763: Waifar’s last chance

After the utter devastation wrought by Pepin’s full-on assault the previous year, in 763 the king was ready to consolidate his gains, both in land and morale, and press home the final¬†blows to break the last Aquitanian resistance.

He decided to hold the annual Frankish Mayfield in the border city of Nevers.1.RFA, 763, p.44. Just a few years ago Nevers had been a frontier town on the Burgundian side of the Loire, the last stop before crossing over to ‘enemy’ territory. Now the town was considered central enough and safe enough a place for the king to hold the Frankish annual assembly there. Waifar, wherever he was, must have gritted his teeth to see the insolence and confidence of Pepin. But that was nothing to what Pepin unleashed next.

Read more763: Waifar’s last chance

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. RFA, 763, p.44.

Battles of a troubled soul, part 2

To the picture I drew last week of Carloman the pious purifier of the eastern Frankish church, we must add Carloman the triumphant, at times bloodthirsty, conqueror. After deposing and disposing of his half-brother Grifo in 741 (while Pepin dealt with their step-mother Swanahild), and supervising the first of the eastern church synods, Carloman must have had his horse waiting for him. In the spring of 742 he and Pepin undertook the first of several joint military operations to crush regional insurrections.¬†“Aquitanians, Bretons, Frisians, Saxons, Alemannians, and Bavarians were a constant source of trouble for Pepin and Carlomann…. The survival of the Frankish kingdom itself was very much an open issue throughout the 740s.”1.Noble, Republic of St. Peter, pp.65-66. But the first to rise was the first to be crushed.

Meanwhile the Gascons of Aquitaine rose in rebellion under Duke Chunoald, son of the late Eudo. Thereupon the princely brothers Carloman and Pippin united their forces and crossed the Loire at the city of Orleans. Overwhelming the Romans they made for Bourges, the outskirts of which they set on fire; and as they pursued the fleeing Duke Chunoald they laid waste as they went. Their next objective, the stronghold of Loches, fell and was razed to the ground, the garrison being taken prisoner. Their victory was complete. Then they divied out the booty among themselves and took off the local inhabitants to captivity.2.Fredegar, Continuations, ch.25, p.98.

Not only did the brothers swiftly crush the rebellious Aquitanians, but “On this campaign they divided the kingdom of the Franks among themselves at Vieux Poitiers.”3.Royal Annals, year 742, p.37. This probably formalized whatever agreement their father had arranged with them, prior to Swanahild’s insertion of Grifo into the inheritance. To recap, over the past twelve months their father had died, they had neutralized their half-brother, called a church synod, suppressed an incipient revolt, and agreed to a division of the kingdom more to their liking. Time to head home? Not even close.

Read moreBattles of a troubled soul, part 2

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Noble, Republic of St. Peter, pp.65-66.
2. Fredegar, Continuations, ch.25, p.98.
3. Royal Annals, year 742, p.37.