Carolingian Dyn.

The Merovingian Dynasty

The heartland of the Frankish Kingdom is TOXANDRIA, located in modern Belgium. TOURNAI emerged as the center ('capital') of the nuclear kingdom.
The 5th century saw the political unification of the Franks. In 497, King CLOVIS converted to CATHOLICISM, for himself and all his countrymen - at that time the only Germanic Kingdom to opt for Catholic (Roman) christianity; the others were Arians.
Clovis pursued a policy of quick expansion, conquering the last remnant of the Roman Empire - the Province of SYAGRIUS (484-486), taking AQUITAINE from the Visigoths (507), campaigning against the Alamanni (496, 502, 507 subjugated) and Burgundians (509).
His enlarged kingdom was much different from the realm he started out with : now, the Franks were only a small minority among Gallo-Romans and numerous other Germanic peoples. The Catholic church formed a band holding all these groups together.
Under Clovis' successors, despite the frequent partition of the kingdom, Frankish expansion continued; Burgundy was subdued 532-534, the alpine Alamanni surrendered 536.
Under Frankish law - two different sets of Frankish law were codified, SALIC LAW and RIPUARIAN LAW - if a father died, his property was split (in more or less equal shares) among his sons. As the kingdom itself was regarded personal property of the king, over time this lead to numerous partitions and re-partitions of the kingdom, and many a fight over political succession.
The highest official under the king was the MAYOR (from Lat. major = the greater), which during the 8th century gained in importance, at a time when the Meroving King was insignificant. Mayor CHARLES MARTEL reunified the Frankish kingdom (by conquering his opponents) and defeated a Saracen invasion in the BATTLE OF TOURS AND POITIERS. Although only a mayor ruling in the name of a Meroving king, Charles Martel is the founder of the CAROLINGIAN DYNASTY.
In the early 8th century, the Frankish kingdom supported christian mission in newly subdued regions such as HESSE and FRISIA, where ST. BONIFACE and ST. WILLIBRORDUS preached.

Frankish Kings, 481-751
Clovis I. 481-511
Theuderich I. 511-533
Theudebert I. 533-548
Theudebald 548-555
Chlodomer 511-524 Childebert I. 511-558 Chlotar 511-568
Chlotar I. 558-561
Sigibert I. 561-575
Childebert II. 575-595
- Theudebert II. 595-612
- Theuderich II. 595-613
Sigibert II. 613-
Guntram 561-592 Charibert I. 561-567 Chilperich I. 561-584
Chlotar II. 584-623
Chlotar II. sole ruler 613-623
Chlotar II. 623-629 Dagobert I. 623-629
Dagobert I. sole ruler 629-639
Sigibert III. 639-656
Dagobert II. 656-660 & 676-679
Childebert II. 660-662
Childerich II. 662-675
Clovis II. 639-657
Chlotar III. 657-673
Theuderich III. 673, 675-691
Theoderich III. sole ruler 679-691
Clovis III. 690-694
Childebert III. 694-711
Dagobert III. 711-715
Chilperich II. 715-721 Chlotar IV. 717-719
Theuderich IV. 721-737
Interregnum 737-743
Childerich III. 743-751

The Franks, from Catholic Encyclopedia
Clovis, from Catholic Encyclopedia
St. Boniface, from Catholic Encyclopedia
DOCUMENTS Merovingian and Carolingian, a guide to online resources, from ORB
Genealogical Table of Merovingian Kings, from Royal Genealogies
Gregory of Tours : On Clovis, from Medieval Sourcebook
St. Boniface and the Conversion of Germany, from Medieval Sourcebook; Boniface and the Oak of Donar, excerpt from The Life of St. Boniface, posted by D.L. Ashliman, at
The History of Tournai, from trabel

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on November 12th 2004

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