The Rise of the Carolingians and the Liber Historiae Francorum

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9780198229407: The Rise of the Carolingians and the Liber Historiae Francorum

The eighth-century chronicle, the "Liber Historiae Francorum" is one of only three major historical works which have survived from the two and a half centuries of Merovingian rule in early medieval France. Using it as a guide through the difficult contemporary sources, Dr Gerberding here presents a more accurate view of the society in which Charlemagne's ancestors set themselves on the road to power. His approach has uncovered much that is new. It throws new light on the usurpation attempt of Grimmoald I in the 650s. It shows how Pippin II's conquest of the western Frankish kingdom was based not so much on military success as on the politics of family and land-holding. By taking seriously what the Liber says about the position of women in Frankish society, it shows how Charles Martel, the supposed outcast and bastard, managed to wrest control of the Pippin's powerful family from Plectrud and the legitimate side. But most importantly, it emphasizes that the basic dynamic of Merovingian politics was not based on antagonism between a centralized royal control on the one hand and the powerful nobility on the other, but rather a mutually dependent co-operation.

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