Pépin the Short

Pepin the Short    Following the death of their father Charles Martel in 741, Pépin the Short along with his older brother Carloman imprisoned their half brother Grifo and took control of the Frankish Empire as joint Mayors of the Palace.  Pépin ruled in Neustria, Burgundy and Provence and Carloman ruled in Austrasia.  In order to legitimize their rule, the brothers revived the kingship by raising Childeric III to the throne in 743.  Pépin and Carloman continued to hold the real power. That same year, Pépin and Carloman conquered their brother-in-law Duke Odilo of Bavaria.  However, discord in Bavaria continued; and it was not until 757 that Odilo's son (Pépin's nephew) Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria and the magnates of Bavaria were finally forced to acknowledge themselves as vassals of Pépin the Short.

   In 747, Carloman withdrew from politics.  With the support of the church and the Pope, Pépin had himself declared King of the Franks in 751. The former king, Childeric III, retired to a monastery.

Coronation of Pepin the Short
The Coronation in 751 of

Pépin the Short

conducted by St. Boniface,
who was acting the representative
of the pope.

Coronation of Pepin the Short fresco
A French fresco showing
the Coronation in 751 of

Pépin the Short

conducted by St. Boniface.

    In the winter of 753-754 after the Lombards forced Pope Stephen to leave Rome, the Pope visited Pépin the Short.  The next summer, Pope Stephen anointed Pépin and his two sons Charlemagne and Carloman, and declared that the Franks were never to elect a king who was not of the sacred lineage of Pépin the Short.  In return for Pope Stephen's support, Pépin the Short took his army to Italy and defeated the Lombards.  Pépin's gift of a wide strip of land in central Italy to the Pope became known as the "Donation of Pépin".  This land, called the Papal States, remained under the control of the popes until the unification of Italy in the 19th century.

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This summary was written in July 2006 by Robert Sewell using sources including the following:

World Book Millenium 2000 Deluxe Edition, © 1999 World Book Inc., © IBM Corp.
Microsoft Encarta Encyclopædia 99, © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation
Norman F. Cantor (ed.) The Encyclopædia of the Middle Ages, New York, 1999
Berhard Grun, The Timetables of History, New York, 1991
The Book of History (18 Volumes), London, 1914
The Kings of France, http://www.beyond.fr/history/kings.html
Brian Tompsett, Royal Genealogical Data, http://www3.dcs.hull.ac.uk/genealogy/royal/