Pippin III

   , Called Pippin the Short
(d. 768)
   Mayor of the palace and founder of the Carolingian royal dynasty, Pippin laid the foundation for much of Carolingian royal policy and success. Although often overshadowed by his more illustrious son, Charlemagne, Pippin was a great military, political, and religious reformer in his own right. As mayor and king, he imposed his authority on the kingdom and expanded its boundaries. He formalized the alliance with the pope in Rome that had first been attempted during the reign of Pippin's father, Charles Martel. In fact, the alliance was essential for Pippin's elevation to the kingship, as well as for the long-term growth of the Papal States. Both before and after his usurpation of the throne, Pippin was actively involved in the reform of the church. In many ways, Pippin left a lasting and important legacy for Charlemagne and the Carolingian line.
   On the death of his father, Charles Martel, in 741, Pippin and his brother Carloman inherited control of the kingdom. Although officially only mayor of the palace, Charles Martel divided control of the kingdom between his two sons as any Frankish king would, having ruled without a Merovingian king during the last three years of his life. Pippin and Carloman inherited the office of mayor and authority over the entire realm. Their succession to power, however, was not achieved without strife. In the opening years of their joint reign, Pippin and Carloman faced widespread opposition, including the revolt of their half brother, Grifo, who had been excluded from the inheritance. Although Grifo failed to gain power, he remained a problem until his death in 753. But Grifo was not the only source of trouble for Pippin and Carloman at the outset of their reign. They faced unrest and rebellion in Aquitaine and Bavaria, as well as from other Frankish noble families who regarded the Carolingians as equals.
   In 743, Pippin and Carloman discovered the heir to the Merovingian throne in a monastery and restored him, as Childeric III, to his rightful place as king. The restoration, possibly initiated by Carloman, may have been done to suppress rebellious partisans of the Merovingian dynasty or to establish legitimacy for the Carolingians' position. Whatever the purpose, the restoration of Childeric proved to be only a short-term solution. In 747, after undertaking military campaigns and religious reform with his brother, Carloman retired to the monastery of Mount Soracte near Rome. Pippin moved quickly to restrict Carloman's sons' claims to power and to consolidate his position as mayor. He was now the sole mayor in the kingdom and king in everything but name.
   In 750 Pippin took the first of several steps that brought about a revolution in the Frankish kingdom. He sent two of his most trusted advisors, Archbishop Burchard of Würzburg and Abbot Fulrad of St. Denis, to Pope Zachary (r. 741-752) in Rome to ask whether the person with the power or the person with the title should be king. Zachary answered as Pippin had hoped. By turning to the pope, Pippin hoped to gain a higher spiritual sanction than that possessed by the Merovingians, who claimed descent from a sea god. In 751, at an assembly of the leaders of the realm in Soissons, Childeric was deposed and sent to a monastery. At the same time, Pippin was elected king by the nobility and crowned and anointed king by the bishops of the realm, including possibly, Boniface, the papal representative in the kingdom. The ceremony of anointing, of unction, was borrowed from the Hebrew Scriptures and was intended to establish the Carolingians as kings of the new children of Israel.
   In 753, Pope Stephen II (r. 752-757) traveled north to meet with Pippin. Fleeing from the advances of the Lombard king Aistulf, Stephen hoped to secure the aid of the Frankish king. The two met at the royal residence of Ponthion to discuss the issue and other things during the winter of 753-754. Stephen received the promise of aid from Pippin, who also supported the pope's claims to various estates in central Italy. The following spring, Pippin met with various nobles to gain support for a campaign against the Lombards to protect the pope. Because of earlier alliances with the Lombards, many nobles were reluctant to agree to the invasion of Italy, but the appearance of Carloman, who had been sent to argue against the pope's request by Aistulf, helped Pippin's cause. In July 754, Stephen upheld his side of the bargain, crowning and anointing Pippin king. Stephen not only crowned Pippin but also crowned and anointed his sons, Charles and Carloman, granted them the imperial title of patrician, and declared that only descendants of Pippin could legitimately rule the Franks. The revolution was now complete. The Carolingians had become the kings of the Franks and, perhaps more importantly, had become close allies of the pope.
