1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Carolingians

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CAROLINGIANS, the name of a family (so called from Charlemagne, its most illustrious member) which gained the throne of France a.d. 751. It appeared in history in 613, its origin being traced to Arnulf (Arnoul), bishop of Metz, and Pippin, long called Pippin of Landen, but more correctly Pippin the Old or Pippin I. Albeit of illustrious descent, the genealogies which represent Arnulf as an Aquitanian noble, and his family as connected—by more or less complicated devices—with the saints honoured in Aquitaine, are worthless, dating from the time of Louis the Pious in the 9th century. Arnulf was one of the Austrasian nobles who appealed to Clotaire II., king of Neustria, against Brunhilda, and it was in reward for his services that he received from Clotaire the bishopric of Metz (613). Pippin, also an Austrasian noble, had taken a prominent part in the revolution of 613. These two men Clotaire took as his counsellors; and when he decided in 623 to confer the kingdom of Austrasia upon his son Dagobert, they were appointed mentors to the Austrasian king, Pippin with the title of mayor of the palace. Before receiving his bishopric, Arnulf had had a son Adalgiselus, afterwards called Anchis; Pippin’s daughter, called Begga in later documents, was married to Arnulf’s son, and of this union was born Pippin II. Towards the end of the 7th century Pippin II., called incorrectly Pippin of Heristal, secured a preponderant authority in Austrasia, marched at the head of the Austrasians against Neustria, and gained a decisive victory at Tertry, near St Quentin (687). From that date he may be said to have been sole master of the Frankish kingdom, which he governed till his death (714). In Neustria Pippin gave the mayoralty of the palace to his son Grimoald, and afterwards to Grimoald’s son Theodebald; the mayoralty in Austrasia he gave to his son Drogo, and subsequently to Drogo’s children, Arnulf and Hugh. Charles Martel, however, a son of Pippin by a concubine Chalpaïda, seized the mayoralty in both kingdoms, and he it was who continued the Carolingian dynasty. Charles Martel governed from 714 to 741, and in 751 his son Pippin III. took the title of king. The Carolingian dynasty reigned in France from 751 to 987, when it was ousted by the Capetian dynasty. In Germany descendants of Pippin reigned till the death of Louis the Child in 911; in Italy the Carolingians maintained their position until the deposition of Charles the Fat in 887. Charles, duke of Lower Lorraine, who was thrown into prison by Hugh Capet in 991, left two sons, the last male descendants of the Carolingians, Otto, who was also duke of Lower Lorraine and died without issue, and Louis, who after the year 1000 vanishes from history.

See P. A. F. Gérard and L. A. Warnkönig, Histoire des Carolingiens (Brussels, 1862); H. E. Bonnell, Anfänge des Karoling. Hauses (Berlin, 1866); J. F. Böhmer and E. Mühlbacher, Regesten d. Kaiserreichs unter d. Karolingern (Innsbruck, 1889 seq.); E. Mühlbacher, Deutsche Gesch. unter d. Karolingern (Stuttgart, 1896); F. Lot, Les Derniers Carolingiens (Paris, 1891).  (C. Pf.)