Mayor of the Palace


Mayor of the Palace

Mayor of the Palace was an early medieval title and office, also called majordomo, from the Latin title maior domus ("superior of the house"), used most notably in the Frankish kingdoms in the 7th and 8th centuries.

During the 7th century, the office of Mayor of the Palace developed into the true power behind the throne in Austrasia, the northeastern portion of the Kingdom of the Franks under the Merovingian dynasty. The Major Domo held and wielded the real and effective power to make decisions affecting the Kingdom, while in the mid to late Merovingian period, kings had been reduced to performing merely ceremonial functions, which made them little more than nominal kings or figureheads. Compare with the figures of peshwa, shogun, and prime minister under a constitutional monarchy, which have similarly been the real powers with a ceremonial king.

The office became hereditary in the family of the Pippinids with powerful mayors of the palace such as Charles Martel, who proclaimed himself Duke of the Franks, and for the last four years of his reign did not even bother with the façade of a King. After Austrasia and Neustria were reunited in one kingdom, Pepin III — Major Domo since 747 — took the crown of the Merovingians in 751 to establish the line of Carolingian kings. His son Charlemagne assumed even greater power when he was crowned emperor in 800, thus becoming one of the most prominent figures in European history.

Contents

Mayors of the Palace of Austrasia

  • Parthemius (until 548)
  • Gogo (c. 567–581), during the minority of Childebert II
  • Wandalenus (from 581), during the minority of Childebert II
  • Gundulf (from 600), under Theudebert II
  • Landric (until 612), probably also in Neustria
  • Warnachar (612–617), also in Burgundy
  • Hugh (or Chucus) (617–623), successor of previous
  • Pepin the Elder (623–629), under Dagobert I
  • Adalgisel (633–639)
  • Pepin the Elder (639–640), again
  • Otto (640–642 or 643)
  • Grimoald I 642 or 643–656), died 662
  • Wulfoald (656–680), also in Neustria (673–675)
  • Pepin the Middle (680–714), took the title Duke and Prince of the Franks (dux et princeps Francorum) after his conquest of Neustria in 687
  • Theudoald (714–715), also in Neustria. Illegitimate son of Grimoald II, designated heir of his grandfather Pepin, opposed by the nobility, who acclaimed Charles Martel
  • Charles Martel (715–741), illegitimate son of Pepin the Middle, also in Neustria (718–741)
  • Carloman (741–747), died 754 or 755
  • Drogo (747–751), son of Carloman

Mayors of the Palace of Neustria

  • Landric, under Clotaire II, probably also in Austrasia
  • Gundoland (613 or 616–639)
  • Aega (639–641), also in Burgundy
  • Erchinoald (641–658)
  • Ebroin (658–673), deposed
  • Wulfoald (673–675), also in Austrasia (662–680)
  • Leudesius (675), chosen after previous, then deposed
  • Ebroin (675–680), again
  • Waratton (680 or 681–682), deposed by his son Gistemar
  • Gistemar (682), son of previous, usurper, died 683 or 684
  • Waratton (682–684 or 686), again
  • Berthar (686–688 or 689), son-in-law of previous, lost Battle of Tertry to Pepin the Middle in 687, murdered in 688 or 689
  • Pepin the Middle (688–695), represented in court by his follower Nordebert
  • Grimoald II (695–714), son of Pepin the Middle
  • Theudoald (714–715), also in Austrasia. Illegitimate son of Grimoald II, driven out of Neustria by the nobility, surrendered claim in 716.
  • Ragenfrid (715–718), took power in Neustria in 714 or 715, but defeated by Charles Martel in 717 and definitively in 718 and fled, died 731
  • Charles Martel (718–741), illegitimate son of Pepin the Middle, also in Austrasia (715–741)
  • Pepin the Younger (741 or 742–751), became king of the Franks in 751 (died 768)

Mayors of the Palace of Burgundy

Hereafter the office was united with that of Neustria, though Burgundy remained a separate realm under the King of Neustria and Burgundy. The administration of Burgundy was briefly separate under:

  • Drogo (695–708), son of Pepin the Middle, also duke of Champagne (from 690) and duke of Burgundy from Nordebert's death in 697

Sources

  • Fredegar. The Chronicle of Fredegar, trans. J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, The Early Middle Ages, 500–1000, ed. Robert Bentrano. New York, 1964.
  • Gregory of Tours. Historia Francorum, trans. Earnest Brehaut, 1916. Available at Medieval Sourcebook.
  • Oman, Charles. The Dark Ages, 476–918. London: Rivingtons, 1914.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • mayor of the palace — one of a line of hereditary administrative lieutenants to the Merovingian kings who eventually took over royal function and title in the Frankish kingdoms; a palatine. [1520 30; trans. of ML major domus; see MAJOR DOMO] * * * ▪ European official… …   Universalium

  • mayor of the palace — Etymology: translation of Medieval Latin mayor palatii : an official under the Frankish kings who originally was the chief officer of the royal household, later prime minister, and under the later Merovingians practically sovereign * * * one of a …   Useful english dictionary

  • Carloman, Mayor of the Palace — (d. 754)    Son of the Carolingian Mayor of the Palace, Charles Martel, Carloman inherited control of the Frankish kingdoms with his brother, Pippin the Short, on his father s death in 741. Together as mayors of the palace, Carloman and Pippin… …   Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe

  • Drogo (mayor of the palace) — Drogo was the eldest son of Carloman, mayor of the palace of Austrasia. He was born before Carloman came to power in 741. In 747 Carloman went on a pilgrimage to Rome, leaving his sons under the guardianship of his uncle Pepin the Short and the… …   Wikipedia

  • Drogo, Mayor of the Palace — Drogo was the eldest son of Carloman, mayor of the palace of Austrasia. He was born before Carloman came to power in 741. In 747 Carloman went on a pilgrimage to Rome, leaving his sons under the guardianship of his uncle Pepin the Short and the… …   Wikipedia

  • Otto (mayor of the palace) — Otto (died 643 or 644) was the mayor of the palace of Austrasia briefly in the mid seventh century. Otto was the son of a domesticus named Uro who served in the court of Dagobert I. Otto was raised with Dagobert s son Sigebert III and… …   Wikipedia

  • Rado (mayor of the palace) — Rado or Radon was the mayor of the palace of Burgundy from 613 to 617. He, along with Warnachar, Pepin of Landen, and Saint Arnulf, abandoned the cause of the queen Brunhilda and the young king Sigebert II and joined with Clotaire II, promising… …   Wikipedia

  • Carloman, Mayor of the Palace — Carloman (between 706 and 716 [There is some discrepancy between the sources on his year of birth. It is given variously as 706, 708, 714, or 716.] ndash; 17 August [There is some discrepancy between the sources on his date of death. It is the 17 …   Wikipedia

  • Gogo (Mayor of the Palace) — Gogo (died 581) was the mayor of the palace of Austrasia and nutricius (also nutritius , tutor/regent) for the young Childebert II from 576 until his death. Gogo had become a very prominent member of the court of Sigebert I by 565. It was he who… …   Wikipedia

  • Aega (mayor of the palace) — For uses of EGA as an acronym, see EGA. For the river in Spain, see Ega River. Ega (also spelled Aega or Egua ) was the mayor of the palace and regent, alongside the queen mother Nanthild, of Neustria and Burgundy from 639, on the death of… …   Wikipedia


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