   Although at first opposed to the invasion of Italy, the nobles agreed at a second council in 755, after Aistulf had refused Pippin's request to honor the pope. Pippin invaded at the head of a large army and defeated the Lombards at Susa before laying siege to the capital of Pavia. Aistulf relented, gave hostages, and agreed to return territory to the pope. Once Pippin had withdrawn, however, Aistulf broke the treaty. In 756, Pippin again invaded, with the enthusiastic support of the nobles, and again laid siege to Pavia and forced Aistulf to submit. Pippin, determined to enforce the agreement, sent Abbot Fulrad to each of the cities Aistulf was to return to the pope to collect keys from them. A list was compiled by Fulrad, which has come to be known as the Donation of Pippin, and deposited on the altar of St. Peter's in Rome. Aistulf's death in 756 and the Lombard political situation thereafter made any return to Italy on Pippin's part unnecessary. But his two invasions strengthened the alliance between Rome and the Carolingians and helped establish the Papal States.
   Pippin's campaigns in Italy were not his only foreign military ventures. In fact, he learned of Stephen's journey to the Frankish kingdom in 753 while returning from a campaign in Saxony. He raided Saxony to enforce a treaty that permitted the free movement of Christian missionaries in that region. More important than the Saxon campaign, however, was the reconquest of the duchy of Aquitaine, a region that had been part of the Frankish kingdom in the seventh century. A region of great agricultural wealth, Aquitaine was also the center of opposition to Carolingian power before and after 750. Moreover, Pippin claimed that the duke, Waifar, had violated the integrity of the church. Defense of ecclesiastical and political interests led Pippin to invade the duchy numerous times, including annual campaigns from 760 to 768. In 761, Pippin led a major expedition that saw his triumph over the duke as well as the assassination of Waifar by some of his own men, probably in the pay of Pippin. Although victorious over Waifar in 761, Pippin's conquest of Aquitaine was a painstaking process, in which the king gradually conquered forts and cities and gradually won over Waifar's vassals. To secure his hold on the duchy, Pippin placed his supporters in positions of political power and installed loyal ecclesiastics as abbots of the monasteries in the duchy. Although a revolt occurred shortly after his death, Pippin had restored Frankish control over Aquitaine and was able to include the duchy in his legacy to his sons.
   Along with his usurpation and military campaigns, Pippin carried out a number of political and religious reforms. One crucial policy was not a reform: Pippin acquired extensive estates throughout the realm as a means to bolster his power. In fact, the establishment of landed wealth and power was as important for his elevation to the kingship as the coronation by the bishops. The accumulation of land and loyal vassals on that land provided the justification for the usurpation of the throne. Pippin acquired further power through the establishment of control over monasteries throughout the realm, which he used to curtail the power of the aristocratic bishops. One of the most important monasteries of the kingdom and a former Merovingian royal monastery, St. Denis near Paris, became an important supporter of Pippin and his new dynasty, and was important in Pippin's elevation to the kingship. He also reformed royal administration by increasing the use of writing in government and by employing churchmen as administrators. Finally, he commissioned a new edition of the Salic law that exalted the virtues of the Franks and their new royal dynasty.
   Pippin was also an active religious reformer both before and after the retirement of his brother in 747. In the early years of his rule as mayor, Pippin recognized the value of reform of the church, which had suffered during the civil wars of the previous generations. Although not as enthusiastic a supporter of the missionary and reform work of Boniface as was his brother Carloman, Pippin nonetheless supported efforts to reform the church in the Frankish kingdom and certainly recognized the value of the devotion to Rome that Boniface preached. After the retirement of Carloman and death of Boniface in 754, Pippin relied increasingly on Chrodegang, bishop and then archbishop of Metz. Although the king promoted the role of the monastery in the Frankish church, especially to limit the power of the bishops, he found an important ally in Chrodegang, who presided over numerous councils with the king during Pippin's reign.
   Councils were held at Ver in 755, at Verberie in 756, at Attigny in 760, and at Gentilly in 767, and were intended to reform religious life and organization in the kingdom. Chrodegang encouraged a closer alliance with Rome for the church, incorporating Roman liturgical traditions in the church, and improved ecclesiastical discipline among the clergy, who had been derided by Boniface for their ignorance and immorality. The clergy, according to Boniface, indulged in battle and committed adultery, and one priest could not offer the blessing properly, blessing "in the name of the country and of the daughter." The councils sought to combat these problems, and passed legislation prohibiting clergy from going to war and demanding that monks and nuns renounce wealth and accept stability. The councils of Pippin also sought to improve church organization by prohibiting the establishment of monasteries on private land by lay nobles.
