About

It’s a blog. About the 8th century.

But more than that, it’s a repository of knowledge about Pepin le Bref, son of Charles Martel, father of Charles the Great. That’s all that most people know about him, which is a pity. The Hammer gets lots of attention, particularly for Poitiers. Charles, of course, is known, by name if nothing else, to virtually everyone in Christendom, more than twelve centuries after his death.

The shame of it is that Pepin is as least as deserving as his father of more attention, if not his son. He took a step than even Martel was unwilling to take, and officially deposed the last Merovingian king. Note that this was not a passive act, like living the throne unfilled after the previous resident’s demise. Rather, Pepin deliberately and publicly removed a king, a move fraught with political, social, and even spiritual import.

Pepin also took the previously unthinkable step (OK, I’m sure Martel thought of it, but he didn’t do anything about it) of assuming the kingship for himself and his family. He was careful about this momentous move, but he did it. Would Charles have done the deed, if the father had wavered? Perhaps. It is feckless to speculate on the impact to Charlemagne’s renaissance if Pepin had not seeded the ground.

Pepin represents the quite literal ending of one era, and the beginning of another. This could be one reason why he receives so little attention – if mentioned at all, it is at the very end of a book about the Merovingian kingdoms, or the very beginning of yet another Charlemagne biography. Whatever the reason, the goal of this blog is to build him a little corner of cyberspace for his own. By nature there is much here outside of Pepin’s life, but the primary focus is from Poitiers to Roncesvalles.

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