin III (Pepin the Short) and daughter of Charles Martel

Children: Guilhelm de Toulouse de Gellone

 

Forward to:

Charlie Magne and the... Vanilla Factory

 

 

               

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