sometimes called Carlovingian, second dynasty of Frankish
kings who ruled parts of Western Europe from the 7th to
the 10th centuries.
family was descended from Pepin
the Elder of Landen, a powerful landowner who served
Clotaire II, the Merovingian
king of the Franks, as mayor of
the palace of Austrasia from around 584 to 629. Pepin's
grandson, Pepin of Herstal, eventually succeeded to the
mayor's position, and by AD687 he had become the effective
ruler of the entire Frankish kingdom, although the Merovingians
nominally wielded the royal power. Pepin of Herstal was
in turn succeeded by his illegitimate son, Charles Martel,
and by two grandsons, Carloman and Pepin
the Short. Carloman later abdicated, and in 751 Pepin
the Short was crowned as the first Carolingian king of the
Franks. This date is generally regarded as the beginning
of the Carolingian dynasty. It is historically significant
that Pepin was the first Frankish king whose coronation
was sanctified by the Roman Catholic church.
the Short was succeeded by his two sons, Carloman and Charlemagne,
who at first ruled the kingdom jointly. After 771 Charlemagne
was sole ruler and vastly increased the kingdom. At its
greatest extent, it included what is now France, Germany,
Austria, Switzerland, the Low Countries, and northern Italy.
On December 25, 800, Charlemagne was crowned the first emperor
of the revived Western Roman Empire. As emperor, Charlemagne
established his court as a center of learning, thus beginning
the Carolingian Renaissance. Charlemagne achieved fame in
many parts of the world for his promotion of education and
he died, his son Louis I inherited the kingdom. Upon his
death, the kingdom was divided among his three surviving
sons, who fought each other for the title of emperor. In
843 the kingdom was formally divided by the Treaty of Verdun.
Thereafter the power of the dynasty further declined. The
German line, which also ruled the Holy Roman Empire, became
extinct in 911 and was replaced by the
Saxons; the French line held power until 987, when it
was succeeded by the Capetians.
see also 'Settlements' France,
History, Merovingians and Carolingians -
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