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Death: Pippin the Short (768)

Submitted by Ludwig von Rege... on September 24, 2014 - 12:00am

Pippin the Short died on this day in 768. Son of Charles "the Hammer", he inherited his father's job as Neustrian Majordomo. In 743, Pippin and his brother, Carloman, installed Childeric III as King of the Franks (it's hard to be Mayor of the Palace when there's no king to "serve") only to later have Childeric deposed. Pippin obtained permission from the Pope to have himself crowned instead (Carloman having retired into a monastery). This was the result of a famous exchange: "In regard to the kings of the Franks who no longer possess the royal power: is this state of things proper?" Pope Zachary's reply: "the de facto power is more important than the de jure power" was adequate to have Childeric tonsured and put safely away. Thus ended the Merovingian dynasty.

During his reign, Pippin had to suppress revolts lead by his half-brother Grifo, his nephew Drogo, and his forgotten cousin Zeppo. Pippin extended Frankish power into northern Spain, southern Germany and into Lombardy. In a pleasing twist, Pippin the Short's most famous son would be unusually tall.

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