Mayors and Princes

  • Edward James
Part of the New Studies in Medieval History book series (NSMH)


Dagobert I died in 638, the last energetic and effective Merovingian king; there followed over one hundred years during which ‘rois fainéants’ ruled in Francia — ‘do-nothing kings’. This traditional picture is misleading: there is a great deal of difference between the immediate successors of Dagobert and the misty figures of the early eighth century. If some seventh-century kings were ‘do-nothings’, it was because of dynastic accident: they were minors, under the domination of their mother or of the mayor of the palace. The period has often been seen in terms of the gradual and inevitable rise of the Carolingian mayors of the palace; but perhaps more significant in the long run (and far more inevitable) was the way in which the monarchy lost control of much of Gaul. The Carolingian reconquest of Gaul in the eighth century only brought a temporary pause in the movement towards regional and local autonomy.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Fredegar IV. 84: tr. Wallace-Hadrill, p. 71.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Fredegar IV. 85: tr. Wallace-Hadrill, p. 72.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Fredegar IV. 86: tr. Wallace-Hadrill, p. 72.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See F. Oexle, ‘Die Karolinger und die Stadt des heiligen Arnulfs’, F. S. I (1967) pp. 250–364.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. L. Nelson, ‘Queens as Jezebels’ (A3-b) pp. 69–70.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lib. Hist. Franc. 43: tr. Bachrach, p. 101.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lib. Hist. Franc. 45: tr. Bachrach, p. 103.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lib. Hist. Franc. 45: tr. Bachrach, p. 104.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Eddius, Life of Wilfrid, 33: ed. B. Colgrave (Cambridge, 1927) pp. 68–9.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Miracula Martialis, 3: M. G. H., S. S. xv p. 280.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    M.G.H.,S. S. R. M. v p. 523.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    C. de Clercq, Condlia Galliae, A. 511-A. 695 (Turnholt, 1963) pp. 312–3.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    See Rouche, L’Aquitaine (B3-b) p. 106.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Lib. Hist. Franc. 52: tr. Bachrach, p. 112.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Visio Wettini, 461–4: tr. Traill, p. 56.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    On all this, see U. Nonn (B3-b).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    See Rouche, L’Aquitaine (B3-b) p. 379.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    M. G. H., Concilia Aevi Karolini I p. 2.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Annales Regni Francorum, 749: M. G. H.,S. S.,Rer. Germ, in usum scholarum, p. 8.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ibid., 750 (751): pp. 8–10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Edward James 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward James

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations