List of Frankish kings

List of Frankish kings

The Franks were originally led by dukes (military leaders) and reguli (petty kings). The Salian Merovingians rose to dominance among the Franks and conquered most of Roman Gaul. They also conquered the Visigoths in 507. The sons of Clovis conquered the Burgundians and Alamanni. They acquired the Provence and made the Bavarii and Thuringii their clients. The Merovingians were later replaced by a new dynasty called the Carolingians in the 8th century. By the end of the 9th century, the Carolingians themselves were replaced throughout much of their realm by other dynasties. The idea of a "King of the Franks" or "Rex Francorum" gradually disappeared over the 10th and 11th centuries.

A timeline of Frankish rulers is difficult since the realm was, according to old Germanic practice, frequently divided among the sons of a leader upon his death and then eventually reunited.

Dukes and reguli

Early rulers

This list of early rulers is incomplete, as our sources leave open many gaps.
*Pharamond, son of Marcomer, semi-legendary king
*Theudemeres, son of Richomeres, King circa 422
*Sigobert the Lame, King 483–507, killed by his son Chloderic the Parricide
*Chlodoric the Parricide, son of Sigebert, King 507, dethroned by Clovis

=Rulers of the Salians=

*Clodio, possible son of Pharamond, King at Dispargum and later Tournai (426–447)
*Merovech, son of Chlodio, King at Tournai (447–458)
*Childeric I, son of Merovech, King at Tournai (458–481)
*Clovis I, son of Childeric I, King at Tournai (481–511), later united most of the Franks and Roman Gaul

All of the following may have been related to Clovis in some degree and eventually removed by before 509:
*Ragnachar, probably king at Cambrai from before 486, killed by Clovis
*Ricchar, brother of Ragnachar, killed by Clovis at Cambrai
*Rignomer, brother of Ragnachar, killed by Clovis at Mans

Merovingian kings of the Franks

col-begin All the Franks
*Clovis I, 509–511

Clovis I united all the Frankish petty kingdoms as well as most of Roman Gaul under his rule, conquering the Domain of Soissons of the Roman general Syagrius as well as the Visigothic Kingdom of Toulouse. He took his seat at Paris, which along with Soissons, Reims, Metz, and Orléans became the chief residences. Upon his death, the kingdom was split among his four sons:

col-begin Soissons
*Chlothar I, 511–561

*Childebert I, 511–558
*Chlothar I, 558–561

*Chlodomer, 511–524
*Childebert I, 524–558
*Chlothar I, 558–561

*Theuderic I, 511–534
**Munderic, 533, rival king in the Auvergne
*Theudebert I, 534–548
*Theudebald, 548–555
*Chlothar I, 555–561

Chlothar I eventually inherited all of the Frankish kingdoms after the deaths of his brothers or their successors. After his own death, the kingdom was once again split among his four sons:

col-begin Soissons (eventually Neustria)
*Chilperic I, 561–584
*Chlothar II, 584–629

*Charibert I, 561–567
*Chilperic I, 567–584
*Chlothar II, 584–629

Orléans (eventually Burgundy)
*Guntram, 561–592
**Gundoald, 584–585, rival king in Aquitaine
*Childebert II, 592–595
*Theuderic II, 595–613
*Sigebert II, 613
*Chlothar II, 613–629

Reims and Metz (eventually Austrasia)
*Sigebert I, 561–575
*Childebert II, 575–595
*Theudebert II, 595–612
*Theuderic II, 612–613
*Sigebert II, 613
*Chlothar II, 613–623

Chlothar II defeated Brunhilda and her grandson, reunifying the kingdom. However, in 623, in order to appease particularistic forces and also to secure the borders, he gave the Austrasians his young son as their own king. His son and successor, Dagobert I, emulated this move by appointing a sub-king for Aquitaine, with a seat at Toulouse, in 629 and Austrasia in 634.

col-begin Neustria and Burgundy
*Dagobert I, 629–639
*Clovis II, 639–658
*Chlothar III, 658–673
*Theuderic III 673
*Childeric II, 673–675
*Theuderic III, 675–691

*Charibert II, 629–632
*Chilperic, 632
*Dagobert I, 632–639

*Dagobert I, 623–634
*Sigebert III, 634–656
*Childebert the Adopted, 656–661
*Chlothar III, 661–662
*Childeric II, 662–675
*Clovis III, 675–676
*Dagobert II, 676–679

Theuderic III was recognized as king of all the Franks in 679. From then on, the kingdom of the Franks can be treated as a unity again for all but a very brief period of civil war.

