Pepin the Short King of the Franks
- Born: 714, Jupile
- Marriage: Berthe
- Died: Sep 768 aged 54
Other names for Pepin were Pepin III and Pepin the Younger.
On the death of Pepin's father, Charles Martel, in 741 , power was passed down to Charles' legitimate sons, Carloman and Pepin as mayors of the palaces of Neustria and Austrasia respectively. Power may also have been intended for Charles' illegitimate son, Grifo , but he was imprisoned in a monastery by his two half-brothers. Carloman, who by all evidence was a deeply pious man, retired to a monastery in 747 . This left Francia in the hands of Pepin as sole mayor of the palace and dux et princeps Francorum, a title originated by his grandfather and namesake Pepin of Heristal .
Under the reorganization of Francia by Charles Martel the dux et princeps Francorum were the commanders of the armies of the Kingdom, in addition to their administrative duties as mayor of the palace, and specifically commander of the standing guard which Martel had begun maintaining year-around since Toulouse in 721.
Upon their assumption, Pepin and Carloman, who had not proved themselves in battle in defense of the realm as their father had, installed the Merovingian, Childeric III, as king, even though Martel had left the throne vacant since the death of Theuderic IV . Childeric had the title of king, but he was a puppet. As time passed, and his brother bowed out of the picture, Pepin became discontent with the presence of any royal power but himself.
At the time of Carloman's retirement, Grifo escaped his imprisonment and fled to Duke Odilo of Bavaria , who was married to Hiltrude, Pepin's sister. Odilo was forced by Pepin to acknowledge Frankish overlordship, but died soon after (18 January 748 ). Pepin invaded Bavaria and installed Tassilo III as duke under Frankish overlordship.
Since Pepin had control over the magnates and actually had the power of the king, he decided it was time to do what his father had never bothered to do, make the Carolingian name royal in law as well as fact. Pepin asked Pope Zachary who should be the royal ruler: the person with the title of King, or the person who makes the decisions as King. Since the Pope depended on the Frankish armies for his independence, and had depended on them for protection from the Lombards since the days of Charles Martel, and Pepin, as his father had, controlled those armies, the Pope's answer was determined well in advance. The Pope agreed that the de facto power was more important than the de jure power. Thus, Pepin, having obtained the support of the papacy , discouraged opposition to his house. He was elected King of the Franks by an assembly of Frankish leading-men (it must be noted he had a large portion of his army on hand, in the event that the nobility inclined not to honor the Papal Bull) and anointed at Soissons , perhaps by Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz , who, along with his niece, Saint Leoba , was a court advisor. Meanwhile, Grifo continued his rebellion, but was eventually killed in the battle of Saint-Jean de Maurienne in 753 .
Childeric III was deposed, his hair was shaved off and he was confined to a monastery. He was the last of the Merovingians .
He added to that power after Pope Stephen II traveled all the way to Paris to anoint Pepin in a lavish ceremony at Saint Denis Basilica , bestowing upon him the additional title of patricius Romanorum (Patrician of the Romans). As life expectancies were short in those days, and Pepin wanted family continuity, the Pope also anointed Pepin's sons, Charles (eventually known as Charlemagne) and Carloman .
Pepin's first major act was to go to war against the Lombard king Aistulf , who had a policy of expansion into the ducatus Romanum, as a partial repayment for papal support in his quest for the crown. Victorious, he forced the Lombard king to return property seized from the Church and confirmed the papacy in possession of and the Pentapolis , the so-called Donation of Pepin whereby the Papal States was founded. In 759 , he drove the Saracens out of Gaul with the capture of Narbonne and then consolidated his power further by integrating Aquitaine into the kingdom. In taking Narbonne, and formally annexing Aquitaine (whose status was always dependent on the strength of her suzerains), he completed the work of his father save for one last task: fully subduing the Saxons . He was preparing for war against them when his health began to fail, and thus, this final task was left for his son, the great Charlemagne.
Pepin died at Saint Denis in 768 and is interred there in the basilica with his wife Bertrada . Pepin was buried "outside that entrance (of St. Denis basilica), face down, for the sins of his father Charles Martel".
In 740 , Peppin married Bertrada of Laon , his second cousin. Her father, Charibert , was the son of Pepin II's brother, Martin of Laon .
Pepin married Berthe. (Berthe died in 783.)