Battles of a troubled soul, part 3

When Carloman decided to lay down his worldly cares and take up the contemplative life, he wasn’t able to simply pick up and walk to Rome. He was a duke of the Franks, one of the two Mayors of the Palace that ruled the realm, as well as a father. He, even more than most of us today, had many affairs to put in order first. We should remember that he probably felt that he was leaving in a pretty strong position.

There is a brief, shadowy indication that Carloman, as the older of the two brothers, wielded more power than Pepin. Paul Fouracre quotes a charter from 744 (the year after Childeric III¬†was raised to the throne), in which “Childeric addressed Carloman as the one ‘who placed us upon the throne of the kingdom.’ “1.Fouracre, The Long Shadow of the Merovingians, p.14, in Charlemagne: Empire and Society, ed. Joanna Story. In addition he had demography on his side. Carloman had a son, Drogo, who was probably of age in 747. Pepin was married, but had no children. Their half-brother Grifo was still alive, and we can say, based on later events, that he commanded some significant amount of political support in the kingdom, despite being under a virtual house arrest in Austrasia.

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Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Fouracre, The Long Shadow of the Merovingians, p.14, in Charlemagne: Empire and Society, ed. Joanna Story.

To Depose A King, Part Two

By 750, nine years after his father’s death, Pepin’s grasp of Francia was strong, but not ironclad. He and his brother Carloman had reinstated the Merovingian kingship in 743 with the elevation of Childeric III, probably as a way to validate and legitimize their rule of the kingdom. They had quashed the various rebellions that had erupted once Martel left the scene. When Carloman decided to abdicate his rule in Austrasia in 746, Pepin was left in sole control, but there were rumblings through the land.

Pepin’s first son Charles (Charlemagne) had been born around 747 or 748, but he was illegitimate, as Pepin did not marry Bertrada until 749. Although Carloman had abdicated his share of the realm, he and Pepin had first agreed that Carloman’s son Drogo would eventually hold authority in his stead. This meant that there was a potential power struggle ahead, once Drogo claimed Austrasia. In addition there was the problem of Grifo, Pepin and Carloman’s half-brother who had been granted some territory on the death of Martel, but had been pushed out. Grifo was still around and making trouble, and even allied himself with Waifar of Aquitaine.

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