*Clovis IV, 691–695
*Childebert III, 695–711
*Dagobert III, 711–715
*Chilperic II, 715–721
**Chlothar IV, 717–720, rival king in Austrasia
*Theuderic IV, 721–737
*"interregnum" 737–743
*Childeric III, 743–751


Mayors of the palace

The Carolingians were initially mayors of the palace under the Merovingian kings, first in Austrasia and later in Neustria and Burgundy. In 687, Pippin of Heristal took the title Duke and Prince of the Franks ("dux et princeps Francorum") after his conquest of Neustria in at the Battle of Tertry. This was cited by contemporary chroniclers as the beginning of Pippin's "reign." Between 715 and 716, the descendants of Pippin disputed the succession.

*Pippin I of Landen (Austrasia: 623–629 and 639–640)
*Grimoald I (Austrasia: 643–656; died 662)
*Pippin II of Herstal (Austrasia: 680–714, Neustria and Burgundy: 687–695)
*Drogo (Burgundy: 695–708)
*Grimoald II (Neustria: 695–714, Burgundy: 708–714)
*Theudoald (Austrasia, Neustria, and Burgundy: 714–716)
*Charles Martel (Austrasia: 715–741, Neustria and Burgundy: 718–741)
*Carloman (Austrasia: 741–747; died 754 or 755)
*Pippin III the Short (Neustria and Burgundy: 741–751, Austrasia: 747–751)In 751, Pippin III became the King of the Franks and the office of mayor disappeared. The Carolingians displaced the Merovingians as the ruling dynasty.

Kings of the Franks

*Pepin the Short, 751–768
*Carloman I, 768–771 (Burgundy, Alemannia, southern Austrasia)
*Charles I, called Charlemagne, 768–814 (at first only Neustria, Aquitaine, northern Austrasia), King of the Lombards 774, Emperor 800
**Duke of Maine: Charles the Younger, 790–811
**Italy: Pepin of Italy, 781–810; Bernard of Italy, 810–817
**Aquitaine: Louis the Pious, 781–814
*Louis I, called the Pious, Emperor and King of the Franks with Charlemagne 813–814, senior from 814-840
**Italy: Lothair I, 817–855
**Bavaria: Louis the German, 817–843
**Aquitaine: Pepin I, 817–838; Charles the Bald, 838–855, in opposition to Pepin II, 838–851

Louis the Pious made many divisions of his empire during his lifetime. The final division, pronounced at Crémieux in 838, made Charles the Bald heir to the west, including Aqutiaine, and Lothair heir to the east, including Italy and excluding Bavaria, which was left for Louis the German. However, following the emperor's death in 840, the empire was plunged into a civil war that lasted three years. The Frankish kingdom was then divided by the Treaty of Verdun in 843. Lothair was allowed to keep his imperial title and his kingdom of Italy, and granted the newly created Kingdom of Middle Francia, a corridor of land stretching from Italy to the North Sea, and including the Low Countries, the Rhineland (including Aachen), Burgundy, and Provence. Charles was confirmed in Aquitaine, where Pepin I's son Pepin II was opposing him, and granted West Francia (modern France), the lands west of Lothair's Kingdom. Louis the German was confirmed in Bavaria and granted East Francia (modern Germany), the lands east of Lothair's kingdom.

The following table does not provide a complete listing for some of the various "regna" of the empire, especially those which were "subregna" of the Western, Middle, or Eastern kingdom such as Italy, Provence, Neustria, and Aquitaine.