   By his death in 768, Pippin had taken control of the kingdom of the Franks, and he was able to pass the kingship on to his two sons, Charles and Carloman. In good Frankish tradition, Pippin divided the kingdom between his two sons. As a counterbalance to that potentially disruptive tradition, however, Pippin had established the traditions in government, the church, and military that his son Charles, or Charlemagne as he came to be known, exploited to such great end. Although he did not adopt all the policies of his father, Charles was nonetheless greatly indebted to his father for the legacy he left behind. Indeed, if Pippin's achievements had been limited to the founding of the Carolingian royal dynasty, he would certainly still be an important figure. But his reform of the Frankish church and government, which also paved the way for the Carolingian Renaissance emerging under Charlemagne, were important for the long-term success of his dynasty. His association with the pope set a precedent for church-state relations that lasted until at least the end of the Middle Ages, and his conquests created a powerful kingdom that his son was able to transform into an empire. Truly, Pippin was a great king.
   See also
   Bibliography
 ♦ Davis, Raymond, trans. The Lives of the Eighth-Century Popes (Liber Pontificalis): The Ancient Biographies of Nine Popes from a.d. 715 to a.d. 817. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 1992.
 ♦ Ganshof, François Louis. The Carolingians and the Frankish Monarchy. Trans. Janet Sondheimer. London: Longman, 1971.
 ♦ James, Edward. The Franks. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988.
 ♦ Llewellyn, Peter. Rome in the Dark Ages. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996.
 ♦ McKitterick, Rosamond. The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians, 751-987. London: Longman, 1983.
 ♦ Noble, Thomas X. F. The Republic of St. Peter: The Birth of the Papal State, 680-825. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984.
 ♦ Riché, Pierre. The Carolingians: A Family who Forged Europe. Trans. Michael Idomir Allen. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993.
 ♦ Scholz, Bernhard Walter, trans. Carolingian Chronicles: Royal Frankish Annals and Nithard's History. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1972.
 ♦ Wallace-Hadrill, J. M. The Frankish Church. Oxford: Clarendon, 1983.

Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pippin III. — Pippin der Jüngere (auch Pippin III. oder Pippin der Kurze; * 714; † 24. September 768 in Saint Denis bei Paris) war ein fränkischer Hausmeier, später König der Franken (751–768). Er war der Sohn Karl Martells und Chrotrudes sowie der Vater Karls …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pippin III — or Pepin or Pippin the Short born с 714 died Sept. 24, 768, Saint Denix, Neustria King of the Franks (751–768), the first king of the Carolingian dynasty and the father of Charlemagne. A son of Charles Martel, he became mayor of Neustria,… …   Universalium

  • Pippin III —    See Constantine V …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Pippin III. der Jüngere — Pippin der Jüngere (auch Pippin III. oder Pippin der Kurze; * 714; † 24. September 768 in Saint Denis bei Paris) war ein fränkischer Hausmeier, später König der Franken (751–768). Er war der Sohn Karl Martells und Chrotrudes sowie der Vater Karls …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pippin der Kleine — Pippin der Jüngere (auch Pippin III. oder Pippin der Kurze; * 714; † 24. September 768 in Saint Denis bei Paris) war ein fränkischer Hausmeier, später König der Franken (751–768). Er war der Sohn Karl Martells und Chrotrudes sowie der Vater Karls …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pippin der Kurze — Pippin der Jüngere (auch Pippin III. oder Pippin der Kurze; * 714; † 24. September 768 in Saint Denis bei Paris) war ein fränkischer Hausmeier, später König der Franken (751–768). Er war der Sohn Karl Martells und Chrotrudes sowie der Vater Karls …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pippin I. — Pippin hießen folgende Herrscher: Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Pippin 1.1 Pippin I. 1.2 Pippin II. 2 Pippin ... 3 Siehe auch // …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pippin II. — Pippin hießen folgende Herrscher: Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Pippin 1.1 Pippin I. 1.2 Pippin II. 2 Pippin ... 3 Siehe auch // …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pippin II —    , Called Pippin of Herstal (d. 714)    Frankish mayor of the palace and virtual leader of the Merovingian kingdom in the late seventh and early eighth century. His reign as mayor witnessed the further growth in power of the Carolingian family …   Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe

  • Pippin der Jüngere — Idealisierte Darstellung Pippins mit der Heiligen Lanze, Darstellung von Münzen aus seiner Zeit …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.