Western Kingdom (eventually France)
Middle Kingdom
Eastern Kingdom (eventually Germany) Names marked with an asterisk (*) were not Carolingians, but Robertians.
*Charles II, called the Bald, 843–877, King of Italy and Emperor 875
**Aquitaine: Charles the Child, 855–866; Louis the Stammerer, 866–877
**Neustria: Louis the Stammerer, 856–877
*Louis II, called the Stammerer, 877–879
*Louis III, 879–882, jointly with
*Carloman II, 879–884
*Charles the Fat, 884–888, Emperor 881
*Odo,* 888–898
**Aquitaine: Ranulf II, 888–889 (Ramnulfid, not Carolingian)
*Charles III, called the Simple, 898–922/923
*Robert I,* 922–923
*Rudolph,* 923–936
*Louis IV, called Transmarinus, 936–954
*Lothair, 954–986
**Aquitaine: Louis the Sluggard, 980–986
*Louis V, called the Sluggard, 986–987

After this, the House of Capet ruled France. For the continuation, see the list of French monarchs.
*Lothair I, 843–855, Emperor from 824 (senior Emperor from 840)
**Italy: Lothair I, 818-855; Louis II, with his father 839–855

After Lothair's death in 855, his realm was divided between his sons:

*Louis II, 855–875, the eldest son, succeeded his father as Emperor and received Italy. For the continuation, see King of Italy.
*Lothair II, 855–869, the second son, received the northern half of Middle Francia, which came to be named "Lotharingia" (Lorraine) from his name. For the continuation, see the list of rulers of Lorraine.
*Charles, 855–863, the youngest son, received the southern half of Middle Francia, consisting of Provence and Burgundy. For the continuation, see King of Burgundy.

*Louis II, called the German, 843–876
**Bavaria: Carloman, with his father 864–876

Louis divided his lands between his three sons, but they all ended up in the hands of the youngest by 882:
*Carloman, King of Bavaria 876-880. King of Italy 877
*Louis III, called the Younger, King of Saxony, Franconia, and Thuringia 876–882, inherited Bavaria from his brother Carloman in 880
*Charles III, called the Fat, King of Swabia, Alemannia and Rhaetia 876–887, inherited Italy from his brother Carloman in 879, and inherited the remainder of East Francia from his brother Louis in 882. Emperor 881

On the deposition of Charles the Fat, East Francia went to his nephew:
*Arnulf, 887–899, King of Italy and Emperor 896
**Italy: Ratold, 896
**Lotharingia: Zwentibold, 895–900
*Louis the Child, 899–911

Louis the Child was the last East Frankish Carolingian ruler. He was succeeded by Conrad of Franconia and then the Saxon Ottonian dynasty. For the continuation, see the list of German monarchs.

External links

* [ Genealogy of Merovingian Kings]
* [ Genealogy of Carolingian Kings]

Further reading

*The history of France as recounted in the "Grandes Chroniques de France", and particularly in the personal copy produced for King Charles V between 1370 and 1380 that is the saga of the three great dynasties, the Merovingians, Carolingians, and the Capetians, that shaped the institutions and the frontiers of the realm. This document was produced and likely commissioned during the Hundred Years' War, a dynastic struggle between the rulers of France and England with rival claims to the French throne. It should therefore be read and considered carefully as a source, due to the inherent bias in the context of its origins.
*"The Cambridge Illustrated History of France" - Cambridge University Press
*"The Origins of France: Clovis to the Capetians 500-1000" by Edward James ISBN 0-333-27052-5
*"Late Merovingian France: History and Hagiography, 640-720" (Manchester Medieval Sources); Paul Fouracre (Editor), Richard A. Gerberding (Editor) ISBN 0-7190-4791-9
*"Britannica Concise Encyclopedia": Merovingian Dynasty: [] .
*"Medieval France: An Encyclopedia", eds. W. Kibler and G. Zinn. New York: Garland Publishing, 1995.

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